Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe

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This is the sort of live, raw sauerkraut you can make your sauerkraut juice from.

Homemade live sauerkraut is very different to the stuff you buy.  It is raw, live, teeming with “good bugs”, tastes great (once you’ve got used to it 🙂 ) and is alkalising, seriously good for your digestion and has all over health benefits.

Our recipe for Sauerkraut is taken from that created by Sandor Katz; for more information about the delights and benefits of fermenting foods read: Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. “The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods”.

How long will it take?

The cabbage will have started to develop in sauerkraut within about 3-4 days in a reasonable warm room or a week or longer in a cool place. As soon as it has started to become sharp to the taste it has started to “work” and is now sauerkraut, you can leave it longer to mature depending on how you like it then put it in the fridge where it slows down its activity and will keep for months.

Equipment: for for each 5 lb of cabbage:

White cabbage
White cabbage

1 gallon/5 litre or larger ceramic crock, glass jar or food-grade plastic bucket and a plate that fits inside
One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock)
Cloth cover (like a pillowcase or towel)


5 lb/2.5 kg white and/or red cabbage and 3 tablespoons (or less) sea salt or fine Himalayan salt (not table salt)
0.8 – 1.4g sea salt (which is very little) per 1kg of cabbage, it is even possible to make do with no salt especially if you salt use a “starter” of some juice or brine from another batch of raw sauerkraut.


Fresh Sauerkraut
Fresh Sauerkraut

Slice or grate cabbage any how is fine. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it.
Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. If you fancy add other sliced/grated vegetables such as carrots, onions, garlic, seaweed, Brussels sprouts, turnips, beetroot, celery, apples, herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries are classic, you can experiment.
Mix ingredients together and pack a little at a time into the crock. Then layer by layer tamp it down hard using your fists or sturdy kitchen implement such as a wooden rolling pin. Keep tamping until the kraut is tightly packed into the crock, leave for 30 minutes or so and there should be enough brine made to cover the sliced cabbage; if it isn’t making juice tamp some more, more forcefully this time (!) until the cabbage can be submerged under its brine.
Now cover the sauerkraut with a clean plate or similar lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.
If sufficient brine wasn’t yielded at the start on the first day keep pressing down on the weight or tamp again to force enough liquid from the cabbage to make sufficient brine to completely cover the cabbage and its cover. If it doesn’t work dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and use to top up the crock and cover the plate and leave to ferment in a not too hot corner of the kitchen.
Check the sauerkraut every couple of days. The volume will reduce slightly as the fermentation proceeds. Only if it gets too low add a little water to keep the level up. Don’t worry about any scum or mould on the surface, it always happens – it is only on the surface. Skim off what you can; you won’t be able to remove all of it. Don’t worry. The sauerkraut will be tangy after a few days or couple of weeks depending on temperature.
You can now use your sauerkraut. For a few weeks the longer you leave it the more it will mature and improve. Then it will start to become past its best and the flavour will taste less good.
Try to start a new batch before the previous batch runs out. Use a glass of juice from the old batch to cover the new batch, this will speed up the fermentation of the new batch and ensure the juice contains a wide range of the beneficial bacteria even after just the first few days.

Things to do with your raw homemade sauerkraut:

  • Make sauerkraut juice. Sauerkraut juice is one of the mainstays of the Budwig Diet.  simply place some of the sauerkraut in your juicer and press as you would any other vegetable.
  • Enjoy as a salad. Dress with a mustardy linseed oil and apple cider vinegar dressing Add a combination of herbs and other salad vegetables such as chopped tomatoes, sweet peppers, celery, radishes and carrots. Grated apple goes well with it too.
  • Just steam or stir slowly in a saucepan – or microwave (Devil’s hotplate…) – to have as a hot vegetable with steamed buckwheat or potatoes. Delicious but not quite as healthy as cooking kills the good bacteria.
  • Snack on it straight from the jar. Sugar-free, low calorie and tasty.

Ready made Sauerkraut Juice

When you are maturing your own sauerkraut, between batches or just don’t have the energy to make your own it can be useful to have a few bottles of Biotta Organic Sauerkraut Juice ready in the cupboard.