Golden Sauerkraut – Wild Fermentation


Before we start this post, we want to introduce a new little feature here on the blog. We call it Homemade Whole Food Staples. Unknowingly, we actually already started it a few weeks ago, with our post about homemade nut butter. Some of you got in touch and told us that this was the first time you’ve made nut butter at home, so we realised that this could be a good opportunity for us (and you) to learn more about classic methods, recipes and pantry staples that are popular in whole food kitchens. There is nothing wrong with cutting a few corners and buying jars and cans of staples from the store, but if you want to save some money, learn what really is in those jars and get a better hum about the kitchen basics, you might find this new feature interesting. Our hope is that we can show how recipes that many find too intimidating to try at home, really isn’t complicated at all.

We are discussing sharing how to make your own vegetable stock, the ultimate pomodoro passata, mastering a sourdough and how to make homemade coconut yogurt. But we are also really interested to hear what you want us to try/share. Leave us a comment and let us know if there is something specific that you are curious to learn more about.


Today we are talking fermented vegetables. It’s one of the healthiest thing you can eat but the whole idea of food that needs 3 weeks before its ready, scares most people from even trying to prepare it. Right? But please folks, stay with us on this one. Not only are fermented/cultured vegetables on most top-lists of trendy food 2015, but a large spoonful of homemade Sauerkraut is also TRULY delicious on top of a salad or inside a sandwich. Furthermore, the natural occurring probiotics in fermented food are great for your stomach and body. The whole 3-weeks-to-prepare-issue is more like 20 minutes of active work and then 3 weeks of waiting. Best of all, we are going to show you the most natural way of doing it, without any starters at all. It’s called wild fermentation, only 2 ingredients are needed and the method has been around for hundreds of years. But you can also add a bunch of different flavourings to it, like caraway seeds, ginger, garlic, beetroot, chilli, fennel or turmeric. Does this project still sound impossible?



Here in Scandinavia, we have quite the tradition of pickling, preserving and fermenting. But weirdly enough, Luise’s and my interest for fermented vegetables actually sparked during our recent trip to Australia. Almost all the cafes we frequented had at least one salad or bowl that was topped with fermented vegetables or sauerkraut. And the health food stores there have whole isles with different brands of organic raw fermented/cultured vegetables. It didn’t take long until we were hooked. The flavours were just so fresh and the acidity added a real kick to whatever we paired it with. And in a strike of unbelievable luck, we met Vivianne on our potluck picnic in Sydney, she is one of the founders of Raw Sisterhood, a Bondi based company that makes incredibly tasty fermented vegetables, raw crackers and raw granola. She promised to teach us some of their secrets and now we get to share one of their recipes here. We made the first batch together in her house and we have continued making it now when we are home. They call this version Golden Goodness and it’s basically wild fermented cabbage and carrots flavoured with turmeric and garlic


Before we get on to the recipe, we wanted to let Brenda and Viv from Raw Sisterhood explain the magic behind Wild Fermentation and healthy bacterias:

Why wild fermentation: Wild fermentation is a natural process in which we provide the perfect environment for nature to do its thing, so no starter is needed.  All fresh fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria (lacto bacilli) which allows them to break down (ripen). As fruits and veggies ripen they go through an enzymatic process, essentially they digest themselves.  When foods go off or rot, they have been exposed to oxygen. In a wild ferment, we allow the vegetables to digest themselves, in an oxygen free environment.  The lacto bacilli in the vegetables, eats the naturally occurring sugars and then produces lactic acid and more lacto bacilli….and the cycle continues. 

Why eat healthy bacteria: Lactic acids can kill many strains of parasite and many other pathogens in the body purifying the intestines. Fermented veggies increase the healthy flora in the intestinal tract by creating the type of environment for them to flourish in. Increases nutrient values in the vegetables especially vitamin C. The high fiber content in cultured vegetables help to clean the digestive system, removing undigested food and unwanted toxins. Fermented foods also facilitate the break down and assimilation of proteins.


Golden Sauerkraut – Wild Fermented Cabbage, Carrot & Turmeric
Makes about 2 huge jars.
You can easily half this recipe if you prefer. Be sure to sterilise your jars before your start.

2 green cabbages (3 kg) Save some of the outer layers of the cabbage for packaging on the top
800 g / 7 cups carrots (6 medium size carrots) or beetroot
15 g / 1,5 tbsp grated ginger
15 g / 1,5 tbsp minced garlic
15 g / 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (optional)
30 g / 3 tbsp ground turmeric
5 g / 1 tbsp caraway seeds
5 g / 1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp / 30 g himalayan sea salt (optional, you can do it without salt, but it speeds up the process)

