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'King of Kraut' Doesn't Mind Revealing Secrets
Sioux City Journal ^ | Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Posted on 04/07/2012 8:10:33 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Dallas Flynn shimmies up a chair to the 30-gallon Red Wing crock, lays what looks like the world's first mandoline cutter across the top and begins sawing a half head of cabbage back and forth across the blades.

"If you have a big belly, it helps to keep it in place," he explains, showing how he uses his impressive girth to steady the vegetable cutter.

All hail the King of Kraut. Flynn is a retired business owner and renaissance man whose sauerkraut has sweetened the pantries of many Frazee-area homes.

The secret to his success: a recipe from his Bohemian mother and equipment that looks like it belongs in a museum, combined with a microbiologist's eye for cleanliness, the Forum of Fargo reported (

"My sisters say it's the best, but that's because they just want me to make more," he says. "It doesn't have that real sour taste." The result is a slightly crunchy dish with pleasantly mouth-puckering top notes.

Flynn grows about 100 heads of cabbage a year on a bucolic, tree-filled farmstead by Rice Lake, south of Frazee. Those heads can yield 40 pints of kraut, which Flynn likes to give away to others. Flynn acknowledges he could probably sell his kraut but cringes at the notion of turning a beloved hobby into work. At 69, Flynn says he was happy to retire from his work running factories in the 1980s.

Now his sharp mind and considerable energy are funneled into a dozen different hobbies. He doesn't drink, but has a wine cellar filled with 800 bottles of vino he made.

He makes his own cheese and sausage, designed the 5,000-square foot home he shares with his wife, Dr. Mary Leone-Flynn, and raises a handful of Scottish Highlander cattle.

He also cooks most of the couple's meals, bakes bread and cans the produce from his solar-powered high tunnel - which he says is the first of its kind in North America.

"I've already written my epitaph," quips Flynn, displaying a wit as zingy as his kraut. "Here lies Dallas. He didn't do all he wanted to do. He ran out of time."

Flynn recalls coming home from school in Lowry, Minn., to snack on the dense, briny cabbage core that his mother fermented alongside her sauerkraut as a special treat.

In the Flynn home, sauerkraut played a supporting role in most family meals. His Irish dad grew the cabbage; his Bohemian mother turned it into kraut.

Like his mother, Flynn doesn't use a recipe. But he's got her process down pat. He swears by Stone Head cabbage, because it's dense and small enough to fit perfectly into his mother's mandoline. The cutter may be from the old country, but it slices cabbage into perfect ribbons.

He stirs in a handful of sea salt - he guesses about 3½ tablespoons - per 5 pounds of cabbage. Flynn won't use iodized salt, which can slow fermentation and discolor the kraut.

Flynn then uses a hand-carved, wooden "stomper" to tamp down the cabbage. This breaks up the cell walls of the vegetable so the cabbage produces liquid. The combination of cabbage juice and salt triggers the lactic-acid fermentation that preserves the kraut. While the cabbage ferments, the crock is covered with a sheet of glass or plywood, weighted down with a brick.

The live mixture bubbles and fizzes in the cool of a pole barn. At 60 degrees, it takes about six weeks to become a credible kraut. That location not only keeps the probiotic stew cold enough, it also saves human nostrils from the pungent aroma of fermenting cabbage.

"I don't like to keep my sauerkraut in here," Flynn says from his home's basement canning kitchen. "It stinks, oh my god."

Flynn may make his kraut the old-fashioned way, but he's updated the process with modern hygiene practices.

He sanitizes the stomper, crock and all equipment with a solution containing 10 percent bleach.

His mother kept her sauerkraut all winter long in a crock in the root cellar. But Flynn uses a hot water bath or pressure cooker to can his kraut in sterilized pints or quarts.

He prefers his kraut right out of the jar, but he sometimes also cooks it long and slow to serve with pork or bratwursts. In those cases, he'll stir in some finely chopped Granny Smith apple or a little caraway seed, which adds a delicately anise flavor to the finished dish.

