I have always loved sauerkraut. But after trying a homemade sauerkraut recipe, the commercially canned stuff just doesn't cut it anymore. Once I discovered how flavorful and nutritious fermented veggies are, I enrolled in a fermentation class at the local community center to help me master the basics. I was shocked at how easy it was and quickly began experimenting at home with different combinations of vegetables to try.
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Regardless of my latest fermentation project, I always have sauerkraut on hand for two reasons: taste and simplicity. The tang and crunchy texture keep me coming back, and prep is a breeze. There's really nothing to it. The sauerkraut recipe consists of cabbage, salt, and a container to put it in. The hardest part about making sauerkraut is waiting to eat it!
Sauerkraut relies on lacto-fermentation. The Lactobacillus bacteria on the cabbage converts sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetable and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. The salt also helps prevent bad bacteria from growing, so don't be afraid of the kraut!
It's totally safe, but you'll need to be careful to use clean containers and utensils during preparation as to not introduce potential contaminants. I use a bowl, wide-mouth mason jar, and a canning funnel. The collapsible canning funnel that I use fits both regular and wide-mouth mason jars and dramatically reduces the mess. The first few times I made sauerkraut, I did it without a funnel and ended up with half of it on the counter.
- 1 Head Cabbage Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
- Shred or chop cabbage.
- Place cabbage into large bowl and add salt.
- Mash everything with a tamp or your hands to create brine until cabbage is limp and translucent.
- Pack cabbage and brine tightly into clean container until all of the cabbage is submerged.
- Ensure cabbage remains submerged by placing a cabbage leaf and a clean weight over the top.
- Cover with cloth, secure with band.
- Let sit at room temperature for several days up to 6+ weeks, until it reaches desired flavor.
- Refrigerate to stop the fermentation process.
I prefer to eat my sauerkraut raw to reap the benefits of the probiotic bacteria. When cooked, the heat kills off the gut-healthy live cultures. Try adding sauerkraut to a salad, garnish to your favorite protein or as a side-dish of its own. You can add additional seasonings or ferment with other veggies for unique flavor combinations. Caraway seeds are a very popular addition to sauerkraut recipes.
Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.
Glenna Bertram says
The cabbage, sour kraut recipe look delicious. Do you cover with water or what is the liquid?
When you squeeze the cabbage with salt, it actually pulls fluid from the cabbage. You just cover the cabbage with this liquid and the cabbage ferments to make sauerkraut. 🙂
Important to note, in the first part of the fermentation process, bad bacteria can grow until the PH gets down to 3-4 which kills the bad bacteria off, and then provides the ideal environment for the good bacteria to flourish. This also works better if there's no oxygen. For those reasons a minimum of a 2-3 weeks should be given to the sauerkraut and a fido jar can be used to keep the environment anaerobic as CO2 will push all the oxygen out as it ferments.
Sauerkraut Billy says
These are great pictures! I love that you enrolled in a fermentation class to learn more! I sort of did a similar thing but taught myself online via videos and research. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe! can't wait to give this one a try!
I'm not sure if my family will eat that much sauerkraut before it goes bad. Is there a way to preserve it without destroying the beneficial bacteria? How long will finished sauerkraut keep in the refrigerator?
Tasha Metcalf says
As long as it's covered in the brine and refrigerated, the sauerkraut itself won't go bad for months. I'm not sure how long the probiotic bacteria survive in these conditions though, I suspect not nearly as long.
My apologies if I’ve missed it, but how much of the kraut is considered a serving?