Making homemade sauerkraut is so easy! The benefits and taste far outweigh the store-bought version though (hi, probiotics).
I must admit that this was my first ever attempt at making sauerkraut. And it was so good! I couldn't believe just how simple it is to make. Sauerkraut to Germans is like Ranch Dressing to Americans. It's hard to live without it.
I love that the homemade, non-processed version has lots of natural probiotics from the lactic acid in the fermentation process. This makes homemade sauerkraut super healthy for your gut! You can eat it uncooked to really take advantage of those probiotics. However, most Germans serve it cooked and warm.
A lot of German recipes are served with sauerkraut on the side (like Oma Sieghilde’s Erbsbrei, a simple pea and potato puree), or even as part of the meal (like aunt Heidrun's sauerkraut and potato casserole). It's hard to eat German food and not run across it.
The only ingredients needed to make Sauerkraut at home are cabbage and salt, that's it! Unless you count time as an ingredient because the fermentation process takes about a week. Now you'll also want to have some larger sized jars handy that you are able to seal tightly, which is needed for the one week long fermentation process. I love these quart-sized Weck jars, which are also German and so vintage looking.
Each one of these jars will be big enough to hold an entire recipe of Sauerkraut and would be perfect to gift to all of the German food loving people in your life.
Looking for more ways of what to make with sauerkraut? Try my delicious Schupfnudeln, which are homemade potato 'noodles' with bacon and sauerkraut.
- 1 kg cabbage feel free to experiment and white/green cabbage or red cabbage
- 10 g sea salt
- 2 tsp grated ginger as used in my red cabbage, but feel free to leave it plain
- ½ teaspoon red crushed chili flakes as used in my red cabbage, but feel free to leave it plain
- Clean out your jars with hot water. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut into quarters and cut out the core. Now thinly slice the cabbage (I thinkt the thinner, the better) and combine in a bowl with the salt and spices (spices are optional).
- Now it's time to knead the cabbage for about 5 to 6 minutes (now that's some work - I had to take my shirt off for this one :-D). This will really help extract all the natural juices in the cabbage and you should have quite a bit of juice in your bowl once you're done.
- Fill the cabbage into jars (glass is best I think, that way you can better observe what is happening), pressing it down, so it's covered by the juices. Leave about an inch of room to the top of the glass. Now tightly seal your jars with the lid.
- Place the jars on a rimmed tray and wrap in old linen towels. It's possible that some of the juice will bubble up during the fermentation process and find its way out of the jars. The towels will help soak up the juices. Allow to sit at room temperature for one week.
- Once there are no more bubbles, the sauerkraut can be transfered to loosely sealed jars and stored in a cool and dark place for up to a year! After about 3 to 4 days your Sauerkraut will be ready to eat. It will however continue to ferment slowly and the taste will change over time as well. You can enjoy it raw, which will leave all the good probiotics intact, or you can cook it with onion, bacon, apples, sausage... yum!
- Get creative! When kneading the cabbage, add different kinds of spices. You can also use Kohlrabi or any other type of cabbage, add carrots, etc. There are no limits to what you can some up with!