Grandma’s Russian Sauerkraut (Allergen Free)

Fun fact, I’m from Russia! When I think of Russian cuisine, I think of gourmet pasteries and dumplings (perojunaye & pelimeni), dark rye bread (baradinsky xleb), potatoes, and CABBAGE. These were huge foods in Russia, particularly in the winter when fresh produce was scarce.

Although I wasn’t much of a fan of cabbage dishes growing up, since changing my eating habits I have realized the importance of fermented foods and drinks. In an attempt to get more fermented goods in my belly, I began to eat sauerkraut on a regular basis. Well, I quickly found out that sauerkraut is really expensive to regularly buy and a lot of the time, half the jar is just water.

When my mom came to visit me, she scolded me for wasting my money buying sauerkraut when it was so simple to make (Oh Russian parents!). Well, I was ready to learn and so I did! I put together a tutorial with pictures (and a video)… I promise, it really is simple – mom didn’t lie! It is even the same recipe that my grandmother in Russia uses to make her stash for the winter 🙂

Now, instead of paying $6-7 per jar, I can make about 3 jars for the price of 1 head of cabbage and carrots – plus, I know I am putting organic cabbage in there!


Grandma’s Russian Sauerkraut (Paleo AIP Allergen Free)
My babyshka – she’s so beautiful inside and out!

Grandma’s Russian Sauerkraut


  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • about* 1 tsp coarse salt (I use kosher)
  • 2-4 medium carrots (depending how much you want)


  1. Make sure you have a spacious, clean area and some large jars that you can fit your fist inside of. Also, have a dark cover, smaller jars that fit into the neck of the larger jars, and bowls that the large jars will sit inside of comfortably (that was a mouth full (keyboard full?) …see pictures below for reference)
  2. Begin by chopping the head of cabbage and shredding the carrot (you can use a hand shredder, fine chopper, or food processor for the carrot – I prefer by hand for cabbage)20150726_200942.jpg
  3. Spread the cabbage across your work space and top with the shredded carrots. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Do not add more than the 1 tsp at this stage.20150726_201244.jpg
  4. Time to get active! Pretend you are massaging the veggies. Do this until they begin releasing juice 
  5. Once juices are releasing and the veggies are softer, taste the mixture. It should be a pleasantly salty. If it is not salty enough, you can add more salt – just make sure to do a small amount at a time. The amount may vary based on the size of the head of cabbage
  6. It is now time to stuff jars! Begin putting the mixture in one jar at a time (note the liquid on the counter that was released from the veggies)20150726_201726.jpg
  7. Once the jar begins to look full, push down on the mixture with your fist with a lot of strength20150726_201752.jpg
  8. Keep doing this until the jar is full. The more veggies you add, the more juice there will be20150726_2019490.jpg
  9. Eventually, the veggies will be near the top and the juice will be to the rim. This is where you want it to be – don’t loose the juice! 20150726_202845.jpg
  10. You will now want to put something heavy inside. I filled smaller bottles/jars with water and used those. You will also want to put the jar on top of a liner, as the fermentation will cause foaming and additional juices to be released. NOTE: make sure none of the veggies are exposed to air and it’s packed in tightly, as not doing those things can cause mold to grow. 20150726_204344.jpg
  11. Cover your creation with a towel (or a pillow case like I did) and let it ferment for a few days. Depending on the temperature in your home, it can take 3 days or more. In the summertime, it took 3 days. Wintertime will be different.20150726_204638.jpg
  12. To see if it is complete, take off the cover, remove the bottle, get a clean fork, and taste it!
  13. Variation: you can also try adding garlic and/or dill and/or beets etc – make it yours! Mine kept really well until I finished eating it… about 4 or 5 months in the refrigerator. I’m sure it will keep longer though.

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22 thoughts on “Grandma’s Russian Sauerkraut (Allergen Free)

    1. Darcy, I set aside the outer leaves of the cabbage, roll them or fold them and push them under the shoulders of the jar, and replace the lid, loosely. If any part of the batch gets moldy it’ll be that leaf and it’s a snap to remove without spreading it.


  1. I am curious why some recipes say that sauerkraut should be fermented at room temperature for weeks on end (7 or more)? It is supposed to be better for you. Does this harm the end product?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, that is a great question! How quickly something ferments depends on the temperature and it is good to taste the product during fermentation to determine when it is perfect for you. Looking briefly online, it looks like different amount of strains are produced the longer it sits – but it also changes the flavor. Some bacteria is ready within 3 days. The recipe I posted here is how my grandma in Russia always does it. I might try a batch for a longer period of time to see how it tastes and I’ll make sure to update this page!


    1. Hi Kristi, you’re welcome! I do not can it, mainly because I don’t have the supplies for it or the space and it’s usually easier for me to make a jar, eat it, and repeat. It keeps for awhile in the fridge – my grandma would usually jar them in the fall and eat over winter. I would guess canning would make it last even longer. Hope that helps!


  2. Great recipe thank you. I have read that you do not can the sauerkraut because heat in any fermentation kills off all the good probiotics. Up to 6 months in the fridge is a long time so no need to can.
    Frances from South Africa

    Liked by 1 person

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