Traditional sauerkraut is a lacto-fermented/cultured food made from cabbage that is absolutely fabulous for your health. A few of its many healthy attributes: it is high in probiotics that aid the digestive and immune systems, it contains all the enzymes inherent in raw foods, and it has lots of vitamin C.

Making sauerkraut at home is something I really enjoy. It’s too bad I somehow forgot about making sauerkraut when I planted my garden, and I have no homegrown cabbage…oh, well, there is always next year!

It is best to use organic cabbage; one head of cabbage will yield about 1 quart of homemade sauerkraut. You can use green or red cabbage (or a combination of the two). Though the cabbage I used in this recipe for making sauerkraut was not home-grown, it did come from a local CSA…

Traditional Sauerkraut Recipe

Ingredients:

*1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded (a food processor is great for this, but you could also do your shredding by hand)
*1 green apple, shredded- (optional, but I like the bit of sweetness this provides)
*1 tablespoon caraway seeds
*2 tablespoon Himalayan or sea salt (or use 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon homemade whey)

Directions:

1. In a large non-metal bowl, mix the cabbage with the caraway seeds, sea salt (and whey, if using). Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes so the cabbage wilts and a salty brine develops.

2. Spoon the cabbage into a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar, and as you do so, press down firmly with a pounder (the back of a wooden spoon will also do) until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar (this is because there will be some expansion while it is lacto-fermenting and you don't want it to overflow out of the jar).

3. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about three days before transferring to the refrigerator. You can eat your homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut right away, but the flavor gets even better over time.

While there is nothing wrong with making sauerkraut in jars, if you find that you like making sauerkraut, you may want to invest in a larger crock dedicated to the process.

The Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot uses ceramic weight stones to eliminate all chance of mold. It also has a special water sealing system that allows fermentation gasses to escape without allowing air to enter. This allows you to make lots of healthy sauerkraut at once.

This post is linked to Sustainable Eats’ Lacto-fermentation Blog Carnival!

 

14 Comments

  1. 1

    Kelly Harris — June 30, 2009 @ 9:06 am

    I just discovered your website and it is wonderful! I am going to make my first batch of sauerkraut tomorrow after I go to the market. Today, I will be going through your blog to find more wonderful info.

  2. 2

    Teresa — March 5, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    I have used your instructions several times now (w/o the caraway) and the kraut turns out perfect every time. The apple adds a wonderful taste!

    Thank you so much for sharing these easy instructions!

  3. 3

    drwinnie — March 5, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

    I’m so glad you like it Teresa!

  4. 4

    Pickled Cukes and Garlic Scapes | Healthy Green Kitchen — March 15, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    [...] you didn’t catch my recent post about making sauerkraut, you might not know what lacto-fermentation is (or that I am kind of obsessed with the [...]

  5. 5

    Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut | Healthy Green Kitchen — April 6, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

    [...] way I make lacto-fermented sauerkraut, in small batches, is very simple. I’ve blogged about it before, and all you need is cabbage, salt, glass jars and some time. Other additions, such as caraway [...]

  6. 6

    Eagosto — May 17, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

    Can I open the sauerkraut jar during the fermentation process (second day) without change of spoil it?

  7. 7

    drwinnie — May 17, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

    Yes, you can definitely open it to check on the progress…it won’t spoil it!

  8. 8

    Eagosto — May 17, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

    Thank you! Great information in your Blog & website! Excellent! :-)

  9. 9

    Eagosto — May 18, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

    Today was the 3rd day of the fermentation process for my sauerkraut. I just opened it and tested it….but I’m not sure if it’s right or not…(the flavor, since this is my first time making it) Now, I moved it to the fridge, for 3 more days…
    How I know that my sauerkraut has the right flavor…I’m kind of scare to eat it! :-+

  10. 10

    Michelle — June 20, 2010 @ 5:45 am

    I bought a Harsch crock, but ended up selling it again. The large size was so big and heavy that my dh had to help me move it, and I had to transfer the finished product into mason jars to store in the fridge since we are in a hot climate and it would get ‘overdone’ (not crisp, kind of cooked texture) if left out. Now I make a huge batch of 12 quart size mason jars at a time, directly in the mason jars. Easy to do, easy to store, easy for even the children to serve themselves. Save yourself the $$, the counter space, and the extra step and make your kraut directly in quart jars. That’s my tip!

  11. 11

    Cortido (Salvadoran Sauerkraut) | Healthy Green Kitchen — August 8, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

    [...] enjoy “regular” sauerkraut well enough (I’ve blogged about it before: here and here), but was looking for something else to make with my homegrown cabbage in honor of the Preserve the [...]

  12. 12

    DENISE — August 12, 2010 @ 8:37 am

    HOW LONG AFTER OPENEING THE JAR( AFTER THE 3RD DAY) CAN I LEAVE IT OUT OF THE COLD STORAGE WITHOUT SPOILING? THANKS!

  13. 13

    drwinnie — August 12, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    Denise,
    You should be able to leave in on the counter for a few more days (maybe even longer) with no problem.

  14. 14

    Alex — June 18, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    Hello there- I just discovered your site and am THRILLED about trying some recipes. I am hoping to ask you about sauerkraut. Last year I tried making saurkraut the way you suggest minus apples & whey. It did not work. It just spoiled, but did not properly ferment. The method of fermentation I used was “putting the jar into an oven with the light on”. I tried 2 batches with no luck. My house is quite cold so I was told it’s not a good idea to rely on room temperature. I also put jar on top of a heat-vent. I was told to use less salt then you suggest but make sure to get the natural juices of cabbages flowing from natural-pressing…..still no luck! I’d appreciate your suggestions.