Recipe Sauerkraut Probiotic-Rich Fermented Food (2024)

I was happy to read a great article that was circulating online last week, discussing the superior content of ‘good bacteria’ in my favourite probiotic-rich fermented food, sauerkraut.

It has become increasingly clear that the bacterial environment in our digestive tract is fundamental to our health. It’s estimated that an adult has between 2 and 5 pounds of microbial cells distributed between our gut, skin, respiratory tract and urinary tract, with the lion’s share of these microbes being in the gut.

Think about this; there are roughly 10 times more microbial cells in our body, than there are human cells. There are significantly more of them than there are of us, and together we are a complex, tightly interconnected and interdependent ecosystem – a microbe-human kibbutz if you will.

So dependant are we on this colony, that restoring and maintaining a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria is a critical part of transforming and maintaining our own health. And while the old adage tells us “you are what you eat”, when it comes to our flora, they are also what we eat.

Fermented foods have become something of a lost art, as we move away from traditional methods of food preparation, but they are probably one of the very easiest ways to influence the make-up of the microbial population, and keep it happy and healthy. If you have never fermented before, it’s surprisingly easy and very satisfying. It’s possible to ferment a wide range of foods, quickly, easily and with little more kitchen equipment than a knife, a bowl, some good quality salt and a clean jar.

This recipe is one of my favourites. It’s easy to make, and can be varied to suite taste, season or whim.

You will need:

  • 1 whole cabbage – green, red, white, napa or any other that you fancy.
  • 2 inches of ginger root, peeled and sliced into coins.
  • 2 tablespoons of salt (I use Himalayan pink salt)
  • Large bowl
  • Sharp knife or food processor
  • Wide mouth glass jar, about 750ml capacity
  • A clean glass that fits in the mouth of the jar


Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Cut the cabbage into stripsas large or small as you like, or shred in the food processor. Place into the bowl with the ginger slices and sprinkle with the salt.

With clean hands,give the salted cabbage a good massage until the leaves are limp but still crispy and a good amount of water has been released into the bowl. Depending on the cabbage, this may take just a few minutes or up to half an hour.

Pack all the cabbage, ginger and ‘juice’ into the jar and press it down very firmly. You may use your hands, or a kitchen instrument to help you with this. I sometimes use the end of my rolling pin, for example.

It is very important that all of the vegetable is below the liquid, as this is where fermentation takes place. If the cabbage didn’t produce enough for this to happen, then top up the jar with some salted filtered water.

To make sure that the cabbage stays below the liquid line, pop a shot glass or other drinking glass (whatever fits into the mouth of the jar) about half filled with water on top. You may also like to place one of the discarded outer leaves on top of the shredded cabbage and under the glass, to keep all the small pieces in line and prevent little floating bits, as these will promote mould growth.

Store the jar out of direct sunlight, without the lid. You may cover the lid of the jar with a little muslin or cheesecloth and a rubber band, but air needs to be able to circulate in.

Fermentation will take 1-4 weeks, as a general rule, depending on the temperature of the room. Taste-test it from about a week and when it is fermented to your liking, put the lid on the jar and store it in the fridge.

Recipe Variations:

  • Mix other vegetables, such as shredded carrot or sliced radish to the cabbage.
  • For a different flavour, grate some pear or apple into the mix.
  • For those who can’t tolerate cabbage, grate 500g of carrots and use instead. The carrot and ginger mix is pretty special. You will likely need more brine for this, as carrots release less water than cabbage.
  • I love the flavour of adding a few peeled cloves of garlic in too, but garlic has some antimicrobial properties, so fermentation will take longer and may have less bacteria present in the final product.

Let me know how you go with this recipe, and please add any fun recipe variations to the comments here so we can all enjoy them too! Happy fermenting.

Robyn Puglia

Recipe Sauerkraut Probiotic-Rich Fermented Food (1)

Robyn is a Clinical Nutritionist with a specialised interest in the Functional Medicine approach to health. Robyn is very involved with the field of Coeliac Disease, Gluten-Reactive Disorders and Autoimmune Disease. Her passion for the healing power of food, has led her to work with complex cases, involving multiple diagnoses, and chronic health issues such as ME, auto-immune diseases and fibromyalgia.She also has a passion for working with the growing tide of chronic, lifestyle mediated illness; diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, and runs a lifestyle intervention clinic for these issues. Robyn works with patients to nutritionally support their bodies, so that they can heal. She has successfully helped many people around the world improve their health and increase their quality of life.Robyn sees clients in London, Tokyo and New York, and has a virtual practice that allows her to work with people all over the world.

Recipe Sauerkraut Probiotic-Rich Fermented Food (2024)


How to make sauerkraut high in probiotics? ›

Leave the jar of cabbage in salt brine in your kitchen cabinet for 5 days to 2 weeks (exposed to as little light as possible). The hotter the room temperature, the faster your cabbage will ferment. One week is the standard amount of time it usually takes me to successfully make probiotic sauerkraut.

How much sauerkraut should I eat a day for probiotics? ›

Sauerkraut is a highly nutritious, probiotic-rich food, and you are recommended to eat about a tablespoon or 10 grams per day. You may gradually increase the intake of sauerkraut up to six tablespoons or 60 grams per day if you are comfortable. However, you are recommended not to overconsume.

