The Prominence of Sauerkraut in Cuisine
Sauerkraut, a thinly sliced cabbage fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, can be
found in a variety of different dishes all over the world. Sauerkraut is typically a dish of
sour cabbage and is very common in German and Polish cuisine. However, it is easy to
find in most cold regions of Europe, USA and Canada. Similar dishes have been found
in Manchurian cuisine as well as in Korean dishes.
There are several ethnic cuisines that incorporate sauerkraut (Wikipedia). These
cuisines hail from countries that are known for their cold temperatures including:
• Alsatian France
• Netherlands (Dutch)
• Northern and Eastern Europe
• Manchuria, China
• Friuli Region of Italy
• North America
Sauerkraut is extremely popular in Austrian cuisine, according to Bernhard Baumgartner
of Bernard’s Austrian Cooking. Austrians enjoy sauerkraut as a side dish to various
meats such as roasted pork, sausages, boiled meats, stuffed dumplings and various
other meat dishes. Another dish that uses sauerkraut is Szeged Goulash. This is a
pork goulash that is prepared and mixed with sauerkraut. It is then garnished with sour
Sauerkraut and bratwurst is the national dish of Germany. The Germans eat sauerkraut
both raw and cooked. Sauerkraut and bratwurst is also a popular North American dish
and is often enjoyed at ballparks across the US. Another very popular German dish is a
mixture of cooked sauerkraut and schupfnudeln, potato noodles that are similar to that
of gnocchi. Other cuisine choices include soups, stews, filled dumplings and seasoned
sauerkraut as a side dish. During World War II, the US called sauerkraut “victory
cabbage.” This was to inspire patriotism, as well as to demonize the Germans
The Alsace region of France was a part of Germany until 1678 and then again from
1870 to 1991. This region has been highly influenced by the traditional German dishes.
A popular Alsatian sauerkraut dish is that of sauerkraut with pork and sausages or
Choucroute Garni a l’Alsacienne (Chef Hubert). Choucroute Garnie is considered “the”
sauerkraut dish of Alsatian dishes. The dish combines boneless pork shoulder,
sauerkraut, garlic, juniper berries, smoked kielbasa, frankfurters, potatoes, bacon,
chicken stock and several seasonings.
Sauerkraut is also popular with the Russians. A meat schi with sauerkraut is a popular
dish and should have “Russian oven cooking taste” (RussianCooking.com). The dish
combines a pound of sauerkraut with two pounds of beef brisket or pork. The dish is
boiled with meat broth, browned onion and carrots. Another popular dish is sauerkraut
schi with mushrooms. This is a popular lent dish, as it is all vegetarian. The flavor of
this soup is very unique and has a gustatory sense. For an even more unique twist, the
Russians also enjoy a sauerkraut salad with apples. Apples are cut into cubes,
combined with sauerkraut and a tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkled with dill and parsley for
The Pennsylvania Dutch as well as the Netherlands Dutch has several popular
sauerkraut dishes as well. In the US, the Dutch were their own butchers and this
allowed them to create several unique meat dishes. Many of these dishes go
surprisingly well with sauerkraut. These dishes include items that are very similar to
those of the Germans and Russians, such as pork shoulder and sauerkraut. Another
interesting dish is pork shops on sauerkraut. Sauerkraut dumplings are fluffy dumplings
that are served over boiled sauerkraut. These can be added to a variety of dishes such
as chicken and dumplings, ham and dumplings, and beef and dumplings.
The Friuli region of Italy also has some interesting “kraut” recipes and dishes as well.
One that is most interesting is Jota. This is a simple soup that features beans garlic,
minced onion and sauerkraut. To make it a little heartier you can meat and sausages to
the bean and sauerkraut mix as well. Many people tend to associate sauerkraut with
Germany and Poland, but those areas of various other countries that are nearby have
been highly influenced by their cuisine. Friuli is located in the northeastern corner of
Italy and is a place that is beautiful, yet rarely mentioned by guidebooks and even the
If you are looking for an even more unique cuisine that incorporates sauerkraut, you will
find it in Suan cai. This is a Northeastern Chinese cuisine that literally means “sour
vegetable” (Wikipedia). This dish is pickled Chinese cabbage and it can be found in
many Taiwan noodle soups, such as Beef Noodle Soup with Suancai. The dish was
brought to the area by the invading Manchu conquerors in the 1600s.
As you can see sauerkraut is not limited to German and Polish cuisine. Nor is it limited
to your bratwurst and hot dogs at the ball game. Whether consumed as a meal or as a
side dish, sauerkraut does provide essential vitamins as well as it is a very versatile side
dish that combines well with just about any meat in just about any culture.
Hubert, Chef. “Choucroute Garni a l’Alsacienne.” About.com: French Cuisine. 2 Apr
Phillips, Kyle. “Basic Jota – Jota di Base.” About.com: Italian Cuisine. 2 Apr 2007.
"Sauerkraut." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2 Apr 2007. Wikimedia Foundation,
Inc. 2 Apr 2007
“Sauerkraut in Austrian Cuisine.” Bernhard’s Austrian Cooking. 2 Apr 2007.
“Suan cai." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Feb 2007, 00:51 UTC. Wikimedia
Foundation, Inc. 2 Apr 2007
“Meat Schi with Sauerkraut.” Russian Cooking. 2 Apr 2007. <http://russian-