Fermenting cabbage and other vegetables at home is something that I wanted to do for many years, but for various reasons I was putting it off, a few months ago I used it thoroughly and the results have been so good that I can't stop sharing them.

In addition, since I started fermenting, I have not been able to stop and the food acquires such a special flavor and texture that you want to keep trying and making more complex variations.


Fermenting cabbage at home is the first step to start on this endless adventure.


What it means to ferment

First of all, we must bear in mind that in a generic sense, fermenting is preserving, it is a way of transforming a food so that it can be consumed for a much longer period of time.

Two types of fermentation can be distinguished, fermentation in the presence of oxygen (aerobic) or in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic).

Examples of aerobic fermentation are kombucha, yogurt or kefir.

In the case of fermented vegetables, the process is anaerobic, which leads to the formation of lactic acid and the growth of acidophilic bacteria such as lactobacillus, among others.

To make you understand it a little better, fermentation is a catabolic process in which lactic acid is produced.


how to ferment cabbage


The fermentation process of any vegetable when it is in a salty medium, consists of the degradation of glucose to obtain metabolic energy and the production of lactic acid, the bacteria involved in these processes are Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus, among others .


Lactic fermentation occurs in an anaerobic environment, and lactic acid is formed. 


Probiotics, prebiotics and symbiosis.

The probiotics They are foods that contain bacteria beneficial to our body, the best known example is yogurt and other fermented dairy products such as kefir.

Fermented vegetables are also probiotics, the fermentation process makes beneficial bacteria develop in these products and when they are consumed, they reach our intestine intact, where they enrich your microbiota.

In contrast, prebiotics They are foods that, when consumed, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. They are fermented fibers in the large intestine, and are not digestible in the small intestine.

The beneficial bacteria in our microbiota are in charge of fermenting them, therefore, they are a great food for them.

Our diet must be rich in both, it is the best way to create a symbiosis very favorable for our intestinal health, it is the way to enrich your microbiota.


Fermentation is an open process, in which you only have to follow some basic recommendations, the rest is up to you.


What's the point of doing it

Improve your diet, nourish yourself better and benefit from a set of living microorganisms that will become part of your intestinal microbiota, (flora) and enrich it.

Fermented foods are more nutritious and more digestible, they improve your diet and your health.

Do you need an advanced microbiology class to do it? Not!

Fermenting is very easy, and it gives you freedom, in the case of vegetables, you decide what you want to ferment and what combinations you want to make.

You can lengthen or shorten the fermentation, to taste flavors and textures, the process will be different if it is summer or if it is winter, there are many factors that influence it.


how to ferment cabbage


To the point, how to make sauerkraut?

Making sauerkraut is a very simple process, you only need a cabbage or cabbage, sea salt (without additives) and some glass jars with a lid, as well as some other glass object that serves as a weight to prevent the cabbage from floating in the liquid of fermentation and is exposed to oxygen in the air.

You may need to add water, remember that it must be filtered water, without chlorine.

There are containers created especially for the fermentation of cabbage, they are usually made of glass or ceramic and include a weight to ensure that the product is always submerged.

But it really is not necessary to have them, you can make sauerkraut or ferment other vegetables in any glass container, making sure, through a series of tricks that the liquid covers the entire contents of the pot.

As I have explained before, lactic fermentation occurs in an anaerobic environment (without oxygen), if there is contact with oxygen, there will be growth of microorganisms that we do not want (fungi and bacteria), so avoiding it is essential.


Fermentation from salt is called "wild fermentation" by Sandor E. Katz.


Step 1:

Buy a cabbage or cabbage, if you can get a better organic farming, it will have more bacteria and less chemicals.

Step 2:

Remove the outer leaves, if they are damaged, throw them away, if not, wash them well and reserve a few, (a pair).

Step 3:

Cut the cabbage into julienne strips, remove the thick and hard stems, save them to make a vegetable cream. For the sauerkraut use only the tender parts.

Step 4:

Go putting the cabbage in a large bowl and adding salt while massaging it, it is about the cabbage releasing water, it is a process that will take you between 10 and 15 minutes.

As for the amount of salt, it depends on many things, the first if it is winter or if it is summer, the second if you want a sauerkraut or more salty.

Keep in mind that at higher temperatures, fermentation accelerates and you need more salt, at lower temperatures, the process slows down and you need less salt.

Massage the cabbage until you see that it "sweats" enough and is softened, you can appreciate the water that is releasing at the bottom of the bowl.

To ferment cabbage you don't need to spend money on special jars, you can use recycled glass jars.


Step 5:

Prepare your glass jars, they must be very clean, but they do not need to be sterilized. Pack the cabbage in the cans pressing continuously with a wooden spoon so that there is no air in the bottom, try to crush the cabbage well, and you will see how it releases more water.

Do not fill the pot to the top, leave a gap to the mouth. Cover the top surface with a cabbage leaf that you had reserved at the beginning. The liquid should cover all the cabbage, if not, you should add a little salt water, put the weight on the cabbage leaf and close the pot.

If the lid of the pot is metallic, put a cloth or a film to prevent the metal from touching the salty liquid, it is very important to avoid it!


how to ferment cabbage


Step 6:

Write the packaging date on a label, it can be a piece of electrical tape, or a piece of paper, use a permanent marker to make sure it doesn't fade, it is vitally important. 🙂


In any fermentation process patience is essential, learn to know how to wait, you will value the result even more.


Step 7:

Wait patiently for your cabbage to ferment. After a day, check how everything is going, there should already be a little bubble rising from the bottom of the boat, especially if the temperature is high (summer).

Make sure the cabbage is still submerged.

The following days it is convenient to open the can so that the gas comes out, close it again and keep waiting.

