How To Make Sauerkraut: 9 Easy Steps With A Video Tutorial

Fermented cabbages such as Sauerkraut are well respected in the gut health world and for good reasons. It is a powerful source of probiotics which are the gold standard for improving your digestive system. Keep reading on to discover more about Sauerkraut as well as how to make sauerkraut in 9 simple steps (recommended: watch the video for a more interactive experience).

What is Sauerkraut?

The word Sauerkraut is a German term meaning “sour cabbage.” It is prepared by fermenting chopped cabbage with a salt solution under anaerobic conditions. Sauerkraut is a German staple that was used to fight off infections, treat colds, and address fatigue.

Historians believe that sauerkraut preparation began between 1550 and 1750 AD. Sauerkraut, just like all fermented vegetables, undergoes lactic acid fermentation. The microbial diversity present in kraut depends upon both climatic conditions and the geographical area. Research has also determined that the variety of species in sauerkraut changes throughout fermentation phases as the pH decreases <1>.

While sauerkraut contains multiple probiotic strains, there are a couple notable bacteria strains commonly found in sauerkraut including Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides <2>,<3>.

Sauerkraut Benefits

The sauerkraut benefits stem from the diversity of probiotics found in this fermented food. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in our guts.

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Scientific research has found evidence for:

  • Gut pH resilience
  • Health promoting antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improves leaky gut
  • Energy balance
  • Reduces stress hormones

Lactobacillus plantarum is a very flexible and versatile species which adapts to stressors better than other lactic acid bacteria. With high gut pH resilience, it is able to survive passage of the stomach and temporarily colonize the intestines.

L. plantarum also boasts significant antioxidant activity and is able to destroy pro-inflammatory cytokines making it an ideal candidate to accelerate gut repair and maintain intestinal permeability <4>.

Lastly, it also alleviates oxidative stress and adrenaline levels as a result of its psychotropic properties. Lactobacillus is one of the genera of bacteria that is known to exert mental health benefits through interactions with gut bacteria. Studies found that the gut bacteria participate in the regulation of important physiological processes including energy balance and activity of the enteric nervous system which scientists are now calling our “second brain” <5>.

The role of gut bacteria in the gut-brain axis is still not well understood but current research is starting to bring forward some fascinating results.

Lactobacillus Brevis

Scientific research has found evidence for:

  • Gut pH resilience
  • Improves sleep
  • Mood regulator
  • Improves metabolism
  • Enhances Immune System

Lactobacillus brevis another prevalent species in the Lactobacillus genus that is known to withstand highly acidic environments and survive in the gastrointestinal tract. Many studies have isolated this species and found several novel traits.

For example, Lactobacillus brevis is known to increase tryptophan levels in the blood, a precursor to the production of serotonin and melatonin. Both of these hormones are crucial for a good night’s rest <41>.But that’s not all, Lactobacillus brevis also inhibits the production of IGE antibodies and histamines and supports natural killer cell activity <6>, <7>.All of these actions help the body fight off allergies and infections and even demonstrate response to tumor formation.

Leuconostoc Mesenteroides

Scientific research has found evidence for:

  • Gut pH resilience
  • Enhances Immune System
  • Improves leaky gut
  • Assists microbiota colonization

Leuconostoc is the other genus of lactic acid bacteria that is found to be most widespread. The species Leuconostoc mesenteroides is particularly well adapted to the fermented vegetable niche.

This species is able to survive within a large pH range, even inhabiting areas with high bile salt concentrations. Studies have shown that Leuconostoc mesenteroides increase IGA antibodies in the mucous membranes which enhance the immune response by keeping pathogens at bay <8>.

Other research has recognized that the species also plays a role in maintaining the intestinal tight junctions for proper gut permeability <9>.

However, Leuconostoc’s most distinguishing feature is the positive effect it has on the proliferation of other beneficial bacteria in the intestines <10>.

What Do I Need?

  1. 1 organic head cannonball cabbage, coarsely chopped
  2. 1 tbsp non-iodized salt
  3. Glass 1000 ml (quart) jar

What Are The 9 Steps To Make Sauerkraut

1. Sterilize all surfaces and equipment


2. Coarsely chop cabbage and add to bowl

chopped cabbage in a bowl

3. Sprinkle salt to mix

chopped cabbage

4. Massage cabbage to break down cell walls

squeezing cabbage in a bowl

5. Once mix creates enough liquid add to jar compressing after each addition

cabbage in a bowl that has been squeezed

6. Cabbage should be firmly packed into the jar and submerged under its juices

smashed cabbage in a jar

7. Leave approximately ½ inch of head space and place intact cabbage leaf to keep mix in anaerobic condition under juices

stacked fermented food in jars

8. If vessel does not have an airlock you need to “burp” 1x/day to release pressure.

woman putting a lid on a jar of cabbage

9. You are free to decide how long you want to ferment. I recommend 2-4 weeks.

sauerkraut in a mason jar

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