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Sour Power

Southport Grocery gets into the kraut game

Southport Grocery's new sauerkraut is alive.

For kraut junkies, the new product is a rare treat: crunchy and bracingly sour, but with flavorful depths beyond pasteurized, jarred alternatives.

The "living kraut," as it's called, is fermented but not funky. The café's chef, Derrick Dejaynes, shaves local cabbage, salts and weights it; two weeks of lacto-fermentation later, the living cultures have infused the cabbage with their trademark tang.

Dejaynes seasons one batch with onion, coriander seed and fennel seed, and the other with onions alone. His dislike of caraway--plus a taste of kraut from San Francisco's Farmhouse Culture--inspired his versions, which he drapes over the café's Reuben, piled with house-made pastrami.

The 12-ounce jars ($6) will live in the refrigerator for up to six months. Dejaynes' new breakfast of choice is a salad of fried eggs, spinach, giardiniera and kraut. We plan to give it a go--once we move on from eating it from the jar by the forkful.

Look for jalapeño-mustard seed kraut to debut soon. And while at Southport, search for another sour condiment: preserved lemons, packed with salt, coriander and bay leaves and made by the grocery's new preserving expert, Melanie Molnar, who trained at a Southern destination known for its canning, Blackberry Farm.

Southport Grocery, 3552 N. Southport Ave.; 773-665-0100 or southportgrocery.com

Southport Grocery 3552 N. Southport Ave. Chicago IL 60657 773-665-0100

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