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Polish Sauerkraut (Kiszona kapusta)
Dutch sauerkraut ("zuurkool") mashed with potatoes in pan


Sauerkraut ( in English; , ) is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf-life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage. It is therefore not to be confused with coleslaw, which receives its acidic taste from vinegar.

The word comes directly from the German language, which literally translates to sour herb. Sauerkraut is traditional in German, Austrian, Slovenian (kislo zelje), Croatian (kiseli kupus), Slovak (kyslá kapusta), Polish (kiszona kapusta), Czech (kysané zelí), Dutch (zuurkool), Estonian (hapukapsas), Finnish (hapankaali), Latvian (skābi kāposti), Lithuanian (rauginti kopūstai), Danish (surkål), Romanian (varză murată), Serbian (кисели купус/kiseli kupus), Bulgarian (кисело зеле kiselo zele), Russian (квашеная капуста kvashenaya kapusta), Ukrainian, Hungarian (savanyú káposzta), and Belarusian cuisines. It is also part of the native cuisine of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino (capuzi garbi and crauti) in Northern Italymarker, and Alsace Lorrainemarker in North Eastern Francemarker (choucroute or sürkrüt). Finally, it is also popular in many parts of Northeast and Northern China, the USAmarker, Chilemarker (chucrut), and Canadamarker.

Preparation

Fermentation

Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lacto-fermentation that is analogous to how traditional (not heat-treated) pickled cucumbers and Kimchi are made. Fully-cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at or below 15°C (59°F). Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required, although these treatments may prolong storage life. However, pasteurization will destroy all of the beneficial digestive enzymes and lactic acid bacteria, as well as the valuable vitamin C content, so it greatly diminishes the nutritional value without any significant benefit.

No special culture of lactic acid bacteria is needed because these bacteria already are present on raw cabbage. Yeasts also are present, and may yield soft sauerkraut of poor flavor when the fermentation temperature is too high. The fermentation process has three phases. In the first phase, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter lead the fermentation, and begin producing an acid environment that favours later bacteria. The second phase starts as the acid levels become too high for many bacteria, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides and other Leuconostoc spp. take dominance. In the third phase, various Lactobacillus species including L. brevis and L. plantarum ferment any remaining sugars, further lowering the pH.



Health and nutrition

Aphrodisiac

A study at King's College, London run by nutritionist Lejla Kazinic Kreho found that "pickled cabbage", or sauerkraut, was as effective as the popular drug Viagra at increasing sexual function.http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20090609/1536/tls-pickled-cabbage-is-the-best-natural.html Kreho made the claim in her book Nutrition of the 21st Century.

Health benefits

Raw sauerkraut is an extremely healthful food. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, lactobacilli, and other nutrients. However, the low pH and abundance of otherwise healthy lactobacilli may upset the intestines of people who are not used to eating acidic foods. (In such cases, it is advisable to eat small amounts daily until the person's digestive system adjusts.) Studies suggest that fermented cabbage may be even more healthy than the raw vegetable, with increased levels of anti-cancer agents such as isothiocyanates.


Before frozen foods and the importation of foods from the Southern hemispheremarker became readily available in northern and central Europe, sauerkraut provided a vital source of the aforementioned nutrients during the winter. Captain James Cook always took a store of sauerkraut on his sea voyages, since experience had taught him that it was an effective preventative of scurvy.see http://www.mariner.org/exploration/index.php?type=webpage&id=55 / What did they eat? which begins "One of Cook’s most important discoveries..." and http://www.vitamindeficiency.info/?page_id=9 which additionally mentions "...citrus fruit such as lemons and lime. James Cook ...." German sailors continued this practice continued even after the British Royal Navy had switched to limes, earning the British sailor the nickname "Limey" while his German counterpart became known as a "Kraut."

It is now known that the preservation of sauerkraut in an anaerobic environment (in the brine) keeps the vitamin C in it from being oxidized. There is some evidence that indicates that kimchi, and by extension sauerkraut, may be used to treat avian influenza in birds. Currently, there is no evidence of its effect on human cases.

Sauerkraut is also a source of biogenic amines such as tyramine, which may cause adverse reactions in sensitive people. It also provides various cancer-fighting compounds including isothiocyanate and sulphoraphane.

Sauerkraut juice is also credited with high medical qualities; its consumption is recommended for flu prevention, as a gastroregulator for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions, from diarrhea to constipation, ulcers, bronchitis and various other digestive and respiratory diseases and disorders, anemia, but its most popular use in the regions where it's produced has always been as a major remedy against hangover, since it not only drives away the headache, but it also neutralises the effects of alcoholic intoxication on the stomach and intestinal mucosa and cleans the liver.

Similar foods

There are many other vegetables that are preserved by a similar process.

Also a feed for cattle, silage, is made the same way.

Sauerkraut candy

The dessert known as sauerkraut candy is a variant of a fudge penuche that is made with coconut flakes. Most recipies for sauerkraut candy call for use of shredded coconut, and other ingredients such as cocoa, chocolate, caramel and marshmallow. It usually does not contain sauerkraut or cabbage, despite its name. The candy first received its name because the coconut was prepared using the same cutter as was used to shred cabbage when preparing sauerkraut, resulting in the finished candy having an appearance similar to that of a serving of sauerkraut. However, recipes do exist for a non-penuche dessert where sauerkraut is actually used.

Cultural references

  • During World War I, due to concerns the American public would reject a product with a German name, American sauerkraut makers relabeled their product as "Liberty cabbage" for the duration of the war.


See also



References

Bibliography

  • USDA Canning guides, Volume 7


External links




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