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Making Probiotic Rich Sauerkraut
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5 from 3 votes

How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut

Homemade sauerkraut is a wonderful nutrient-rich food that is slightly tangy and a touch effervescent.  It makes the perfect accompaniment to any meal because sauerkraut is high in good bacteria called probiotics, as well as enzymes.  Both aid the digestive tract by improving gut health and assisting with digestion, allowing for our bodies to better absorb nutrients from the food we eat.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Fermentation Time7 d
Total Time7 d 15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Sauerkraut
Servings: 4
Author: Mary's Nest


  • 1 head Cabbage
  • 2 tablespoon Coarse ground Celtic sea salt
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Filtered water


  • Remove a few outer leaves of the head of cabbage and reserve.
  • Cut the head of cabbage in half and cut out the core. Reserve the core.
  • Slice each half of the head of cabbage into thin strips.
  • Place the shredded cabbage and the salt in a bowl and pound with a "kraut pounder" (see video) or similar utensil, such as a potato masher, for approximately 5 minutes until the cabbage begins to release some of its juices.
  • Place the shredded cabbage and salt mixture in a half gallon sized jar that has a lid.
  • Quarter the apple and remove the core and seeds. Coarsely chop and add to a blender.
  • Coarsely chop the core of the cabbage and also add to the blender.
  • Add water to the blender sufficient to cover the chopped apple and cabbage core. Whirl in the blender to make a slurry.
  • Add the apple/cabbage core slurry to the shredded cabbage and salt mixture in the half gallon jar.
  • Stir the mixture together in the jar and then press it down to compact it. (If you prefer, you can do this in a bowl and then transfer it to the jar. However, I do find it is better to do this in the jar so that you are assured of having the correct amount of cabbage with the correct amount of salt. If you do this in a bowl, you may not be able to precisely know how much cabbage will fit into the jar.)
  • Take the reserved cabbage leaves and fold them and put them into the half gallon jar on top of the shredded cabbage mixture.
  • Take a small 4-ounce glass jelly jar and put it into the half gallon jar on top of the folded cabbage leaves. The jelly jar will work as a weight to hold the entire mixture underwater.
  • Add additional water, if needed, to reach the neck of the half gallon jar allowing for approximately 1 inch of headspace. Place the lid on the jar.
  • Place the filled half gallon jar in an undisturbed place such as the corner of a kitchen counter, on top of a refrigerator, or in a cabinet or pantry that has a room temperature range somewhere between 68°F and 72°F. (SEE "RECIPE NOTES" BELOW.) The jar should also be out of direct sunlight as ferments do not like temperature fluctuations.
  • After a few days, the cabbage should begin to ferment and you should see bubbles in the jar. Release the cap of the jar to allow some of the carbon dioxide, produced by the fermentation process, to be released. Re-tighten the jar lid.
  • Re-check the jar every day and release some of the carbon dioxide by loosening the lid. Then re-tighten the lid.
  • After 7 days, taste the Sauerkraut. Keep in mind that it will continue to ferment once placed in the refrigerator. If you like the taste, refrigerate it. It's now ready to enjoy. If you are not satisfied with the level of fermentation, allow it to continue to ferment up to 14 days at room temperature before refrigerating. I do not recommend fermenting the cabbage longer than 14 days as it may become quite soft and less palatable.
  • Please note that initially vegetable ferments can taste a bit salty. However, over time, the ferment will become less salty as the vegetable - in this case cabbage - absorbs the brine creating a more flavorful vegetable, and the brine clinging to the ferment will taste less salty.
  • As to storage, vegetable ferments need to be stored at 40°F. This can be on the top shelf of your refrigerator or in the door of your refrigerator. They can not be stored at room temperature.



Fermentation Tips for the Beginner: Vegetable ferments, such as sauerkraut, are best fermented between 68°F and 72°F.  However, they can tolerate slightly warmer temperatures up to about 75°F.  If your kitchen is warmer, limit the days you allow your vegetable to ferment to approximately 3 days.  This will decrease the chance of mold or bad bacteria developing.  After approximately 3 days fermenting at a warmer room temperature, refrigerate your ferment and allow it to continue its fermentation process under refrigeration.  Fermentation will take at least 2 weeks longer, but you will be more successful if attempting fermentation during the warmer months. 
Healthy Fermentation Tip: For an added gut health benefit, be sure to drink some of the "Kraut Juice", the liquid that accumulates in the jar in which you made the sauerkraut. The juice is teaming with good bacteria! If you can't fathom drinking kraut juice, use some of it in place of the vinegar in your favorite homemade salad dressing or save it to use with your next ferment.
Find this recipe at https://marysnest.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut/
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