Kale and pinkel - just a winter dish in the north?

Kale and pinkel - just a winter dish in the north?

The first night frost and a little snow is here, so the first kale of the year can finally be harvested. At least that's what the family always said when asked when the kale left on the field could finally be harvested. Is this condition for kale harvest actually significant?

It is often said that the frost converts some of the starch in kale into sugar, which is why cabbage harvested after the first frost tastes better. In fact, frost and strength don't matter at all, it depends on the late harvest and generally cool temperatures. Ripe kale contains hardly any starch that could be converted, but continues to form glucose through photosynthesis.

Cool temperatures slow down the metabolic processes

gruenkohl 1Due to the cool temperatures, the metabolic processes slow-down in general, especially the activity of the enzyme phosphofructokinase is strongly inhibited - thus the sugar content of the cabbage leaves can also increase. Since this glucose accumulation only takes place in the living plant and the frost itself plays no role at all, the effect of the late harvest cannot be imitated by briefly storing the harvested cabbage in the freezer. In fact, it is only the longer dwell time on the field that contributes to the better taste.

Kale is one of the cabbages with the highest vitamin C content, and raw kale is one of the most vitamin C-rich foods at around 105–150 mg/100 g; However, we rarely eat kale raw. The kale also tastes blanched in a salad, which should then be refined with strong flavours such as bacon, ham and onions. In the Prignitz region in Brandenburg, kale is also used in Knieperkohl. At least in the USA, kale also finds its place as a raw vegetable. There it is part of many “Green Smoothie” recipes. It's also an essential ingredient in Southern cooking. To say it straight away, green cabbage is also referred to regionally as brown cabbage, for example in Braunschweig, Hanover, the Magdeburger Börde and Bremen and .... Green cabbage was long considered rabbit food in Baden-Württemberg.

Component of many "Green Smoothie" recipes

gruenkohl 5Traditionally, pinkel is always served with hearty green cabbage. Pinkel is a smoked, coarse-grained grützwurst that is eaten in north-west Germany, particularly in the Oldenburg and Bremen area and in Friesland, while in more eastern areas of northern Germany Bregenwurst is more a part of the country's traditional kale dish. In the southern parts of the German-speaking area, Pinkel is virtually unknown and hardly available.

Pinkel basically consists of bacon, oat or barley groats, beef tallow, lard, onions, salt, pepper and other spices. The exact composition of the recipe is kept as a trade secret by the respective butchers and varies from village to village. Pinkel with a higher proportion of meat are also referred to as meat pinkel or Oldenburg pinkel. Traditionally, pinkel is filled into edible small pig intestines or beef rectums, while today edible artificial intestines are also used as sausage skins.

There are different interpretations of the name, which, however, do not associate the name with either “pee” or “fine pee” (for a vain person). Rather, the term pee meant a crowded mass or a short, thick object. The interpretation derived from Pinker for the beef rectum, which is traditionally used as a sausage casing to this day, is similar.

gruenkohl 3The so-called "Kohl-und-Pinkel-Tours" by families, friends and acquaintances as well as employees and clubs have a long tradition as winter excursions to country inns, often combined with the typical regional sports of Boßeln and Klootschiessen. They are particularly popular in and around Bremen and in the Oldenburger Land. After the tour, kale with pee is traditionally served. The cabbage and Pinkel eating is a particularly nutritious and fatty dish, to which other ingredients such as boiled sausages, fatty striped bacon, pork chops or ribs are also served.

When eating cabbage and pee, the person who ate the longest gets a so-called "feed medal" (a medal made from a boiled lower jaw of a pig, which is attached to a chain worn around the neck). It is an honour to earn this medal, similar to that of a marksman.

gruenkohl 6In many communities where kale is celebrated, kale kings are also crowned. While these are mostly local notables, in some cities, such as Osnabrück, this honour is given to celebrities from business, entertainment, politics or sport.

Once a year, the city of Oldenburg invites high-ranking personalities from politics, business and culture to promote themselves in political Berlin on the occasion of the "Defbig Ollnborger Gröönkohl-Ätens" and to elect a politician as the "Oldenburg Cabbage King". The list of officials includes all the important names in German politics.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Federal President Christian Wulff have also held the title. The organizer hopes that the king or queen will defend the interests of the city during the "term of office". Every king or queen is obliged to visit the city of Oldenburg at least once during their reign.

This usually happens as part of the city festival or the Kramermarkt.

Preparation of kale according to grandma's recipe

gruenkohl 2Heat the goose fat in a large saucepan and sauté the finely diced onions in it. Add the freshly plucked cabbage and pour in ¾ litre of hot broth.

Add pee according to the number of people. Add other ingredients such as bacon, Mettenden or Bregenwurst. Cover the pot and simmer very gently over low heat for 2 hours. Stir the cabbage from time to time so that nothing burns.

Do not add Kassel chops to the cabbage, they become dry and hard during the long cooking process. After 2 hours, fish the bacon and sausages out of the cabbage and set aside. Now the tasting begins! Stir salt, pepper, mustard and possibly a crumbled bouillon cube into the cabbage. Pour in some more broth? You can have a snack now, but you won't eat until tomorrow. Therefore, the pot is placed in a cool place to cool with the lid not completely closed.

The next day, reheat the cabbage, stirring occasionally. The consistency of the cabbage will probably be a bit too runny, so stir in the oatmeal and cook it briefly. If you had done this yesterday, you would have to keep stirring the cabbage to keep it from burning. Everyone has to judge for themselves how much, whether 2, 3 or 5 tablespoons of oatmeal. When the cabbage is done, it should be creamy but not runny.

Place the meat and sausages in a saucepan and fill with broth until everything is covered. Heat and simmer, but do not let it boil, otherwise the pee sausages would burst. You can prick the sausages to drain excess fat. Heat the Kasseler chops in the same way.

gruenkohl 4Expect at least 1 pinkel, ½ mettwurst and 1 piece of bacon or pork loin per person.

Side dishes: Boiled potatoes and/or fried potatoes made from yesterday's jacket potatoes.

There is also a smoked variant of the pinkel, which some people prefer. When cooked with the cabbage, it tastes a bit more intense.

This dish is definitely not diet food!

2.0 kg kale, preferably freshly called
4 onions
50 grams of goose fat
1 liter of meat broth
2-3 tablespoons medium hot mustard
At least 1 pinkelwurst per person
1/2 Mettenden per person
400 grams of smoked bacon
Kassel chops according to the number of people
Oatmeal as needed
Salt and pepper from the mill

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Life | Outdoors