Making Sauerkraut

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND

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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…

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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!

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Traditional Sauerkraut Recipe


  • *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


  • 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.

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