Polish Sauerkraut


I was brought up on sauerkraut.  My Great Polish Aunt was a specialist sauerkraut maker and I remember us as kids always having it with our meals. The sour flavour comes from the process of lacto-fermentation, similar to the pickling of cucumbers. But instead of soaking the cabbage in a vinegary brine solution, sauerkraut preparation requires only salt and the lactic acid bacteria already present on raw cabbage. Sauerkraut produces amazing amounts of lactobacilli, a healthy probiotic that helps with digestion and a healthy immune system. The fermentation also produces isothiocyanates, compounds shown to prevent disease. The cabbage itself  contains similar anti-carcinogenic phytochemicals as broccoli and brussels sprouts, and is also a good source of vitamin C, K, and folate.

Most of us buy our kraut from the supermarket. Going that route means you’re probably losing all the good stuff through pasteurisation, so why not make your own? It’s incredibly easy to make your own as most supermarket varieties have been pasteurised, meaning the heat has probably destroyed most of the good bacteria.

What’s great about it:
Probiotics are live micro-organisms (good bacteria) that reside in the gut. Probiotics support our immune system, aid digestion and assist with nutrient absorption into our bloodstream. Probiotics play an integral role in maintaining healthy gut function by preventing the invasion of harmful microbes. They are also involved in the synthesis of important nutrients such as vitamin K and short chain fatty acids.
The word pro-biotic actually means ‘pro-life’, so where possible, choose the foods that are life giving to your health.

The main ingredient of sauerkraut is cabbage and salt.
To every 1 kg of cabbage use 15 g (1 tablespoon) of salt.
Use a good unrefined salt rich in minerals such as Celtic sea salt.

If you make sauerkraut often, it’s worth Investing  in a good quality fermenting crock-pot which will make sauerkraut making a breeze. I have an awesome one at home from MS -Steinzeugwaren in Germany.

1 kg cabbage – 1 large cabbage
1 tablespoons Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt
3 bay leaves
4 black peppercorns

Wash the cabbage and remove the outer leaves.
Grate or slice the cabbage finely.
Weigh the cabbage and weigh out the correct amount of salt.
Layer the cabbage and salt in your fermenting crock-pot or a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, massaging each layer as you go.
As you massage the cabbage will start to soften and release water. This will take about 15 minutes. There should be about 5 cm of juices on top of the cabbage.  If this does not happen make up a salt water mixture of 15 g of sea salt to 1 liter of water and add a little of it to the crock-pot only if necessary.
Add the bay leaves and peppercorns.
If using a fermenting pot, put the weights on top of the cabbage, submerging it beneath the liquid. Then place the lid on top and follow manufacturers instructions.
Store sauerkraut in a glass jar in the fridge.

Or alternatively  – Pack the cabbage tightly into a sterilised jar, pressing down into the jar as you pack it with cabbage.
The cabbage should be completely submerged in the brine you’ve created.
Seal the lid and place the sauerkraut in a dark spot at room temperature for a least 1 week.
Refrigerate then enjoy.

Other vegetables and aromatics can be added for colour and nutritional benefit.
Choose from carrots or different coloured cabbage. My great aunty used to add a few bay leaves and black pepper corns to her mix.


1 Perfect with fresh made green salads such as Kale SaladSuperfood Tabouli 
2 Add as a side to smashed organic eggs or scrambled eggs and sautéed greens + a little Dijon mustard.
3 Make an open Reuben style sandwich with sourdough rye and top with avo, cured ocean trout, cucumber ribbon and top with sauerkraut.


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30 Responses to “Polish Sauerkraut”
  1. Sarah says:

    How funny that you’ve posted a recipe for sauerkraut. I bought a cabbage earlier tonight to make colslaw, my husbands eyes lit up and he started googling sauerkraut recipes! But as always your recipe will be the one I use to make this tomorrow. Thanks!!

  2. Isabella says:

    What’s the best way to serve this ? It’s so strange I bought some today having never tasted it before and I’ve been wondering how I should serve it – any suggestions ? Thanks very much

    • Prashanti Lyree-jo Vodanovich says:

      We use it on everything. It’s addictive,

    • Hi Isabella – lots of ways you can enjoy it….
      1 Spoon a little over fresh made salads.
      2 Add as a side to smashed organic eggs or scrambled eggs and sautéed greens + a little Dijon mustard.
      3 Make an open sandwich with sourdough rye and top with avo, cured ocean trout, cucumber ribbon, smashed eggs or chicken and top with sauerkraut.