Wash the cabbage and scrub the carrots, then finely slice the cabbage and grate the carrots. Or use a food processor with a fine slicer attachment for the cabbage and rough grating attachment for the carrots. Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Use your hands (you might want to wear rubber gloves to prevent your hands to get stained by the turmeric) to mix and massage until it starts to get soft and juicy. The vegetables should release quite a lot of juice, if not, just add some more salt. Use a spoon or a tong to spoon the mixture into 2 large clean jars. Pack it really tight to leave out all air, keep packing until the jar is full of veggies and the veggies are covered in juice (important). Leave some space at the top to place a whole folded cabbage leave on top, this is to prevent any oxidation. Close with an air-tight lid. During the fermentation process the veggies will expand and the liquid will try to come out, we put our jars in a bowl or a plastic bag for any juice that might drip from the sides. Leave the jars to ferment in room temperature for 2-4 weeks (depending on room temperature), 3 weeks is usually perfect. When ready, it should be softly textured but not mushy and have a fresh, spicy and acidic flavour. Discard the cabbage leave at the top and store the jars in the fridge. We usually divide the fermented vegetables in smaller jars and hand out to friends and family or keep it in the fridge.

• If your veggies are stinky and leaky, then place the jars in a bowl and place everything in a plastic bag and close it. Then place in a cupboard and drain the water after about 3 days.
• If the top is discolored or has a bit mould, don’t be alarmed just remove it and wipe around or just change the jars.
• Use organic vegetables for fermenting and don’t wash or scrub to much, it can destroy the natural enzymes on the vegetables.


