How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut
Learn how to make perfectly crunchy and briny homemade sauerkraut. This recipe has been passed down through generations; it’s healthy and very simple to prepare.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 4 days
- Yield: 1 48 oz jar sauerkraut 1x
- Category: Salad, Side Dish
- 1 large cabbage head
- 1 large carrot (shredded)
- 3/4 – 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
- Start with shredding the cabbage. You can either do this with a sharp knife, or use a mandolin.
- Grate the carrots on a fine julienne slicer or a box grater.
- In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, carrots, salt and sugar. If I’m using a large cabbage head, I use a full Tablespoon of salt. If I’m using a small cabbage head, I use a little less than a Tablespoon of salt.
- Using both hands, aggressively scrunch up the cabbage and carrot, for at least 5 minutes, until it releases a lot of liquid. It should completely cover all of the cabbage.
- The cabbage mixture should feel and look wet. When you press down on it, all of the liquid should cover the cabbage liberally. In regards to the salt – I always taste a bit of the cabbage when I’m done scrunching it. You should be able to taste the salt. Remember that when the cabbage brines, it will get a more tart flavor and will dilute the salt a bit, so I aim to make the cabbage just a bit saltier than I think it should be and when it becomes sauerkraut, it is perfect.
- At this point, you can keep the cabbage in a large bowl, or transfer it to a glass jar. I usually keep it in the bowl, because it’s easier for me to put a weight on top of the cabbage to make sure it stays submerged the entire time it’s fermenting.
- Put a weight on top of the cabbage – a plate on top of the cabbage, or an extra cabbage leaf and then something heavy on top of it, like a large can of tomatoes, or a jar filled with water work really well. As the sauerkraut ferments, it will increase in size, so make sure to use a bowl with plenty of extra room at the top. Then, cover the bowl with several layers of plastic wrap (as the cabbage is fermenting, it will have a very strong “cabbagy” odor).
- Keep the sauerkraut at room temperature for about 3 days. Each day, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke several holes all the way through the sauerkraut, to release some of the built up “gas”. Make sure the cabbage is submerged for the entire 3 days.
- At this point, when you taste the cabbage, it should taste like sauerkraut. If it still doesn’t taste briny, let it stand for another day or two.
- Transfer the sauerkraut to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
- When I’m serving the sauerkraut on the side, I like to add some salt, freshly ground black pepper, sunflower oil, thinly sliced or finely minced red onion, dill seeds, and fresh herbs, like green onion and dill. Sometimes, I also add a thinly sliced apple to it for a bit of sweetness.
Keywords: sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, how to make homemade sauerkraut