Traditional Wild Sauerkraut & Sauerkraut Juice
Servings Prep Time
1litre 45mins
Passive Time
Servings Prep Time
1litre 45mins
Passive Time
Cabbage mixture
  • 1 kg CabbageThe green cabbages produce more brine – select a good quality fresh organic cabbage that is not dry or too old
  • 2 – 3tbl Celtic or Himalayan Sea SaltSalt is a traditional ingredient in sauerkraut because it increases shelf life, texture, and flavor. The amount of salt used can vary according to personal taste but too little can spoit the batch. The salt helps to preserve.
Special equipment
  • 1 Fermenting Jar/VessleThere are many kinds of fermenting vessles on the market. You can make your own at home or spend extra money on something fancy. See our notes for recommendations
  • 1 Heavy weightthis is used to keep the cabbage submerged under its own juices
  • 1 Cabbage/vegetable pounderThis aids to help push and compress the cabbage or fermented vegetables so that they are submerged udner their own brine
  • 1 Unbleached cheesecloth
Sauerkraut Mixture
  1. Thinly slice or shred the cabbage and place it into a large bowl. A good quality mandolin is great for shredding. A big cooking pot is good to contain the cabbage for this will allow you to easily get your hands into the mix later.
  2. Add a generous amount of salt to the mixture and mix the salt into the cabbage with your hands. Let it sit for 10 – 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw out some of the cabbage juice naturally. Salt actually allows the cabbage to sweat so that juices can be extracted to create the brine. 2 tablesppons of salt per 1kg cabbage.
  3. After you have allowed the cabbage to sit for 20 minutes, mix, massage and knead the ingredients with your hands. Bruising the cabbage this way allows the cabbage to extract more natural brine solution. Keep kneading until you have squeezed a substantial amount of juice from the mixture. This may take approximately 10-20 minutes. It is always handy to have someone with strong hands to do the kneading & massaging.
  4. Place the cabbage mixture into the selected kraut vessel and pack and push the mixture down so that the cabbage is compacted in the bottom and the juice is sitting on the top of the cabbage with a minimum of 4 – 5cm’s or 2 inches of the juice above. It is important to push the cabbage down firmly so that no air is trapped and the cabbage is completely submerged in and under its own brine juice. A cabbage/vegetable pounder or potato masher can be a good tool for this.
  5. Most fermented vegetable kits will have a weight but if you do not have a kit with a weight, simply make your own weight by using a plate that fits snug in the fermenting vessle and place it on the top of the cabbage and then place a smaller jar (filled with water) on top of the plate to weigh the cabbage down and keep it submerged. Push the jar down and you will see more juice rise to the top. It is very important to ensure that all the sauerkraut is submerged under its own juice. Don’t worry if you don’t have a weight to push it down, just try to make sure that all the cabbage remains under the brine and if any bits float up, remove them throughout the process to prevent them from going mouldy.
  6. When all the cabage is submerged under its own juices with the weight keeping it down, cover the top with a double folded cheesecloth to keep away the dust and store in a dark place for four weeks (ie pantry). If you use a canning jar with a rubber ring top, and close the lid, be sure to burp it a few times in the first few days to release the pressure or it will burst – you won’t need the cheesecloth if you use this type of jar. Keep checking to remove any mould or scum build up floating on the top and make sure the kraut remains under its own juices. The sauerkraut may be consumed and ready to eat after 2 weeks but it matures better and contains more good bacteria wioth more time. The sauerkraut may be stored in the fridge after 2 – 4 weeks of fermentation. If there is any scum or mould development on the top – remove this. The kraut remaining under the juice will be fine.
  7. After the cabbage has completed the fermentation process it becomes preserved and will last up to 12 months in the fridge. Fermentation is the traditional way we preserved food before companies decided to create synthetic harmful preservative options.
Kraut Juice
  1. The juice remaining in the kraut jar is a by-product of the sauerkraut but it is just as probiotic and benneficial to consume as the kraut itself. Do not discard the juice, either leave it in the jar and consume it gradually along with the kraut or strain it into a bottle to use as a fermented probiotic drink. This juice is what we like to use in the introduction stages of the GAPS Diet. It is introduced slowely and methodically. Refer to the GAPS introduction stagesfor this method.
Recipe Notes

Alternative options

This is a wild feremtnation method which often takes a little more time to ferment naturally, however you can assist this process further by inoculating the kraut batch with good bacteria from the very beginning by adding a vegetable starter culture to the mixture and massage that through with your hands along with the salt.

You may add other vegetables like grated carrots and other favourites such as caraway seeds or dill. 

Trouble shooting

If for any reason the cabbage is not submerged under enough of its own juices, you may need to add a small amount of filtered water with more salt (15 gms of salt to 1 ltr).

Sauerkraut & how to introduce it