Cooking sauerkraut can be a bit intimidating if you've never done it before. The good news is, you can easily make stovetop sauerkraut and sausage and potatoes in the oven or warm it up in the microwave.
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You can cook packaged sauerkraut on the stove, in the oven or in the microwave. Cook with a bit of water until tender.
What Is Sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut, according to Clemson University, is a fermented food like yogurt or kimchi. It is made by fermenting fresh cabbage leaves with lactobacillus bacteria. The process takes five to six weeks. Sauerkraut has a number of health benefits. When making your own sauerkraut, you can add other ingredients to it for flavor variations.
USDA data show that 1 cup of drained canned sauerkraut contains 27 calories, 1 gram of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates (4 grams of which are fiber) and 0 grams of fat. It is a healthy option for those who don't like cabbage in other forms, or for those who want to add more vegetables to their rotation.
Fermented foods are a wonderful source of probiotics, which, according to Harvard Health Publishing, may help with digestive and vaginal health. Natural probiotic sources are often better for the body because probiotics are considered dietary supplements, which are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food, not drugs. As such, there may be issues with supplement quality not being what it is marketed to be.
Read more: Can You Eat Too Much Sauerkraut?
Cooking Sauerkraut on the Stove
To make stovetop sauerkraut and sausage, strain the canned sauerkraut. Add it to a pot and cover it with just enough water to cover the sauerkraut. If desired, add 1 tablespoon of white wine for extra flavor.
Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Allow it to just simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cooked sausage.
If desired, you can add caraway seeds, bacon pieces and pepper. Stir to combine.
Cover the mixture again and allow it to cook until it is heated through. Uncover the pot. Allow the mixture to cool. Stir, then serve.
It's also possible to make sauerkraut, sausage and potatoes in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix pieces of summer sausage, potatoes and onion in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add one-half cup of water to the bottom of the dish.
Drain the can of sauerkraut. Spread the sauerkraut on top of the sausage mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for an hour or until the potatoes are tender.
Read more: Digestion of Raw Cabbage
Cooking Sauerkraut in the Microwave
If you want to make stovetop sauerkraut and sausage, or sauerkraut, sausage and potatoes in the oven but find yourself short on time, you can make it in the microwave and add the cooked sausage and potatoes to it afterward.
First, strain the sauerkraut to remove the brine it was canned in. If you want a milder flavor, rinse it and strain it again.
Put it in a microwave-safe bowl. Add one-half cup of water or beer for every 2 cups of sauerkraut, depending on your personal preference. It should barely cover the sauerkraut. Using beer will add extra flavor.
If desired, add optional ingredients such as black pepper or toasted caraway seeds. Microwave it on high for about five minutes, or until the sauerkraut is tender. Cooking times will vary based on your microwave's wattage, so you may want to check it periodically.
Once it is tender, allow it to cool for a few minutes, then stir. Add cooked sausage and/or potatoes and serve.