Beer (& More) In Food

Beer: The Condiment With An Attitude!

Home Made Sauerkraut

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 12, 2007

cabbage.jpg I put this recipe under “Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer.”

Sauerkraut has a long history, including as a staple for Revolutionary War soldiers — both sides.  But other ethnic groups ate it too: during the winter of 1775/76, British forces in Boston allotted 1/2 pound of Sauerkraut per man and week; in neighboring Rhode Island a soldier was to get as much as 2 pounds per week. Their Sauerkraut was shipped all the way from England and Ireland, but it was of course available in America too, where the Continental Congress in July 1777, ordered the Board of War to procure Sauerkraut for the soldiers of the Continental forces.

Sauerkraut was also stored on ships during the 1700s as a preventative against scurvy and probably washed down with “Ship’s Beere.”

As my mother-in-law points out in the video, sauerkeraut is good for you. Fresh, raw cabbage is very rich in Vitamin C; one cup or 200 grams contains a whole day’s supply. Sauerkraut, which is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, has about half as much Vitamin C as raw kraut. Sauerkraut is also rich in cruciferous phytochemicals, long known for their disease-fighting powers. Recent research has shown moreover that the process of fermentation of the raw kraut produces a substance called isothiocynates, which prevent cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung, and liver.

Our Recipe:

20 lbs. raw cabbage, chopped thin. You can also downsize this by working in 5 lb. increments.
3 level tablespoons kosher salt per 5 lbs. of raw cabbage
For each 5 lbs. raw cabbage (per layer), you can add
   1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
   1/4 small green apple, peeled and seeded and finely chopped
   2-4 dried juniper berries
   1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and finely chopped

Method:

In a clean and sterilized food grade plastic container (with lid), layer in 5 lbs. of raw cabbage.

Sprinkle 3 level tablespoons of salt over each 5 lb. layer, and if desired, add caraway seeds, apple, juniper berries, and/or carrot. Repeat for each 5 lbs. Sofija likes to skip everything (caraway, apple, etc.) except the necessary salt and pour about a 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice over the last layer of cabbage. I think this helps quicken the fermentation.

Make sure you FIRMLY PACK each layer. I actually pound it down with my fist and pretend it’s a book critic.

After adding your final 5 lb. layer of raw cabbage, cover with a sturdy plate that covers all the cabbage. If there’s any on the side of the fermenter, push the pieces back down under the plate. Take a weight (or brick) enclosed in a sealed plastic bag and place on plate. Cover. If you’re going to use a fermenter as I have, put in an air trap and fill it with a little vodka.

Keep at room temperature and in about 48 hours, you should see liquid in the container. The salt draws out the water from the cabbage and sets up wild fermentation. The salt actually helps to inhibit any mold as the cabbage begins to ferment. After a few more days, check to see if there’s any foam on top of the liquid. If so, use a clean spoon to remove.

Place fermenter in a cooler area, about 65 F or so.

Depending on how sour you want the kraut, you can let it go 2 weeks to a month. Taste to make sure. If the kraut is a bit salty, before you prepare it for the table, you can drain and store the liquid and thoroughly rinse the kraut. Then very gradually, keep adding back some of the liquid to taste.

Serve hot or cold. While we customarily seem to always cook sauerkraut, it’s excellent served as a cold side dish and is actually more healthy in this form. If you go “cold,” start enjoying in 7-10 days. Lotta crunch and really fresh tasting. Its amazing what lactobacilli can do, that is, aside from ruining beer or making Belgian brewers wealthy.

Posted in Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer, Video Recipes | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Nitrosamines In Beer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 10, 2007

In 1978, the United States Brewers Association learned of an on-going study in Germany in which traces of nitrosamines (DMNA) had been discovered in some European beers at an average level of 2 or 3 parts per billion (ppb). Some nitrosamines had been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The USBA immediately informed appropriate US federal agencies and issued a public release to that effect.

Researchers had found that DMNA could be formed in the malting process, causing a complete revamping in how barley would be malted for American beers. This new malting technique included the use of sulfur during the malting procedure to inhibit the formation of DMNA. So spooked was the American beer industry that consumers would stop drinking beer that brewers, like the Coors Brewing Company, took out full-page ads extolling the fact that their original and costly processing of malt insured the fact that “There are no detectable nitrosamines in Coors beer.”

The Food and Drug Administration had been randomly testing beers manufactured in the United States and foreign imports as soon as the nitrosamine scare had begun. Their results were startling. Of the 30 American brands of beers tested, none of the domestics were found to have exceed the 5 ppb level that the FDA had established as the the maximum accepted level of DMNA in beer. Some domestics did, however, test very close to the acceptable level but the government refused to say which ones. What’s interesting about this FDA test, however, was that 3 import brands were named as exceeding the 5 ppm level. India Beer, made by Cerveceria India of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, San Miguel Dark Beer of San Miguel Corporation of Manila, Philippines and Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale from Tadcaster Ltd. Of Yorks, England.

