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Classic Home-Cured Sauerkraut

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If you’re not already eating fermented foods, what are you waiting for? Good for your gut and made with just a few ingredients, sauerkraut is a good place to start. Use it to top a grain bowl, tacos, a bean burger, or try one of the many other suggestions made below.

Makes 1 pint. Recipe can be expanded or divided for larger or smaller quantities.

  • 1 pound green or purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

With hot soapy water, wash a quart-sized glass jar or other tall ceramic or glass container large enough to hold a little more than 1 pint, rinse thoroughly, and leave out to air dry.

In a large bowl, toss cabbage with salt, juniper berries, and caraway seeds using (very clean) hands or tongs. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.

Pack cabbage blend down into pre-washed container. Weigh down with a smaller jar filled with water that can fit into top of container. If you do not have a smaller jar, you can also use a plastic bag of water or anything else to help press down the cabbage.  

Leave out of direct sunlight at room temperature for 24 hours. The next day, cabbage should have released enough liquid to be completely submerged. If it hasn’t, press down again with jar resting on top. You are trying to weigh down the cabbage enough so that it is completely submerged in brine. If cabbage is not submerged in brine after 48 hours, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt in 1/3 cup room temperature  water and pour over  cabbage until it is submerged.

Cover top of jar, including weight, with cheesecloth or coffee filter and secure with rubber band. Let cabbage stand on counter out of direct sunlight for 3-4 weeks*, skimming anything that develops on the surface of the water as needed. Continue to push down the weight on top so that the cabbage remains submerged in brine.

Top jar with lid or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

 

*The longer that the cabbage sits at room temperature the stronger the fermented flavor and the softer the texture. It continues to ferment in the refrigerator, but much more slowly.

 

Ideas for using sauerkraut

Chicken and white bean braise with paprika and classic kraut

  • Sauerkraut and barley with chicken-miso meatballs
  • Sauerkraut, potato, and white bean soup
  • German-style tacos with chicken and sauerkraut
  • Octoberfest pizza with chicken apple sausage, potato, and sauerkraut
  • Roasted potatoes with sauerkraut garnish
  • Grilled cheese with sliced apple and sauerkraut
  • Sauerkraut, beet, goat cheese, and walnut salad
  • Breakfast tacos with sauerkraut
  • Add chili flakes and ginger when making sauerkraut for a kimchi-inspired kraut to use on rice bowls
  • Whole grain pasta with sauerkraut, mushrooms, sage, and yogurt
  • Kraut on veggie burger or turkey-mushroom burger
  • Sauerkraut chicken and white bean braise with paprika and sauerkraut
  • Soba noodles with sauerkraut and peanut sauce