Fermented Sauerkraut

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Fermented sauerkraut is a common and great side full of probiotics to aid in gut health. Surprisingly, it is not at all hard to make at home with just two ingredients and it is much healthier and cheaper than store bought. 

fermented sauerkraut in jar with mixing bowl

I’m sure I have made it very obvious where I stand with fermented food from my yogurt making and sourdough recipes, but I love making fermented food. It is great for preserving some foods and adding gut healthy probiotics into our diet.

I fought making (and eating) sauerkraut for a long time. My dad has always loved it on hot dogs but the thought and smell was just gross. I figured if I made my own fermented pickles, the probiotics and health benefits are the same and so it was fine. But I love trying to make new things so one day I made some for my dad and after trying it, I preferred it to my pickles. 

I am still working on a good fermented pickle. The problem with pickles is that they are hard to keep crispy and crunchy. They always come out a bit soft even when they are freshly fermented and not old. But not sauerkraut, at least not the way I make it. It is crunchy but has the same delicious pickle-ey flavor. 

You know what else? Cabbage is much easier to find locally in more than just summer. Pickles are fun and I am still working on my go to method, but they are only seasonally available in the summer. Cabbage can handle cooler weather and is great for storage. Oh, and it makes its own brine so less work on me!

Fermented sauerkraut is seriously easy. 

  1. Chop cabbage
  2. Add salt and make brine
  3. Jar cabbage
  4. Ferment at room temperature

That is a few more steps than I really imagined writing out but each step is simple, I promise. Of course, this is just how I have been making our sauerkraut. I have adjusted things every time I made it to get the crunchy texture that I like and only enough for our family to eat until it gets mushy. 

We were running low on sauerkraut so I planned for a food prep day today to make another batch, with my little helper of course. I figured I could snap a few photos and write out exactly what I do. 

Tips I Have Learned

  • Chop the cabbage thin but not too thin. The thickness of the cabbage is what creates the crunchy texture. 
  • You can just run your cabbage through the food processor but I definitely prefer to chop it. Less dishes and the texture is better. 
  • Place a dish under the jar while it ferments. It will sweat and leak. 
  • Be sure to check the jar regularly to make sure all cabbage is submerged to avoid mold or bad bacterial growth. You can use weights, a spring made for fermenting, the outer cabbage leaves or even washed rocks added to a baggie to keep the cabbage submerged. The spring is my favorite but I have not tried weights other than rocks (rocks are my least favorite option).
  • I prefer small batches as opposed to making large jars. This keeps my fridge clean and keeps a more appetizing ferment. 
baby holding chopped purple cabbage

Tools

Glass Jar
Spring, rocks or cabbage leaves
Knife and cutting board
Mixing Bowl
1 head of cabbage (I use 1 head per quart jar)
1 tablespoon quality salt (I use Redmond Real or the large Celtic salt)

Fermented Sauerkraut

Chop Cabbage

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. 

Chop all four sides around the core of the cabbage. The chop into thin pieces. Here is about the size I chop mine into. 

thinly chopped purple cabbage in hand for sauerkraut

You could also run through a food processor but I do not. I prefer just chopping quickly with a knife. Listen to an audiobook, podcast or a good Hallmark show. Yes I did choose the Hallmark option while making sauerkraut today and I am not ashamed. 

Rinse the chopped cabbage well and add to a large mixing bowl.

Make Brine

Add one tablespoon of salt for every head of cabbage and begin mixing and massaging the salt into the cabbage. The cabbage will start to sweat and produce its own brine. 

Jar Cabbage

Once the cabbage has condensed to about ⅔-½ of its volume and there is a good amount of brine in the bowl, begin to pack the cabbage into a quart sized jar. Press the cabbage in tightly. 

Fill the jar with the brine until fully submerged and then top with spring, rocks or cabbage leaves. If I use the cabbage leaves instead of my springs, I like to wedge them under the mouth of the jar to ensure everything is fully covered. I have heard good things about the glass weights but do not have any myself. 

sauerkraut in jar

Ferment

Add a lid. I use a fermenting lid that has a hole in the top to allow the gasses to escape but you can also just add a loose lid and not tighten it. 

I like to save any extra brine (if there is any) in case I need to add more over the ferment time. 

Fermented Sauerkraut

Fermented Sauerkraut

Fermented sauerkraut is a common and great side full of probiotics to aid in gut health. Surprisingly, it is not at all hard to make at home with just two ingredients and it is much healthier and cheaper than store bought. 

Ingredients

  • Glass Jar
  • Spring, rocks or cabbage leaves
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Mixing Bowl
  • 1 head of cabbage (I use 1 head per quart jar)
  • 1 tablespoon quality salt (I use Redmond Real or the large Celtic salt)

Instructions

Chop Cabbage

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. 

Chop all four sides around the core of the cabbage. The chop into thin pieces. Here is about the size I chop mine into. 

You could also run through a food processor but I do not. I prefer just chopping quickly with a knife. Listen to an audiobook, podcast or a good Hallmark show. Yes I did choose the Hallmark option while making sauerkraut today and I am not ashamed. 



Rinse the chopped cabbage well and add to a large mixing bowl.



Make Brine



Add one tablespoon of salt for every head of cabbage and begin mixing and massaging the salt into the cabbage. The cabbage will start to sweat and produce its own brine. 



Jar Cabbage



Once the cabbage has condensed to about ⅔-½ of its volume and there is a good amount of brine in the bowl, begin to pack the cabbage into a quart sized jar. Press the cabbage in tightly. 



Fill the jar with the brine until fully submerged and then top with spring, rocks or cabbage leaves. If I use the cabbage leaves instead of my springs, I like to wedge them under the mouth of the jar to ensure everything is fully covered. I have heard good things about the glass weights but do not have any myself. 

Ferment



Add a lid. I use a fermenting lid that has a hole in the top to allow the gasses to escape but you can also just add a loose lid and not tighten it. 



I like to save any extra brine (if there is any) in case I need to add more over the ferment time. 

Notes

  • Chop the cabbage thin but not too thin. The thickness of the cabbage is what creates the crunchy texture. 
  • You can just run your cabbage through the food processor but I definitely prefer to chop it. Less dishes and the texture is better. 
  • Place a dish under the jar while it ferments. It will sweat and leak. 
  • Be sure to check the jar regularly to make sure all cabbage is submerged to avoid mold or bad bacterial growth. You can use weights, a spring made for fermenting, the outer cabbage leaves or even washed rocks added to a baggie to keep the cabbage submerged. The spring is my favorite but I have not tried weights other than rocks (rocks are my least favorite option).
  • I prefer small batches as opposed to making large jars. This keeps my fridge clean and keeps a more appetizing ferment. 
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