Sauerkraut Saturday

Pure Nebraska
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:11 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:14 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We caught up with a family near Beatrice who enjoys getting together to make homemade sauerkraut.

Making homemade sauerkraut is something Diane and Bob Baxa have been doing for years now. The cabbage cutting happens in the garage, and then the shredding and sauerkraut production in crocks happens in the kitchen. “I had an aunt who lived in Fairbury,” Diane said. “She’s really the one who got me started. We started about 50 years ago, and used a sauerkraut cutting board. We started making 50 pounds, and now we are up to 400 pounds.”

The Baxa family says this isn’t the normal time for the kraut making. They usually do it in October, but due to COVID-19 concerns, they moved the kraut making to January this year. Why does the Baxa family enjoy making sauerkraut? “My folks had it,” Bob said. “We grew up with it. I like to eat it any way. You can eat it raw out of the jar, you can cook it, you can fry it. Any way it’s always good.” During our visit to the Baxa household, the kraut was featured with spare ribs and hog dogs. “My mom and aunt used to fix it with a pork roast,” Diane said. “Then, they got the juices from the meat and put the sauerkraut on top of mashed potatoes. That’s my favorite.”

The sauerkraut production day usually generates about 100 quarts. “Ninety percent of that is given away,” Diane said. “It goes for Christmas presents and gifts. Bob likes to take it down to his vet clinic and share it with customers.”

“All it is, is cabbage cut up, and you keep adding water and salt,” Diane said. “You keep working it in the crocks and you keep tasting until you get what you want. Some we put caraway seed in, some we don’t.” The family has about three food processors going when they are making the kraut, and it does get a little loud. But they usually try to get done in time to watch the Nebraska football team on TV. That’s of course, when they make the kraut in the fall.

The Baxa family says they won’t go national with the recipe, but they do enjoy making it for themselves, along with family and friends!

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