Sauerkraut, Traditional

Revised January 23, 2012 to increase fermentation time from 3-7 days to 6 weeks to ensure it is fermented long enough to break down the fibers—see Raw Versus Cooked Carbs (Plant Foods).

Sauerkraut can be made in several different ways. The traditional recipe involves shredding and pounding fresh cabbage, adding salt, and submerging it under water for several days. The natural bacteria in the cabbage will naturally begin to ferment the cabbage while the salt inhibits other microbes.


  • fresh medium cabbage, red or green
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • non-chlorinated water


  1. Remove the core, and shred the cabbage.
  2. In a large bowl that won’t break, mix the shredded cabbage and sea salt.
  3. Pound the cabbage mixture to expel the juices using a mallet (wood is preferable) or a meat pounder. Do this for about 10 minutes to release as much natural juice from the cabbage as possible.
  4. Put the pounded cabbage and juices in a wide-mouth glass jar large enough to hold the cabbage and liquids.
  5. Press down firmly on the cabbage and add water until the cabbage is fully submerged about about 2 inches below the liquid. The top of the liquid should be at one inch from the top of the jar to allow room for expansion while it is fermenting.
  6. Cover the jar and let it sit for at least 6 weeks at room temperature (the ideal temperature is about 75°F or 23°C). Check it every few days to ensure the cabbage is submerged under the liquids, and add more non-chlorinated water as needed. If the cabbage does not stay below the liquid it can get moldy. If that happens remove the moldy cabbage, skim off the top of the liquid, add more liquid, and continue fermenting it.
  7. After it is fermented store it in the refrigerator or a cool place in order to stop the fermentation process.