Road to Great Health with Easy Sauerkraut Recipe

Get on the road to great heath with this easy homemade sauerkraut recipe. Sauerkraut is not just for hot dogs and sausages. Add it to soups and breads and sides (among other things) for added depth of flavor and fermented food health benefits.

fermentation crock with a peek of sauerkraut inside

What is Sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is a fermented food made most basically with cabbage and salt. It uses a type of fermentation called Lacto Fermentation, which is when good bacteria breaks down the sugar in food into lactic acid. Contrary to a common misconception, there is no milk in lacto fermentation. This can be confusing because the word Lacto (in lacto-fermentation/vegan) sounds very similar to Lactose (a sugar found in cow's milk/not-vegan), but they are very different things.

The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods contain a number of health benefits. Here's some of the top ones to encourage keeping some sauerkraut as a regular part of your pantry:

  • Great Gut Health- the probiotics in fermented foods help populate our guts with good bacteria, that help balance the toxins and bad bacteria that builds up in our bodies. This helps with inflammation among other digestive discomforts. It also contains PREbiotics, which are fibers that help feed those great good bacteria.
  • Low Calorie- each cup of sauerkraut generally has only about 35 calories! That makes getting your fill of the good stuff won't add to your calorie intake.
  • Healthy Hearts and Bones- fermented foods have a high amount of vitamin K, which is good for heart health and stronger bones.
  • A Healthy Immune System- the absorption and production of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as iron and zinc help contribute to a stronger immune system. Also, since most of our immune system is affected by the health of our intestines, the benefits to our gut health leads to better immune system health as well.

How to Make Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is really the most simple of recipes. The ratio of cabbage to salt is approximately this: 2 ½ # (about 1 head of cabbage with the core removed) to 1 ½ tablespoon of Kosher Salt. I either make a 1 or 2 head batch.

Remove the core and slice your cabbage into thin strips. Mix with the salt until completely coated. At this point you can add other flavor elements, such as herbs, and spices, like juniper berries or smoked salt. You can even incorporate other greens, like watercress or mustard greens. I personally love to add a little of my Magic Masala Spice Mix to add the flavors of India and the additional health benefit of turmeric. Just get creative and play!

A Note About Fermentation Safety

Lacto Fermentation works of the natural yeasts and bacterias found on the food and the air and even you. Those natural elements give ferments their own flavors unique to their location, much like the terroir in wine. So your sauerkraut will taste uniquely YOU. You may wonder what that means for food safety. Fermentation stops the growth of most pathogenic bacteria and the formation of bacterial toxins. For this reason, I do not usually wash my cabbage- although if you would like to be extra safe, you can wash the outside and then remove the outer 2 leaves. Read more in this article here for more information on safety and fermentation.

What do you use to make Sauerkraut?

Place your salted ingredients into a large jar or fermentation crock. Although a bit of an up-front cost, a fermentation crock is made for exactly this purpose and helps keep an airtight seal while releasing the natural gases that occur during the process (making it easy to leave to itself). The crock will last for many, many years. Watch this fun video on my instagram to see how it works.

How Long Does It Take For Cabbage to Turn to Sauerkraut

Let the kraut sit for 2 days at room temperature. Remove the weights and give a stire. At this point I check and make sure that enough liquid has been produced to cover the top of the cabbage. If it hasn't, you can add a little bit of a salt brine (ratio is 1 quart water: 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt). You only want to add enough brine to bring the liquid level to cover the cabbage. Replace the weights and the lid (if using a crock, make sure there is still water in the ridge around the lid). Let sit another 4 days.

I taste my sauerkraut every day and make sure I like the flavor profile. Depending on the temperature, the ferment can speed up and be great in 2 days or be slow and take a little longer. 4 days seems to be the magic spot I love.

Transfer to a clean jar and set in the refrigerator. This sauerkraut is ready to use!

Recipe

easy sauerkraut recipe

Road to Great Health with Easy Sauerkraut Recipe

Kajsa@TwistofVegan
Get on the road to great heath with this easy homemade sauerkraut recipe. Add it to soups and breads and sides (among other things) for added depth of flavor and fermented food health benefits.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 days
Course Recipes- Quick and Easy
Cuisine American
Servings 4 cups
Calories 57 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  •  
  • A note before you start:  Lacto Fermentation works of the natural yeasts and bacterias found on the food and the air and even you. Those natural elements give ferments their own flavors unique to their location, much like the terroir in wine. So your sauerkraut will taste uniquely YOU. You may wonder what this means for food safety. Fermentation stops the growth of most pathogenic bacteria and the formation of bacterial toxins. For this reason, I do not usually wash my cabbage- although if you would like to be extra safe, you can wash the outside and then remove the outer 2 leaves.  Follow the link in my post for more information.
  • Remove the core and slice your cabbage into thin strips. Mix with the salt until completely coated. At this point you can add other flavor elements, such as herbs, spices, etc. 
  • Place your salted ingredients into a large jar or fermentation crock. Although a bit of an up-front cost, a fermentation crock is made for exactly this purpose and helps keep an airtight seal while releasing the natural gases that occur during the process (making it easy to leave to itself).  
  • Once your ingredients are inside the crock, place the weights on top and press down as hard as you can.
  • Cover with the lid and pour water in the ridge around the rim of the lid.  The notches in the lid will allow the natural gases to escape, while the water makes an airtight seal.
  • Let the kraut sit for 2 days at room temperature. Remove the weights and give a stir. At this point I check and make sure that enough liquid has been produced to cover the top of the cabbage. If it hasn't, you can add a little bit of a salt brine (ratio is 1 quart water: 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt). You only want to add enough brine to bring the liquid level to cover the cabbage.
  • Replace the weights and the lid (if using a crock, make sure there is still water in the ridge around the lid). Let sit another 4 days.    **I taste my sauerkraut every day and make sure I like the flavor profile. Depending on the temperature, the ferment can speed up and be great in 2 days or be slow and take a little longer. 4 days seems to be the magic spot I love.
  • Transfer to a clean jar and set in the refrigerator. This sauerkraut is ready to use!
  •  

Notes

For a standard size batch, I double this recipe, which gives me enough sauerkraut to use some right away and store some in the fridge for later.

Nutrition

Calories: 57kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 3gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 2657mgPotassium: 386mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 222IUVitamin C: 83mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy sauerkraut, fermentation, plant based recipes, sauerkraut, sauerkraut recipe, vegan, vegan recipes
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