This homemade classic sauerkraut with caraway seeds goes well with just about anything. No matter what healing diet you are currently on, the caraway fermented sauerkraut is probiotic while suitable for GAPS, Paleo, Whole 30, Keto and vegan.
If you like this classic sauerkraut, you will like my Pineapple-Turmeric-Ginger Probiotic Sauerkraut too. Also watch my video below for tips to make the best sauerkraut.
The Best Sauerkraut Tips
Year after year, I have consistently received positive reviews from my friends who had my home-made sauerkrauts. Here are the 3 key reasons my fermented sauerkraut turns out super delicious.
- Lower salt ratio of 1 tablespoon to 2 pounds of cabbage.
- Longer fermentation time of 6 to 8 weeks.
- Use flat cabbage instead of regular green cabbage, if available. The flat variety is sweeter and more tender.
Try these tips above, they make a big difference!
The Perfect Salt-to-Cabbage Ratio
You may have heard or read in many places that the recommended salt ratio for sauerkraut is 3 tablespoon of salt to every 5 pounds of cabbage. With years of tries and errors and successes, I can confidently say that this 3-to-5 salt ratio is too salty for my taste. I have found that 1 tablespoon of salt to every 2 pounds of vegetables (whether you use cabbage alone or a combination of cabbage and other vegetables) yields the most delicious fermented sauerkraut.
Your sauerkraut will develop better flavours with a longer fermentation time. My preference is to ferment the sauerkraut for 6 to 8 weeks. For those less patient, I still recommend a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Sauerkraut fermented less than 4 weeks does not taste very good.
Using a Salt Brine
Sauerkraut is a self-brining vegetable ferment, meaning there is no need to add more water, if you take the time to pound, massage, and wait for the salted cabbage to release enough juice. But some days you may not have the time to do so. In those cases, you can make a salt brine to top up your sauerkraut jar. In this classic fermented sauerkraut recipe with caraway seeds, I am also including an optional 2% salt brine recipe. For more details on salt brine percentage, see my fermented cucumber pickles recipe.
Should I Use Whey As a Starter?
As always, I don’t use whey as a starter in my vegetable ferments, for it’s not necessary. I talked about why in great details in my wild fermented salsa recipe.
What Kinds of Salt Should I Use?
I talked about what kinds of salt are best for fermentation in my fermented cucumber pickles recipe.
This caraway sauerkraut is the most traditional sauerkraut flavour. It is versatile to pair with sausages and pierogies. However, my favourite way to eat this sauerkraut is to put them in a smoked meat sandwich. In the winter time, I love to toss them with some root vegetables to make a probiotic and stunning traditional Russian vinaigrette salad.
Related: More Fermented Vegetables You Will Love
- Paleo Apple-Fermented Kimchi
- Keto Kimchi (Whole 30, GAPS, Paleo)
- Fermented Pickles /w Green Tea and Dill Flowers
- Wild Fermented Salsa (No Whey, Probiotic, Vegan)
- Sichuan Fermented Vegetables (四川泡菜)
- Fermented Hot Peppers
- Chinese Long Bean Recipe: Fermented Long Beans (酸豇豆)
- Fermented Cherry Tomatoes
- Fermented Watermelon Rind Salsa
- Pineapple-Turmeric-Ginger Probiotic Sauerkraut
Classic Sauerkraut /w Caraway Seeds
Self-Brining Caraway Sauerkraut
- 6 pounds green cabbage the flat variety preferred
- 3 tablespoons sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
Salt Brine (Optional)
- 1 1/3 cups filtered water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
- Thinly slice the cabbage. Add the sea salt and caraway seeds, massage, let it stand for 4 to 6 hours until the cabbage juice is released.
- Pack the cabbage with juice into a crock or glass jar(s) tightly, until the cabbage is submerged in its own juice.
- (Optional) If the cabbage didn't release enough juice, make a salt brine to top up the sauerkraut until all cabbage is submerged under the brine.
- Make sure there is at least an inch to 2 inches of space from the brine to the rim of the jar for expansion. Close the jar lightly to prevent oxygen from entering but allow air to escape. You may use weight and air lock if you wish.
- Let the cabbage ferment in a cool dark spot in the house. Within a couple days, you should see bubbles released by the fermentation process. If you aren't using weight and air lock, you will need to press down the cabbage to keep it submerged under the brine, and release the gas from the jar by opening the jar daily.
- At the minimum, let the sauerkraut ferment for 4 to 6 weeks in room temperature. For best result, ferment for 6 to 8 weeks. Move the sauerkraut to cold storage.
- 6 lb cabbage makes roughly 3 quarts of sauerkraut. To make more or less sauerkraut, be sure to maintain the same ratio of ingredients.
- This recipe includes a 2% salt brine that's optional. To make more or less salt brine, be sure to maintain the same water to salt ratio for salt brine. Find more details about different percentage salt brine in my fermented pickle recipe.