Learn how to make sauerkraut easily at home, in four different flavors! Including a basic homemade sauerkraut recipe, plus a quick stove top version.
One week until Memorial Day and here I am sharing good for your gut food. Ooops! Actually, hear me out. This fermented veggie is a MUST for BBQ’s and summer holidays (think salads, grilled meat topping, side dishes, etc.) And just might help ease digestion when you’re consuming foods that aren’t so healthy, healthyish. You guys, fermented foods can do wonders with IBS, digestion, leaky gut, etc. I speak from 11+ years experience healing from digestive disorders. Yikes.
Also, I wanted to share my tips for making sauerkraut so that you didn’t feel so intimidated by the whole fermented veg thing. Education is key, don’t you think?
Speaking of fermented vegetables…..
Fermented vegetables – good for gut health
This homemade sauerkraut recipe is made with cabbage; just one of my favorite fermented vegetables. Remember my easy kimchi recipe? That’s another favorite! The reason I want you to learn how to make sauerkraut is because fermented foods don’t just taste amazing, but they’re also great for your digestive system.
I talk about gut health a lot (as mentioned above). In fact, so often that you probably know how passionate I am about it. Ya’ll, traditional foods made with simple ingredients can turn your health around for the better.
Fermented foods are packed with probiotics. In case you haven’t heard, probiotics are a good bacteria that forms during the process of fermentation. We eat the good bacteria and as a result, they help to keep our gut happy and healthy.
So what is fermentation? Fermentation takes place when harmless bacteria consume the natural sugars in foods (like vegetables, fruit and milk), converting them to organic acids and carbon dioxide.
This process gives the food a slightly sour, tangy taste but also prevents harmful bacteria from growing. This is why fermentation is the ideal way to prevent food from spoiling. Plus it gives food a different but AWESOME flavor and texture.
So, let’s learn how to make sauerkraut, in 4 different flavors. Why four flavors? Well, because you can never have too much of a good thing! And trust me, this homemade sauerkraut recipe is definitely a good thing!
Here are the varieties I have to share. Good luck trying to decide which one to make first!
- Red cabbage, beet, and ginger – delicious mixed with egg salad and potatoes.
- Apple caraway – my favorite on a turkey burger or veggie burger
- Spicy radish – killer topping for tacos!
- Onion and red cabbage – This is a quick stove top version. I could eat it by the jar full! Also great on grilled meats or fish.
Ways to Use Sauerkraut
There are a lot of tasty ways to use sauerkraut in recipes, but it’s also tasty on its own. It may be a simple side dish, but it’s packed with flavor!
- Give it a bit of SPICE with jalapeno and radish then top on a burger or taco.
- Apple sauerkraut is great on pork
- The beet and ginger version would be heavenly on veggie burgers or as topping for an omelet.
Or, keep it simple and serve the classic as a side dish with potatoes at a family picnic or gathering! I’m part german, it’s only natural to have potatoes and kraut at a family gathering. The kiwi (aka my New Zealand husband), on the other hand, is still new to it, but loves it with eggs and jalapeno! To each their own… with sauerkraut that is.
How to make sauerkraut
Let’s first go over what you need to make classic sauerkraut. Nothing fancy. Still tasty.
- 1 medium head of white cabbage
- kosher salt or pickling salt
- filtered water
- Glass jar, about 500-750 ml and a lid
- Large bucket, container or a mixing bowl
Once you get the hang of making classic sauerkraut, the flavoring add in are simple! Beets, apple, spices, pear, you name it! It’s all good. I’ll share my 4 favorite in the recipe tab below.
Now, the question remains.
Is there a quick way to make sauerkraut?
Yes! All you do is let the cabbage simmer with apple cider vinegar, spices, and oil in a saucepan! Okay so it’s not really fermented cabbage sauerkraut but the taste is similar. So if you’re not up for waiting a week for this gut health condiment, then by all means, try my quick version. It’s equally tasty and a great side dish or meat topper.