Some of his favorite recipes - like a concoction of kraut, chicken, potatoes and sour cream - come from the 2001 book, "A Passion for Sauerkraut," written by Samuel Hofer.

In the book, Hofer shares dozens of recipes, along with claims of the food's health benefits. Because kraut creates beneficial flora in the digestive system, Hofer says the vitamin C-rich food enhances nutrient absorption. In the process, he claims it will reduce arthritis symptoms, fight anemia and even suppress the appetite.

At nearly 300 pounds, Flynn quips he "probably should eat more kraut." But he also believes he's a walking, talking testament to the fermented food's healthful qualities.

"I'm never sick," he says. "Cold? What's a cold?"

Even if sauerkraut wasn't touted as a health elixir, Flynn would still eat it. One day last week, he opened a pot of simmering sauerkraut and ribs to fork up big helpings for visitors.

As the kraut-y steam filled the kitchen, he took an appreciative whiff.

"It's just like roses," he says. "I have a lot of people wanting me to show them how to make it. I'm not bragging, but this sauerkraut is good."

TOPICS: Food; Local News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: sauerkraut

Dallas Flynn shows his salting technique while making sauerkraut in his home near Frazee, Minn. He gives away much of what he cans.

Read more:

1 posted on 04/07/2012 8:10:42 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
I salivated most of the way through this article. I guess
it's the German blood, but there's not much I like better
than good sausage and kraut.
2 posted on 04/07/2012 8:16:35 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: nickcarraway

This thread is worthless without recipes.

3 posted on 04/07/2012 8:29:17 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: nickcarraway
Meh... I'm in the middle of a lacto-bacillus strike here. The kraut I started in December never made (I got rid of it for space in the fridge), and the sourdough starter that I began on Monday is still sickly sweet. Usually, it's a race between the black mold and lacto-bacillus genericus.

This is a weird year.


4 posted on 04/07/2012 8:35:01 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: nickcarraway
Seems like the Central Europeans discovered Kimchee (fermented cabbage - sans the garlic and chilis) about the same time as the Koreans. With mashed potatoes and schweineshaxen (broiled pig shanks) it's Germanic soul food.
5 posted on 04/07/2012 8:38:48 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: Last Dakotan
Cabbage, salt, flavorings of choice or culture. Little critters from the air to do their majik to make it great. That's the recipe.

You really can't go wrong unless you live in a God-forsaken hell-hole like where I was born with bad RF coverage, too much black mold, and shy airborne bacilli.

But I'm not upset. Really.


6 posted on 04/07/2012 8:45:00 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: nickcarraway

Recipe information duly snagged. ;-)

7 posted on 04/07/2012 9:03:26 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: nickcarraway

So luscious! I love kraut! Bohemians call it “zeli.” Best eaten right out of the crock. (sigh...since it will be several months before the new cabbage harvest.)

8 posted on 04/07/2012 9:15:05 PM PDT by redhead (Alaska: Step out of the bus and into the food chain.)
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To: nickcarraway
For those who do not make their own kraut, the closest I've found to "real" homemade is Frank's Bavarian (Frank's has several varieties).

It has a much sweeter taste; I think it also has caraway seeds in it...cannot remember...but I eat it straight out of the can...LOL!

My husband makes a great brat topping with a julienne of red & yellow peppers, a finely diced jalapeno, diced onion. Saute all of the veggies, then add in the Frnak's kraut to heat it through. That, with some yellow mustard is just awesome!

9 posted on 04/07/2012 9:19:11 PM PDT by garandgal
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To: katana

I see Kimchee as radically different from kraut. Sure, hot and spicy, but if done properly the leaves taste like they have soda water in them. And it is so *complementary* as a side dish to other food, that it’s almost hard to describe.

As far as pork and sauerkraut goes, I am a downright heathen. I not only brown the chunk pork or ribs and pressure cook them first, but along with the kraut I will throw in a can of white beans, or if I’m really in a vicious mood, cook longhorn cheese dumplings on top of it for the last 20 minutes.

