I have been looking around for other ways to eat sauerkraut besides my normal ways. In the past, when I didn’t eat kraut very often I would either cook it with some form of smoked meat, sausage or pork chops.
To eat fermented kraut with smoked meats is just about as easy a meal as you can imagine. You just have to rinse and drain the kraut (real kraut is salty from the brine), put it in the sauce pan with some sautéed onion or alone, put your smoked meat in and steam the whole pot with the lid on for about 20 minutes. It is a really tasty and quick meal.
If your sausages are home made local meat sausages and your is kraut home made fermented, then this is about as healthy a meal as you can fix. There are zero carbs here, lots of naturally created vitamins, all of the nutrients you need passed up the food chain to you. The only thing lacking here would be live bacteria from your fermented kraut. To get those you need to eat your kraut raw–cooking kills live culture.
My other favorite kraut recipe is also cooked, but it is a fantastic way to eat kraut. In a nutshell, you grate one potato into one quart of drained and rinsed kraut. You sauté a grated onion in a tablespoon of butter, put the kraut and a half cup of hot water, braise for five or ten minutes, put a lid on and cook for twenty minutes. This dish is a great side. It does contain carbs in the potato and onion, but one potato spread out over a quart of fermented kraut adds up to almost no carbs per serving. Here is a link to the real recipe. Once again, cooked, so no probiotic benefits here.
Now that I know that a big advantage of eating fermented kraut is found in the trillions of bacteria you are eating in each serving, I have begun looking for ways to prepare it raw. So far the best find was in sauerkraut salad. Nothing in this salad has ever been above room temperature, since it was harvested in the farmer’s field. Outside of washing the veggies in the sink to get sand off of them, they have never been exposed to any chemical ingredients. You can do this any way you want, but the most important ingredients are in the dressing, which is one third of a cup of olive oil and half a cup of sugar. The recipe I am going to link to calls for vinegar, but that is because it also calls for canned kraut. We aren’t using canned kraut, so adding vinegar is optional. My fermented kraut is sour through and through, so I won’t be adding any sour anything to it. Just rinse your kraut, toss it, some diced green sweet pepper, diced red sweet pepper, diced fermented jalapeño, and some optional diced onion. If you kraut does not contain caraway seeds, then add some now. You can eat this the day you make it, but it tastes better if cooled overnight. The jalapeño flavor will infuse the dish. Here is the recipe. This dish does contain all of the benefits of fermented foods, because it has never been cooked. It does contain sugar, but there are many servings here, so the actual sugar per serving is not so bad. If you don’t regularly eat sugar it will taste like a treat, if you do eat sugar in every bite of food and drink you take this will taste pretty savory.
I will keep looking for great ways to eat kraut raw. Don’t forget that you can drain it, rinse it and eat it just like that, too, with nothing added. We like doing it that way too. There is no reason that you wouldn’t be making a couple of quarts of kraut every week. Cabbage is a really inexpensive ingredient and it’s easy to find at the store. Look at the top menu above if you want instructions on how to make kraut at home. Nothing this easy is better for you.