- Cabbage (preferably organic)
- Salt (sea salt or pink salt has more minerals!)
- Filtered water
- Herbs or spices to your liking (more details below)
- Wash and chop cabbage into small strips
- In a large bowl, sprinkle salt over cabbage
- Using clean hands, mix the cabbage together, squeezing and pulverising the juices out of them!
- Add squashed cabbage and juices into jar together with any other herbs/spices such as chopped garlic (highly recommended!) or ground cumin, curry powder and other vegetables like onions, shredded carrot, etc, (the kitchen is your playground!)
- Add enough filtered water to cover the cabbage but leave enough space at the top (1 or 2 inches) for the contents to expand
- Screw lid on and let sit on your kitchen bench-top away from direct sunlight for 3 days or more! Once a day, remember to open the lid to let the gases “burb” out to prevent the bottle from exploding!
- The longer you let it ferment, the more tart and sourish it will taste! Taste it every day for your desired tartness. When done, store in fridge to slow-down/”halt” the fermentation process. Recycling the liquid “brine” for the next batch you are going to make will speed up fermentation time and add flavor!
- Enjoy about a tablespoon with each meal as a side complement. Be wary of initial allergic/intolerance effects  and definitely go slow at the start! (details below)
Making Sauerkraut is one of the simplest forms of fermented foods you can do at home! They can be ready in as little as 3 days.
Fermented foods are nature’s probiotics. They do wonders for your gut and overall health. From cancer prevention  to cognitive enhancement and neuro-protective effects . When you correctly ferment something, the bacteria that proliferate also make the nutrients more bio-available, increasing the food’s nutritional content.
Personally I’m not much of a fan of supplements and always find natural is best! And so instead of spending money on probiotic pills, I try to include a good variety of fermented foods in my diet. I eat about a tablespoon of sauerkraut a day, often as a condiment to my main meal.
I don’t recommend yogurt or fermented dairy products anymore because of the cruelty of the dairy industry and how its just not natural for humans, any animal for that matter, to continue drinking the milk of another species after they have been weaned off of mother’s milk as a child. Its just not necessary!
Making your own sauerkraut can cost a fraction of store-bought ones!
A whole spray-free cabbage costs ~$5 and I normally buy that to eat (because its cheaper than buying half 😁). After 2 weeks in the fridge, I still have quite a bit! Knowing that the nutritional value of the cabbage deteriorates with time, I use the remaining to make sauerkraut.
It costs ~NZ$10 or more for a store-bought bottle of kraut’ whereas I probably don’t even use a fifth ($1) of it to make that jar above!
I hope that’s enough to convince you to start fermenting your own kraut’!
Be very prudent and go slow at the start, especially if you are new to eating fermented foods on a daily basis or have a known gut microbiome dysbiosis.
Many people will experience a “detox” effect such as loose stools or aromatic gases coming out the other end!
There are occasionally serious intolerance reactions such as allergic reactions or exacerbation of cognitive disorders like depression .
Do consult an experienced naturopath if you have such a concern.
But in general, my advice is to start with 1 teaspoon. Wait and see how you feel the next day. If all is good, slowly increase the dose until you are having a tablespoon each meal.
It also helps to have a variety of fermented foods as a diverse gut microbiome diversity is also crucial for optimal health. 
I regularly consume kombucha and coconut yogurt too!
- Raak, C., Ostermann, T., Boehm, K., & Molsberger, F. (2014). Regular consumption of sauerkraut and its effect on human health: a bibliometric analysis. Global advances in health and medicine, 3(6), 12-8.
- Kim, B., Hong, V. M., Yang, J., Hyun, H., Im, J. J., Hwang, J., Yoon, S., … Kim, J. E. (2016). A Review of Fermented Foods with Beneficial Effects on Brain and Cognitive Function. Preventive nutrition and food science, 21(4), 297-309.
- Shreiner, A. B., Kao, J. Y., & Young, V. B. (2015). The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Current opinion in gastroenterology, 31(1), 69-75.