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How to Ferment Your Own Red Cabbage Sauerkraut At Home In a Jar

Red cabbage sauerkraut is a delicious, healthy side dish that you can make at home in a mason jar or any glass jar with a lid.

homemade red cabbage sauerkraut in a mason jar

Red cabbage sauerkraut has many health benefits, especially when it comes to gut health. It also has an amazing flavor when combined with caraway seeds and juniper berries to give it some extra spice.

Use a forkful (or more) to add a satisfying bite to burgers, tacos, hot dogs, and sandwiches or pair with goat cheese, arugula, and berries for an appetizing salad.

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What Are the Health Benefits of Fermented Cabbage?

  • Red cabbage is low in calories, high in vitamin C, vitamins A, K, B6, and fiber.
  • During the fermentation process, as the cabbage ferments, a helpful probiotic, Lactobacillus, grows and thrives in the brine environment.
  • Eating fermented foods, such as this, can introduce good bacteria into the digestive tract for better digestion.
  • Fermented red cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked, adding extra flavor to dishes with its nice tangy flavor.
  • This homemade sauerkraut recipe is gluten-free, low calorie, no sugar, keto friendly, paleo friendly and Whole 30 compliant.

As this is raw unpasteurized sauerkraut it must be kept refrigerated.

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The Spices Used for This Simple and Delicious Fermented Kraut

First up, Juniper berries!

If you’re not familiar with juniper berries, allow me to introduce you to them.

The juniper berry is the fruit of junipers, which are coniferous trees found in many parts of the world.

Juniper berries can be dried or fresh (we’ll be using dried ones for this recipe). *I had a hard time finding them locally but was able to order a container of Juniper Berries online.

What do juniper berries taste like?

Juniper berries have an earthy flavor with nuances of pine resin and sweetness. They are the main flavoring for gin.

Juniper berries are known for their individualized flavors. Some juniper berry lovers taste pine, menthol and even gin (as mentioned above) in the flavor of juniper berries. Others taste a hint of citrus with juniper-berry notes to it. Junipers have been used medicinally since ancient times due to its healing properties as well as its different tastes when eaten raw or cooked in dishes.

Next, Caraway Seeds!

What do caraway seeds taste like?

Caraway has a pungent flavor which can be compared to black pepper but more spicy, bitter and earthy tasting as well as being slightly sweet at the same time.

What caraway seeds are used for?

Caraway is often added in dishes where a lot of other spices already exist such as curry powder or pickling spice blends that also contain dill, black pepper, coriander seed, bay leaves and more. It can be great to add caraway when you’re trying to take the flavor profile down from spicy to just slightly warm.

How to Ferment Cabbage to Make Sauerkraut with Simple Ingredients

This recipe works well for big or small batches and is a wonderful first time (first attempt) into the world of fermented recipes. It also only requires days, instead of weeks of fermentation.

No special equipment is needed which also makes this a budget friendly recipe.

Notes: Prepare jars (the fermentation vessel ). Make sure the mason jar or glass jar and lids you will be using has been thoroughly cleaned. I like to use the sanitize option on my dishwasher for this purpose.

A good knife will work great for shredding the cabbage but a food processor will work much quicker!

Ingredients used to make red cabbage sauerkraut in a mason jar - fresh head of red cabbage, juniper berries, and caraway seeds

Ingredients:

1 head of red cabbage or purple cabbage (you can use green cabbage as well)

Each of the below spices can be used as per the measurements below or more or less can be used per your personal preferences

8 to 10 dried juniper berries

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Brine Ingredients

4 cups water

1 tablespoon sea salt (or kosher salt)

*As an alternative, a natural brine can be made using pure spring water and natural salt.

Shredded cabbage for red cabbage sauerkraut recipe
  1. Rinse with cold water and remove the outer leaves of the cabbage
  2. .Use a good knife to thinly slice into shredded cabbage. The cabbage will look like it does when making cole slaw.

How to Make the Brine:

Brine used to make red cabbage sauerkraut

Add water and salt to a large mixing bowl or measuring cup and stir until the salt is dissolved.

