What Everyone Needs to Know About Blaukraut

21 Nov

Now closely associated with German culture and cuisine, cabbage first came to Germany in the 1100s but doesn’t show up in print until the 1500s. Since it’s early days, we’ve learned that red cabbage is a nearly perfect food—low in calories, high in riboflavin, fiber, and vitamin c—and it tastes great raw or cooked. It is also credited with anti-inflammatory properties and is still used as a poultice.

Red cabbage

Red cabbage

One the most widely eaten cabbage dishes, blaukraut is nearly ubiquitous in restaurants and homes across Germany. Also known as Rotkraut or Rotkohl, depending on the region of Germany, this dish goes back generations with each family having their own family recipe.

German hotels and German restaurants now serve it as a popular side dish with pork, sausage or beef rouladen. The seasoning may change slightly, with ingredients being added or taken out depending on the region and the cook.

Each recipe starts with red cabbage, which is also known as blue cabbage in some parts of Germany because the color can change depending on the pH levels of the soil it’s grown in. Other ingredients can include apples, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, onions, fruit jams, caraway seeds, garlic, wine, raisins, and any number of spices.

With sweet apples and tangy vinegar as a constant in almost all recipes, a balanced flavor is the goal. The balance between sweet and sour is not easily accomplished and those who succeed are very proud of their product.

German restaurants aren’t the only place this dish is revered—German families adds it to the bill of fare for festive occasion as well as everyday meals.

Perhaps the best part of this culinary wonder is its longevity. It tastes better a day or two after it is cooked making it the best leftover in the house. Many times a jar of Blaukraut is taken along for a filling snack or a quick lunch.

Blaukraut is not just a dish of cabbage; it is a source of national pride that is as pretty to look at as it is to devour.

References: http://germanfood.about.com/od/German-Vegetables/tp/German-Cabbage.htm

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