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Where to Find Sauerkraut in Grocery Stores

Looking for sauerkraut in the grocery store? We’ve got the scoop on where to find it and how to select the best.

Sauerkraut is basically cabbage that’s been finely chopped and fermented. The name itself comes from German words: “sauer” for sour and “kraut” for cabbage.

The magic happens when you combine cabbage and salt, then let it sit for a few weeks. As the cabbage ferments, it develops a tangy flavor that can really kick up your dish.

But sometimes it’s a bit of a hide and seek game to find it in the store.

We’ve written this article to help.

Where’s the Sauerkraut in the Store?

We’re here to walk you through your local grocery store, highlighting the three main spots where you can find sauerkraut: the cold produce section, the canned goods aisle, and the international foods aisle.

In the Cold Produce Section

First up, the chilled produce section.

You might be surprised to find sauerkraut here, among all the fresh fruits and veggies. It’s usually kept in plastic bags or containers. Because it’s fermented, it needs to stay cold to keep the good bacteria alive.

What’s the big deal?

This type of sauerkraut keeps its crunch and typically has fewer preservatives. And those good bacteria? They’re great for your gut health.

Quick tip: Don’t throw out the briny juice after you’ve eaten the sauerkraut! You can use it in salad dressings, meat marinades, or even in a zingy cocktail.

In the Canned Goods Aisle

Next up, the canned goods aisle.

Here’s where you’ll find sauerkraut hanging out with canned veggies and beans. These cans or jars are good to have in the pantry since they last a long time. But, keep in mind, the heat used in canning kills off those good bacteria.

In the International Foods Aisle

Last, check out the international foods aisle, more specifically the German or Eastern European section.

This is like stepping into a mini world market, with lots of fun and interesting foods. In this section, you’ll often find sauerkraut right next to pickles and sausages. You might even find some with different regional flavors.

Picking the Best Sauerkraut

But just finding the sauerkraut isn’t enough.

Once you’ve found the hidden spots in the store, you’ve got to pick the best one.

Here’s the lowdown on picking the best sauerkraut:

Look at the Color: Good sauerkraut should be pale or light yellow. If it’s brown or has off-color, it might be old or over-fermented.

Check for Bubbles: When buying fresh sauerkraut, look for tiny bubbles in the bag or container. These bubbles are a sign of active fermentation and mean it’s full of healthy probiotics.

Check the Bag or Jar: Make sure the packaging is sealed. In the case of jarred, sterilized sauerkraut, there should be no leaks or bulges. A damaged package can mess up the quality of the sauerkraut and be downright dangerous.

Look at the Ingredients: Check the ingredient list. For a straight-up, traditional taste, go for sauerkraut that just has cabbage and salt. Some have other flavorings, like added sugar or caraway seeds, so make sure those fit with what you’re cooking.

Choosing the Right Sauerkraut

Apart from color, bubbles, packaging, and ingredients, one more thing to consider is the cut of the sauerkraut.

Here’s all you need to know about the different types:

Whole Sauerkraut: This is sauerkraut in its most traditional form, with the cabbage leaves left largely intact. Whole sauerkraut is great when you need a substantial texture, like when it’s served as a side dish with sausages or in a hearty soup. The chewiness of the whole leaves adds a satisfying bite to your dish.

Sliced Sauerkraut: This is where the cabbage leaves have been cut into wide strips before fermenting. This style is a bit less chunky than the whole leaf variety but still offers a good amount of texture. Sliced sauerkraut works well in stews or casseroles where you want the cabbage to hold its own but also blend with other ingredients.

Shredded Sauerkraut: The cabbage for this type is finely shredded before it’s fermented. This leads to a sauerkraut that’s softer and breaks down more easily when cooked. Shredded sauerkraut is a good pick for dishes where you want the tangy flavor but not necessarily a strong cabbage presence. It’s perfect for mixing into salads, topping off hot dogs, or stuffing into sandwiches.

Remember, the type of cut doesn’t change the flavor of the sauerkraut, just the texture and how it integrates into your dishes.

Wrapping it Up

So there you go, your quick guide to finding sauerkraut. Walking down the aisles of your grocery store doesn’t have to be a big deal.

Remember, whether it’s chilling in the cold produce section, hanging out with canned goods, or adding an international twist, these sour treats are worth the search.

Look for a light color, bubbles from fermentation, a good seal on the package, and check the ingredient list.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.