Picture of Fermented Purple Sauerkraut

This is a basic step-by-step on making a beautiful purple sauerkraut.

Having two german grandmothers, I grew up eating sauerkraut with
sausages as a family meal. It brings back such good memories for me. It's also super cheap, uber healthy, and keeps for the better part of a year if you are good to it! It's my hope that this instructable brings people to try sauerkraut for themselves and start new family meal traditions. Or at the very least put it on a hotdog.

For those of you who have never had sauerkraut before, the name means "sour cabbage". It's made by a process called lacto-fermentation, the same good stuff happens to give us yoghurt. When combined with salt, it pulls the moisture from the cabbage creating a brine. In the brine, nothing but the strongest survive. The bacteria known as lactobacillus eat all the sugars in the cabbage and burp it into lactic acid-- which preserves the cabbage for a long time and gives it a unique, sour taste! Its high in fibre, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Iron and is generally good for your gut.


- large cutting board

- chef knife

- large mixing bowl, or very clean bucket

- 1 x 4 qt. mason jar, or 4 x 1 qt mason jars

- parchment paper, or keep one large, clean outer leaf of the green cabbage

- small patch of cheesecloth and a rubber band or string


- 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)

- 1 medium head of purple cabbage

- 3 tbsp kosher or sea salt

- 1 cup water

- 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)


Clean and sanitize your cutting board, knife, mixing bowls/bucket, mason jars, with very hot soapy water.

Quarter each head of cabbage. Slice along the bias to make very thin strands of cabbage about 2mm thick.

Dump cabbage into your mixing bowl or bucket. Sprinkle salt over top, and begin mixing it into the cabbage with your very clean hands. You may want to wear gloves, because the purple cabbage can stain your fingers!

Gently massage the salt in for about 10 minutes, pressing and squeezing the cabbage until it starts to become limp, and water begins to leach out of it. Add caraway seeds if you're into it.

Pack it into your jar, pressing down firmly to really press it down. Add any liquid left in the bucket, and an additional cup of water.

Press a piece of parchment paper over top of the cabbage, submerging it down under the liquid in the jar. Alternatively you can use a large outer leaf left over from the cabbage if you want to be all old school about it.

Cover the jar. You want to allow some air flow, but still keep stuff from getting into it so you can use a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band if you'd like. I just put the lid on mine, it doesnt seal very tightly anymore so it worked fine.

Keep the jar in a dark, room temperature place, between 55-75F.

Over the next day, whenever you remember try to press down on the cabbage every so often. It will become limper and more liquid will be squeezed out of the plant fibers, keeping it submerged.

If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt ina cup of water and add it to submerge the cabbage.

The cabbage will take atleast 3 days to start fermenting. Check your batch atleast once a day, making sure everything is submerged.

Once you decide it's tasty enough, move your jar to the back of your fridge and put a proper lid on it. It will be good for the better part of a year.

h0n3y5un5h1n310 months ago

My mouth is actually watering.

I'm always paranoid about canning because I'm afraid I'll mess it up and poison us. Canning things are the next frontier for me.

cant wait to try it!!!
karalalala (author)  nate piedmonte11 months ago

That is byoo-ti-full! Sauerkraut martini?

nope. straight up dirty vodka!!! today is day seven
batery991 year ago
Es sieht lecker aus!
karalalala (author)  batery9911 months ago

Danke. Es war kostlich. Mit vielen wurstchen!! German always makes me want to shout...

just made my first batch. followed directions exactly!! my father makes huge batches in a pickle crock
karalalala (author)  nate piedmonte11 months ago

That is awesome! Maybe you could do an instructable on how to do it in a pickle crock!

sboja1 year ago
i love sauerkraut so much... :-) yamyam. cheers
mwisdom11 year ago
A few of my ancestors were from the Rhineland and I grew up loving sauerkraut. I've got to try making it! Thank you for a great looking recipe!
mwisdom11 year ago
A few of my ancestors were from the Rhineland and I grew up loving sauerkraut. I've got to try making it! Thank you for a great looking recipe!
verence1 year ago

What part of Germany were your grandmas from? I've never seen Sauerkraut made from purple cabbage before. But, yeah, looks nice!

karalalala (author)  verence1 year ago

One of them was from the very far north, and one was from a farm in the south.. they didnt seem to get along, but they both could cook like crazy. Purple isnt exactly traditional, I just thought it looked pretty. My Nan from the north would make red cabbage with an apple and clove and a bit of vinegar, that was very nice too!

Yum, this looks amazing!