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Sauerkraut recipe

23 December 2014

Try this recipe for sauerkraut, the distinctive German preserved cabbage known for its health benefits.

Glass jar of sauerkraut
Glass jar of sauerkraut

Fermenting time

1-3 weeks


  • 1 red cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tablespoons Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, divided
  • 1 bay leaf


Shred, slice or grate the cabbage and carrots and place in a large bowl.

Add the salt and toss to combine, then set aside for 30 minutes.

Knead the vegetables by pressing them down with your hands. Tip them into a mason jar, add the spices or any other spices you like and press down on the vegetables. Water will leach from the vegetables, then over time it will subside.

If there is no water you can make a brine, to help cover the vegetables. To make the brine, bring ½ cup water and a ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt to the boil and stir until the salt dissolves, then leave to cool

Pour over the vegetables, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) of head space in each jar. Add a weight to help press the vegetables down. Seal the jars. You will see them bubbling over the next few days.

Once a day loosen the lid to let the fermentation gases escape. Push any vegetables that have worked their way up the side of the jar or around the weight back down into the liquid.

As the lactic acid bacteria proliferates, the cabbage will turn into sauerkraut. Theoretically the cabbage is ALIVE with probiotics, and by day 4 it can be eaten. However, for best flavour leave it for 1–3 weeks. Warmer climates speed up fermentation, while cooler temperatures slow the process. Refrigerating slows down the process so once ready store in the refrigerator.

Recipe extracted from The Power of Living Raw by Nicky Arthur, New Holland Publishers, £14.99

About sauerkraut

The lactic acid process that naturally preserves sauerkraut is ripe with probiotic power. The good bacteria that are common to preserved food include Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. caret, L. pentoaceticus, L. brevis and L. thermophiles.

There is a wide range of healthy bacteria responsible for these tasty ferments, so you won’t find the same good bacteria count in every batch, but what you will find is a product brimming with healthy probiotics that will help ensure good gut health.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.