The fermentation process is a beautiful thing, and we, as humans, have been fermenting things for a really long time. Don’t believe me? Well, there’s sourdough bread, kimchi, beer, wine, liquor, chocolate (yeah, THAT chocolate), pickles, yogurt, cheese, miso, kombucha…the list continues on, and I bet there’s at least one thing on that list that you love.

Sauerkraut is another prime example of a fermented food, and it’s one of my favorites. I love sauerkraut because it’s bright, crunchy, a little tart, and cuts right through fatty delicious meats like pastrami or bratwurst. And did I mention that it’s easy to make? Homemade sauerkraut is amazing, and might just well blow some minds at your next dinner party. No special equipment, no strict temperature monitoring, no special ingredients. All you really need is time.

Depending on the size of container you use, your kraut will take longer or shorter to sauer (bigger container = more time needed). We’re using quart-sized Mason jars, so your sauerkraut will be done in about 14 days, though you can let it go longer or shorter if you want. Feel free to taste it throughout the fermentation process, and once it tastes the way you think it should taste, throw it in the fridge to essentially halt the fermentation.

Basically, what you’re going to do is slice the cabbage, massage some coarse-grained salt into it so it starts to macerate, add some seasoning, stuff it in the jar, pack it down tight, and then let it ride (don’t worry, more detailed directions are below). It’s an anaerobic fermentation process, so you want little to no air in contact with the sauerkraut.


You can use either red or green cabbage for this, but I personally love the beautiful color of red sauerkraut. I’ve done two different methods here; one is classic, and the other is spicy and not-so-classic. Feel free to experiment with other seasonings as well — the only thing you have to lose is some cabbage (and time, I guess).

As I mentioned earlier, sauerkraut really wants some fatty meat with it, and for me, that needs to be bratwurst. Making sausage is a pain in the ass, however, and buying bratwurst seemed like a cop-out for my fresh kraut, so I took some pork butt, seasoned it like bratwurst, and braised it in beer (aka “Brat Butt”). To top it off, I baked some apples, because it’s fall, and doesn’t that just sound good with everything else?