To Market: Cabbage Patch
BY KATY KELLEHER / PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA
Since the early 1900s, Morse’s Sauerkraut has been making flavorful, fresh sauerkraut in their rural facility in Waldoboro, Maine. Although the business has changed hands over the years, the recipe and production have stayed exactly the same, down to the beechwood mallets used to tamp the fermenting cabbage down in its brine.
The sauerkraut recipe is amazingly simple: Locally grown, hand-sliced winter cabbage is thrown into barrels with a little salt, sugar and water. “People often ask if we add vinegar or pickle it,” says James Gammon, co-owner of Morse’s Sauerkraut. “We do not. What happens is that lactobacterium—which lives on everything, absolutely everywhere—grows and starts to break down the sugars and carbohydrates in the cabbage, creating a naturally sour brine.”
Morse’s Sauerkraut is sold “on the fresh side,” which means it’s pleasantly crunchy and can be enjoyed raw, straight from the container. But should you prefer a slightly more wilted kraut, all you need to do is let it sit for a few weeks. The lactobacteria will continue on their merry way, and you’ll get an even tangier kraut to sample.
For ideas on how to serve their kraut, head up to the Morse’s Sauerkraut headquarters (where you’ll also find a roadside restaurant and well-stocked European deli) and try it with German sausage, heaping plates of potato pancakes or on top of creamy crocks of mac ’n’ cheese.