If you have kids, you understand how difficult it is to get them to try new foods. I have been round and round with picky eaters, trying everything under the sun to encourage them in developing healthy eating habits. If you are nodding your head, read on for five incredible tips to get those picky eaters to eat sauerkraut.
See More Amazing Sauerkraut Recipes
I’ve read time and again from many home fermenters; sauerkraut is one of the best ferments you can make. I agree. It’s simple, timeless, inexpensive, and extremely versatile. It also is starting to prove itself as a king of probiotics; multiple studies have shown that sauerkraut contains not millions or billions of probiotics, but trillions. In one test, 2 ounces of sauerkraut contained 10 trillion live bacteria—more than an entire bottle of typical probiotic pills! In other words, a tiny bit of kraut goes a very long way.
I happen to love kraut and can eat it plain, so the ease and goodness of kraut is an easy sell for me. However, not everyone is an instant kraut-lover. Many people turn up their noses. Is it the sour taste? The texture? The smell? Is it a preconceived notion about sauerkraut itself—a relic best left in the past? All of those reasons only make me love kraut even more! Though heavenly to me, I know that this simple and timeless source of healthy probiotics doesn’t go down well with everyone.
With time, some skeptics start to truly enjoy the flavor. My middle son used to balk at the sight of kraut, but his tastes have begun to acclimate to the pleasant sour taste of ferments. I never force the kids to taste, only offer. I strive to implement a sense of adventure in them when it comes to food, and the kids are accustomed to trying new things. Placing fermented snacks at the table along with our meals was not a shock to them, but getting them to consider ferments ‘normal’ took a little time. At first I could only get them to taste Kohlrabi sticks, but now my older boys are eating kraut with very little hesitation. Our favorite way to consume it is plain, like salsa, with organic tortilla chips.
But what about those who don’t like kraut, and are not interested in learning to like it? That would describe my youngest son. At 6 years old, he has a somewhat limited taste palate even with my enthusiastic persuasion to try new things. Sitting down to a bowl of kraut and chips doesn’t work for him. He may not like to eat it plain (give it time!) but he has eaten kraut without even realizing it.
Though I have always been a bit leery about the whole ‘sneaking veggies into food’ idea, what can I say? It works. Here are five sneaky ways to serve sauerkraut—that phenomenal probiotics powerhouse–into your family meals without ONE person knowing.
Use your favorite recipe and simply add ¼ cup or more of kraut. Incidentally, tuna salad is a great hider of many foods (see my Invisible Zucchini Tuna Salad recipe here), and I’m lucky that my family loves it. Try to find a tuna that doesn’t include soy. (I get mine at Costco.)
Mix up a yummy smoothie for the kids (our fave is milk, frozen blueberries and spinach) and put a tablespoon or two of kraut in while it mixes.
It’s already tangy, and has a similar texture to kraut—so stir some kraut into the bowl—it will blend right in!
Having a sandwich night? Prepare small bowls of whatever condiments your family likes to use: ketchup, mayo, mustard—and stir a teaspoon of brine into each. Once they spread what they like on their sandwich, the yummy kraut juice will never be noticed.
Don’t like the idea of straight kraut and chips? Make a batch of blender-salsa and hide a couple tablespoons of kraut, or more, in it!
To keep the good guys alive, it’s best to not heat kraut over 120 degrees. So while kraut lovers will put it on everything, hot or cold, I try to focus on cold or just-warm food. Just a little bit will do; you’ll probably find all kind of ways to sneak a bit of kraut into your meals!
Sauerkraut is the first thing that most new fermenters try. For some of the best recipes, check out the following recipes: