From white cabbage to sauerkrautWhite cabbage flourishes on the fields in the northern part of the Dutch province North Holland. On the light clay soil with good water holding capacity the cabbage can grow steadily for eight months and can sometimes reach a weight of more than eight kilo. The air in North Holland always moves and brings in sea air. That combination of sea air, wind, moisture, a fertile soil and the long period of growth creates a natural, aromatic product.
White cabbage is stripped from the outer leafs, cleaned, cored, finely cut and sprinkled with salt (about 1,5%). The cut cabbage will then spontaneously ferment: lactic bacteria convert starch and other carbohydrates into lactic acid.
Nowadays this is done in a modern factory. Formerly, many households used to have a large Cologne pot in the basement. The cabbage, covered and pressed, fermented in these pots to sauerkraut, one of the very few winter vegetables! Nowadays the cabbage - finely cut and salted - is put in large storage pits. These pits are sealed hermetically with plastic bags filled with water. Thus the cabbage will ferment to sauerkraut.
Starch and sugar are now converted into lactic acid. Depending on the temperature and the structure of the cabbage the whole process of fermentation lasts three to eight weeks. The cabbage now has its fresh, sour taste and is light digested - much lighter than the original white cabbage.