Classic Sauerkraut Ingredients
- 1 medium head of green cabbage and 1/2 a medium head (or 1 small head) of red cabbage – to be shredded or finely chopped
- 1 tbsp + kosher salt or pickling salt – extra if needed to reproduce brine
- 1/4 + cup or more filtered water
- Glass jars (anywhere between 10 ounces to 32 ounces)
- Large bowl, container or a mixing bowl
4 flavor variations and techniques –
- Mix and match the following fruit or vegetable
- 1 cup apple, radish, or beets (peeled, thinly sliced or grated)
- 1 tbsp + caraway seed
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- sliced jalapeno.
For Quick stove top version you will need
- 1/2 head of small red cabbage (shredded)
- 1/2 to 2/3 of a small sliced Red onion
- olive oil
- 1/3 to 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp caraway seed
Classic Sauerkraut Instructions
- Cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core and shred or finely chop cabbage with a knife. You can also use a food processor.
- Add cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt or pickling salt, toss through and set aside for 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Enough to let the cabbage “sweat” and create a brine. If you are adding in a fruit or vegetable, do so here with the cabbage. (i.e chopped apple, beets, jalapeño, or ginger).
- While the cabbage is creating the brine, prepare your jars. You can use a variety of sized canning jars (10 ounce to 32 ounce), just make sure they are clean and dry.
- Check the cabbage to see how much brine has been produced. Add water to the cabbage and start squeezing the cabbage/vegetables with your hands to release more juices.
- If cabbage does not release enough liquid, you will need to add additional brine to the cabbage. You need enough liquid to cover the cabbage in each jar. TIP —> to make a brine simple combine water and pickling salt in a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tsp. pickling salt, then add just enough of the brine to cover cabbage.)
- Pack the cabbage and any other additional flavorings. (i.e caraway seed) tightly into the clean jar. With a spoon or clean hand, push down the cabbage so it’s very compacted at the bottom of the jar. The brine should fill to top. If there is not enough brine to cover the cabbage, add more of your own (mentioned above). Leave about 1 inch of room at top. TIP —> You can also use a marble or stone (cleaned) to place on top of the cabbage once pushed down in the jar. This will help it stay compact while fermenting. Cover tightly with the lid and leave the jars to ferment on counter or in a warmer spot in kitchen.
- For the first few days, you will want to “burb” the jars. Just open the lid each day and let out any pressure. Make sure to press down the cabbage to keep it submerged brine. Add more brine if it starts to dry up.
- If any discolored cabbage appears at the top, remove and discard it. If the water level gets too low, add more brine to cover the cabbage, sligthly. The cabbage mixture must be submerged completely in brine to ferment safely. The sauerkraut is ready when it has a nice crunch but slightly marinated soft texture and tangy flavor.
- Taste every few days. After 7 -10 days the sauerkraut it should be fermented enough to start consuming. Ferment longer for a more tangy and soft kraut. After that, keep the jar in the fridge for up to 2 months
Flavor combos – Prepare as classic sauerkraut, except add your fruit and/or vegetables with the cabbage mix. One of the following combos below.
- 1 cup sliced Radish and 1 sliced jalapeño
- 1 peeled and sliced Beet with 1 tbsp grated ginger. This pairs well with the red cabbage.
- 1 apple, sliced and 1 tbsp caraway. Pairs well with the green cabbage
- Quick stove top version with 1/4 head of red cabbage and onion – See recipe below.
Stove top Directions – Skip the fermenting.
- In a medium saucepan, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced red onion and sauté until fragrant for 2 minutes. Add shredded red cabbage (shredded), caraway seeds, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low to medium stirring occasionally, until onion and cabbage are tender. Around 30-35 minutes. Remove and let cool. Then place in canning jar and seal. Store in refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks
If you see any mold on the top portion of the cabbage (while fermenting), discard that part or if the mold has touched the jars, then discard sauerkraut.
Nutrition below based on classic sauerkraut
- Category: condiment
- Method: fermentation
- Cuisine: german
Keywords: sauerkraut, healthy, fermented foods, condiment, vegan, cabbage, vegetarian, salad
Sauerkraut lovers, tell me your favorite recipe to use it in! Or do you have your homemade sauerkraut version? I’m all ears.
Cheers to fermented goodness!