Make your own homemade sauerkraut. Crunchy and sour in equal measure, it’s the perfect condiment topping for meat, sandwiches, eggs, and more!
If you enjoy pre-made sauerkraut, then get ready to have your socks blown off. Homemade sauerkraut is a whole new level of flavor. It’s a world apart from store-bought options, and it’s going to be your new favorite BBQ side-dish.
Crunchy and sour in equal measure, it’s unlike anything else. And the good news is that anyone can make it. It goes great in sandwiches and burgers, and is the perfect pairing to meat. There’s a reason why millions of Bavarians enjoy it on the side of bratwurst sausage.
It’s made from just essentially just cabbage, salt and water, it couldn’t be easier to make. The only obstacle is time, so be patient. Once fermentation starts, it’ll need at least 3 weeks to turn into delicious sauerkraut.
If this is your first foray into fermented food, then also check out our grilled kimchi recipe.
How to make homemade sauerkraut in a mason jar
Sauerkraut is a great entry to fermented foods for newcomers. It only needs one core ingredient and a mason jar. It’s easy, doesn’t need special equipment, and is very hands-off once fermentation begins.
While you can make large batches of the stuff in a crockpot or even barrel if you’re feeling brave, a mason jar is the perfect size to get started with.
Once submerged and sealed in the jar, the cabbage will release its water content and create its own brining solution. After a few days it’ll start to ferment, and slowly form the sauerkraut we love.
The essence of our homemade sauerkraut will be just three simple ingredients: Cabbage, salt, and juniper berries. Heck, it doesn’t even need the juniper berries, but I saw it recommended by the AllThingsBBQ YouTube channel and I haven’t looked back since trying it as added seasoning.
It takes time, but the weeks of fermentation that goes into creating it is what makes the ingredient so special and delicious.
What can you add to sauerkraut to make it taste better?
If you want to improve on your homemade sauerkraut recipe even further, you can add some of our suggested ingredients. These are our 3 favorite spice and flavoring additions that we enjoy in our sauerkraut.
For each of these, try to ensure that you maintain a ratio of three parts cabbage to one part added ingredient. This will help stop you from going overboard with your experiments!
Juniper berries are a classic addition to sauerkraut, and it’s easy to see why. These little purple berries pack in a powerful punch that cut through the sour flavor of cabbage beautifully.
Ginger has an uncanny ability to warm anything it’s in, and is a great addition to any winter dish. There’s a good reason why it’s added to almost any home remedy for the common cold. In sauerkraut, grated ginger adds a deep and milk layer of heat, and will be perfect served alongside pork in particular.
If you want a bit of sweetness in your sauerkraut, adding some grated beet to the mix can go a long way. They’re a great way to balance out the saltiness of the cabbage, in case you’ve gone too far.
When made in a mason jar, sauerkraut takes at least 3 weeks to make. It starts to ferment after about 3 days, and needs to be degassed every few days to relieve the pressure building up in the jar. Larger volumes of sauerkraut will require more time.
Just like with many other fermented foods, eating sauerkraut is linked to a number of health benefits. It contains a lot of probiotics, which can aid digestion and boost your immune system. Sauerkraut is high in sodium however, so be careful with the quantities that you eat.
Sauerkraut is best known in Germany as an accompaniment to bratwurst, but is also great in meat-heavy sandwiches and burgers. It’s also great on non-meat foods, like scrambled eggs, avocado, and as a salad dressing.