Sauerkraut

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Choucroute garnie, a traditional dish of Alsace (France), where sauerkraut is garnished with sausages and other pork products

Sauerkraut (/ˈsaʊərkrt/; German pronunciation: [ˈzaʊ.ɐˌkʁaʊt] ( )), directly translated: "sour cabbage", is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus.[1][2] 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. Sauerkraut is also used as a condiment upon various foods, such as meat dishes and hot dogs.[3][4][5][6]

History[edit]

Fermented foods have a long history in many cultures. Today, two of the most well-known instances of traditional fermented cabbage side dishes are sauerkraut and Korean kimchi.[7] The Roman writers Cato (in his De Agri Cultura) and Columella (in his De re Rustica) mentioned preserving cabbages and turnips with salt. It is believed to have been introduced to Europe in its present form 1,000 years later by Genghis Khan after invading China.[8][9] The Tartars took it in their saddlebags to Europe. There it took root mostly in Eastern European and Germanic cuisines, but also in other countries including France, where the name became choucroute.[10]

Before frozen foods, refrigeration, and cheap transport from warmer areas became readily available in northern and central Europe, sauerkraut, like other preserved foods, provided a source of nutrients during the winter. James Cook always took a store of sauerkraut on his sea voyages, since experience had taught him it prevented scurvy.[11][12]

Geographic distribution[edit]

In Germany, sauerkraut is often flavored with juniper berries. Traditionally it is served with pork, Strasbourg sausage or frankfurters, bacon, smoked pork or smoked Morteau or Montbéliard sausages, accompanied typically by roasted or steamed potatoes or dumplings.[13]

Sauerkraut is the main ingredient of the Alsatian meal choucroute garnie (French for dressed sauerkraut), sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats and charcuterie, and often potatoes.

Sauerkraut is the most important ingredient in the shchi, a traditional soup of Russia where it has been known as far back as the 9th century, the time of the import of cabbage from Byzantium.

Sauerkraut, along with pork, is eaten traditionally in Pennsylvania on New Years Day. The tradition, started by the Pennsylvania Dutch, is thought to bring good luck for the upcoming year.[14]

Production[edit]

Homemade sauerkraut

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. The cabbage is finely shredded, layered with salt and left to ferment. Fully cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at 15 °C (60 °F) or below. Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required, although these treatments prolong storage life.

Fermentation by lactobacilli is introduced naturally, as these air-borne bacteria culture on raw cabbage leaves where they grow. 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, collectively sometimes referred to as population dynamics. In the first phase, anaerobic bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter lead the fermentation, and begin producing an acidic 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.[15] Properly cured sauerkraut is sufficiently acidic to prevent a favorable environment for the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the toxins of which cause botulism.[1][2]

A 2004 genomic study found an unexpectedly large diversity of lactic acid bacteria in sauerkraut, and that previous studies had oversimplified this diversity. Weissella was found to be a major organism in the initial, heterofermentative stage, up to day 7. It was also found that Lactobacillus brevis and Pediococcus pentosaceus had smaller population numbers in the first 14 days than previous studies had reported.[16]

The Dutch sauerkraut industry found that inoculating a new batch of sauerkraut with an old batch resulted in an excessively sour product. This sourdough process is known as "backslopping" or "inoculum enrichment"; when used in making sauerkraut, first- and second-stage population dynamics, important to developing flavor, are bypassed. This is due primarily to the greater initial activity of species L. plantarum.[17]

Health effects[edit]

Health benefits[edit]

Sauerkraut (including liquid)
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 78 kJ (19 kcal)
Carbohydrates 4.3 g
- Sugars 1.8 g
- Dietary fibre 2.9 g
Fat 0.14 g
Protein 0.9 g
Water 92 g
Vitamin B6 0.13 mg (10%)
Vitamin C 15 mg (18%)
Iron 1.5 mg (12%)
Sodium 661 mg (44%)
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Many health benefits have been claimed for sauerkraut.

