Homemade Sauerkraut – Make your own probiotic producing factory at home! Probiotics are good for a healthy digestive system and can help to keep your immune system strong! Making your homemade sauerkraut is easy to make and way cheaper than buying it from the shops!
Homemade Sauerkraut – Easy and Affordable
Homemade sauerkraut is delicious, easy to make and good for you! Sauerkraut is simply fermented cabbage, and it’s an ancient way of preparing food. Back in the days, when people didn’t have refrigerators, fermenting was a popular way to prolong shelf life and to retain nutrients. Fermentation is the process when carbohydrates are being converted to either an acid or an alcohol and in sauerkraut it’s bacteria converting the carbohydrates into lactic acid.
When you make sauerkraut, cabbage is being fermented by bacteria that occur naturally on the cabbage. And when the right environment is created, this bacteria can flourish and grow. And this bacteria can be very beneficial for us, as these can promote the growth of good bacteria in the colon which can improve the immune system and support the digestive system!
Buying fresh, unpasteurised sauerkraut can be quite pricy, but making your own homemade sauerkraut is really easy and it’s really cheap!
Hygiene and Homemade Sauerkraut
First, hygiene is first and foremost. Start with washing up the jar, (make sure there’s no washing up liquid left as this can kill the bacteria in the cabbage!) Sterilise your jars, which you can do by placing the clean jar in the oven for 20 minutes at 100°C. And the rubber band around the lid can be boiled in hot water for 10 minutes.
Before you start prepping your cabbage, wash your hand, utensils and your working surface. And then you’re ready to start making your sauerkraut!
How to make Homemade Sauerkraut
Start with shredding your cabbage, which you can do by either
- Slicing with a mandolin
- Slicing with a knife
- Using a food processor
Once shredded, weigh your cabbage! this is important to know how much salt you will need.
Combine the shredded cabbage and salt and leave for around 10-15 minutes. This will soften the cabbage and make it easier to extracts the liquids from it when you massage it.
Then it’s time for the fun part, the massaging of the cabbage!
It’s important that you use salt without iodine! Either use sea salt or table salt without iodine. And also, weigh your salt! It should be around 10-15 g per kilo of cabbage, which equals to about 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt per kilo cabbage. Weight your salt though, as 1 tbsp of fine sea salt may weight a lot more than coarse sea salt.
Then it’s time to massage the cabbage! Use both hands (make sure they’re clean and no nail varnish!) and start working the cabbage.
Knead it, press it between your hands and really dig your hands into it so the cabbage gets really soft.
Work it for about 10-15 minutes or until soft and watery. You’ll be surprised how much water is released from the cabbage! Look at the picture above and you’ll see how much there is!
Once the cabbage is softened and juicy, stuff the cabbage into a jar. Use your (clean) hands and stuff it into the jar so it is as tightly packed as possible to remove any air that may be trapped and so that all the cabbage us submerged under its water.
If your cabbage is not fully submerged, you can make a small brine (10 g salt / litre) and top it up.
For a 2.2 kg / 5 lb cabbage, a 3 litre jar will work, which is what you see on these pictures here. It’s important to leave room in the jar, as when the fermentation starts, it will create a lot of gas.
Leave the sauerkraut in room temperature in a dark place and leave to work its magic for 1-2 weeks.
Once a day you can “burp” your sauerkraut to release pressure. Gently open the lid to release the air, but not too much so oxygen gets into the jar
How long does it take to make homemade sauerkraut
You can “harvest” the sauerkraut after 1 week but preferably leave it for 2 weeks!
After 2 weeks, you can keep it in the fridge were it should stay fresh for a few months, as long as you don’t open the jar.
An opened jar with your homemade sauerkraut lasts up to one month in the fridge!
Here are a few recipes that calls for sauerkraut
- Spicy Sriracha Sauerkraut with Sweet Potato Fries – Here the sauerkraut is mixed with sriracha, a little bit of mayo and served with sweet potato fries!
- Loaded Veggie Bowls – This bowl is completely plant based and loaded with nutrient dense foods such as sauerkraut!
- Sesame Scrambled Eggs – Sometimes I have this with sauerkraut instead of garlic kale.
Sauerkraut really works with most foods and it’s great to eat a little a day to provide your body with beneficial bacterias!
If you like to make sauerkraut, how do you eat it? Let me know!
- 10 g sea salt per kg/2.2lb
- Start with sterilising all the equipment. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Place the clean, dry jar that you plan to use for the sauerkraut in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the jar with oven mitts after 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut of the root. Remove a few more leaves and set a side. Quarter the cabbage and remove the stem and set aside the stems.
- Finely shred your cabbage with a mandolin, food processor or a knife.
- Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl, add the salt and give it a quick stir . Leave for 15 minutes for the salt to soften up the cabbage.
- With your clean hands, start massaging the cabbage until it's soft and released plenty of water. This will take between 10-15 minutes.
- Once the cabbage is soft and water has been released from the cabbage, press the cabbage into the clean jars with the help of your hands.
- Firmly press it down so it's well packed and that the liquid is covering the cabbage.
- Place the saved cabbage leaf on top of the liquid to keep the cabbage submerged. Place a weight on top such as the reserved cabbage stems or a sterilised glas jar.
- Close the lid and leave the jar in a dark place for 1-2 weeks.
- After two weeks, keep the sauerkraut in the fridge. An unopened jar should stay fresh up to a few months. Opened jar will stay fresh up to one month.
- Hygiene is important. Make sure you're hands are clean, no nail varnish, all utensils used are properly washed and that the jar is sterilised.
- If there's not enough liquid to cover the sauerkraut, make one by combining 1 tbsp salt into 1000 ml of water and pour over until covered.