Ismaninger kraut is a distinctive white cabbage variety that has been cultivated in Ismaning, Germany, for centuries. The seeds are propagated by the growers themselves. Apart from its superior flavor, its size – reaching nearly 10 kg per head – flattened round shape and long stalk distinguish it from common cabbage varieties. These characteristics, however, also pose a threat to the variety. The long stalks necessitate special ridging implements for the tractor, while harvesting in particular involves heavy manual labor due to the uneven ripening of the plants, making it necessary to go through the rows repeatedly and select the heads individually. The cabbage is demanding with regard to soil nutrients, yet it only tolerates a mixture of cow dung and straw as fertilizer, which is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Few farmers still cultivate it in light of these difficulties, and the two local sauerkraut factories closed in the 1960s. Today, only one producer still makes sauerkraut from Ismaninger Kraut.
According to a brochure published by the municipality of Ismaning in 2009, the first written record of Ismaninger Kraut dates back to 1509, when Bishop Philipp von Freising transferred community land to the farmers of Ismaning as their property. In return, however, they had to deliver 2,500 cabbage heads to the bishop’s court in Freising every year, giving the cabbage its alternative moniker Bischofskraut (bishop’s cabbage).