  • If unpasteurized and uncooked, sauerkraut also contains live lactobacilli and beneficial microbes and is rich in enzymes. The fiber and supply of probiotics improve digestion and promote the growth of healthy bowel flora, protecting against many diseases of the digestive tract.[19][20]
  • Sauerkraut has been used in Europe for centuries to treat stomach ulcers, and its effectiveness for soothing the digestive tract has been well established by numerous studies.[21]
  • During the American Civil War, the physician John Jay Terrell (1829–1922)[22][23] was able to successfully reduce the death rate from disease among prisoners of war; he attributed this to the practice of feeding his patients raw sauerkraut.[24]
  • Sauerkraut is a time-honored folk remedy for canker sores. It is used by rinsing the mouth with sauerkraut juice for about 30 seconds several times a day, or by placing a wad of sauerkraut against the affected area for a minute or so before chewing and swallowing the kraut.[25]
  • The October 23, 2002 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reported that Finnish researchers found the isothiocyanates produced in sauerkraut fermentation inhibit the growth of cancer cells in test tube and animal studies.[26] A Polish study in 2010 concluded that "... induction of the key detoxifying enzymes by cabbage juices, particularly sauerkraut, may be responsible for their chemopreventive activity demonstrated by epidemiological studies and in animal models".[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]
  • Sauerkraut is high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both associated with preserving ocular health.[35]

Health risks[edit]

Due to its necessity in the pickling process, sauerkraut may be very high in sodium, which can increase short-term water retention and blood pressure issues. This may exacerbate pre-existing kidney disease or hypertension.[36] Furthermore, while not necessarily life-threatening, excessive consumption of sauerkraut may lead to bloating and flatulence due to the trisaccharide raffinose, which the human small intestine cannot break down.[36]

Cultural references[edit]

  • 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.[37][38] (See also: Freedom fries.)
  • During World War I, British and Commonwealth forces used the word Kraut derived from the dish as a derogatory term for the German people.
  • During World War II, the term coined by the British was picked up by American Forces.

Similar foods[edit]

Many other vegetables are preserved by a similar process.

