Vegan Sauerkraut
5 from 3 votes
-
elizabeth emery

If you are wondering how to make sauerkraut, you will find that it’s shockingly easy to prepare it in your own kitchen. Requiring just three ingredients ( fresh cabbage, salt and water), if you leave it on the countertop for a few days you’ll end up with a lightly tangy, savoury and salty sauerkraut that tastes much better than store-bought versions and doesn’t have that strong vinegary taste.

Let’s embark on a journey to create your own sauerkraut using a humble head of cabbage from your local grocery store. Discover the best way to transform it into a tangy delight, ensuring there’s enough liquid and just the right amount of salt to kickstart the fermenting process. This easy homemade recipe unveils the secrets behind the sour taste, courtesy of the proliferation of friendly bacteria. Join us in this culinary adventure as we guide you through each step, making the fermenting process both enjoyable and rewarding. The best part? You’re in control of creating a flavorful, probiotic-rich sauerkraut that elevates any meal. If this is your first time trying sauerkraut you will love it.

The Benefits of Eating Sauerkraut

Naturally fermented sauerkraut is really healthy. It’s a probiotic food which is great for the gut and digestion, and also contains a good amount of vitamin C and fibre. Red cabbage in particular also has higher amounts of many nutrients than white cabbage, which is why I’ve chosen to use it for this tutorial.

Beyond its simple ingredients, sauerkraut is a rich source of vitamins, especially C and K, and essential minerals like potassium. This nutrient profile adds to the health benefits, making sauerkraut a good idea for individuals seeking a tasty and nutritious way to support their well-being.

The introduction of good bacteria into your digestive system via sauerkraut is a good idea for promoting a healthy gut microbiome. This, in turn, supports improved digestion and nutrient absorption.

How Long Does it Take to Ferment Sauerkraut?

In my experience, the fermentation process takes about 4-5 days at home, depending on room temperature and other factors. Leaving it to ferment longer than this is a matter of personal preference. I’ve left mine up to 8 days before for a tangier flavour! 

How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut

 What You’ll Need

  • red cabbage
  • sea salt
  • water
  • a large mason jar or glass jar with lid
Vegan Sauerkraut

The Method

Step one: Use a clean jar or sanitize it by washing it in hot soapy water. Remember to have clean hands too.

Step two: Set aside one piece of cabbage that’s slightly larger than the mouth of the jar.

Step three: Slice the rest of the cabbage thinly. Aim to make each piece similar-sized, so they all ferment at the same speed.

Step four: Place the sliced cabbage in the jar, pressing it down fit as much in as possible. Fill all the way up.

Step five: Dissolve sea salt in water to create enough brine. Pour over the cabbage, up to about 1cm from the mouth of the jar.

Step six: Fit the large piece of cabbage just below the water line, tucking the corners down below the neck of the jar. This will keep the other pieces of cabbage underneath the water’s surface.

Step seven: Place a sheet of paper towel on top of the jar, securing with string/elastic band.

Step eight: Leave to ferment on a countertop for 4 days, topping up brine if any has evaporated. If white scum appears on top of the cabbage at any point, scoop off with a clean spoon.

Step nine: After 4 days, sample. If the cabbage is fermented to your taste, screw a lid on the jar and store in the fridge. If not, leave on the countertop for a day or two longer, until desired taste is reached.

Vegan Sauerkraut

Adding Flavors

Once you’ve grasped the basic recipe, there are many number of ways to customize it!

Try adding any of these:

  • Garlic, ginger or cumin seeds – add to jar before adding the cabbage
  • Beetroot or carrot – grate and mix with cabbage before adding to jar
Vegan Sauerkraut

Tips

  • Salt – Use a salt that’s finely ground, and not coarse. This will make it much easier to stir into water when making brine. Use a good quality sea salt, or Himalayan salt. You can use kosher salt too if you prefer.What role do beneficial bacteria play in sauerkraut fermentation?
  • Avoiding mould  – Make sure your glass jar is thoroughly cleaned before beginning, to avoid bad bacteria.
  • Red or white cabbage for sauerkraut – If you’re wondering what the best cabbage for sauerkraut is, it’s really a matter of preference. White cabbage is traditionally used, but personally I prefer the taste of red, and I find it contains more nutrients.

Sauerkraut – Recipe Card

Vegan Sauerkraut

Vegan Sauerkraut

5 from 3 votes
A lightly tangy, savory and salty sauerkraut that tastes much better than store-bought versions and doesn’t have that strong vinegary taste.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Author: Elizabeth Emery | Vancouver with Love

Ingredients

  • ½ a head of red cabbage
  • 1 tbsp sea salt – Use fine ground sea salt as you’re mixing it into water
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 litre/32 oz mason jar or glass jar with lid

Instructions

  • Clean your mason jar thoroughly by sanitizing or washing it in hot soapy water.
  • Set aside one piece of cabbage that’s slightly larger than the mouth of the jar.
  • Slice the rest of the cabbage thinly. Aim to make each piece similar-sized, so they all ferment at the same speed.
  • Place the sliced cabbage in the jar, pressing it down fit as much in as possible. Fill all the way up.
  • Dissolve sea salt in water to create a brine. Pour over the cabbage, up to about 1cm from the mouth of the jar.
  • Fit the large piece of cabbage just below the water line, tucking the corners down below the neck of the jar. This will keep the other pieces of cabbage underneath the water’s surface.
  • Place a sheet of paper towel on top of the jar, securing with string/elastic band.
  • Leave to ferment on a countertop for 4 days, topping up brine if any has evaporated. If white scum appears on top of the cabbage at any point, scoop off with a clean spoon.
  • After 4 days, sample. If the cabbage is fermented to your taste, screw a lid on the jar and store in the fridge. If not, leave on the countertop for a day or two longer, until desired taste is reached.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe, text, and photography by Elizabeth Emery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the ideal temperature for fermenting sauerkraut?

The recommended temperature range is usually between 65-75°F (18-24°C). Direct sunlight can cause temperatures to spike, leading to undesirable outcomes in the fermentation process. A dark place is recommended.

What role do beneficial bacteria play in sauerkraut fermentation?

Beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus bacteria, are crucial for fermenting sauerkraut. They convert sugars into lactic acid, preserving and giving the sauerkraut its characteristic tangy flavor.

Can I use a ziplock bag to create an anaerobic environment during the fermentation of sauerkraut?

Yes, you can. Fill a sealed ziplock bag with water and place it on top of the shredded cabbage in the fermentation container to create an anaerobic environment, aiding the fermentation process.

How can I ensure that my sauerkraut maintains a consistently crunchy texture throughout the fermentation process?

To maintain a consistently crunchy texture in sauerkraut, ensure even cabbage shredding, pack tightly, submerge in brine, and monitor fermentation time, keeping the cabbage under optimal conditions. Store in a cool place post-fermentation to preserve crunchiness.

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Vegan Sauerkraut

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