  • Can't wait to try this! I've had good luck with yogurt and bad luck with picked fruit in the past, but I'm ready to try again. I would recommend using nitrile or vinyl gloves though, because people with latex allergies (like me) may react to pickles that have been handled with rubber gloves (and have no way of knowing until the reaction starts).
  • charlott
    Hey love your page and your books! Tried to make coconut yoghurt but it tasted terrible! I would love if you can make a recipe that would work:)
  • I love fermented vegetables it looks almost similar like making Asian pickle. For us in Japan, buying ready to eat is easier, as healthy as making it by ourselves. No preservatives or colour additive used, lasts only four to seven days after packaging time. I'm going to try this recipe
  • Maria
    I am wondering about the fermentation time. Three to four weeks seems a long time to me? I started mine a week ago and it seems about done? I live in Sweden so it is not very hot climate at the moment either. I also wonder if you do not open the jar at all to let out the pressure in these weeks?
  • Sande
    I am new here and looking forward to trying some of these recipes. What type of cabbage is Iryna referring to and will it make a difference in recipes as to what type you use? Thank you all!
    • Iryna
      Hi Sande, the cabbage my family uses is a common white cabbage - very sturdy as it keeps through winter - historically, this cabbage was one of the very few vegetables to keep through winter; we still use the same white cabbage for fermentation even though the other choices are there. I haven't experimented with other types, so am unaware how the other types will work with our recipe.
  • Francine McGinty
    This looks Fantastic. Can't wait to try it.
  • Just a little pro-tip: I've made sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables daily for years (I just wrote a book on the topic) and I have never once sterilized my jars. It is definitely not necessary. Lactic acid bacteria are extremely successful bacterial competitors, and any little bit of dust that might be in a jar with some stray yeast or bacteria that makes it in there will not stand up to the power of the LAB, or it won't matter if they do (very few microbes are actually harmful to us). Washing jars with normal (non-antibacterial) soap and water works great. Recipe sounds great!
  • This looks delicious and thank you for sharing it as it's something a lot of people will love!
  • This is a beautiful recipe. Just wanted to add that adding some black pepper really helps the bio-availabilty of turmeric, so would make this kraut even more healthful!
  • Alexandra
    Hallo:) Another GREAT fan over here! I admire the work and effort you put in every single recipe and every time I wait with anticipation for your new post.Keep the excellent work going!!! Having said that, I would love to know more about kefir and a simple recipe to make it at home. Maybe a lactose- free version? xxx
  • Felicia Fahlin
    Hey! Great recipe, I'll definitely try it! But I'm kind of a newbie to fermented food - for how long does a jar last after you open it up? and for how long can you keep a closed jar in the fridge? I'd also love to see some recipes with fermented veggies/general tips on how to incorporate them into your everyday meals! Thank you for making such a great blog, i think half of what I cook at home are recipes from here or your books!
    • The general rule of thumb for fermented vegetables is that they're good until you don't think they taste good anymore. For packed ferments like sauerkraut, this can mean several months in the fridge or even more. Fermentation is an acidification process, and acid is a preservative. You can make them last longer by using more salt at the start of fermentation (there is an obvious downside to that) and moving them into smaller and smaller jars as the quantity of vegetables decreases (aka, you eat them up!). If something is wrong with your ferment, you'll know it! It will smell disgusting, have colorful mold on it or be mushy (which actually isn't always a problem, but that's another story). Fermentation empowers you to use your senses to decide when it's good or not so good. I hope that helps!
  • Iryna
    Thank you for an interesting post! I am a generational fermentation food lover, being a Ukrainian. Will try your recipe :) I would like to offer here my mother's recipe that calls for 4 ingredients and 4 days of fermentation: 2 kg of cabbage (try to get the one with white leaves, as the greenish ones may turn slushy), quarter and thinly slice, discarding the core. Very vigorously rub with 1 tbsp of course salt and 1 tsp of sugar until you see quite a bit of liquid coming out. Cover the cabbage with an inverted plate and place a heavy object onto the plate. Once a day lift the weight and the plate and either stir everything or 'drill' holes in the cabbage mass to release fermentation gasses. I like to add my grated carrot on the day 2, but my mom puts it right away. In four days the liquid will stop bubbling - the cabbage is ready to be put into jars and into a fridge, or be eaten :)
  • Kate
    Could you please share your ideas on making nut milks? Thank you, ~Kate
  • Conni
    I am looking forward to making some fermented vegetables this weekend. Thanks for the recipe and tips. I would like to hear how to sprout buckwheat and other grains and then how to use them in recipes. Should sprouts be eaten as is? Can they be added to recipes and cooked? What about dehydrating them for recipes? I am intrigued by the idea of sprouting grains and using them in recipes but not sure where to start.
  • gul
    also a vegan cheese or vegan cream / sour cream recipe would be nice
  • gul
    please please do a homemade ``coconut yoghurt`` recipe
  • candice
    I love the idea of you sharing more homemade whole food staples. yesterday I borrowed your book, "Vegetarian Everyday" from the library and, for the first time, realized I could make homemade vegetable stock for considerably less than I pay for pre-made/packaged. I love the idea of completely controlling what goes into my food, so that was exciting to me! thanks! :) you and My New Roots also encouraged me to make my own milks and nut butters as well, so thank you for walking me through that simple yet oh-so-satisfying process. I've also been very interested in fermenting my own veggies so this post is very timely, and I'd specifically enjoy learning to master sourdough and the homemade coconut yogurt, so I think those are great ideas. thanks for your dedication and hard work, and for encouraging the healthy eating habits in all of us! <3
  • SO excited to try this! *Squeal!* What beautiful looking sauerkraut!
  • This is a very interesting recipe. I don't think I've ever tried fermenting veggies on my own before. Definitely trying in the near future with the aid of this recipe!
  • Dominique
    I'd LOVE to know how to properly make coconut yoghurt! :)
  • Aurora
    Dear Luise and David! Thanks for this great recipe! I don't like the classic Sauerkraut, but I will surely try this recipe. It's a great idea to post the whole food staples, I am especially interested in the recipe for homemade coconut or almond yoghurt, as I cannot buy them where I live in Germany. And the sourdough recipe would also be interesting. I am a huge fan of yours and often cook with your apps or book. Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration! The asparagus spring soup was gorgeous! Love, Aurora
  • Carolyn
    This looks amazing!!!! How long does it keep for in the fridge?
  • I absolutely can't wait to try this, I'm addicted to and spend loads of money on sauerkraut but you make it seem so not-scary that maybe this will be a breakthrough! I can't tell though - what sort of cabbage do you use, is it a savoy or a spring greens? Thanks! x
  • Rebecka
    Coconut yoghurt made me really excited!! So please, a recipe for that would be great! :)
  • Allison
    Can I use white cabbage? Will this change anything (nutritionally speaking)? I only have white & red available where I live. Thanks in advance!
  • Three weeks is good for ferment, however a longer ferment is really good too. We let our go for at least 4 weeks to allow the fermentation process to complete. Sometimes it takes a bit longer for the fibre/cellulose to break down sufficiently and flavours to smooth out. But if you can't wait for that long, I all means get into it, store in the fridge once opened....
  • Sandi Salus
    Hi! You asked for some recipe suggestions. Well, as I look at out sour cherry tree in full blossom here in Oslo, I am reminded that this season, instead of watching most of the cherries being eaten by the birds, I would love to harvest a bunch and make some sort of chutney. I wonder whether cherry chutney is something that can be made via natural fermentation. If you guys have any interest in chutneys, it would be awesome to see a recipe on Green Kitchen Stories sometime in the future. Thanks for your website, it's a great resource (as is your cookbook). Sandi
  • Can't imagine a salad without some fermented cabbage. I love to add some red cabbage to get a lovely rose color, but love your idea of using turmeric and carrots.
  • Oh I love this new feature, what a great idea! Fresh sauerkraut is easily available in Germany but I still want to give your version a try, sounds great! It was just today that I was looking for a coconut yogurt recipe but couldn't find one that was really convincing, so I would love to see your version soon. :) Homemade broth is another great idea, I would fancy a dried version. What do you think?
  • I love wild fermented veggies, although I do an open ferment which only takes about a week That's a brilliant tip about putting a whole leaf on top to keep the veg submerged in the juice - I'm definitely doing this with my next batch, thanks! Looking forward to your series on whole food basics, as I am gradually introducing these into my kitchen as a way to eliminate additives and E-numbers. :-)

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