• Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut | stupideasypaleo.com

    I love sauerkraut and its tangy, briny and savory flavor. I was pretty sold by this Balanced Bites article and knew that it was something I wanted to incorporate into my diet on a regular basis. However, I also decided that driving 60 minutes round trip to the nearest Whole Paycheck (the closest store that carries RAW sauerkraut) wasn’t worth it and that damn it, it looked simple enough to make after doing some research on-line. The only hitch is that fermenting your own sauerkraut takes something that money cannot buy…patience. It’s going to be approximately a 2 week process so if that’s too long to wait, store-bought will work but be sure that it’s raw/uncooked to preserve the “probiotics” (a lovely euphemism for bacteria). If you didn’t pay very good attention during biology class shame on you, do a quick search on fermentation. Essentially, you need an anaerobic environment for the bacteria to work their magic and transform your cabbage into yummy eats 🙂

    I’m definitely going to invest in a crock especially for making sauerkraut…I used the crock from my slow cooker for my first batch, and it worked great but took my 3rd-most-favorite-piece-of-kitchen-equipment (Vitamix and espresso machine are #1 and #2 in case you are curious haha) out of commission for 2 weeks = no bueno! I think you’d be okay with using a large glass bowl or even something like a deep ceramic casserole dish as well. In other words, it’s okay to be frugal and not spend bucks on something you’re not sure you are going to use frequently.

    I fermented my kraut for 14 days on the countertop here in balmy San Diego…if you live in a colder climate it may take longer for the cabbage to develop the flavor you are looking for. While mine came out pretty darn tasty, next time I’d slice the cabbage thinner by hand instead of running it through a food pro as the slices came out a bit on the thick side.

    Ingredients for Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

    4.3 from 3 reviews
    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
    • Large head of cabbage (I chose red because frankly it looks cool, but green works just fine)
    • Sea salt
    • Water
    1. Large ceramic crock
    2. Small plate
    3. Large measuring cup
    4. Kitchen towel
    5. Slice cabbage thinly and add to crock in layers. With every couple inches of cabbage I added, I sprinkled in some sea salt (don't go too crazy) and then tamped it down hard with a vegetable masher. Don't be afraid to beat up on the cabbage a bit. You want to create a situation where the juices from the cabbage will be drawn out...anyone remember what hypertonic means?! 😉 Repeat until you've used up all the cabbage.


    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut | stupideasypaleo.com

    2. Weight the cabbage down with a plate and the measuring cup (full of water). You have options here (I even read about using a scrubbed and boiled rock as a weight…no thanks but it would work) so use what’s on hand. Cover with a kitchen towel.

    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut | stupideasypaleo.com

    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut | stupideasypaleo.com

    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut | stupideasypaleo.com3. Check cabbage a few times in the first day. It should be creating a little of its own juice, though this depends on how old your cabbage was. After the first day, fill the crock up with water until the level is above the cabbage. Check periodically and add extra water as it may evaporate a bit.

    Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut | stupideasypaleo.com

    4. Taste test the kraut after about a week. Again, it will ferment faster in warmer climates. When done, pack the kraut into jars and refrigerate.

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    38 thoughts on “Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

        1. Will canning the kraut kill the gut-friendly bacteria. I was wondering about canning it at room temp, toping it with boiling hot lids and placing it in the oven [350 degrees or so] for 20 min or so kill the gut-friendly bacteria?

          1. Hi Geri, I really don’t know much about canning so I’m hesitant to advise either way. Properly done, kraut will keep for several months under refrigeration.

            1. Hmmmm not that I can think of. I don’t know anyone off the top of my head that cans. If you’re heating the kraut, it will kill off some of the bacteria, but how long it takes or the temp it would take to kill basically all of it is something I don’t know. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

      1. When it has a tangy flavor that you find palatable. Some people like it more sour than others. I like mine after about 2 weeks but some die-hard kraut makers go months and months!

    1. Hi. I’ve had mine fermenting for a week now. It’s high 20’s to mid 30’s deg (Celsius). It stopped ‘fermenting’ (forming pressure I guess I mean) after about 3 or 4 days. Is that normal? Also I think I have over salted. How can I correct that? I used only red cabbage and salt. Will it get more ‘tangy’ as time goes by? Thanks

      1. Hi Maryann…what sort of lid do you have on there? After a few days you may not notice bubbling but it’s still fermenting. There’s no real way to fix oversalting once the cabbage is packed in the container. What kind of salt did you use?

