CONTRIBUTED BY L.Y. TAN
What does it take to rustle up a quick German meal? Or are you an baking addict like me? Then you will need a cupboard equipped with important ingredients to help you in the kitchen and on days when you have simply no time or energy to brave the supermarkets.
Below is a list of my ten German pantry essentials.
1. Dosenwurst = Canned Sausage
Sausage is quintessentially GERMAN. The wide array of sausages you can find at a butcher or the supermarket in Germany is amazing. And when you have no time to hit the meat stores, you can always rely on a can of Bierschinken or Lyoner for a quick German supper.
2. Senf = Mustard
German mustard or Senf is a versatile condiment and my personal choice of sauce to go with canned, boiled or grilled sausages. It is often added in salad dressing to add a hint of spice and sweetness.
3. Gurken = Pickled Cucumbers
These are also known as gherkins or Gurken in German. These cool crunchy pickles are the perfect accompaniment for sausages and cold cuts. They are also essential in many German recipes such Wurstsalat, Fleishsalat, and Rinderrouladen.
4. Sauerkraut in der Dose = Canned Sauerkraut
I do love homemade Sauerkraut but I just do not have enough patience to make it from scratch. My shortcut solution is to heat up some canned Sauerkraut with cooked Spareribs which is known as Ripple in Swabian and there you will have a warm and hearty one-pot family meal in minutes.
5. Rotkohl = Red Cabbage
I do agree that homemade braised red cabbages is extremely heartwarming. But honestly, few have the time and patience to take on such a culinary task. That said, nothing is more reassuring and comforting (not to mention convenient) than to open a jar of Rotkohl for a quick warm up over the stove. Warm Rotkohl is often eaten with Sauerbraten as well as with roasted goose in late autumn.
6. Essig = Vinegar
German vinegar is a pantry must-have. I love its distinct sharpness and it is absolutely essential when making salads especially in Swabian potato salad, sausage salads such as Wurstsalat and Fleischsalat and also in meat dishes such as Sauerbraten which is a sour pork roast.
7. Trollinger = Swabian Red Wine
The famous German poet Friedrich Schiller once wrote “A Württemberger without wine. Is that a real Württemberger?” Wine from Württemberg is mainly red wine. The most popular variety is the Trollinger which is often considered the Swabian national drink. I keep bottles of this local wine not only for drinking but also for cooking and baking. (Check out my recipe for Rotweinkuchen or Red wine cake in my recipe blog.)
8. Pudding Pulver = Instant Pudding Powder
You can certainly make your own custard pudding but instant pudding powder that comes in a pack of handy satchels is the express solution to a quick standby dessert. Or simply use it to make a warm vanilla sauce to dribble on Ofenschlupfer, which is a sweet Swabian bread pudding. In fact, many German cake recipes call for the addition of pudding powder in cheesecake, in cake fillings and as pudding cream to layer on cakes.
The following German recipes for cheesecake and apple cake make use of this versatile ingredient:
5. Kirsch Konserven im Glas = Preserved Cherries in Jars
Fresh cherries taste indisputably divine. However the cherry season is extremely short. Pitting a large quantity of them is honestly quite a dreadful task (as you can imagine, I do not have a cherry pitter). These jars are the answer especially in cakes or desserts. In fact, preserved cherries are often used to make classic German cakes such as the famous Black Forest cake, the German cherry cheesecake and the Danube waves cake.
10. Gelier Zucker = Jelly Sugar
Many English recipes suggest the use of granulated sugar or castor sugar to make jam at home. In Germany, most people use Gelier Zucker which is a type of pectin sugar for making jam, compote or preserves. Sure, there are pectin products in the United States but they often come with long list of instructions for different type of fruits. The German pectin products, in contrast, are wonderfully simple to use. German pectin comes in three basic versions, depending how much sugar you want to use: the same weight of sugar and fruit (1:1), half as much sugar as fruit (2:1), or three times as much fruit as sugar (3:1).
Leave a comment and let me know what your German pantry favorites are!