Fermented cabbage and salt, or sauerkraut is one of the most popular foods today! A traditional sauerkraut recipe can be tweaked in a variety of ways with the addition of flavorings, spices or other vegetables. Here are our ten favorite sauerkraut additions that you can add to make some delicious sauerkraut with your own unique twist. You can also check out more of our sauerkraut posts and recipes in the pickling and fermentation section of our Homestead Library. Hope you enjoy these kraut additions, and don't forget to play with your food!
Note: For best results, maintain a ratio of at least 75% cabbage when you're adding extra ingredients to your kraut creations!
Small and dark, these little raisin-sized berries pack a flavor punch. A classic kraut addition, and visually pleasing, too - the purple-black berries studded among the green kraut.
Peeled and grated or thinly sliced, even a tiny bit of beet stains the whole ferment fuchsia. Or golden, if you use a yellow beet. Sweet earthy flavor complements the acidic tang of kraut. Because they contain so much sugar, they can skew a ferment that is not salty enough if used in too large a proportion. A good rule of thumb is to use at least 75% cabbage and the rest can be other ingredients, like beet.
There's a special magic to ginger, the way it warms and spices anything it touches. Ginger and beet is an especially unique combination that we love in kraut.
The peel of a single Meyer lemon, cut into thin strips, blended with Garlic and Dill in a quart of green cabbage kraut--bliss. Notable for it's texture, dense and firm and much unlike the crunch of cabbage.
Dill greens can be chopped and added to the kraut in season. When fresh dill is not available, use dill seed. The seed has a more concentrated flavor, so use less of it than you would the greens.
A classic addition. Think Russia, think rye bread. It stands alone.
Fennel bulb, grated or thinly sliced. Fennel stalk, a crunch like celery, but sweeter. Notes of anise in the tangy kraut, hints of sweetness and licorice. Perfect blended with apple. (See how we slipped another ingredient onto the list?)
This underutilized root is making a comeback. Peel it and grate it into a kraut, along with apple and fennel for an unusual and delicious combination.
Slice it thinly into coins, or grate it into shreds. Pair it with lemon and ginger, or with radish. (ha! We slipped another one in!) Treat is as you would a beet, as this vegetable too contains a fair amount of sweetness; use only up to 25% carrot in a cabbage-based kraut.
Garlic can be added to so many ferments, to round out the flavor. It's a key ingredient in kimchi, along with carrots and radish and peppers, but it pairs nicely with dill and lemon as well.
Remember, all of these delicious additions are intended to be just that--additions, not to make up more than 25% of the total kraut. Some, like juniper berries or caraway seeds, should be used far more sparingly, just a teaspoon or two per quart. Beets, fennel, apple, and the like should make up 25% or less of the total volume of the kraut. Cabbage has a certain magic--you could also say that it has a certain population of beneficial bacteria on its leaves--but however you phrase it, cabbage makes the best kraut.
The perfect balance of bacteria and nutrients thrive in a cabbage-based ferment. If too many other ingredients are added, the balance can be upset, and other, less desirable, less delicious kinds of fermentation may take over.
Part of what makes our community here at Mountain Feed so great is that we’re all constantly finding the best ways to do things. If you want to learn more about the art and science of fermentation, there are a lot of good resources out there.
Head over to the pickling & fermentation section of our Homestead Library. Or you can simply find everything you need to get started in our Pickling & Fermentation Department. Check out our Sauerkraut Video Workshop, our delicious Kraut Chi Recipe, or our how to make sauerkraut in a classic Ohio Stoneware Crock. As always, remember to just have fun and play with your food.
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.
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