In old Russia, to make sauerkraut and soaked apples whole families gathered together.
Traditionally, the end of September – beginning of October was the time of soaking apples and making sauerkraut. Apples were picked, sorted and soaked. A few days later people chopped and shreddedcabbage to make sure that for the whole winter they had something to cook cabbage soup and bake pies.
In the olden days people used to make a lot of sauerkraut. To do this, they picked certain number of days and worked together. In ancient sauerkraut recipesthey used anise and sometimes raisins. Today, these recipes are rarely used. Today to sauerkraut cooks add cranberries, cowberries, apples and red pepper. The basis is cabbage, carrots, salt and a little sugar.
Cabbage is finely shredded; carrots are grated on a medium or fine grater. Cabbage is separately salted and then they add a little sugar; then it is kneaded by hands until the juice begins to emerge. Once cabbage is mixed with carrots, it is placed in jars (in the old days – in wooden barrels). It is placed there very tightly by trampling down. Jars with cabbage are left in a warm place for a few days. Cabbage is pierced by a wooden stick to the bottom of the container. Then cabbage jars are placed for a couple of days in a cool place for storage.
Sauerkraut can be eaten by itself. When you serve it, you can add a little vegetable oil. Sauerkraut is the main ingredient of the Russian cabbage soup. And it was also used as a filling for cakes and pies.
In some villages people still soak apples using old recipes and using for this purpose special wooden tubs.
Tubs for soaking apples are lined with scalded straw. Apples are layered on them, and each layer is covered by a layer of straw. On top of all layers you place a press. The best variety of apples for soaking was considered antonovka. In the old times apples were soaked in licorice root decoction, to which were added cloves and cinnamon. Or some people added kvass with leaves of currant, cherry and mint.
Over the centuries, sauerkraut and soaked apples have become the symbols of the Russian cuisine.
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