After 10 days you can try it, smell it and observe it, unless you are in a hurry to consume it, I advise you to leave it longer. After 15 days, try it again and decide, it can be much longer.

If you decide to consume it, you can store the half-filled pot in the fridge, at low temperatures the fermentation slows down and there is no longer any danger of mold and bacteria.


Do not hesitate! Try making your own sauerkraut and learn to ferment at home from almost nothing, a cabbage, sea salt, you, your good work and your patience.

A little further down I leave you the recipe, with all the details, I hope you are encouraged to prepare it, it is very simple, you just need a little will. Health!


Related entries:


Bibliographic references that you cannot miss:

  • Pure Fermentation (Wild Fermentation), Sandor E. Katz, Gaia Ediciones, 2012.
  • The art of fertilization, (The Art of Fermentation), Sandor E. Katz, Gaia Ediciones, 2016.

About the microbiota:


how to ferment cabbage
4.6 de 10 votes
To print


If you want to know how to ferment cabbage at home (sauerkraut) and what benefits it brings to your health, do not miss this recipe, you will enjoy it.

DIsh Canned, Ferment
keyword sauerkraut, cabbage, sauerkraut, cabbage, sauerkraut
Preparation time 40 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Servings 12 rations
Calories 26 kcal
Composer missblasco


  • 1250 g cabbage or smooth cabbage (1 large unit)
  • 20 g coarse sea salt
  • filtered water (may or may not be necessary)

Elaboration step by step

  1. Clean the outer leaves of the cabbage, save some whole ones for later. Cut the cabbage into julienne strips, remove the thick stems and save for a vegetable cream or bottom.

    how to ferment cabbage
  2. In a large bowl, put the cabbage cut into strips and add salt, at the same time massage with your hands, you can use gloves so that it does not irritate your skin.

    how to ferment cabbage
  3. Gently squeeze the cabbage for 10-15 minutes, it has to "sweat", when you see that it softens and has released water, you have it.

    Gently squeeze the cabbage for 10-15 minutes, it has to "sweat", when you see that it softens and has released water, you have it.
  4. Pack the cabbage in very clean glass jars, press towards the bottom with a wooden utensil, try to avoid air, and make sure that its own juice is covering it.

    how to ferment cabbage
  5. Do not fill the pot to the top, leave enough room for the liquid to cover the cabbage.

    how to ferment cabbage
  6. At the top, cover the cabbage with one of the leaves that you have saved at the beginning and put the weight on it, (it can be a glass cup filled with filtered water with salt, for example).

    how to ferment cabbage
  7. Close the pot and let it sit, in a day or two you will see that there are already bubbles inside, the process has already begun! It is convenient that you open the cans once a day so that the gas generated by fermentation comes out.

  8. It must ferment for at least 15 days, from 10 days you can try it and see how it tastes, I advise you to leave it longer.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving (120 g)
Calories 26 Derivatives of 9 fats
% of the recommended daily value *
Fat 1g2%
Saturated fats 1g6%
Sodium 665mg29%
Potassium 177mg5%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Proteins 1g2%
Vitamin A 102IU2%
Vitamin C 38mg46%
Soccer 42mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percentages of Daily Values ​​are based on a diet of 2000 calories.


    • Hi Brittany, lactic acid fermentation is a preservative method suitable for vegetables and fruits, not only cabbage. Thanks for your comment! 😉

  • 5 stars
    The canister should be hermetically sealed or left a little loose to ensure the CO2 escape
    Or be covered with a sieve
    How is this process. Since it is very important to avoid contamination.

    • Hello, if the bottle you use is made of airtight glass, you must open it every day, at least for the first two weeks, so that the CO2 that is generated comes out. If you use a special pot to ferment, you should not worry because they are designed to allow the gas to escape. If the jar is made of glass with a metal lid, place a weight on the cabbage, so that it is always submerged, you can see it in the images, then cover the metal lid with plastic wrap or cloth, it is essential that the metal does not come into contact With the brine, you can cover the bottle, but since the closure is not hermetic, the CO2 will come out.
      I hope I have clarified your doubts.

  • 5 stars
    Hello, thank you very much for your excellent explanation. A question is cabbage or cabbage that cuts into julienne not be lava? only the leaves that are placed on top or it is stripped and washed one by one.Thanks for your answer 🙏😊

  • During the 10 to 15 days that fermentation lasts, should the container be kept refrigerated? After two days of fermentation, it must be uncovered to release gas and also to test it, but when testing it, the large leaf will move and the upper liquid will enter the rest of the cabbage, that does not affect the process since it also enters oxygen? .

    • When the fermentation is to your liking, you store it in the refrigerator, to test it just lift the upper leaf, the one that acts as the lid takes out a little cabbage, if you want it to continue fermenting, put the leaf back as it was, make sure everything still well submerged. Do this with clean wooden utensils and very clean hands. Opening the pot has no effect as long as the cabbage is completely submerged.

  • Thank you for everything you explain and how well you do.
    The cabbage gets into the pot with the water that has been released by massaging it?

    • Hello Immaculate, indeed, the cabbage is packaged with the water that it releases when you massage it, if it is not completely covered, you have to add water with salt to cover it completely. Thanks to you for reading me and for commenting! Cheers! 😉


    • Hello, once the cabbage is fermented, it can last a long time in the refrigerator, it is best that it continues to be submerged in the brine. For my taste the liquid is too salty, I only consume the cabbage, but I use the liquid to water plants since it contains many live beneficial bacteria.
      It can be taken in salads or as an accompaniment to meat, fish, legumes, etc.
      I hope I've cleared the doubts.
      Thanks for commenting and greetings. 😉

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