        Yes, the longer you let it ferment, the tangier it will get 🙂

    2. The finer the Cabbage is shredded the faster it ferments. Also, salt should be 2%-4% by weight and iodized salt should NOT be used. I use a cheese grater and 2% salt and have sauerkraut in less than a week: adding a little juice from the last batch or a little yogurt will speed it up more! I have used my sauerkraut juice as a yogurt starter.

      1. Good point on the finer shredding…surface area! Whey is certainly something you can use as a starter but I know many people who read the site don’t use dairy of any kind, so I present this method instead 🙂

        Did I say iodized salt somewhere?

      2. HI everyone. Thanks Steph, lovely write up! Bart, I also grate organic (red) cabbage and for one full head of cabbage I use a tablespoon or so of sea salt or himalayan rock salt. I find, you can scrunch the cabbage easily and its a good workout for one’s hands. leave it for 30-40 minutes after extracting more of its own juices (sweating) and then pack it into kilner jars or something covered by outer cabbage leaves (as it tends to rise and bubble in the jar over time and good to keep the cabbage in the liquid otherwise it will go bad). I make my own coconut drink with yoghurt cultures acidophilus and using the sauerkraut liquids will be my next batch. nice idea!

    3. Tried this recipe with no success.? i followed your recipe and put it a glass bowl covered it with a glass plate and then weighted down with another glass bowl that had water in it and covered with dish towel. The plate didn’t fit snug on the cabbage about 1/4 inch space between plate and bowl. After about 8 days on the counter, it had mold on some of the cabbage in the 1/4 inch space between the plate and the bowl, so I threw it away. Have been looking forward to fermenting and now a little discouraged.

    4. i have a small crock pot I’d like to try this in. What should the cooking setting be and how long would I leave it before testing it?

      1. Hi there…I think you’re misunderstanding the use the crock. You don’t actually use the crock to cook the cabbage. It has to stay at room temperature.

    5. I have been making kraut now for a while. When I am finished shredding with added salt, I top it with whole cabbage leaf coverage. Then, I use a 2 1/2 gallon HEFTY storage baggie, filled 1/2 full with clean water and I place it on top of my Kraut in my 5 gallon ceramic crock. This seals the kraut from air and I do not have never had any mold. I leave it for 3 weeks or so depending on the taste I prefer.

      1. No ma’am. I mean a ceramic crock meant for fermentation. You can use the ceramic insert of a crock pot if you want but these days I prefer to use glass mason jars. You can’t use a metal pot.

    6. The mold thing is actually normal. You clean the top off every few days (some recipes explain this) to remove any scum or moldy parts. Then recover it. However, the technic my mom used most recently called for putting the cabbage in a bag, like an old pillowcase or specially made bag. Tie the bag shut at the top and submerge it as this recipe says ( I used a gallon jug with water in it.). The scummy mess remains on the outside of the bag, so you don’t have to deal with it.

    7. What does it mean when the sauerkraut and the juice smell like wine? It’s only been 5 days since it has been jarred, and we keep it in the dark/cool space in the cabinet. When I open the jar, it smells a little like wine. We did not add sugar. We only added chopped red cabbage and salt. It probably means that it’s fermenting. 🙂 We’ve made sauerkraut before, but never used red cabbage and we certainly didn’t expect it to smell like red wine. Does that happen to you? Also, in one of the batches (because we made A LOT of red cabbage sauerkraut!!), we added too much salt. Can we add more water, as needed, AFTER it’s all done fermenting? Because we don’t readily have enough larger jars to transfer it to immediately. So, we figure we could do that later, when we have a larger jar available. Thanks in advance for your recipe and your reply! 🙂

      1. Hi Joyella…I’ve never had a batch smell like wine. I always say when in doubt, throw it out.

        As far as adding too more water, don’t! It’ll change the salt levels, making it easier for bacteria or mold to grow.

    8. There are fermentation crocka that are produced specifically for lactic acid fermentation. They are easy to use and last a long time if handled properly. They work great!! I have one made by GARTOPF. There are others, also.

    9. Hi Steph, I just made my first batch of kraut yesterday. Can’t wait to taste it……My problem is I live in a cold climate and my kitchen gets down into the low sixties at night. I never warm it up to 70. Is that going to prevent it from fermenting properly? I hope not. I love your site and hope to use many of your recipes. Thanks

    10. I have been experimenting with making “pickled” red cabbage through the fermentation process. I use the same amount of salt as your recipe and then add allspice and cloves. The end result has tasted good but is very mushy. I am used to crunchy sourkraut when I have made it in the past. Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong?

      1. Nikki, you need to weigh the cabbage down so it doesn’t come into contact with the air. It has to be submerged under the liquid at all times or it will rot.

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