Apfelkraut - a speciality from Niederrhein

Categories: General Travel Info


[ source: Flickr]

A certain „Kraut" in Germany has nothing whatsoever to do with the well-known sauerkraut or rotkraut: the apple kraut of the Rhineland, rheinisches Apfelkraut. It is a speciality more reminiscent of syrups and jellies than of kraut/cabbage varieties and vegetables.

There is even an association for the protection of this regional specialty, which has applied for Rheinisches Apfelkraut to be protected with a geographical indication of its origin.

Outside of Germany, Apfelkraut can also be found in the Netherlands, where it is known as appel stroop and in the USA, where it is mainly the Pennsylvania Dutch who produce that apple butter.

The European Union received the following text as part of the application for protection of Rheinisches Apfelkraut with geographical indication and designation of origin:

"Rheinisches Apfelkraut" is a traditional Rhineland product. Growing conditions for fruit-trees are ideal in the Rhineland. Over the centuries, a strong fruit-growing area has developed here. There is still a high proportion of orchard meadows and a large number of apple varieties. The climatic conditions favour the cultivation of varieties that have the right ratio of acids and natural pectins for producing an optimally spreadable product.

"Apfelkraut" has traditionally always been made here to preserve windfalls. In centuries past, practically every farmer used the sweet and tasty "Apfelkraut" which he had produced himself as a means of sweetening food during the winter period. The traditional production method, i.e. the gentle boiling process at normal pressure and in particular the knowledge of the right mixture of the countless apple varieties to reach to right ratio of pectin to acid, has been passed down from generation to generation. The special climate and other natural features of the Rhineland make it particularly conducive to producing "Apfelkraut". These special advantages and the product's heritage mean that the local population have become particularly experienced at making the product. It is used chiefly as a sweet spread, as an ingredient in baking or cooking (e.g. for the typical marinated beef dish "Rheinischer Sauerbraten") and as an accompaniment to "Rievkooche" (traditional potato cakes also typical for the Rhineland).

Nowadays, "Rheinisches Apfelkraut" is still made according to the traditional production method, namely the careful selection of the ratios of the countless apple varieties and the gentle boiling at normal pressure, which has been handed down from generation to generation. The same recipes that our ancestors tried and tested are still being used today. This guarantees the excellent quality of the product, that is, the balanced taste and the optimal spreadability of the product.

The centuries-old fruit-growing area and the production method which has been in use for generations mean that the "Apfelkraut" produced in the Rhineland has a particularly good reputation. It is especially famous in the Rhineland, but is also well-known beyond its borders. This is confirmed by comments from specialist bodies, mentions on menus, in recipes and in products offered for sale on the internet. The product has a fixed place in the Rhineland’s cuisine, both as a spread for bread and as an ingredient in cooking and baking. There is a long tradition of using "Rheinisches Apfelkraut" and it is still strongly anchored in the minds of consumers and in catering. For example, it is listed as an ingredient in "Rheinischer Sauerbraten".

The product is made exclusively from whole apples and pears. It is produced using only healthy, fully-ripe apples and pears. If production takes place in the harvest period, that is from late summer until mid-November, fresh fruit is used. Even if production is in spring, only whole fruit is used, no semi-finished products. The fruit is then taken exclusively from cold stores.

Apfelkraut is best-known as a kind of spread on bread, but also has its place on the Bergische Kaffeetafel, and traditionally goes with pancakes and potato fritters (hash browns).

The complete article can be found on europa.eu

About this Article

Gaby Leeser

This travel guide has been written by Gaby Leeser.

Ich bin studierte Volkskundlerin und gelernte Fernsehreporterin , reise sehr gerne beruflich und privat durch Deutschland und verbringe meinen Urlaub seit Jahren nur in Ferienhäusern oder Ferienwohnungen.

Beruflich habe ich sowohl für das ZDF und den SWR gearbeitet, aber auch für verschiedene private TV Sender - daneben habe ich mich immer mehr auf Recherchen zu den unterschiedlichsten Themen spezialisiert.

Ansonsten lebe ich mit Mann und Foxterrier in Mainz , sammle alte Kochbücher , backe eigenes Brot und fahre mit meinen kleinen grünen MG gerne in die nähere und weitere Umgebung um Neues zu entdecken und stundenlang mit meinem Hund spazieren zu gehen.

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Related Links

Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Food


Apple Butter - Wikipedia


Europäische Union - Gesetzessammlung


Schutzgemeinschaft Rheinisches Apfelkraut


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