Sauerkraut and red beets, the Lenten Superfoods, are back in vogue, not just with health nuts, but also fast food fans and party animals in Germany and North America. Why?
They are healthy, versatile, tasty, and require little preparation, especially when they are consumed in pickled form. More and more chefs and home cooks fuse sauerkraut or red beets into pizza toppings, soups, salads, sandwiches, cocktails, and even chocolate cake or donuts. Professional runners swear by red beet juice as legal “dope” to increase blood iron levels and circulation. Health nuts are adding beet powder to their smoothies. And Heidi Klum revealed that the secret to her healthy, lean physique is none other than her grandmother’s sauerkraut soup.
Fresh Kraut and Beets
The natural forms of Grünkohl (green cabbage) and Rote Beete (red beets), available at all supermarkets with decent produce sections, are delicious basic ingredients for building low calorie, stomach filling, delicious and healthy meals. Just cut and boil them to use as side dishes, visual decorations or colorful ingredients to sauces or main dishes. We recommend that you add a few sprinkles of lemon to fresh red beets or drink a glass of orange juice when eating fresh cabbage or beets. This will greatly enhance your body’s ability to absorb the iron and other essential minerals contained in these superfoods.
The pickled forms of sauerkraut and red beets in glass jars also pack a healthy punch, as they add acidity to the cut up vegetables. They are also low in calories, loaded with folate, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin K and rich in minerals such as iron, potassium and magnesium. The fermentation and pickling of sliced cabbage and beets actually increases the nutritional benefits of the vegetables, making them more digestible and creating a probiotic effect on the gastrointestinal system.
It’s the brine
Of course, not all commercially pickled sauerkraut or red beet products are alike. When it comes to smell, taste, and texture, it matters greatly where the raw materials were sourced and what brine was used. In the German states of Baden Wuerttemberg, parts of Brandenburg and the western fields North Rhine Westphalia are the prime location for growing and harvesting cabbage and beets. Many of the top quality producers hail from these areas. They will use brine made from vinegar and wine, with little added water and salt.