10 posted on 04/07/2012 9:23:32 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("It is already like a government job," he said, "but with goats." -- Iranian goat smuggler)
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To: CrazyIvan

if only i could eat some halusky againt as in childhood..
dumplings, fried with cabbage and bacon. with lots of salt.

11 posted on 04/07/2012 9:43:03 PM PDT by RitchieAprile
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To: RitchieAprile

I was raised on southern food as well as midwest family fare including fresh pork hocks and sauerkraut with light as a feather dumplings.

The hocks and kraut cooked long and slow (I do it now in a crockpot), enhanced with a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar, a finely chopped apple and of course the caraway seeds.

When it is about done cooking, my grandmother would make homemade dumplings (I now use Bisquick) and drop them by large spoonfuls into the bubbling pork and kraut. After being covered for 5 to 10 minutes, the dish was served, meat from the pork hocks next to the kraut and the dumplings on the side.

She always (and this was what made it so special), toasted bread crumbs to sprinkle on the dumplings. A feast for the gods.

Nowadays, if I don’t have the wherewithal for the dumplings, I serve the meals with buttery mashed potatoes, also a perfect base for the kraut. And don’t forget the chilled applesauce!

12 posted on 04/07/2012 10:10:49 PM PDT by varina davis (A real American patriot -- Gov. Rick Perry)
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To: CrazyIvan
Mein Gott! Mmmmmm...........kraut. My Grandma Kraus was right 'off the boat', from Stuttgart. And my family settled in the traditional German/Irish immigrant hills of MD/PA. When I was little, 'Mum-Mum' was always whipping up something in the kitchen that drew the neighbors by aroma alone. My missus is a half-Cherokee Alabama redneck, but she never flinches when I tell her that crock pot pork and kraut, brotchen rolls, or some sort of wurst is on the menu for the evening. And I buy my sauerbraten spices imported. There's nothing like coming home on a cold, wet, gray day, and walking into your home knowing that there's a plate of sauerbraten and spaetzle or fried potato pancakes waiting on the dinner table.

Aw, man, now I'm really hungry. LOL

"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

--H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

13 posted on 04/07/2012 10:52:49 PM PDT by Viking2002 ( "Give me a diablo sandwich, a Dr. Pepper, and make it quick, I'm in a gaddamn hurry.")
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To: RitchieAprile

I have a pork butt in the fridge to make some Szekely Guyas this week. That’s a pork gulash with kraut. Topped with a dollop of sour cream. Mmmm.

14 posted on 04/07/2012 11:17:27 PM PDT by ebshumidors ( Marksmanship and YOUR heritage
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To: ebshumidors

Here’s the recipe:

Carmelize some chopped onions and green peppers (if you have any) in bacon grease. Add cubed pork, salt, good paprika, caraway seeds and braise for couple of hours until the pork is soft. Add water to keep from burning, but not too much. Add kraut (not canned) and simmer for a bit. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

15 posted on 04/07/2012 11:24:10 PM PDT by ebshumidors ( Marksmanship and YOUR heritage
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To: katana

My mom used to make German Brats and Pork steaks with Sauerkraut. She would also put Barley in it. Also, boiled potatoes, with butter.
There is nothing better on a cold, winter day. (Well, maybe some Schnapps!)

16 posted on 04/08/2012 2:20:36 AM PDT by gigster (Cogito, Ergo, Ronaldus Magnus Conservatus)
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To: gigster

I started making sauerkraut 4 years ago. I use a 5 gallon food grade plastic bucket from a beer making store. I also bought a fine white netting with elastic opening to cover the bucket to protect it from insects. I can the finished product and currently have over 50 quarts in the basement.

17 posted on 04/08/2012 5:14:42 AM PDT by american_ranger
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To: nickcarraway

He must be tall, that doesn’t look like 300 pounds of man.

18 posted on 04/08/2012 7:04:19 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (We kneel to no prince but the Prince of Peace)
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