I Made Sauerkraut Today

| 5/12/2015 2:50:00 PM

Renee-Lucie BenoitYou could say it's in my blood. Or not. It depends on what side of the family you're viewing me from. If you look from the French side of my family you would say, well, if you're from the Alsace-Lorraine area of France I might give you that. If you look at me from the German side you'd say slam dunk! I don't have a clue where my French relations got on the boat for their sail across the pond. The closest I can get is Canada so today we're going to look at me from my German side of the family.

Back to my original statement: It's in my blood. That is to say, sauerkraut is in my blood. Well, not strictly speaking. That would be pretty weird even though I can be quite sharp but only now and then, please, like when I whack my thumb with a hammer. Otherwise, I'm like strudel. No, really I am. Trust me. Oh, well ....

Today I made sauerkraut. Actually, today I finished my sauerkraut and put it in a dispenser for when I make the greatly anticipated meal of bratwurst and new potatoes. Sauerkraut doesn't have to be in your blood but it helps. Sauerkraut is really easy to make and good for you. My grandmother Frieda claimed she never got sick a day in her life because she always ate sauerkraut. This is pushing it a bit but I'm 100-percent positive it helped her stay healthy.

This is because the fermentation process that transforms salt and cabbage into sauerkraut increases the vitamins, particularly C and B vitamins, and food enzymes. Also, homemade sauerkraut is very rich in beneficial bacteria that help make our immune systems stronger and create essential vitamins in our digestive tracts. At any time of year, but especially winter when fresh food can be hard to come by, homemade fermented foods are really good to eat.

The key to making sauerkraut successfully is to have a crock or container that can be virtually closed off to the air. I have a large stoneware crock that has a pretty darn tight fitting plate to cover the fermenting kraut. I put a big bag of water on top of it so the kraut is completely submerged under its juices. Bacteria in the air, which can cause spoiling, cannot penetrate much so whatever does penetrate – because we're not talking hazmat suits in a clean room laboratory – is neutralized by the salt.