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For a Prosperous New Year – Eat Sauerkraut!

January 2nd, 2009

It is a Pennsylvania Dutch (German) tradition to serve sauerkraut and pork on New Year’s Day to ensure a prosperous year. Usually the sauerkraut is accompanied by mashed potatoes and dumplings. We have celebrated this tradition in my family since I was little (and for many years before I came along).
This tradition has been passed down from my dad’s side of the family, so naturally my dad is the chef for this special meal. Through the years he has developed his own special sauerkraut recipe. This year I made the sauerkraut in October with some cabbage I bought at the local farmer’s market and my dad added his special touch on New Year’s Day. He was also able to use some tomatoes that my mom picked green from her garden at the end of the season and was storing in the fruit cellar. I was hoping it would be good and boy was it!
For dessert I made a blackberry pie with all those blackberries Mr Chiots and I picked this summer. It was the perfect finish for a delicious meal!

In case anyone wants Dr Dale Meade’s famous sauerkraut recipe, here it is:

Spectacular Spareribs and Incredible Kraut
Guaranteed for prosperity

2 racks of pork spareribs (4 to 6 pounds of local pastured pork)
3 to 4 pounds of sauerkraut (preferably homemade)
4 finely chopped unpared tart apples (about 2 cups)
4 finely chopped or shaved (with vegetable peeler) large carrots (about 2 cups)
3 cups of home canned tomato juice (or V-8 Vegetable Juice)
1 cup of diced tomatoes
6 finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup of brown sugar
4 teaspoons of caraway seed

Cut ribs in pieces, season with salt and black pepper (approximately 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper); place in a large stock pot with olive oil and brown well. Combine the kraut (which can be rinsed to reduce production of gas) with remaining ingredients; spoon over ribs to mix thoroughly until well mixed.

Simmer covered for three hours at low heat making certain the liquid covers the kraut and ribs. Skim off excess fat. Then remove lid and allow the kraut to simmer until some liquid had simmered away, leaving top of kraut exposed. Then make dumplings and place on top of the kraut and over, allowing the dumplings to bake for about fifteen minutes. Makes approximately ten servings and will warm your house for days.

Fluffy Dumplings
2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of whole milk
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together and make certain the dry ingredients are well mixed. Add the milk and oil and kneed with pastry blender until moistened. Drop onto the kraut and cover. Do not lift cover and let mixture return to a slow boil for 12 to 15 minutes. This will make 10 generous dumplings.

Does anyone else eat sauerkraut for New Year’s to ensure a prosperous year? Or do you have another family tradition you celebrate?

16 Comments to “For a Prosperous New Year – Eat Sauerkraut!”
  1. Judy on January 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    My husband and I are both from Pennsylvania Dutch backgrounds so are familiar with sauerkraut and pork. But for the past few years we have gone the southern route of black-eyed peas and ham. Both are equally yummy. Unfortunately, this year we were both too sick to eat anything so the kids ordered a pizza. But I’ve got my beans simmering away now- better late than never.

    Reply to Judy's comment

  2. Pine Pod Farm on January 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    We always have bratwursts and sauerkraut mixed with our mashed potatoes on New Year’s Eve.

    Reply to Pine Pod Farm's comment

  3. Susy on January 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I agree Judy, better late than never. I always enjoy the kraut & pork, my dad has a great recipe!

    Reply to Susy's comment

  4. AgrarianLife on January 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Wow, what a sauerkraut recipe! I never heard of it as a new year’s tradition, but by coincidence we ate some of our cherished few quarts and some meatballs on new year’s eve. I only added some fried onions and carraway and dill seed to the kraut, and it was delish. Next time I will have to try it with the apple and carrot and tomato, oh and the sugar must make it absolutely irresistable.

    Reply to AgrarianLife's comment

  5. kristin on January 2, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I would totally make this if I didn’t already have my OWN New Year’s Day dinner that I MUST make every year. But I do love sauerkraut, and I may have to make this anyway, even if I don’t have it on the day it’s supposed to make me prosperous. I’ll have to rely on my collard greens for that.