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Farnworth, Edward R. (2003). Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods. CRC. ISBN 0-8493-1372-4. 
  2. ^ a b "Fermented Fruits and Vegetables - A Global SO Perspective". United Nations FAO. 1998. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  3. ^ Allergy Cuisine: Step by Step - Sylvia Ross. p. 94.
  4. ^ Dr. Mercola's Total Health Program: The Proven Plan to Prevent Disease and ... - Joseph Mercola, Brian Vaszily, Kendra Pearsall, Nancy Lee Bentley. p. 227.
  5. ^ The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking - Mimi Sheraton. p. 435.
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Jewish Food - Gil Marks. p. 1052.
  7. ^ Wendy Brown (2011). Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs: The Thrivalist's Guide to Life Without Oil. New Society Publishers. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-55092-471-8. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "The History of Sauerkraut". Kitchenproject.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  9. ^ "Sauerkraut - Sauerkraut Is the Quintessential Eastern European Vegetable - all About Sauerkraut". Easteuropeanfood.about.com. 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  10. ^ Gazette, The (2007-09-22). "Sauerkraut rises above its humble origins". Canada.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  11. ^ 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 ...."
  12. ^ Saloheimo P (2005). "[Captain Cook used sauerkraut to prevent scurvy]". Duodecim (in Finnish) 121 (9): 1014–5. PMID 15991750. 
  13. ^ "Meet the Germans – Typically German - The Germans and ... - Sauerkraut - Goethe-Institut". Goethe.de. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  14. ^ Times Union, The (09-12-31). "Sauerkraut on New Year's a Pennsylvania tradition". TimesUnion.com. Retrieved 2013-01-01. 
  15. ^ The pH of completely cured sauerkraut is about 3.6; see Belitz, H.-D.; Grosch, Werner; Schieberle, Peter (2009). Food Chemistry (4th Edition). Springer. p. 803. ISBN 9783540699330. 
  16. ^ F. BREIDT, JR. (2004). "A Genomic Study of Leuconostoc mesenteroides and the Molecular Ecology of Sauerkraut Fermentations". Journal of Food Science 69 (1): 30–33. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.2004.tb17874.x. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  17. ^ Applications of biotechnology to traditional fermented foods: report of an ad hoc panel of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press. 1992. pp. 15–45. ISBN 0-309-04685-8. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  18. ^ a b Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Sauerkraut, canned, solids and liquids
  19. ^ a b Lipski, Elizabeth (2013). "6". Digestion Connection: The Simple, Natural Plan to COmbat Diabetes, Heart Disease, Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Acid Reflux--And More!. Rodale. p. 63. ISBN 978-1609619459. 
  20. ^ The Health Bank
  21. ^ Cabbage
  22. ^ Haggard, Robert F. 1998. "Samuel Miller and the Founding of the Miller School of Albemarle." The Magazine of Albemarle County History 56: 53–76, p. 62.
  23. ^ Grave of John Jay Terrell
  24. ^ Ward, Jessica B. 2004. Food to Die for: A Book of Funeral Food, Tips and Tales from the Old City Cemetery, Lynchburg, Virginia. Lynchburg, VA: Southern Memorial Association, pp. 149–150.
  25. ^ "Sauerkraut as a remedy for canker sores - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  26. ^ "What Are The Benefits Of Sauerkraut Juice?". Livestrong.Com. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  27. ^ USA (2013-03-25). "Modulation of rat hepatic and kidney phase II enzy... [Br J Nutr. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI". Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  28. ^ Moret, Sabrina et al.; Smela, Dana; Populin, Tiziana; Conte, Lanfranco S. (2005). "A survey on free biogenic amine content of fresh and preserved vegetables". Food Chemistry (Elsevier) 89 (3): 355–361. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.02.050. 
  29. ^ Pu, C. et al.; Xia, C; Xie, C; Li, K (November 2001). "Research on the dynamic variation and elimination of nitrite content in sauerkraut during pickling". Wei Sheng Yan Jiu 30 (6): 352–4. PMID 12561618. 
  30. ^ Wantke, F. et al.; Götz, M; Jarisch, R (December 1993). "Histamine-free diet: treatment of choice for histamine-induced food intolerance and supporting treatment for chronic headaches". Clinical & Experimental Allergy (Blackwell Publishing) 23 (12): 982–5. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.1993.tb00287.x. PMID 10779289. 
  31. ^ Ward, Mary H. et al.; Pan, WH; Cheng, YJ; Li, FH; Brinton, LA; Chen, CJ; Hsu, MM; Chen, IH et al. (June 2000). "Dietary exposure to nitrite and nitrosamines and risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Taiwan". International Journal of Cancer (John Wiley & Sons) 86 (5): 603–9. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0215(20000601)86:5<603::AID-IJC1>3.0.CO;2-H. PMID 10797279. 
  32. ^ Chang, Ellen T.; Hans-Olov Adami (October 2006). "The Enigmatic Epidemiology of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma". Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 15 (10): 1765–77. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0353. PMID 17035381. 
  33. ^ Hung, Hsin-chia et al.; Huang, MC; Lee, JM; Wu, DC; Hsu, HK; Wu, MT (June 2004). "Association between diet and esophageal cancer in Taiwan". Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 19 (6): 632–7. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1746.2004.03346.x. PMID 15151616. 
  34. ^ Siddiqi, Maqsood; R. Preussmann (1989). "Esophageal cancer in Kashmir — an assessment". Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology (Springer) 115 (2): 111–7. doi:10.1007/BF00397910. PMID 2715165. Retrieved 8 November 2007. 
  35. ^ Ten Reasons to Eat Fresh Unpasteurized Sauerkraut | Vitality Magazine | Toronto Canada alternative health, natural medicine and green living
  36. ^ a b St. John, Tina (5 June 2011). "Can You Eat Too Much Sauerkraut?". Livestrong.com. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  37. ^ "Over Here: World War I on the Home Front". Digital History. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  38. ^ "Sauerkraut may be 'Liberty Cabbage'". The New York Times. 1918-04-25. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 

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External links[edit]