Trying to incorporate more fermented foods in your meals? Sauerkraut can be a great option!

Raw cabbage growing outdoors.

What is Sauerkraut?

Classic sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented. The fermentation occurs when bacteria such as Lactobacillus convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. This is similar to the process by which yogurt is made. The lactic acid is what gives kraut its sour taste.

There are two ways of making sauerkraut. Traditionally, it is made by mixing chopped cabbage with salt and letting it ferment. Sauerkraut is now also commercially made by mixing the sauerkraut with vinegar, heating it and canning it—with no fermentation. This is the canned, shelf-stable sauerkraut found at most grocery stores.

Benefits of Fermented Sauerkraut

  • Fermentation can help release nutrients from the cabbage and create new compounds that may have health benefits, including positively impacting digestion, metabolism, and reducing oxidative stress.
  • Fermented sauerkraut may also provide probiotics—live microorganisms that are shown to have health benefits for the gut, immune system, and more!
  • Sauerkraut also provides fiber—an important nutrient that most Americans fall short in consuming.

How Do I Use Sauerkraut?

  • Try it as a topping on anything: sandwiches, scrambled eggs, beans, grains, meats, salads, or even pizza.
  • Sauerkraut is great with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack by the forkful!
  • Use sauerkraut as a condiment. Since it can be high in sodium, try to keep a serving to about 2 tablespoons.

Try some delicious, healthy, probiotic sauerkraut today!

Did You Know?

To purchase fermented sauerkraut at the store, look for:

  • “Raw” or “fermented” on the label
  • Products not containing vinegar as an ingredient
  • Products in the refrigerated section

You can also make sauerkraut at home! All you need is cabbage and salt. Find and used a tested recipe to make it safely. The microbes needed to make sauerkraut are naturally present on the cabbage leaves.