homemade sauerkraut on a fork

Simple Homemade Sauerkraut

If you’ve only eaten store-bought or canned sauerkraut, you owe it to yourself to try the fermented homemade variety, which is crunchy and delicious. 
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Fermenting Time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Fermented, GAPS, German, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 6kcal
Cost: $5



  • 1 packet vegetable starter culture (optional)
  • 2-3 medium heads cabbage Napa, red or other cabbage (or mix and match them)
  • 6-8 medium carrots (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. sea salt Do NOT use table salt
  • 1 knob fresh ginger about 3-inches (optional, to taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)


  • Thoroughly clean and scald the containers and utensils you will be using. Never use metal containers or utensils. Metal and fermentation don't mix!
  • Wash, drain and then cut your cabbages into halves or quarters.
  • Grate, shred or chop cabbage. You can do this by hand or with a food processor. Pieces should be about the size of a quarter, or smaller.
  • Grate carrots. Peel and grate and ginger. Mince garlic, if using.
  • With wooden spoon or very clean hands, mix the shredded cabbage, carrots, garlic and ginger with the sea salt, and toss and mix thoroughly until salt dissolves.
  • When juice starts to form on the cabbage from tossing, mix in the caraway seeds (if desired) and starter culture (if using).
  • Pack the cabbage and other veggies firmly and evenly into clean quart-size Mason jars or a large fermenting crock until liquid comes out of the cabbage freely. Leave 2 inches of room at the top of the jars or 4-5 inches of room at the top of a crock.
  • Make sure juice covers the cabbage completely! (This does not always happen unless the cabbage is fresh from the garden)
  • If needed, make additional brine by putting 1 1/2 Tbsp. of sea salt into 1 quart of boiling, purified water. Dissolve salt and cool brine to room temperature before adding to the cabbage.
  • Once cabbage is immersed in brine water, use a glass fermenting weight to keep the cabbage down under the brine. If you do not have a fermenting weight, put a freezer bag filled with water or even stones on top of the cabbage. (I use 2 large bags, one inside the other so that if the bag breaks, it will not water down the cabbage into a tasteless mess.) The cabbage must be completely submerged.
  • Close the jars with airlock lids, or very loosely applied canning lids. This will keep air out of your kraut and keep the jar from building up too much pressure.
  • Cover the jars with a clean towel and them in a cool (but not cold) area where the temperature will be between 65–75 degrees F. Fermentation will begin within a day, depending upon the room temperature.
  • Check jars after 2 days. Scoop any scum off the top (it is harmless), and repack. Check every 3 days and repeat as necessary.
  • After 2 weeks, sample the kraut to see if it tastes ready to eat. The flavor will continue to mature for the next several weeks.
  • Refrigerate the sauerkraut to extend its shelf life.


Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 366mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1910IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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