How to Make the Sauerkraut:

Shredded cabbage in mason jar waiting for brine to be added for homemade red cabbage sauerkraut
  • Loosely pack the sliced cabbage into the jars adding the caraway seeds and juniper berries throughout. Leave enough room at the top of the jar to allow enough liquid (the brine) to be added.
Overhead view of red cabbage sauerkraut in mason jars
  • Pour the brine over the cabbage mixture and gently push down the cabbage to ensure that it is fully submerged under the brine and that any air bubbles have been released.
Red cabbage sauerkraut in mason jars with loosely placed lids - the beginning of the fermentation process
  • Cover each jar loosely with a lid. You don’t want the lid on tightly at this point because as the fermentation process commences, the liquid may overflow from the jars.
  • Place the jars on a plate or tea towel on your kitchen counter to catch any potential overflow.
  • Leave the jars at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for a couple of days (3 full days seems to work best in my experience). During this period, remove the lids from the jars at least once a day and make sure that the cabbage is still submerged in the brine adding more brine if necessary.
  • Are you seeing bubbles on top? If you are, that’s a good thing! It means that your red cabbage kraut is starting to ferment.
  • At the end of the 3 days the fermenting kraut should start to have a fresh, clean, and slightly sour smell. You may want to do a taste test at this point but hold off on eating it for a few more days.
  • Now, tighten the lids and move the jars to the refrigerator. I know waiting to eat the fermenting sauerkraut can be hard but give it at least 5 more days for the flavor to develop. The longer you wait, the more flavorful it will be.

Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Homemade Red Cabbage Sauerkraut in mason jars

I hope you enjoy making this healthy, delicious recipe for yourself. It will keep in your fridge for weeks on end and the process of fermentation produces lactic acid which preserves food naturally. The result? You’ll have tasty probiotic-rich homemade sauerkraut with all the benefits without any preservatives or added sugars. So grab some fresh red cabbage from the market and get started today! Your gut will thank you later.

I also like to top off this Slow Cooker Creamy Reuben Dip with a heaping spoonful before serving! The deep color of the red cabbage is a nice offset to the relatively neutral tones of the dip and adds a bit of fun to family get togethers.

Overhead view of red cabbage sauerkraut in mason jars

Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

Mary Beth
Delicious simple recipe for Red Cabbage Sauerkraut. It's probiotic rich, keto friendly, gluten free, and low in calories!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Fermentation 8 d
Total Time 8 d 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 22 kcal

Equipment

Mason Jars
Food Processor
Knife
Measuring Cup

Ingredients
  

  • 1 head red cabbage
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Rinse with cold water and remove the outer leaves of the cabbage.
    Use a good knife to thinly slice into shredded cabbage. The cabbage will look like it does when making cole slaw.

How to Make the Brine:

  • Add water and salt to a large mixing bowl or measuring cup and stir until the salt is dissolved.

How to Make the Sauerkraut:

  • Loosely pack the sliced cabbage into the jars adding the caraway seeds and juniper berries throughout. Leave enough room at the top of the jar to allow enough liquid (the brine) to be added.
  • Pour the brine over the cabbage mixture and gently push down the cabbage to ensure that it is fully submerged under the brine and that any air bubbles have been released.
  • Cover each jar loosely with a lid. You don't want the lid on tightly at this point because as the fermentation process commences, the liquid may overflow from the jars.
  • Place the jars on a plate or tea towel on your kitchen counter to catch any potential overflow.
  • Leave the jars at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for a couple of days (3 full days seems to work best in my experience). During this period, remove the lids from the jars at least once a day and make sure that the cabbage is still submerged in the brine adding more brine if necessary.
  • Are you seeing bubbles on top? If you are, that's a good thing! It means that your red cabbage kraut is starting to ferment.
  • At the end of the 3 days the fermenting kraut should start to have a fresh, clean, and slightly sour smell. You may want to do a taste test at this point but hold off on eating it for a few more days.
  • Now, tighten the lids and move the jars to the refrigerator. I know waiting to eat the fermenting sauerkraut can be hard but give it at least 5 more days for the flavor to develop. The longer you wait, the more flavorful it will be.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Red Cabbage Sauerkraut
Amount Per Serving
Calories 22 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 604mg26%
Potassium 172mg5%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 781IU16%
Vitamin C 40mg48%
Calcium 35mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword fermented recipe, homemade sauerkraut, mason jar sauerkraut, red cabbage sauerkraut
Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think!Mention @TheHowToHome or tag #thehowtohome!

Recipe Rating




Lora Bloomquist

Friday 13th of August 2021

I love red cabbage and this sounds delicious, Mary Beth. Totally going to try, and definitely trying the reuben dip, too; love reubens!

Mary Beth

Sunday 15th of August 2021

Thank you, Lora! I hope you like it.

Paula@SweetPea

Saturday 31st of July 2021

I love sauerkaut and need to make this stat!

Mary Beth

Thursday 12th of August 2021

I love it, too! It gets better with age. Let me know if you like it. :)