Tancook Island Artisanal Sauerkraut

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Introduced by German colonists, Tancook Island sauerkraut is made from a unique cultivar of cabbage that has been grown on this little island of Nova Scotia for over 175 years. The cabbage is relatively small and tight headed, which render it perfect for making sauerkraut. The seeds are saved from year to year for replanting and the fields are fertilized with seaweed from the island shores. After fall harvesting the cabbage is hand shredded, salted and put into wooden barrels with a weight placed firmly on top. The barrels are then covered and left in a dark shed to undergo a cool fermentation. This can take up to four weeks, which results in an intense and richly flavoured product.  Traditionally, the sauerkraut was a staple in the local diet, as well as something that was shipped extensively to the mainland for sale. Unfortunately today its production is dwindling. Only a few people, who are mostly over the age of 80, still practice the art. A further complication is that the cabbage supply is increasingly under siege, largely due to the recent introduction of deer – as a result most islanders have given up growing this unique cultivar. Today there are only two commercial enterprises based on the Nova Scotia mainland that produce this sauerkraut.

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