Looking to add fermented foods to your diet? Sauerkraut is a great place to start! Not only is it delicious and healthy, but it’s really easy to make too. If you’ve sworn off sauerkraut because you absolutely can’t stand the smell and taste of the canned stuff at the store, give a homemade batch a shot. We think you’ll change your mind. Our easy and tangy sauerkraut recipe it perfect for beginners because it always turns out delicious.
Sauerkraut is simply fermented cabbage. The fermentation process for sauerkraut is known as lacto-fermentation. The process is kick-started by adding salt to the cabbage which draws out the water (and lactic acid cultures) from the cabbage to form the brine. The finished product is chock full of healthy bacteria and probiotics!
The microbes converts sugars into lactic acid which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
This is our go to sauerkraut recipe in our house. While we love experimenting with different flavor combinations, we always have a batch of this going because it turns out great every single time. It’s crunchy and tangy and makes a perfect topping. Though we usually eat it as a side with our eggs every morning, don’t judge. 🙂
All you need to make this delicious recipe is cabbage, onion, carrots, salt and a can of El Pato Jalapeño Salsa. This salsa is awesome and it’s the only kind we buy. The ingredient list is minimal and it tastes so good! While spicy on it’s own, it does not make the sauerkraut spicy. We find it at Walmart and our local grocery store, Pick ‘n’ Save. It’s available on Amazon as well.
Alright, let’s get started.
First, prep the cabbage by removing the outer leaves and the core. Set the leaves and core aside for later.
Shred the cabbage and carrots and thinly slice the onion.
Place half the cabbage in a large bowl or stock pot and add half of the salt. Massage the cabbage until it begins to sweat. Add the rest of the cabbage and salt and repeat. You’ll known your cabbage is ready when it’s nice and wet (kind of like dripping sweat)!
We use this salt to cabbage ratio: 1 tablespoon salt to 1 3/4 pounds cabbage. Speaking of salt, any kind is fine as long as it does not contain iodine. Iodine is an antibacterial agent and can interfere with the fermentation process.
Now you’re ready to start packing! Grab your glass jar and add a thin layer of salsa to the bottom. Next, layer cabbage, carrots, onion and salsa.
Be sure to pack it in there. You want to minimize the air pockets. Alternatively you can use a wood masher or spoon to help you pack. The packing keeps the brine building. You’ll want everything covered in brine by the end.
Fill almost to the top but leave a little room to add your “weights.” It’s important to keep everything you want fermented submerged in brine because the microbes convert sugars into lactic acid which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. It’s easy to do this with cabbage, simply place some of the outer leaves on top and fill in the rest of the space with pieces of the core (these are your “weights”).
Screw the lid on and it’s ready to ferment! We recommend placing the jar in a bucket or on a plate for the first few days. As it begins to ferment it will release more liquid and often ends up seeping out of the top of the jar.
For the first four days be sure to “burp” your ‘kraut by opening the lid once a day. This will release excess gas from the jar. You might notice your jar “hissing” during the first few days as well. This just means everything is working! After four days the hissing should subside and you will no longer have to burp your jar.
We find this sauerkraut tastes the best after fermenting for 14 days. You are welcome to open it up anytime after four days and taste test to see what you prefer. Like a fine wine, sauerkraut tends to improve with age. Not only in terms of the flavor but also the amount of good bacteria! We recommend at least 14 days and up to 28 days.
After 14 days, open it up and discard the outer leaves and core.
Move to the refrigerator and enjoy all the probiotic goodness!
- 1 gallon glass jar
- 5 pounds (about 2 heads) cabbage
- 1 pound carrots, peeled
- 2 large white onions
- 1 can El Pato Jalapeño Salsa
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and set aside
- Cut cabbage into quarters
- Remove the core and set aside
- Shred the cabbage
- Place half the cabbage in a large bowl or pot and add half the salt
- Massage cabbage until it begins to sweat
- Place the remaining cabbage and salt in the bowl or pot and repeat
- Shred the carrots in a food processor
- Thinly slice the onions
- Fill bottom of jar with a thin layer of salsa
- Alternate cabbages, carrots, onions and salsa until jar is nearly full
- Make sure all vegetables are covered in the liquid brine
- Cover vegetables with a layer of cabbage leaves. Then place peices of the core on top of the cabbage leaves
- Cap the jar and leave sit for approximately 14 days, be sure to the burp the jar once during the first 3-4 days
- Move to cold storage
> PIN FOR LATER! <