      T:) x

    • Els says:

      Heat coconut oil in pan, fry bacon pieces and onion -add sauerkraut and pieces of pineapple heat through drizzle with honey

    • marlene says:

      Pile it on a hot dog sandwich with mustard! Mmmmm

    • Magda says:

      Traditional polish sauerkraut salad:

      300g sauerkraut
      1 onion
      2 sweet apples
      2 medium carrots
      Ground black pepper
      1 teaspoon of sugar
      3-4 tablespoons of olive oil

      Chop Onion finely, grate apples and carrots. Mix all put aside for min 20 minutes and enjoy. You would traditionally have it for dinner with some meat and mashed potatoes. ;]

  3. Miki says:

    Is pink himilayan salt suitable for this too? Thanks!

  4. Cath says:

    Hi Teresa,
    I was wondering if I could use a red cabbage instead?

    I love getting your emails full of fantastic healthy things you gladly share with us.
    Thank you, I appreciate the knowledge you give us all about the foods we eat.

    Cathy :)

  5. Kim says:

    Do I wash the cabbage before mixing with salt? Will massaging the cabbage with my bare hands introduce any bacteria or germs to it? Will it grow mould if left at room temperature for a week?

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Teresa

    I was so excited when I saw you Polish Sauerkraut as my mum is Polish. My grandma used to make it all the time but sadly she is no longer with us.

    I just made some so hopefully it will turn out. I did it in the jars and wow what a work out you get as well. Unfortunately have to wait a week to try it.

    If you have a good Polish cabbage roll receipe would love it if you passed it on.

    Cheers x

  7. Karen says:

    Oh I grew up all lots of fermented foods so this is an excellent & easy recipe, thanks for sharing. You couldnt put a link up to that fermenting crock pot or show a pic of it could you? I am interested to get one but when I google is I don’t get much info on it.

  8. Simone says:

    I made this a week ago and have been tasting it since day three. Each day the taste develops into a richer sour taste and it’s addictive……dare I say! I’m loving it and found it to be easy, not Ferel, and very very tasty! Thanks heaps.

  9. Michelle says:

    I had a go at the sauerkraut recipe and it didn’t taste quite right, not sure why. So I tossed it and had a second go and it has turned out perfect! Thanks for this recipe!

  10. Eva moutafis says:

    Your recipe sounds so easy and want to make it, but because I don’t have much room in the fridge is it ok to to botle it which means cooking it a little, after fermented ? Thanks a lot.

  11. Cath says:

    I have tried a few of your recipies and they are all so inspiring. I have had a list of health issues post my last child and have found food the essential key to repair and rejuvination. This sauerkraut is now a family staple and we all thank you for our glowing skin and happy tummys. The simplicity and fantastic taste batch after batch make it a joy to share with friends too. We add fresh ginger and organic caraway seeds that give us great results also. Many thanks again for your healthy approach to food and your sharing of knowledge.

  12. Cedar says:

    When you buy the bottled variety do you need to wash the salty liquid off it before using?

  13. Donna says:

    How long can this be kept in the fridge once open?

  14. maggie says:

    Hi Teresa, How are you? I’m loving your saurkraut recipe, thank you!
    I have a quick question… Your recipe says to leave it out pf the fridge to ferment for at least a week. Other recipes i’ve read say up to 5 or 6 weeks. I’ve been leaving it out for a few days until it starts foaming and then refrigerating for a few weeks before eating. Can you advise if it’s ok to leave your recipe out of the fridge for a few weeks as well? Thank you very much :)

    • Hi Maggie – lovely to hear from you ! So when you make it….leave out of the fridge to ferment only – this can take 4 – 5 – 6 days depending on the weather. Just taste it after 4 days. After that place into jars – (sterilised) then place into the fridge and store. You can eat straight away ! It will keep nicely – it should keep wonderfully for up to 6 months. T:) x

  15. Christine says:

    I’ve been advised to add fermented foods to my diet daily to introduce probiotics. I would like to start by making my own sauerkraut and found your recipe. Do you always start with making it in a bowl following your instructions, let it ferment (covered?) in a dark spot then transfer it to smaller glass jars when it’s ready to eat in the fridge? Do you add the bay leaves in the beginning process and then transfer them to the jars as well?

  16. Madeleine G says:

    I add almost a bunch of finely chopped dill, and a heaped teaspoon of caraway seeds to the mix – both add a divine flavour. Love your site – and LOVE the photography!

  17. Marie says:

    Hi Teressa
    Where can I buy fermenting crock pot from? Could I just place the cabbage in a sterilised jar
    Marie xx : )

    • jenni Mathiesen says:

      Fermenting crocks (not sure of its name) are available at Bendigo Pottery, Bendigo, Vic. Made in Australia.

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