WLS-TV in Chicago, IL decided to do their own testing of beers while the very real scare was building in intensity. Thermo Electron Laboratory in Waltham, Massachusetts came up with some startling figures for the beers that they had tested:

Domestics Brand of Beer with Nitrosamines in PPM in 12 oz.

Stroh 2.0

Pabst 2.2

Old Style 2.5

Lowenbrau Light 2.7

Miller High Life 2.8

Olympia 3.1

Budweiser 3.3

Lowenbrau Dark 3.7

Schlitz Lite 3.8

Michelob 5.5

Schlitz Malt Liquor 7.7

Schlitz 7.7

Old Milwaukee 9.2

Erlanger 18.8

Imports

Heineken 6.9

Heineken Special Dark 23.4

American and foreign brewers were given 6 months to demonstrate that their beers contained no detectable amounts of DMNA.

Here it is, 2007, and the Alcohol, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is still dragging its feet on a comprehensive labeling requirement that at a minimum, would tell the consumer how many calories, carbohydrates and various other nutritional components are in beer, let alone ingredients.

Posted in Beer History | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

‘Beer & Food Traces the Triumph of Beer Over Grain Scarcity, War and Prohibition and Serves Up Its Frothy Influence on American Cuisine, Past and Present

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 9, 2007

bf_front.jpgCHICAGO, Ill. - May 9 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Like a grilled bratwurst and a satisfying brew, beer historian Bob Skilnik’s latest book, “Beer & Food: An American History” ($24.95, hardcover, 280 pages, Jefferson Press, ISBN: 0977808610) is the perfect complement to A&E’s recent television airing of “The American Brew.” From the quirky brews of the colonial era, the food rationing of world wars and the devastation of National Prohibition, Skilnik’s sixth book weaves a tale of beer’s movement from a homebrewed colonial staple, the key to saloons with their “Free Lunch” practice, and today, as a growing part of contemporary American cuisine.

“The convergence of centuries of brewing technology and the introduction of refrigeration into American households in the 1920s, plus the return of legal beer in 1933, probably led to the first brave man hollering out to his wife in her Repeal-era kitchen, ‘Honey, while you’re up; can you get me a beer from the fridge?’ While it’s an amusing anecdote, it demonstrates that historically, beer’s role as an everyday household commodity is a relatively recent occurrence.”
Post-Prohibition is also the time when beer’s pairing with food became solidified, in large part due to the efforts of the now defunct United States Brewers Association. It’s not an accident that when we think of certain foods, we also think of enjoying a beer with them. The U.S.B.A. was responsible for one of the most effective marketing campaigns in U.S. history, promoting the idea that at home or away, “Beer Belongs.” The success of its post-Prohibition efforts helps explain why there might be a beer in your refrigerator today.

With a foreword by Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company and its growing portfolio of Samuel Adams beers, “Beer & Food: An American History” weaves a fascinating history of the evolution of American beer and its eventual pairing with food. The book also contains over 90 beer-related food recipes, including contributions from contemporary breweries, brewpubs and beer trade organizations.

About the Author
Bob Skilnik is an alumnus of Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology – the oldest brewing school in the U.S. – where he earned a degree in brewing technology. He is the former associate editor for the American Breweriana Journal, and has contributed to the Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating food section, trade journals, magazines and newspapers.                                                                                 foxscreengrab.jpg

He has appeared on ABC’s “The View,” the Fox News Channel, ESPN2, and Chicago Public Television. “Beer & Food: An American History” is his sixth book. For more information about Bob Skilnik and “Beer & Food: An American History,” visit www.beerinfood.com.Text provided by the news source.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Cooking With Beer | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beer & Food: An American History Gets A Thumbs-Up From Canton, Ohio’s “The Repository”

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 14, 2007

“Beer lovers and foodies alike will enjoy a new book by Bob Skilnik called ‘Beer & Food, An American History’ (Jefferson Press, $24.95). Skilnik is an alum of Chicago’s Institute of Technology, the oldest brewing school in the U.S., where he earned his degree in brewing technology.

His book gives a fascinating account of the birth and growth of our country’s brewing industry and its influence on American cuisine. A mouth-watering 90 recipes are included, from beer soup and beer pudding to Samuel Adams roast beef and roast pork loin with Rhinelander Bock.”

More 

It also includes a foreword by Jim Koch, Founder of the Boston Beer Co., brewer of Samuel Adams.

beerfoodbookcoverweb.jpg

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Books & Beer | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.