Traditionally Fermented Sauerkraut

What does 'traditionally fermented' even mean?! Sauerkraut is produced by bacterial fermentation: Lactic-Acid Bacteria (LAB) consume the sugars in the cabbage and produce lactic acid - that's the sour in sauerkraut. So what's the "traditional" part then? We recognize several elements in the process which we consider traditional.

First, lets start with the ingredients. We use the best we can find, just like you would if you made it at home. Would you use cabbage grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers? No? Neither do we. Check our ingredients list. As you know, sometimes this means the cabbages don't look perfectly blemish-free. You know how you buy that perfect looking apple from the grocery store and find it tastes like sweetened wood-pulp? Then you buy that ugly one at the farm stand and it's bursting with flavor. Yeah, that's the part of tradition we're talking about.

Next up, what about the fermentation culture itself? Ours is a wild fermentation. We use no starter culture, so our fermentation follows the course dictated by nature. It's not fast, but nature does make it relatively consistent. We say 'relatively' because while the bacterial progression is predictable, it varies based on sugar content of the cabbage, ambient temperatures and moon phase (okay, we just made that last part up, but maybe...).

And how about water? What?! In our humble opinion, water is not a traditional part of sauerkraut production and doesn't belong in the ingredients list. Yet, many producers use it. Adding water ensures a greater quantity of sauerkraut juice - a producer can add less cabbage and more brine into each jar. We think sauerkraut produced without water simply tastes better. The only liquid you'll find in a jar of Salt and Savour Sauerkraut comes from the cabbage itself. 

Now let's talk about bottling. Besides flavor, one of the big benefits to consuming sauerkraut is its probiotic element. Those same bacteria which ferment the cabbage are actually beneficial to our body. Look up probiotics elsewhere to learn about that. So why on earth do producers then pasteurize and heat-seal or can their product? Well, doing so will make it shelf-stable. That way you can purchase a jar of sauerkraut produced in 2013 and it'll taste pretty much as good as it did in 2013. And if that's what you're looking for then.... Anyway, our sauerkraut is raw, NOT pasteurized. We also don't use sodium benzoate or potassium metabisulfite in order to help preserve the product. That means you'll want to store the jar in the refrigerator. And if you're a purist don't worry, that's right in line with the tradition of keeping it in the basement or root cellar.