When I was small, Mother would sometimes fix sauerkraut and wieners. I never cared for the kraut, but I liked the taste of the hot dogs that had been cooked in it. Mother made her own kraut back then and canned it. That's something I've never tried, mainly because I never became a big fan of sauerkraut. Oh, there were a couple of times during my marriage that I bought a can at the store and heated it up; I just didn't care for it. Too sour.
That's why it's strange that a couple of weeks ago I suddenly developed a yen for kraut. It's high in sodium, but quite low in calories, so I decided to see if perhaps I liked it any better these days. I bought some turkey kielbasa to cook with it, another high-salt product that isn't too high on calories. We do very well limiting sodium most of the time, so once in awhile we go ahead and enjoy something salty.
I was shopping in a local grocery store and saw that kraut came in two different sizes of cans. I chose the larger can (hardly any calories, remember). I believe the price was something like $1.83, which seemed high. Then I happened by the refrigerated cases and noticed plastic bags of kraut there. Comparing the price and the amount of kraut in both the bag and the can I'd picked up, I saw the bag was the better bargain.
Now I'm still not sure what triggered my craving for this dish (I knew I wasn't pregnant), because it was always too sour for my taste; but I wanted some, so I'd try doing some experimenting with it.
Next day I googled a few things and got some ideas: One recipe suggested rinsing and draining it in a colander; several others said to add brown sugar, which seemed like a good idea to take some of the tartness away.
Then I got on Facebook and asked the question, "Does anybody have suggestions for cooking kraut?"
I got some excellent ideas! Some folks cook it with baby back rips, some with pork chops.
The first person to answer my query said to put brown sugar on it, and some caraway seeds. Someone else mentioned apple, so I sliced the last apple in the house and added that. The first person came back yet again and said to serve mashed potatoes with the kraut, an idea I knew Cliff would like. Yet another person said, "Always buy the kraut in a bag; don't buy the cans."
How about that? I was just trying to save money, but the bag had been the right choice anyhow.
Choosing bits and pieces of all the ideas I'd been handed, I managed to make the first batch of sauerkraut in my life that I would call delicious! I have added it to my grocery list again; I can almost taste it now.
Oh, and I will never have kraut without mashed potatoes. Ever.
We won't talk about how the house smelled after I'd cooked it.