Fermented Cabbage or Sauerkraut is the easiest probiotic you can make at home. It doesn’t require a lot of effort or ingredients and it will last for up to two months in the fridge. On top of its probiotic qualities fermented cabbage is also one of the best sources of Vitamin C. Ideally, you would want to add it to your meals at least twice a week if you are not using any other probiotics (homemade or store-bought) for your microbiome health.
If possible, use organic cabbage when making sauerkraut to ensure that as many of the beneficial bacteria as possible survive the process and produce the best results during fermentation. Non-organic cabbage can work, too, but the results are not guaranteed - it really depends on where you bought it from and the conditions it was grown in. Also make sure you use clean jars or containers.
It will take 3-5 days for the cabbage to ferment and after that it should be moved to the fridge.
1 medium cabbage
2 carrots (optional)
2 tablespoons of salt
28 Calories per serving
Total Fat 0.1g
Total Carbohydrate 6.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Total Sugars 3.5g
Vitamin C 21mg
1Discard any of the wilted leaves from your cabbage. If not using organic, remove all outer leaves. Remove an extra couple of leaves and set aside - we will need them later.
2Cut the cabbage around the core. Use a knife or a mandoline to cut all of the leaves into thin strips. Peel and grate the carrot, if using.
3Combine the cabbage (and the grated carrot) in a large bucket and add salt. Leave for a few minutes for the salt to start to react - it will start drawing the moisture out.
4Start mixing the cabbage with your hands, pressing it down every now and then. Continue the process for 10 minutes. You should end up with a forth of the volume. Keep mixing until the cabbage is completely wet and you can see an accumulation of juice at the bottom of the bucket.
5Transfer the cabbage into a container or a pickling jar. Press as much of it down as you can. You should fill the container completely leaving about an inch (2 cm) at the top. Carbon dioxide produced during fermentation will require the extra room. Make sure all of the cabbage is submerged under its own juice - the bacteria responsible for the fermentation process requires an anaerobic environment.
6Place the reserved cabbage leaves at the top of the mix and press down again. You want the cabbage to be compacted as much as possible. If you can, weigh it down inside the jar with a small plastic container or a clean plastic bag filled with water. It’s not absolutely necessary but it can help. Close the jar or the container you are using and place in a warm dark place.
7Check on your fermenting cabbage every 24 hours, take it out and remove the lid for a minute or so to allow the carbon dioxide to escape. We recommend doing it away from other people - the smell it emits will not make you any friends. The end product, though, might.
8After three days, if all goes well and you don’t see any mold in your container, try the cabbage. If the taste is sour but pleasant and you are happy with the results, it is done. If you are not quite happy with the taste yet, leave it for another one or two days and taste it again. Once you are happy with it, move it into the fridge. It no longer needs any further work, it’ll just keep there - whenever you need it, for up to two months. You now have a potent homemade probiotic at your disposal.