Is there a difference, in taste, between homemade kraut and the store bought stuff? I was reading Dr Weil's column re: this and he insists there is. Having never tasted homemade I am wondering. And is there a brand that is closer to homemade taste then others?
The recipe I found for sauerkraurt is very simple; chopped cabbage, salt, & water. then canned and left for at least two weeks. So unless the store bought has another ingredient, then I "should" taste the same. Maybe check the ingredient list on the commerical brand.
I've never made it; store bought has always worked-for-me!
Homemade does taste different. At least mine does. I make my kraut in a crock, and then can it after about 2 weeks of dalily washing the skimmings off of the cloth covering it. The only difference I can figure is that the homemade takes on a somewhat fermented taste, where I'm sure the store bought is canned and processed with fresh cabbage all at the same time.
One big difference, like Joan said, is fermentation. The second difference is whether it is processed or not. The fermentation produces lactic acid, and canning kills it. Studies have shown home fermented foods, whether sauerkraut, pickles, beets, carrots or whatever that are not processed (but chilled or refrigerated) contain enough lactic acid to have many medicinal benefits against cancers and polyps.
I have a Harsch Fermenting Crock, actually 2. They have a lid with a water channel to let gases out but keep unwanted yeast from getting in. They say I can keep it in a cool place for as much as a year as long as I refill the water channel after I take some out to use / refrigerate.
Having said all that, I used to buy fresh sauerkraut in the plastic bags in the meat department. Tasted much better than the canned stuff in the stores.
Darius, where did you purchase the Harsch Fermenting Crock?
Maxine, mine were purchased online. http://www.canningpantry.com/sauerkraut-crocks.html
I didn't do much price comparisons but a Google search will turn up many sites that carry them. Watch out for shipping charges... they are quite heavy!
Just came across this, thought I'd add it here.
ORGANIC FERMENTED FOODS
A baby in utero has a sterile digestive tract. Within two days of birth, cultures of microorganisms from his mother's milk have established themselves in his gut; by adulthood, there will be four hundred species of bacteria in his colon. Consumption of certain fermented foods helps build and maintain the population of intestinal flora. Fermentation increases digestibility, adds flavor, increases nutrition but not calories, and enhances texture.
Fermentation, in a manner of speaking, is the predigestion of foods before consumption. Molds, yeast, and bacteria break down the complex components of the original ingredients and synergistically create a superior food. Lactic acid bacteria are among the principal bacteria active in food fermentation; they contribute to the sour flavor and aroma of fermented foods and inhibit the growth of unfavorable organisms. Lactic acid bacteria in fermented foods help the body produce natural antibiotics, natural anticarcinogenic compounds, and even compounds that retard or inactivate toxins and poisons. Lactobacilli help prevent cholesterol formation and completely eliminate an antinutritional factor in soybeans. Undesirable phytic acids found in grains, beans, and seeds are totally removed when fermented.
Substances that decimate intestinal flora include broad–spectrum antibiotics, some other medications, antiseptic mouthwashes, alcoholic beverages, and chlorinated drinking water.
Buying: unfortunately, the fermented foods most often found in markets and restaurants are dead, rather than living, foods. The microorganisms they contained were killed by heat and/or additives to create a consistent product with increased shelf life. Other fermented foods that may augment intestinal flora--providing they're unpasturized--include micro-brewery beer, traditionally aged cheese from unpasturized milk, kefir, wine, yogurt, and naturally brewed soft drinks. Homemade vegetable pickles such as dill pickles, kim chee, and sauerkraut do the same thing, providing they are not canned or cooked.
Your 100 Trillion Intimate Friends
No one has done an exact nose count, but your gastrointestinal tract provides room and board to more enzymes, fungi, and bacteria (100 trillion) than there are people in the world. By the pound, that adds up to three and a half pounds of intestinal flora in the healthy adult intestine. The question is: Are these critters doing their job of assimilating food and maintaining your vitality or are they wreaking havoc? If you're in robust health, then your numerous colonies of various microorganisms dwell in a balanced, harmonious environment. If, however, you've taken antibiotics, which kill both the good and the bad bacteria, then the odds are that one or more communities of microorganisms are growing out of control. This creates a toxic internal environment. To rebuild your population of digestive partners, use a quality fermented food daily; you may also wish to use a probiotic supplement. A probiotic supplement repopulates the digestive system with healthful microorganisms essential to proper digestion; it thereby strengthens the immune system and inhibits cancer, bowel disease, and pathogens. A probiotic supplement also aids in the digestion of protein, fats, and carbohydrates and the assimilation of vitamins. When selecting a probiotic supplement, choose one that lists the viable cell count and identifies the organisms. Most probiotic supplements require refrigeration.
from Rebecca Wood's The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
Thanks darius. For reasons of healthy intestinal flora I will have a glass of wine tonight! Let's hear it for good flora!