Skip to navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer

This is a really simple brining and fermentation method for cabbage, giving it a tangy, bright lift while maintaining its fresh texture. Sauerkraut can be eaten raw, but it also benefits from being braised in a light stock, which reduces the acidity levels but none of the flavour. Cooked like this, it goes particularly well with a smoked ham hock terrine. When brining vegetables, a 6% salt to liquid ratio is perfect. Sauerkraut is a really great probiotic food.


For the brine, put the water and salt in a cooking pot and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to encourage the salt to dissolve.

Allow to cool, then chill the brine in the fridge to about 5°C.

Put the shredded cabbage into a bowl or plastic container and pour in the chilled brine so that it covers the cabbage.

It is quite tricky to keep cabbage submerged in brine, but placing a sieve, the right way up, on top of the cabbage, works well.

Cover the bowl (with the sieve still on top) with a tea towel or cling film and leave in a cool place, such as a pantry, with an ambient temperature no higher than 23°C, for 2 weeks.

This will allow fermentation to begin without letting harmful bacteria multiply.

After 2 weeks, drain the brine from the cabbage.

Your sauerkraut is now ready to eat.

You can either serve it as it is, in a similar fashion to coleslaw, or place it in a pan, cover it with chicken stock and simmer it very gently for 30 minutes or so.

You can store the sauerkraut in a sealed Kilner jar or large jars in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

River Cottage Gifts - Shop Now


  • 1 red or green cabbage, about 1kg, thinly sliced or shredded

For the brine

  • 1 litre water
  • 60g PDV salt


  • Kilner jar or large preserving jar(s)

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook