- Sauerkraut originated approximately 2,000 years ago in China, where it is known as suan cai, with a literal translation of “sour vegetable”.
- It wasn’t until 1,000 years later that Genghis Khan plundered China and brought back this recipe for naturally fermented cabbage.
- The Germans, who gave it the name “sauerkraut”, learned to make this dish from their native European cabbage, giving us sauerkraut as we know it today.
- In World War I and II, the slang word “kraut” was used to refer to sailors and ultimately all German soldiers because of a long history of German ships being outfitted with sauerkraut as part of daily food rations to prevent the onset of scurvy.
- Sauerkraut has been used in Europe for centuries to treat stomach ulcers, and its effectiveness for soothing the digestive tract has been well established by numerous studies.
- According to Per Pickle Packers International, Americans consume 387 million pounds of sauerkraut annually, or about 1.25 pounds per person.
- Most people immediately think to buy their sauerkraut in a jar, but for the most basic sauerkraut, all your need to make your own sauerkraut is 1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds) and 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Sauerkraut is made by a process called lacto-fermentation.
- Lactobacillus is a type of beneficial bacteria present on the surface of the cabbage, which is the same bacteria found in yogurt.
- When submerged in a brine, the bacteria begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid; this is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Plain sauerkraut is (to most people) not very tasty, but if you doctor it up with bacon, onions and some wine, it is delicious!
- Plain sauerkraut is fat free!
- There are hundreds of ways to use sauerkraut, but our favorite is the ruben sandwich and sauerkraut soup!
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