Though I’m not sure if I like the term, you could definitely classify Matthew and I as “food snobs.” For reasons including taste, health, and the environment, we tend to be pretty selective about what we put in our bodies, but, until I met Matthew, I never thought about sauerkraut as a food that could be better or worse.
Sauerkraut was something that came in a metal can and was purchased mostly for the purpose of making reuben sandwiches with the corned beef left over from St. Patrick’s Day dinner (and maybe on brats, but I didn’t really eat those much). Despite my limited sauerkraut consumption, I always enjoyed the salty, tangy cabbage, but I was perplexed when Matthew started talking about “good” sauerkraut, and needing to look for it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
For a long time, the closest I came was a glass jar of sauerkraut, still unrefrigerated, but perhaps a slight upgrade from the metal can version. Then, while browsing the refrigerator case that holds tofu and tempeh at Whole Foods a few weeks ago, I spotted Bubbies Sauerkraut — the last one on the shelf. Live cultures and must be kept refrigerated? Maybe I’d finally found it! Compared to the metal can stuff, this was a bit pricey, but I was curious.
The verdict? If we weren’t trying to save it for reubens, we might have polished off the entire jar the first time we opened it for a taste. Salty, tangy, crunchy, and cut in the most beautiful, long, almost noodle-like, shreds.
Finally convinced that there was such a thing as superior sauerkraut, and with our naturopath’s recommendation that we eat more fermented foods, but not excited about buying more of our semi-expensive new find, we set out to make our own kraut (something Matthew was somewhat familiar with from his childhood).
Here’s a sneak peek at the beginning of our little experiment — full post, along with our vegetarian reuben recipe, coming soon!
There was a column in the latest Food + Wine about sauerkraut with three different variations. Here’s the link in case you want to try any of them after this batch: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/gastronaut-files-how-to-make-sauerkraut
Thanks, Kirsten. We’ll definitely be making more, and it would be fun to experiment with some of these.