Sliding Gently into Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, one of the better known members of the probiotics food group, is a very cost effective medicinal food.  It gives most any dish a tasty zing and keeps your digestion and immunity humming along.

Cabbage is already a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese, beta carotene and other antioxidants. A member of the cruciferous family, it is credited for fighting cancer, high cholesterol and inflammation. Now lacto-ferment it (and start calling it “sauerkraut”), and the nutrient profile gets even better. Developed centuries ago, the natural pickling process of vegetables allows for long term storage, and increases the vitamin content, adds digestive enzymes and probiotics and makes many nutrients easier to absorb.

Early civilizations from China to Europe relied on it for its health benefits.  Many long ocean voyages packed barrels of sauerkraut to keep their sailors healthy. It is said that Captain Cook protected his crew from scurvy death with sixty barrels of kraut.

Unfortunately, its foreign name and the suggestion of something sour has not done wonders for its modern day reputation. If you’ve found sauerkraut reluctance is keeping you from optimal health, here’s a recipe, based on a popular Dutch dish, zuurkool stamppot met worst, which smooths out kraut’s rougher edges, and offers a gentle entry into the healthful world of fermented vegetables.

Kraut-Potatoes with Sausage

  • 4-6 potatoes (ideally organic)
  • 1 cup sauerkraut
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 -1 cup milk or dairy-free milk 
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese, cut into small blocks (optional)
  • vegetarian or meat sausage (optional)
  • parsley, chives or other green herbs

Method:

  1. Scrub and cut potatoes into medium-sized pieces (keep peel on for greatest nutrition).
  2. Put potato pieces in pot and fill with water to cover.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes.  Add sauerkraut and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  Pour off and save excess water.
  4. Place pot back on a low flame, add garlic through a garlic press and milk, and mash. Add more milk or excess water to reach preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile cook vegetarian or meat sausages in a skillet.
  6. Assemble dish by adding cheese cubes, sausages, fresh green herbs and/or edible flowers.  Serve warm and enjoy the perfect blend of medicinal food and comfort food.

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2 thoughts on “Sliding Gently into Sauerkraut

  1. I love the idea of softening sauerkraut’s rougher edges. I’ve had pretty good luck mixing mine in with sturdy greens as a base for a salad, but I learned the hard way that the mixing has to be done at the very last minute before serving. Otherwise, the salt pulls all the moisture out of the greens, and I end up with a soggy, limp salad. In any case, though, it’s a zingy addition. Nice chive flowers, by the way!
    Eleanor

  2. Thanks, Eleanor. I like the idea of mixing kraut with greens. Do you add a dressing? Ever had it mixed with fruit as a sweet-sour tangy salad? I used to have that as a kid too. That recipe post will be coming up..

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