- Posted by: Enjoy Russian
- Category: Interesting Russia
Sauerkraut sounds German, though mostly in Russia people eat it that much
It’s getting cold, there are not so many fresh vegetables left (those that are in supermarkets are imported and not delicious), so all types of pickled things are coming back to the shop shelves.
Because summers pass by in the blink of an eye and winters drag on forever, pickling is an important part of Russian cuisine. In order to preserve the harvest of the summer, Russians pickle everything they can — from cabbage to mushrooms to apples to whole tomatoes.
A bit of history
The process of соление (pickling) is well-known in Russia, and any traveler visiting Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus will undoubtedly come across several traditional pickled dishes that seem strange and exotic. With a relatively short growing season, preserving food has always been of special importance in Russia.
Traditionally, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine developed their own original methods of preservation without using vinegar. Besides соление (salting), these cultures also often use квашение (fermentation), and мочение (steeping). Even in the 12th century, the people of old Rus’ salted their cucumbers and fermented their cabbage.
In modern Russia
Nowadays there are not so many people, who pickle vegetables themselves. Mostly those are gradmas, who live in a village or have a dacha and own vegetable garden there. Younger people prefer to buy pickled vegetables in shops or markets. The favorites are usually pickled cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage.
Sauerkraut in the Russian way
Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.
It is a source of vitamins B, C, and K; the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering sauerkraut even more nutritious than the original cabbage. It is also low in calories and high in calcium and magnesium, and it is a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese.
Russians eat pickled cabbage just as it is, as side dish that can go with meat, potatoes, fish and etc. We also have many dishes that include this kind of cabbage, for example traditional Russian soup shchi can be cooked both with fresh cabbage or with pickled one.
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