Today, we'll talk about the most common Lithuanian food ingredients. Lithuanian cuisine is an intriguing mix of influences. The eastern part of the country shares a border with Russia, which explains why you’ll find many Slavic ingredients and seasonings in Lithuanian cooking. The rest of Lithuania’s neighbors can also be found on Lithuanian menus: Poland, Latvia, and Belarus. The country’s small size and proximity to these three nations explain why Lithuanian cooking incorporates many different regional influences. Lithuanian food is a bubbling pot of many different cuisines.
However, Lithuanian cuisine has something of regional identity of its own. The Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, has a university and several international schools, so the city has become a culinary hub. This accounts for many restaurants, cafes, and other eateries in the city. Traditional regional dishes are also very popular, especially in the countryside.
The list of Lithuanian food ingredients is long and goes on and on. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about Lithuanian food ingredients.
Sauerkraut is a classic Lithuanian ingredient. It’s made by salting and fermenting shredded or chopped, raw or cooked vegetables. There are many different types of sauerkraut, some made with red cabbage, others with white cabbage, and others with a mix of both.
Typically, sauerkraut is eaten with meat or used to accompany other dishes. It’s also used as an ingredient in some Lithuanian soups and stews. Traditionally, it was made by households as a way to preserve their own cabbage and other vegetables from the summer months, when fresh produce was at its peak.
Today, sauerkraut is made commercially in a large number of ways.
|pickled mushrooms||marinuoti grybai|
|pickled carrots||marinuotos morkos|
|pickled peppers||marinuotos paprikos|
|pickled onions||marinuoti svogūnai|
|pickled radishes||marinuoti ridikai|
Most Lithuanians prefer their food with a lot less salt than you might find in other cuisines when it comes to spices. Codified by law, table salt is merely an accessory in Lithuanian cooking, with more traditional salts such as lemon, dill, and mustard being preferred.
Lithuanian seasonings tend to be quite strong, so it’s important to use them sparingly. They’re also often very unique, so you won’t find them in the spice racks of many other countries.
One of the most common seasonings is mustard. It’s used both in dressings and as a flavoring in its own right. It’s also used as a pickle, both as a side dish and as a condiment for main courses. Mustard pickles can be found in all Lithuanian restaurants, as well as in some homes.
Vegetables play an important part in Lithuanian cuisine. They’re used in soups, stews, casseroles, side dishes, and pickles. One of the most popular vegetables in Lithuania is beetroot (or “sour” as it’s known in English). It can be found in all supermarkets and is often served as a side dish with meat or fish. Carrots, beets, and other root vegetables are often eaten during the winter months when seasonal produce is at its lowest.
Lithuanian meat and fish dishes tend to be very straightforward, relying on fresh ingredients and a good balance of flavors rather than heavily spiced. Pork is most common, but other meats such as beef, veal, and lamb are also eaten. Since the country shares a border with the Baltic Sea, fish has become a common ingredient in Lithuanian cuisine.
Salmons, cod, perches, and other types of fresh fish are very popular. They’re usually eaten cooked in a casserole or with vegetables. Dried fish is also eaten, usually as a flavoring in soups and stews.
|ground beef||Malta jautiena|
|minced meat||Malta mėsa|
Fruit is used in all its variety in Lithuanian cuisine. Fruits are a cheap, healthy, and tasty way to fill up on a budget. Most Lithuanians have a favorite fruit, and you’ll often find it on restaurant and homemade dessert menus.
Dried fruits and nuts are used in a range of sweet and savory dishes in Lithuania. They’re often combined with meat or fish, combined with spices and seasonings, or added to sweet dessert dishes. The most common dried fruit is probably raisins. They’re usually eaten as a snack or dessert and are sometimes used in savory dishes.
Nuts are also used in various savory and sweet dishes in Lithuania. Walnuts, in particular, are a traditional Christmas food, while other nuts such as almonds and pistachios are eaten throughout the year.
|dried plums||džiovintos slyvos|
|dried apricots||džiovintų abrikosų|
Many of the sweet treats you’ll find in other cuisines are also found in Lithuania, including crepes, doughnuts, and strudels. However, one item that’s unique to Lithuania is what they call “cuckoo clocks” – dainty little desserts with a variety of fillings that resemble cuckoo clocks.
Lithuanian pastries and desserts are some of the most interesting in Europe. This is somewhat because there’s such a large variety of them and partly because many of them are filled with history and myth.
Doughnuts (kugelis) come in a huge variety of flavors and sizes.
|potato pancakes||bulviniai blynai|
|potato dumplings||bulvių kukuliai|
|curd cheese pancakes||varškėčiai|
|Christmas Eve cakes||Kūčiukai|
|curd snack||varškės sūrelis|
|curd cheese doughnuts||varškės spurgos|
|honey cake||medaus tortas|
Many Lithuanian sauces are made using mustard as the main dressing. Traditionally, it’s used in both savory and sweet dishes, often as a condiment with vegetables such as sauerkraut.
Sauces and dressings are also very important to a Lithuanian meal. They add flavor, variety, and healthiness to a meal. Mayonnaise is a common sauce found in both sweet and savory dishes.
Raita is a sour cream sauce, often eaten as a dip with bread.
|chili sauce||Čili padažas|
|cranberry sauce||spanguolių padažas|
|avocado sauce||avokado padažas|
|tartar sauce||tartaro padažas|
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