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How to make sauerkraut

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Sauerkraut, a traditional German food high in vitamin C and healthy probiotics. It’s a simple recipe that requires only 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt.

Sauerkraut is made of cabbage cut very finely and fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It’s a traditional German food that contains lots of vitamin C and a natural source of healthy probiotics, which have so many benefits. An easy recipe made with only 2 ingredients!

Many store-bought sauerkrauts are pasteurized and full of additives and preservatives, so this homemade version is more nutritious and healthier. Besides, it’s so inexpensive and easy to make that you won’t get it at the store ever again!

This recipe works perfectly as a side dish because it’s delicious and savory. It’s great to eat with vegan meat substitutes such as seitan and it will give your dishes a wonderful taste. It also has a very nice texture and a unique flavor.

Sauerkraut, a very simple, good, healthy, and nutritious German recipe. It’s so easy to make and high in vitamin C, and it requires only 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt. Enjoy it as a side dish with your favorite meals!

How to make sauerkraut – Step by step

Step-by-step photos of how to make sauerkraut
  • Cut the cabbage into quarters (photo 1) and slice it into thin strips (photo 2).
  • Combine the cabbage and salt in a large mixing bowl (photo 3). Let it stand for 10 minutes.
  • Massage and squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage (photo 4) for 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Pack the cabbage into the jar as tightly as you can, pressing with your fist or a spoon (photo 5) and add the liquid it released (photo 6).
  • Close the jar and set aside at room temperature out of direct sunlight for about 4 weeks. Then transfer it into the fridge.

Pro tips

  • Feel free to use any other type of cabbage.
  • Some people use different spices and ingredients to give the sauerkraut more flavor.
  • Remember to sterilize the jar you will be using by boiling it before you make this recipe. You could also divide it into smaller jars if you don’t have a large one.
  • I’d recommend you use a Fido jar because they keep the oxygen out. If you don’t, you should add a layer of olive oil at the top of the ferment, or place something heavy over the cabbage to help hold it under the brine.
  • I usually use sea or Himalayan pink salt for this recipe, but any kind of salt will do.
  • It’s very important that you completely submerge the cabbage, otherwise, the sauerkraut will get spoiled. Feel free to add something on top of the cabbage so it doesn’t float.
Side shot of a jar of sauerkraut

How long will sauerkraut keep?

This food has a very long shelf life, although it is so tasty you will eat it in no time! You just need to keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last for up to 6 months.

Can I freeze sauerkraut?

Although it will last for months in the fridge, you can freeze it if you have lots of leftovers. To do it you just need to transfer your sauerkraut into freezer-friendly containers and keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months.

However, it’s best to consume it during the first 2 months. To defrost, you can leave it in the fridge or at room temperature overnight.

How to serve sauerkraut

This recipe works as the perfect side dish for lots of recipes. You could eat it with seitan, vegan meatloaf and tofu stir fry or use it as a salad ingredient. It would taste great on dishes like quinoa salad or cauliflower steaks as well.

Looking for more side dish recipes?

Close-up shot of a bowl of sauerkraut

Did you make this sauerkraut recipe?

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Square photo of a bowl of sauerkraut

How to make sauerkraut

  • Author: Iosune
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Side Dish, How to
  • German
  • Vegan

Sauerkraut, a traditional German food high in vitamin C and healthy probiotics. It’s a simple recipe that requires only 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt.

Ingredients

  • 1 head green cabbage (3.3 pounds or 1.5 kilos)
  • 1.5 tbsp salt, I usually use sea or Himalayan pink salt, but any salt will do

Instructions

  1. Cut the cabbage into quarters and slice it into thin strips.
  2. Combine the cabbage and salt in a large mixing bowl. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Massage and squeeze the cabbage and salt together with your hands, kneading it thoroughly to break up the cellular structure of the shredded cabbage. It will become watery and limp and will also release its juice. This will take 5 or 10 minutes or until the cabbage reduces its volume by half.
  4. Pack the cabbage into the jar as tightly as you can, pressing with your fist or a spoon, and add the liquid it released. If the cabbage isn’t completely submerged in it, you can make some brine dissolving 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt in one cup of water (250 ml) and add enough to completely cover the cabbage.
  5. Close the jar and set aside at room temperature out of direct sunlight for about 4 weeks. Then transfer it into the fridge.
  6. Serve it as a side dish with recipes like seitan, vegan meatloaf, tofu stir fry, or cauliflower steaks. It would also work great as a salad ingredient on quinoa salad or any other kind of salad.
  7. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

  • Feel free to use any other type of cabbage.
  • Some people use different spices and ingredients to give the sauerkraut more flavor.
  • Remember to sterilize the jar you will be using by boiling it before you make this recipe. You could also divide it into smaller jars if you don’t have a large one.
  • I’d recommend you use a Fido jar because they keep the oxygen out. If you don’t, you should add a layer of olive oil at the top of the ferment, or place something heavy over the cabbage to help hold it under the brine.
  • I usually use sea salt for this recipe.
  • It’s very important that you completely submerge the cabbage, otherwise, the sauerkraut will get spoiled. Feel free to add something on top of the cabbage so it doesn’t float.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 20
  • Sodium: 720 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Fiber: 4 g

Curved “made this” text MADE THISRecipe?

Update Notes: This post was originally published in October of 2015, but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions and tips in June of 2020.

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