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Pork and Sauerkraut for the New Year [RECIPE]

Uncle Ken slicing the pork- New Year’s Day

You’d think since I’m German that I’d have learned of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day through my mom or grandma, but my family isn’t really big on traditions like that, so I never even knew it existed until I lived in Pennsylvania. 

This tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s day is both German and Pennsylvania Dutch and the story goes like this:

A Pennsylvania Dutch tradition says that it’s good luck to eat pork for the new year because pigs forage forward for their food and don’t look back. In years past, food in the larder for winter was the equivalent of prosperity. Having a hog to slaughter and pork to eat at New Year’s meant a family would have food for the winter months. Because cabbage is a late fall crop, the most efficient way to preserve it for the winter was by turning it into sauerkraut. Brining cabbage takes 6 to 8 weeks, which means that October kraut would be ready to eat just as the new year was arriving.

 

I love sauerkraut, but sometimes it’s a little bitter for me, so I cook it right with the pork in a slow cooker. That seems to take some of the sting out of it. If you’d like to try starting a new tradition of pork and sauerkraut, here’s my slow cooker recipe:

Ingredients

  1. 1 pork loin roast
  2. 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  3. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. 2 cups sauerkraut with liquid (this means- don’t drain it from the package or can!)

Directions

  1. Cut pork loin, if necessary, to fit in the slow cooker. Season with caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Pour sauerkraut over the roast.
  2. Cook on high for 1 hour, then cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours. Or if you’re cooking it overnight, pop it in the slow cooker on low after the ball drops New Year’s Even and when you get up New Year’s day (8 hours on low in the slow cooker), it’ll be done.

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