This homemade sauerkraut recipe is an easy and gut healthy way to get probiotics. The perfect side to a meal, this fermented raw sauerkraut will become a family staple.
I already blogged a little about probiotics and why they are so important in my Raw Organic Milk Kefir post.
Since they do so much to support a healthy immune system and regulate digestion, it makes sense to find a way to eat fermented foods daily.
The good news is this is a inexpensive way to improve gut health
You could spend $50 a month on good quality probiotic pills, or you can pick up a couple of heads of cabbage at about 50 cents a pound, depending on the season, and consume your probiotics with dinner.
Homemade sauerkraut is just so delicious! We eat it with almost everything, meatloaf, salmon, steak, burritos, eggs, pizza..seriously it is good with almost anything. Also, it is so nice to have an instant and simple side dish ready at all times in the fridge.
Although fermenting vegetables sounds very intimidating and difficult, I can assure you it is a super simple and quick process.
Why you will love making your own Sauerkraut:
Easy: All you need is a few simple ingredients to make your own homemade sauerkraut.
Inexpensive: Ever seen how much grocery store kraut costs. It isn’t cheap, but making a huge batch yourself will only cost a few dollars.
Healthy: Cabbage ferments are full of health benefits. From gut friendly bacteria, to lots of vitamins and minerals.
Delicious: We love using this side in so many dishes. Or just eat it straight of the jar.
Benefits of Fermented Sauerkraut:
Like any fermented food, fermented sauerkraut is beaming with probiotics, aka good bacteria like lactic acid bacteria (including lactobacillus bacteria). When salt and cabbage are massaged together and allowed to sit for a few days, lactobacillus starts to populate.
This beneficial bacteria that can be found in lots of fermented foods like yogurt, can help increase your gut bacteria. Regular consumption of fermented foods have been shown to improve digestion, increase immunity, reduce the risk of cancer, and help reduce inflammation (source).
Now if you have never tried sauerkraut before and you want to test to see if you even like it, the best sauerkraut for probiotics is Bubbies. You should find it in the refrigerated section and the first ingredient should include cabbage and it shouldn’t have any vinegar or preservatives.
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Tips For Making Homemade Sauerkraut:
- I love using glass fermentation weights, but if you don’t have any you can use clean rocks in a sealed ziplock bag.
- Those who are new to sauerkraut may want to try fermenting for 3 days at first before any longer fermentation period.
- If any cabbage is above the liquid it will be exposed to oxygen and possibly mold, so that is why it is so important to keep it under the liquid.
- A food processor makes this process really simple, if you don’t have one you can just chop it as finely as possible.
- Not using enough salt may cause harmful bacteria to grow. The point of the salt is to keep the unwanted bacteria out and only allow the good bacteria to flourish.
Tools you may needed:
Fermentation kit (not necessary, but very handy)
Glass jar or fermentation crock. I usually just use a large mason jar.
Salt – Choose sea salt, kosher salt, or pink Himalayan salt.-For 5 pounds of cabbage, you would want to use 3 tablespoons of salt. I had 3.5 pounds, so I used 2 tablespoons.
Cabbage: 3 small heads of cabbage
How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut:
Step 1: Shred Cabbage
With clean hands, pull off a few of the outer leaves from the top of the cabbage and set aside for the last step.
Next, core the head of cabbage and cut it into pieces small enough to fit in your food processor. If you do not have a food processor, just cut it into shreds or grate with a box grater. If you do have one, this part will go a little faster.
Place into a food processor and shred.
Step 2: Add Salt And Work It Together
Put the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
For 5 pounds of cabbage, use 3 tablespoons of salt. I had 3.5 pounds, so I used 2 tablespoons.
Work the salt in with your hands until it starts to get juicy. The juice that is created when massaging the cabbage and salt together is the brine. You may have to work it for several minutes before it creates enough brine to move onto the next step. You can also use a wooden spoon to do this.
Step 3: Place In Mason Jar
Next, put all the fresh cabbage and the brine into a clean jar (you could use a fermentation crock, half gallon, or quart jars). Punch it down until all the cabbage is submerged beneath the brine.
Fold up the leaves you reserved earlier and place layers of cabbage on the top to keep all the cabbage down beneath the brine.
Place a fermentation weight on top and press down making sure there is enough brine to cover all of the cabbage.
