Sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fiber and contains vitamins and microelements, which helps to keep you fuller for longer. Sauerkraut also contains enzymes and helps the body to absorb more nutrients.
Also during the fermentation beneficial probiotics are produced. These “live bacteria” are what give your body health benefits. That is why sauerkraut helps to keep the lining of your digestive system healthy, support your natural antibodies, help to combat inflammation and reduce your risk of infections.
Most of our immune system is found in gut. Sauerkraut can also be of benefit to your immune system too because of its gut-supporting properties.
Can sauerkraut cause bloat? Probiotics help to reduce many digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating and constipation. The answer is not, sauerkraut can’t cause bloat. It helps you to reduce it.
Research on good gut bacteria says that sauerkraut may reduce your risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and depression. Probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut can aid weight loss.
But if you want to get all these sauerkraut benefits to purchasing fresh sauerkraut (made without vinegar) or make your own at home! It is pretty simple with our fermented sauerkraut recipe.
Lacto Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe
With this recipe we make 2 quarts lacto fermented sauerkraut for 20 minutes + fermentation time 2-6 weeks. This recipe can be simply scaled up by multiplying the ingredients.
Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage. Sauerkraut is a base of lacto fermenting. It is really a time-tested fermented food and it is surprisingly simple to make. This basic recipe creates slightly sweet sauerkraut. You can eat it with grilled meats, sandwiches and many other meals.
- 1 small head white cabbage (about 2 to 2½ pounds) – for best results choose fresh-picked cabbage
- 1½ tablespoons pickling salt
- Optional – 1 tablespoon juniper berries, or 10 bay leaves, or 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Wash cabbage and remove a couple of its outer leaves. Reserve these for later.
Split the cabbage into quarters, and remove its hard inner core.
Thinly slice cabbage using a sharp knife (or shred it on a mandolin).
Place the cabbage and spices (if using) in a large nonreactive bowl. Add salt and massaging them with your clean hands so that the salt is evenly mixed throughout the cabbage.
Once the cabbage begins to soften and a little bit juicy, pack the contents of the bowl into a jar, crock or oak barrel.
Using a clean fist, smaller jar or wooden masher, pound the cabbage down.
On top of the salted cabbage, place one or two reserved leaves. Weigh the cabbage down using a non-reactive weight.
Examples of non-reactive weight. As non-reactive weight you can use:
- 8-ounce or 10-ounce jar with water
- food-safe zippered bag with 1½ tablespoons pickling salt and 4 cups water
Cover lacto fermented sauerkraut with a clean kitchen towel, and leave out at room temperature.
How to know if your cabbage is ok?
Within 24 hours, the cabbage should be covered in its own brine. If the amount of brine is inadequate, you can made it using 1½ tablespoons pickling salt and 4 cups water. Use this as needed to cover the cabbage. The cabbage should remain below the brine at all times.
Check the cabbage daily and if any mold on sauerkraut appears, skim it off immediately.
After 3-5 days place the cabbage in a cool location away from direct sunlight.
After 2 weeks check the sauerkraut for taste. Sauerkraut fermentation is highly variable based on temperature, and it can take 2 to 6 weeks to be complete.
If bubbles stop rising to the surface the best indication that fermentation is complete. Store your sauerkraut in the refrigerator.
Best Cabbage for Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is typically made in the fall when cabbage is sweet and fresh. The best cabbage for sauerkraut is the later maturing varieties due to their higher sugar content and cooler temperatures.
Krautman, Danish Ballhead, Late Flat Head and Premium Late Dutch are the most popular varieties for making sauerkraut.
Nutrition Facts of Lacto Fermented Sauerkraut
Amount per 100 grams (one serving of sauerkraut is approximately ½ cup or 50g.):
- Calories 19
- Total Fat 0.1 g
- Sodium 661 mg
- Potassium 170 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 4.3 g
- Dietary fiber 2.9 g
- Sugar 1.8 g
- Protein 0.9 g
- Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin K, Magnesium
Weird Questions About Sauerkraut
Can chickens eat sauerkraut?
To answer this question, I studied many sources and opinions. And there is no unity among the owners of chickens! Some feed chickens with sauerkraut cooked without salt. Others say that a little salt does not harm chickens. Still others are opposed to chickens eating fermented food. You can decide for yourself whether to give your chickens sauerkraut or not. But be aware that salt in large quantities is harmful to birds. Also ask yourself, why would you give sauerkraut? Obviously, cabbage (fresh or fermented) is not the main food for chickens.
Can dogs eat sauerkraut?
Can dogs eat sauerkraut? Yes! Dogs can eat sauerkraut. But will they? It has a strong odor and most dogs won’t eat it.
Sauerkraut is good for dogs – it has probiotics and antioxidants. But you should not give too much sauerkraut to your dogs because of salt. Talk to your veterinarian about how much salt is ok for your dog.
And be careful! Do not give sauerkraut with caraway seeds to your dogs! Caraway is toxic to dogs and can provoke vomiting and diarrhea.
Can you use red cabbage for sauerkraut?
Yes, you can use red cabbage for your sauerkraut. It is no different from white cabbage. And the recipe for fermenting red cabbage is the same. As a result, you will have a nice dark pink sauerkraut color.
Can you make sauerkraut without salt?
Yes, you can make sauerkraut without salt! It happens that the doctor advises to limit the amount of salt in the diet. Or you simply decided to eat healthier foods. Although classical sauerkraut doesn’t have that much salt, you can do without it at all!
To cook sauerkraut without salt, finely chop the cabbage, place it in a glass jar or crock and fill it with clean water. You can add bay leaves, cumin seeds, hot pepper, or any other spices you like. Leave the cabbage in a warm place. An active fermentation process will begin in a day. After three days, you can try sauerkraut without salt. Store it in the refrigerator.