In the old days, usually in November, Eastern European families prepared for winter by putting up several barrels of sauerkraut. Depending on the size of the family and the size of the cabbage, a clan might ferment as many as 300 whole heads of cabbage in wooden barrels. Occasionally, along with salt, spices like caraway seeds, wine or other vegetables were added. By the late 1800s, the cabbage was shredded before being placed in covered crocks. If the family couldn't afford their own shredding tool, a peddler went door-to-door and performed this service for a fee. See how sauerkraut is made today.
01 of 07
This sauerkraut and apple recipe makes a tasty side dish for pork, sausage or any other meat or poultry. It can be cooked on the stovetop, in a slow cooker or baked in the oven, and used as the base to roast meats on.
02 of 07
This smoked Polish sausage and sauerkraut recipe can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled and still be tasty. It's perfect for potlucks and tailgating, Super Bowl parties and family reunions, or just dinner with the family.
03 of 07
This recipe combines ingredients Eastern Europeans love -- sauerkraut, ham, onion, and garlic. When rolled, dipped in fine cracker crumbs and fried, they make a tasty appetizer, especially if served with honey mustard.
04 of 07
Noodles and sauerkraut is a favorite side dish in my family. We take turns bringing it to parties and celebrations. Sauteed onions, sauerkraut, and mushrooms (either imported Polish mushrooms or canned mushrooms) mingle with buttered kluski noodles for an unassuming yet delicious side dish.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
This recipe for Serbian sweet sauerkraut salad is made with oil, diced peppers, onion, and celery. This is best if made the day before and it will last about 2 weeks refrigerated. It's perfect for picnics and cookouts because mayonnaise isn't used.
06 of 07
Smoked hocks or a meaty ham bone adds another layer to this sauerkraut soup. Some people thicken the soup with a roux or add potatoes, but my mother always used barley, which I've done here. She never used caraway seeds, but others do. It's good in all these variations. Serve with hearty dark rye bread and you've got a meal in a bowl.
07 of 07
Sauerkraut and mushroom filling goes well with savory Polish nalesniki, also known as Polish blintzes or filled crepes, pierogi and uszka. Once filled and rolled, they can be baked or pan-fried, or dipped in beaten egg and bread crumbs and fried.