You could also place rocks in a ziplock bag and place the ziplock on top of the folded up cabbage leaves and the weight should be enough to keep all of your shredded cabbage beneath the brine. If any raw cabbage is above the liquid it will be exposed to oxygen and possibly mold, so that is why it is so important to keep it under the liquid.
Add a lid or a fermentation lid to the top of the jar.
Step 4: Fermentation Time
Leave it out on the counter at room temperature for 5 days-3 weeks, preferably out of direct sunlight. It will just become more pungent as it sits. Taste after a few days to see if the desired tangy flavor has occurred. If this is your first time trying homemade sauerkraut, it may be better to ferment it for less time.
You may want place the jars on a pan or baking dish just in case the brine spills over. The jar may also need to be burped if not using a fermentation lid.
Remove fermentation weight and folded up cabbage leaves, put the lid on the jar and store in the fridge.
- Caraway seeds
- Juniper berries
- Shredded fennel or fennel seeds
How To Serve Homemade Sauerkraut:
- Serve it daily with dinner or lunch and enjoy the probiotic benefits. We usually just use it as a side.
- Add it to salad.
- You can eat it warm or cold, but for probiotic purposes you should eat it cold since heating it can destroy the beneficial bacteria.
- Top sandwiches – we love adding it to chicken salad or tuna salad.
- Hot dogs (try to choose organic grass-fed when possible) taste extra yummy with a serving of sauerkraut on top.
- Add to pizza. May sound odd, but really yummy.
How Long does fermented sauerkraut last?
Properly prepared and stored in dark cold storage (like the refrigerator), it can last at least around 6 months.
Look for any signs of mold, an even color throughout, and it still looks edible.
Make sure to keep the lid tight in refrigeration storage (after the fermentation process).
Use your nose to see if it still smells as it should. It shouldn’t smell off and make sure the texture is still good, and not mushy.
Lastly, give it a little taste to make to make sure it tastes good.
How long does sauerkraut take to ferment?
It can take 5 days to 3 weeks for sauerkraut to ferment. It will depend on the environment and temperature during the fermentation process. Warmer conditions speed up the fermentation.
How long does it take to make sauerkraut?
It takes about 15 minutes of prep time and then about a week to ferment (could be shorter or longer depending on the temperature of the home.)
What is the difference between fermented sauerkraut and regular sauerkraut?
Sauerkraut is sliced cabbage that has been fermented. Regular sauerkraut from the store may not have been fermented as long or has been canned killing a lot of the beneficial lactic acid bacteria.
Can I use any kind of cabbage for sauerkraut?
Yes, any cabbage can be fermented. Typically I use green cabbage because it is cheap.
More Fermented Foods Straight From The Farmhouse Kitchen
- Fermented Carrots Recipe
- Lacto Fermented Salsa Recipe
- How To Make Fermented Jalapenos
- Berry Kefir Breakfast Smoothie
- How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot
If you try this recipe and love it, I would love it if you gave it 5 stars! Thank you!
- 3 heads of cabbage
- Salt - 2-3 tablespoons
- Pull off a few of the outer leaves and set aside for the last step.
- Next, core the cabbage and cut it into pieces small enough to fit in your food processor. If you do not have a food processor, just cut it into shreds. If you do have one, this part will go a little faster.
- Put the shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.
- For 5 pounds of cabbage, use 3 tablespoons of salt. I had 3.5 pounds, so I used 2 tablespoons.
- Work the salt in with your hands until it starts to get produce a juicy brine. You may have to work it for several minutes before it gets juicy enough to move onto the next step.
- Next, put all the cabbage and the brine into a half gallon mason jar. Punch it down until all the cabbage is submerged beneath the brine.
- Fold up the cabbage leaves you reserved earlier and place on the top to keep all the cabbage down beneath the brine.
- Place fermentation weight on top of the folded cabbage and press it down until all of the cabbage is submerged in the brine.
- Leave it out on the counter for 5 days-3 weeks. It will just become more pungent as it sits. If this is your first time trying homemade sauerkraut, it may be better to ferment it for less time.
- Remove the weight and folded up cabbage leaves, put the lid on the jar and store in the fridge.
If any is above the liquid it will be exposed to oxygen and possibly mold, so that is why it is so important to keep it under the liquid. My preferred way to keep it under the brine is with glass fermenting weight, but I have also used heavy flat rocks wrapped in whole cabbage leaves or ziplock bags to weigh it down.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 25 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 35Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g