• 5-Minute Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut {or garlic sauerkraut}

    by  • August 9, 2013 • fermented foods, Recipes • 7 Comments

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    I lived in Germany for 3 years and I have to say, they obviously have cornered the market for sauerkraut! I never appreciated it back then the way I do now that I know how beneficial it is. Oh how I wish real food me could go back in time!

    Fermenting sauerkraut not only preserves it but helps to unlock the nutrients from the cabbage. It is much easier to digest and for your body to assimilate. I don’t know about you but eating raw cabbage gives me stomach pains and major gas issues!

    You do not need any special equipment for fermenting. All you need is a jar or other glass/ceramic container with a lid. You *can* buy pickling jars and airlocks but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I don’t have anything but ball jars and they work fine for me. 

    I use a secret ingredient in my sauerkraut and in many of my other ferments. Instead of using whey, extra salt or a store-bought starter culture, I use water kefir or water kefir grains. It’s wonderful especially if you are dairy free! This acts as my starter and delivers wonderfully fermented goodies! You can substitute water kefir for any fermenting recipe that calls for whey 1:1.

    This recipe literally takes 5 minutes if you use a food processor to shred your cabbage. It’s so incredibly easy! Obviously you then have to wait for fermentation to take place but active prep is over in a jiffy!

    5-Minute Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut {or garlic sauerkraut}


    • 1 head of cabbage
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic - crushed (if making garlic sauerkraut)
    • 1/2 TBS sea salt
    • 1/4 cup water kefir (liquid, not grains, that has finished fermenting)


    1. Shred cabbage in food processor.
    2. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and water kefir (add garlic if using).
    3. Stir.
    4. Cover with a cloth and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
    5. Mash cabbage with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher so it gets good and juicy.
    6. Fill ball jar or other container up to 1 inch below the rim with the cabbage.
    7. Lid and leave on counter for 3 days.
    8. Taste and if desired sourness has been reached, move it to the refrigerator.
    9. If not, leave on counter for up to 6 months.
    10. Be sure liquid level is always above the cabbage. Place a cabbage leaf in the jar to push down the kraut if needed.
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    Do you like sauerkraut? Have you ever tried it fermented? 


    For more information on fermenting, I recommend the following books. These are what I adapt recipes from and how I learned how to lacto-ferment: “Nourishing Traditions“, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods“, and “Wild Fermentation“. 

    This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking on these links will not cost you anything but purchases made through the links may provide me with a small commission. Thank you for your support!

    SarahPAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


    Sarah is a crunchy, Eco-chic wife, homeschooling mama to four lively children, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She's a Certified Health Coach, Natural Living Consultant and Essential Oil Connoisseur. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).


    7 Responses to 5-Minute Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut {or garlic sauerkraut}

    1. trixiejo302
      August 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      How much kefir or whey goes in? 1/4 cup? 1/4 Tbsp? I have all the goods to make this, I just need to know that one measurement. Thanks :)

      • August 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

        1/4 cup water kefir. Sorry about that, Trixie! I fixed it in the recipe.

    2. November 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      Usually when I make sauerkraut I use just cabbage, salt and patience. If I am low on patience, I add some premade kraut. Is there any particular benefit to adding water kefir? Or does it just speed up the ferment, like premade kraut does?

      • November 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm

        For kraut you need some kind of starter or just extra salt. I don’t like too salty so I add water kefir.

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    4. June 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      How do you keep the ‘liquid’ above the sraut? Should I be able to squeeze a ton of liquid out of the cabbage when mashing it? If so, long long so you mash it for?

    5. John
      August 21, 2014 at 3:13 am

      In a mason jar, like she said, you can use a cabbage leaf that you;’re not going to eat. Just compost it afterwards. Stuff it to make sure it stays down.

      In a real crock, use a plate and a rock to keep it down.
      John S
      PDX OR

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