A Short History of Sauerkraut

The History of Sauerkraut
Contemporary Chinese sour cabbage

Although sauerkraut – German for “sour cabbage” – is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate it as standard fare. Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine.

Most likely it was brought to Europe 1000 years later by Gengis Kahn after plundering China.

The History of Sauerkraut
Gengis Kahn

Although in Germany instead of using the wine they dry cured it by sprinkling salt on the shredded cabbage. The water is then drawn out of the cabbage to make the juice that you see that accompanies the kraut.

The History of Sauerkraut
Typical German dish with sauerkraut

The History of SauerkrautThe Dutch, who were great sea-fearing traders used sauerkraut on their ships as it did not need refrigeration and helped prevent scurvy.

Today’s sauerkraut is made by combining shredded cabbage, salt and sometimes spices, and allowing the mixture to ferment. It can be purchased in jars and cans in supermarkets. Fresh sauerkraut is sold in delicatessens and in plastic bags in a supermarket’s refrigerated section. The History of SauerkrautIt should be rinsed before being used in casseroles, as a side dish and even on sandwiches like the famous Reuben Sandwich. Sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as of some of the B vitamins.

There is a theory that the Tartars introduced the acid cabbage from the Orient into eastern Europe, and from there kraut went to Germany, Alsace-Lorraine, and France.

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4 thoughts on “A Short History of Sauerkraut

  1. KR says:

    Very interesting story. I did not know this history and we eat a lot!! of Sauerkraut in Estonia , and most of us making this by themself ( recipe in my blog ).
    Thank you for sharing !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. marymtf says:

    interesting story, but irrelevant. I’ll eat sauerkraut no matter who invented that yummy dish. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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