    Reply to kristin's comment

  6. Carol on January 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I know I should eat sauerkraut on New Year’s. But I just can’t make myself do it. We had burgers for supper instead! :)

    Reply to Carol's comment

  7. Allie on January 2, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I was taught that you’re supposed to eat fish first thing in the AM on New Years (specifically pickled herring, but I can’t stomach it anymore). We used to have lox every year, but this year we didn’t b/c I never made it to the store to pick up any. Oh well.

    Reply to Allie's comment

  8. Susy on January 3, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Fish, I don’t think I could do that at midnight. I’ve also heard in the south everyone eats black eyed peas and greens. I think I’ll stick with the sauerkraut!

    Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Suzy on January 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    My family also eats pork and Kraut on New Year’s Day. My sister-in-law from Texas also eats black-eyed peas. We’ve done this forever! I love your site…..and your chocolate covered cherry recipe. I have been making them for over 20 years. The almond flavor sounds good…I’ll have to try it.

    Suzy McNamara….Kelly’s mom

    Reply to Suzy's comment

  10. Karen on March 2, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I grew up eating pork and sauerkraut every New Year’s Day also. My father is a true PA Dutchman and even speaks the language. I really never liked the sauerkraut when I was younger but I do now that I have my own family. My parents still have it every year. I started making sauerkraut myself too. Traditions!!

    Reply to Karen's comment

  11. Making Sauerkraut | Chiot's Run on October 30, 2009 at 4:46 am

    […] all kinds of delicious goodness. For a few photos of my dad cooking on New Year’s and the recipe see this post. Sauerkraut that ferments at cooler temperatures – 65 or lower – has the best flavor, color […]

    Reply to Making Sauerkraut | Chiot’s Run's comment

  12. […] quite tasty, even for non-sauerkraut lovers. If you’d like to see his recipe check out my New Year’s Day post. Several years ago, when we started to eat more locally, I started making the kraut for our New […]

    Reply to Salt + Cabbage + Time = Sauerkraut « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  13. Margie on December 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I have eaten Sauerkraut and Pork Ribs since I was young enough to remember on New Years Day. I still do it. Just the ribs, kraute, 1 apple and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Once it comes to a boil I simmer it for about 8 hours.
    Some of my children still eat it, and some can’t even stand the name brought up. My Father came here from Germany that is probably why we ate it every New Year. It is the bestest. I also have it several times in the cold winter. It is a good winter dish served with mashed potatoes.

    Reply to Margie's comment

  14. Judy Meade on January 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Richard cooks our kraut the way your grandma Meade did but in the roaster. He braises the pork andthen puts it in the roaster with kraut, adds some brown sugar, and cook it all morning. When about timetp eat he adds the dumplings on top of the kraut, puts lid back on. When dumplings are ready, it’s time to eat. Mashed taters too of course. Beings I’m from the south, I always had home canned blackeyed peas and home made kraut! Yum! Always wanted to make my own but was always too intimidated by the process. Neednto get a good “pickling/fermenting” book someday.

    Reply to Judy Meade's comment

  15. […] On Wednesday I started my sauerkraut for our New Year’s Day tradition. We’ve been eating sauerkraut for New Year’s in my family since I can remember. We used to go out to my grandma’s house and she would have a big roaster full of sauerkraut, sausage and dumplings. When my grandma died my dad took over. He developed his own special recipe, changing it each year to make it better. It’s not your typical kraut recipe, it includes carrots, apples, tomatoes and all kinds of delicious goodness. For a few photos of my dad cooking on New Year’s and the recipe see this post. […]

    Reply to Making Sauerkraut for New Year’s | Eat Outside The Bag's comment

  16. amy on January 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    We have Hoppin John every New Year’s eve.

    Reply to amy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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