SauerkrautSauerkraut is a fermented cabbage preserve widely thought to be of German origin, though it has been used throughout Europe. Basic sauerkraut is made by cutting fresh cabbage into fine strips, and packing it into an airtight container while mixing in a certain amount of salt. Traditionally, a stoneware crock is used. The crock is kept in a cool area. The cabbage undergoes lactobacillus fermentation, and is preserved by the lactic acid this formed. There are variations. Sauerkraut can be made with whole cabbages instead of shredded ones. Sometimes other vegetables are added. Sometimes spices are added. There are other vegetables that have been preserved by a similar process. Also, silage, a feed for cattle, is made the same way. For preparation at home, the various methods are somewhat controversial. The USDA recommendations call for a greater amount of salt than is traditional, making the sauerkraut unpalatably salty unless rinsed before eating. Such rinsing removes a good deal of the flavor. When traditional amounts of salt are used, temperature control becomes more critical, because food poisoning can occur if the fermentation temperature is too high.