Does homemade sauerkraut have more probiotics than store bought? ›

Store bought sauerkraut is typically pasteurized during the canning process, which destroys the active probiotics and therefore makes it less nutritious than fresh or homemade sauerkraut.

What sauerkraut is best for probiotics? ›

In a nutshell: the best sauerkraut for probiotics and for gut health is any type of raw (unpasteurized) sauerkraut which is doesn't contain any sugar, vinegar, or preservatives such as lactic acid, sodium benzoate, or sodium bilsufate (since those ingredients all interfere with the process of “lactofermentation” ...

Is homemade sauerkraut a good probiotic? ›

Sauerkraut is also packed with probiotics that can improve your overall gut health. This combination makes sauerkraut an excellent food to aid with digestion. Obesity affects more than 40% of American adults and is associated with increased risks of heart disease, digestive problems, and type 2 diabetes.

Does all homemade sauerkraut have probiotics? ›

Sauerkraut has become one of the most popular fermented foods to eat as part of a probiotic diet. But there's a caveat. Not all sauerkraut products are the same. Indeed, it's very likely that imported, mass-produced, pasteurised sauerkraut may have little, or no, probiotic bacteria at all!

Should I eat sauerkraut in the morning or at night? ›

The best time to eat sauerkraut for gut health is during or before a meal since stomach acid, and enzymes can aid in breaking down food and killing harmful bacteria. Incorporating sauerkraut into your diet regularly can be beneficial, aiming for at least 1-2 servings per day.

Is the sauerkraut in a jar a probiotic? ›

Sauerkraut is a source of probiotics and nutrients that support your immune system . For starters, the bacteria that populate your gut can have a strong influence on your immune system. The probiotics found in sauerkraut may help improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, which helps keep your gut lining healthy.

What is the healthiest brand of sauerkraut? ›

Overall, we think Olive My Pickle Fermented Sauerkraut is a great choice for anyone looking to improve their gut health. It's a high-quality product that's made with simple, whole-food ingredients and contains probiotic live culture raw & unpasteurized foods.

Is sauerkraut in a jar still good for you? ›

The pasteurization process used in canned sauerkraut involves heating the product to high temperatures, which can degrade certain heat-sensitive vitamins, minerals, and enzymes present in the cabbage. Raw sauerkraut typically maintains higher levels of vitamins C and K, as well as beneficial enzymes.

Which is a better probiotic sauerkraut or yogurt? ›

Sauerkraut contains far more lactobacillus than yogurt, making it a superior source of this probiotic. Two ounces of homemade sauerkraut has more probiotics than 100 probiotic capsules. Store-bought sauerkraut is often treated with preservatives, meaning it does not offer the same health effects as homemade sauerkraut.

Is Vlasic sauerkraut fermented? ›

Vlasic's sauerkraut production process involves shredding and fermenting cabbage with salt and then pasteurizing the product to eliminate harmful bacteria.

Is kefir better than sauerkraut? ›

While both kefir and sauerkraut are packed with beneficial nutrients, they differ in their nutritional profile. Kefir is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, while sauerkraut is higher in vitamin C and fiber. Both are low in calories and fat and can be a healthy addition to any diet.

Does Aldi sauerkraut have probiotics? ›

Aldi Deutsche Kuchen German sauerkraut contains only cabbage, salt and water. That means the sour flavors come from lactose fermentation, not vinegar. However, since it comes in a room temperature jar, it was pasteurized, which should kill most of all probiotics.

How long to ferment sauerkraut for most probiotics? ›

Fermentation Temperature, Time, and Management

Store the container at 70°–75°F (21°–23°C) while fermenting. At these temperatures, sauerkraut will be fully fermented in about three to four weeks; at 60°–65°F (15°–18°C), fermentation may take six weeks. Below 60°F (15°C), sauerkraut may not ferment.

How long does it take for probiotics to form in sauerkraut? ›

Once you press the salted cabbage into the mason jars or crock and put the lid on, the sauerkraut will go through various stages. After about 3-6 days, you will have freshly fermented sauerkraut. It will have a fine taste and will contain some probiotics. However, I love to long-ferment my sauerkraut for 30 days.

How long does it take sauerkraut to work as a probiotic? ›

In that case, a daily serving of probiotic-rich sauerkraut can aid symptoms of your distress, potentially leading to noticeable improvements and a happier digestive system within weeks.

How do you heat sauerkraut without killing probiotics? ›

Although heat does kill the good bacteria living in your sauerkraut, it only happens at 46°C (115°F). So if you're cooking at a very, very low temperature, you should still retain a large amount of these probiotics. Another solution could be to add your sauerkraut or kimchi to a cooked meal near the end.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dan Stracke

Last Updated:

Views: 5962

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dan Stracke

Birthday: 1992-08-25

Address: 2253 Brown Springs, East Alla, OH 38634-0309

Phone: +398735162064

Job: Investor Government Associate

Hobby: Shopping, LARPing, Scrapbooking, Surfing, Slacklining, Dance, Glassblowing

Introduction: My name is Dan Stracke, I am a homely, gleaming, glamorous, inquisitive, homely, gorgeous, light person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.