Making Sauerkraut: A Pennsylvania Deitsch Tradition

Odis Faus Sauerkraut 1979
Grandpa (Odis) Faus loading cabbage into a barrel to make sauerkraut. December, 1979.

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12 Responses

  1. JudithHagenbuch says:

    I think I may try this also.

  2. Barbara Hagenbuch Huffman says:

    Hi Andrew , As usual a very enjoyable story to read .
    I love the photos of Grandpa , Grandma and Uncle Elmer .
    Very dear folks whom I miss a lot . Keep up the wonderful story telling !
    Aunt Barb

  3. Joseph Robb says:

    Thanks Andrew for the history. I don’t think I ever saw your great grandpa Faus but from the pictures you posted I can see how your dad favors his grandpa Faus.

  4. Chris Witmer says:

    Great little article Andrew. I was especially excited to see the picture of the barrel used for making sauerkraut. The use of large, straight sided crocks to make it was a mid-19th century innovation. However, in the 18th century, the tradition was to use wooden barrel containers called “Stenne” in the PA Dutch dialect. This is the first documentation that I have seen that shows that the Stenne tradition continued as recently as the 1980s. I am wondering if the wood affects the flavor of the sauerkraut when compared with the kind made in crocks? Now, Dills Tavern can produce their own authentic brand of sauerkraut made the really old fashioned way in Stenne … 🙂

  5. Chris Witmer says:

    PS – you mentioned your Graundfather Faus making sauerkraut for the Dog House. Was this the hot dog shop on 2nd Street in Harrisburg? I used to stop in there from time to time in college and such.

  6. Andrew Hagenbuch says:

    Hi Chris! Thanks for your additional insights here about the Stenne. That’s a terrific fact 🙂 I haven’t a clue about the taste, but I would think the wood, like with wine, would change the flavor a bit. Yes, that would be a great experiment for Dills!

    My father was the one who mentioned the Dog House to me. He looked it up, but couldn’t find out where it was in the area. Well, I think you just answered our question!

  7. Mark Hagenbuch says:

    Chris….I always thought the Dog House was on the street in Camp Hill near Fager’s Plumbing, but I could be wrong. Grandpa Faus lived in Shiresmantown at the time he was making all that kraut, so I’m not sure he went into Harrisburg to sell (trade??). I can ask around and find out. Also, good to know about the Stenne…..I would assume it would affect the taste some. They were oak barrels, of course, but not sure what they had been used for before he got them….whisky?? : )

  8. Bob Hagenbuch says:

    Andrew, A very interesting bit of information. I can’t wait to make my own! I want to try a large batch in oaken barrels, but I may have to wait a few months until I drink all that whiskey. Well, that gives me an incentive (As if I needed one). Thanks again for yet another wonderful article.
    Uncle Bob

  9. Chris Witmer says:

    Mark and Andrew- Are you familiar with the Lewis Miller watercolor collection at the York Co. Historical Society? These are early 19th cent. watercolors done by Lewis Miller that document all kinds of every day life things, especially among the PA Dutch community (but not exclusively). Anyhow, I think one of his watercolors in the book the YCHS produces on his work shows people making sauerkraut in Stenne (pronounced “sten-nah”). There are probably other things you might find useful in those watercolors as well when trying to illustrate aspects of Hagenbuch history.

  10. Ashley Becraft (Faus) says:

    I love this <3 Sitting here late at night missing my grandpa (elmer faus).
    If anyone has any other images of him or information on the Faus family I would greatly appreciate it. I am his only granddaughter.

    • Andrew Hagenbuch says:

      Hi Ashley. I’ll shoot you an email. We’ve got lots of information on the Faus side of the family 🙂

  11. Emma says:

    Nice story. I also tried to make naturally fermented sauerkraut in wooden item. In my case it was an oak bucket, not barrel. But it is the same effect.
    All interesting info about this tradition I post here

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