Sauerkraut – sour cabbage is a wonderful ferment for beginners. It is easy to make with two simple ingredients – fresh green cabbage and salt. You make spicy sauerkraut by adding your favorite spice like chili peppers or jalapenos. If you are a spice lover you can use habaneros – very hot chili peppers.
What do I need?
To make spicy sauerkraut is easy. Firstly, get a green fresh medium size cabbage or two small cabbages. The fresher the cabbage, the more juice will be released during the pounding or massaging process. When possible try to source the cabbage from an organic shop or a farmer’s market.
Use a good quality salt which hasn’t been chemically processed like sea salt, kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt. They are all equally good.
Once you mix cabbage with salt and other vegetables and spices you will need to pounder the mixture with a wooden spoon or to massage it with hands to get the juices out. Be patient as this process takes 5-15 minutes depending on the amount of cabbage. Pack the mixture tightly in a glass jar or a ceramic crock. To keep the cabbage submerged below the brine use glass fermentation weights.
Weights will stop the mold getting created at the top of the cabbage which can spoil the mixture. If you don’t have fermentation weights you can place a small ceramic plate and put a clean rock on the top of it. Avoid using any sort of plastic objects.
Classic sauerkraut vs spicy sauerkraut
Traditionally, sauerkraut is made with fresh shredded cabbage and salt. Nowadays, we all love experimenting with different flavors hence we do tend to add different herbs and spices to create new textures and aromas. You are likely to come across sauerkraut made with caraway seeds or juniper berries. Both versions are absolutely delicious, easy to make and still considered as classic types of sauerkraut.
Spicy sauerkraut is traditional sauerkraut with added spices like jalapenos or chili peppers. You can add other veggies and spices and experiment even further. It is all about creating a perfect sour and spicy dish which goes well with meat dishes, sandwiches and burgers.
Spicy sauerkraut fermentation process
The fermentation process will take around 21 days depending on the type of cabbage, amount of salt and storage conditions. It will take around three days for the fermentation to start and after a week you can start tasting the sauerkraut. Ensure the sauerkraut is submerged below the brine. If the cabbage is for whatever reason floating above the brine you will find mold or scrum growing on the top of your brine. You can just scoop it out and push your cabbage below the brine. If the cabbage above the brine becomes moldy you will need to scoop it out too. The cabbage that remains below brine should be edible and tasty.
Once you get the flavor to your liking you can place the spicy sauerkraut in a refrigerator, basement or root cellar. Note that moving the spicy sauerkraut to a cooler place will slow down the fermentation process but it won’t stop it completely. As time progresses the spicy sauerkraut will get little more sour and spicy. I tend to make smaller batches so that a batch is consumed within the first two months.Print
Spicy Sauerkraut Recipe
- Total Time: 30 minutes
For all kraut lovers, you will enjoy this delicious and spicy sauerkraut recipe.
- 1 medium size green cabbage
- 1 large carrot
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large jalapeno
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- Remove outer leaves of cabbage. Slice the cabbage into quarters then remove the core. Shred cabbage and onion with a sharp knife or using a shredder.
- Cut carrot into small sticks.
- Remove seeds from the jalapeno and cut it into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine shredded cabbage and onion, carrot, jalapeno, salt and mustard seeds.
- Pound the mixture with a wooden spoon or massage it with hands until the juices are released and vegetables are soft. This will take 5-15 minutes.
- Pack the vegetables tightly into the glass jar. Keep pressing it slowly until brine is released and vegetables are submerged below the brine.
- Cover the vegetables with a fermentation weight to ensure the vegetables stay submerged below the brine during the fermentation process. Leave 1-inch at the top of the jar as vegetables will expand while they ferment.
- Seal the jar with a lid and leave it at room temperature away from direct sunlight to ferment. Fermentation will take around 3 weeks however start trying the ferment after a week. The longer spicy sauerkraut ferments the better and more mature flavor is created.
- Once the flavor is to your liking place sauerkraut into refrigerator or store in basement or root cellar.
Equipment: 2 quarts glass jar with lid
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Serving Size: 100 grams
- Calories: 19 calories
- Sodium: 661 mg
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4.3 grams
- Fiber: 2.9 grams
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Linda D Smith says
I noticed that it suggested to use this recipe within 2 months for best taste. I thought sauerkraut lasted for several years stored in unsealed jars on shelf. Is this not true with this recipe?
Gigi Mitts says
Hi Linda, It probably can last 4-6 months in the refrigerator. However, always check for taste and texture before eating it and if you notice any mold, you should discard it. But if you’re sauerkraut lover, it won’t stay in the jar for long! 🙂
Linda D Smith says
I thought sauerkraut lasted for several years when stored in sealed jars on the shelf. I noticed that this recipe suggested using within the first 2 months. Will this recipe not last longer on the shelf