Friday, January 10, 2020


Sauerkraut in cast iron fry pan. Photo by Jerry Apps

When I was a kid, if you were of German heritage, you knew about sauerkraut. If you didn’t like sauerkraut, you got over it, for especially in the winter, you ate a lot of sauerkraut. Ma had many ways of preparing it: baked sauerkraut, fried sauerkraut, sauerkraut and pork chops, sauerkraut and ham, sauerkraut and pock hocks, sauerkraut cake.

A row of cabbage stretched from one end of the home garden to the other. By mid-October, the cabbage was ready for harvesting. Once harvested, Pa sliced the cabbage into shreds with a cabbage slicer, which he called a finger shortener. Ma tucked the cabbage shreds into a five-gallon Red Wing crock and sprinkled salt on each layer of cabbage. My brothers and I took turns tamping down the shredded cabbage with a piece of stove wood. We did this until the crock was filled nearly to the top. On top of the shredded cabbage, Ma placed some cheesecloth that overlapped the edges of the crock, and on top of that, a big round plate that fit inside the crock and, weighted down with a fieldstone. In a few weeks, it was ready for eating.

Today, when I am alone at the farm, where we have a wood-burning cookstove, I will often dig out the big cast-iron fry pan and fry up a batch of sauerkraut. The smell of the frying kraut takes me back to the home farm kitchen and its many memories. I still like sauerkraut.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sauerkraut is low in calories and high in vitamin C and Vitamin K.


Saturday, February 8, 2:15 p.m., Garden Expo, Alliant Center, Madison

Sunday, February 9, 1:00 p.m.., Garden Expo Alliant Center, Madison

Saturday, March 21, 1:30, Columbus Community Center, Columbus, WI Sponsored by Columbus Public Library and Wisconsin Historical Society Press.


To learn more about Sauerkraut along with several recipes for preparing, see my book, Old Farm Country Cookbook, which my daughter Sue, and I wrote.

Buy it from the Friends of the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose—a fundraiser for them. Phone: 920-622-3835 for prices and ordering.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984

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