Simple Sauerkraut – A Probiotic Superfood


Cabbage, carrot, and scallions sauerkraut

Learn how to make homemade sauerkraut in this step by step tutorial and transform the humble cabbage into a probiotic superfood.

This transformation takes place through lacto-fermentation, a process that preserves food, enhances its nutrition, promotes healthy digestion and enhanced immunity. Most store bought sauerkraut is pasteurized and no longer contain all these benefits.

Ingredients and Tools

Ingredients and tools needed for making sauerkraut

1 cabbage
1 tablespoon sea salt (make sure your salt is noniodized)

Cutting board and knife
Large bowl
Wide mouth canning jar with metal lid or ceramic fermenting crock

Step 1

Preparing cabbageRemove outer leaves from cabbage and chop,
or grate with a food processor or box grater.

Step 2

Adding cabbage to bowl with saltAdd shredded cabbage to a large bowl with 1 tablespoon sea salt.
The salt helps pull water out of the cabbage and inhibits any bad
bacteria from forming.

Step 3

Knead cabbageKnead cabbage with your hands until its juices release.

Step 4

Cabbage with natural juices in canning jarUse your fist to pack cabbage with its juices tightly into a wide mouth
canning jar. Press one of the reserved outer leaves into the jar to keep the
cabbage submerged in its brine.

Step 5

Sauerkraut ready for fermentingCover the jar tightly and allow to ferment at room temperature for at
least 3 days – less if your kitchen is warm, more if cold.
Store in the refrigerator.

“Could it be that in abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation and in our insistence on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisms?”

Sally Fallon | Nourishing Traditions


Additional Resources:

Learn more about the benefits of fermented foods.

Get the classic book: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods.

Watch a video on How to Make Sauerkraut from Feed Me Like You Mean It.

Check out Real Food Forager’s Probiotic Food Challenge Linky with great recipes and articles pertaining to probiotic foods, fermenting, and culturing.


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  1. Genet says

    Question: Why is it necessary to use a metal lid ? Can I not use the standard plastic (non-BPA) lid ? How about a Tatter lid ?

    • lisa says

      Hi Genet,
      There are many options for lids. Some don’t even use lids – you can place a ziploc bag filled with water and place that on top of the sauerkraut to create an airlock, some people place a smaller jar filled with water and place that inside the jar. There is no one proper technique. I’ve never used a plastic lid, nor a Tattler lid and not sure if there are disadvantages to that.

    • Uri Laio says


      A plastic non-BPA lid is fine, and actually better in a certain sense since the tin lids have a tendency to rust eventually. I think what Lisa was referring to in the post is that most canning jars (pint, quart, and half-gallon mason jars) come with a metal lid, so in that sense it is most convenient.
      Uri Laio recently posted..Krautmaking

      • em says

        Hi. How does one keep the sauerkraut over a period of time? Is it OK to just keep it in the jar and store (i.e canning). I would like to make more than one jar at a time. Any advice. I have heard boil the kraut and then can after the sauerkraut has fermented but that kills the probiotics. Who would want to kill the probiotics? lol. How do you keep your kraut after fermentation?

  2. joseph says

    tablespoon sea salt, i found 2 versions in my local grocery, coarse and fine
    which one should i use?
    and with kosher insect laws, would you have any info on how to handle the cabbage in that regard?

    • Lisa Rose says

      Either should be fine – but I would probably go with the fine sea salt.

      In terms of the kosher insect laws, I would prefer you ask a Rabbi since different communities follow different standards.
      I’ve never had issues with bugs in my cabbage, but you could always chop it up and give it an extra rinse with with white vinegar and water and check it again.

  3. joseph says

    we made our first batch with a Pikcl-It jar
    how would i have to knead it to see if i get enough of it own juice?
    how do you knead it by hand? it took us a while to get juice out
    and if i add water i need to add salt to the water even though i already salted the cabbage itself ?

    • Lisa Rose says

      You just squeeze it with your hands – sprinkle some salt on it before hand and it starts to soften. And when I place it in the jar, I use my fist to pack the cabbage down and it usually has enough of its own juice to cover the cabbage.
      It depends how much water you are adding to the cabbage, if it’s just a bit, it probably doesn’t need more salt, but if you’re using a lot more water than you do need to add salt.

  4. says

    What is best way to store Kraut? I am making 8 heads worth of cabbage in my 20gallon crock. The kraut has been brewing since St. Patrick’s Day. If canning kills the probiotics then can I freeze it? If packed firmly in quarts- how long will it last? I think I have 1week of brewing left…. thanks for your help…… Joe


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