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Homemade Sauerkraut - A Traditional German Recipe


There are some well known German dishes that have made their way into food culture all over the world, and one of the best known is Sauerkraut. It has been a staple part of the German diet for hundreds of years and is popular for its health benefits as much as the taste. 

In the past every German Oma used to make Sauerkraut at home and although these days it's easier to just grab a jar in the supermarket, nothing tastes as good as the homemade variety.

So whether you love Sauerkraut or just enjoy fermenting, grab a cabbage and test out Chef's easy traditional Sauerkraut recipe! 

Sauerkraut  - 6 serves

You'll need a  1 - 1.5ltr sterilized preserving jar or fermenting crock pot

1 kg green cabbage, as fresh as possible
16 g sea salt
Optional - 6 bay leaves & 20 black peppercorns. You can also add Juniper berries or carraway seeds 

It is extremely important that everything is sterilized to allow for proper fermentation.
Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves.

Grate or slice the cabbage finely.

Weigh the cabbage and correct amount of salt. Place the thinly sliced cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over it. Knead and squish the cabbage with your hands for about 5-15 minutes. As you knead the cabbage will start to soften and release water - by the end there should be enough liquid brine to cover the cabbage completely.

When finished you should have about 3-4 cm of liquid on top of the cabbage. If this does not happen make up a salt water mixture of 16 g of sea salt to 1 litre of water and add just a little of it to the fermenting jar - but only if necessary. 

Stuff the cabbage very tightly into the fermenting crock pot or a large preserving jar, adding the peppercorns and bay leaf to each layer as you go. The bay leaves and peppercorns are optional but will add an extra dimension of flavour to the recipe.

If using a fermenting pot, put the weights on top of the cabbage to submerge it beneath the liquid.

During fermentation the sauerkraut will bubble a little and become cloudy. If scum appears, remove it with a spoon.

Store in a cool, dark area between 15 – 21°C for 10 - 14 days to ferment.