DSC04303Making kraut juice is nearly the easiest and cheapest probiotic you can make at home. Kraut juice is gentle on the stomach which makes it easy for digestion and is encouraged starting at the earliest stages of GAPS. Kraut juice will ease constipation and help repopulate your good gut flora according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, neurologist, neurosurgeon and author of GAPS (affiliate link).

There are many ways to make kraut juice, this one is adapted from Nourishing Traditions (affiliate link).

This recipe will give you three gallons of kraut juice. Don’t fret, it goes faster than you think. Even those in the house who are not on GAPS throw elbows over kraut juice.

Be sure to use an organic head of cabbage. Sally Fallon says sauerkraut has 200 times more bioavailable vitamin C because the fermenting process makes the nutrient from the cabbage digestible and available. The same it true for kraut juice. Vitamin C is a fantastic detoxer, vital to GAPS patients so you want a head of cabbage with the most vitamin C possible – organic.

DSC04293Take a large head of cabbage and chop it up in the Vitamix ( by floating cubes of cabbage), food processor or mandolin (affiliate link). The smaller the pieces the faster it will ferment. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons (for a large head of cabbage) salt on top and stir thoroughly. Now you have a couple of choices: pound the kraut or ignore it and let it sit. The larger the chopped pieces the less it will open the cell walls if it just sits.

DSC04298I let mine sit while I do other work. Let it sit anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight. The salt will do the work for you if your cabbage is shredded into small bits. What you’re looking for is the extracted juices and limp cabbage. The salt is breaking down the cellular structure, allowing the juice of the cabbage to release.

DSC04300Fill your jars 1/3 of the way up with the cabbage and salt mixture. Fill the rest with filtered water.

DSC04303Put your lids on and let them sit on the counter for 9-12 days, preferably in a dark cool place. The amount of time for leaving out kraut juice as it brews depends on where you live, temperature is important. The other factors that make a huge difference in reference to mold growth are salt content and air. If air is accessible to your brew it will mold faster. If leaving the brew out concerns you do a shorter brew on the counter-top and then complete the brewing process in the refrigerator. This will prevent mold growth. There is no absolute rule on time for brewing as these extra factors play an important role in the process. The variables of salt, air, sinking vs floating vegetables, nutrition of cabbage head, temperature and sunlight all play a factor. You need to find what works best for you and your kitchen as well as what is tolerable to your body. Those with the deepest gut damage to the microbiome need to allow their brew to sit for 4 months for no histamine response. 

I stick my brewing jars under a towel in the corner of the counter-top near the air conditioning vent. Sometimes the cabbage floats, sometimes it sinks, it really doesn’t matter. If the kraut juice ferments too long and white yeast forms on the top just scoop it off and throw it away. The product is still good.

Refrigerate and enjoy.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988

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150 Responses to Kraut Juice

  1. Mindy says:

    How many pounds of cabbage do you consider a medium cabbage? I have a bunch of small cabbages and I’m wondering how much to cut up for the 6 tbsp of salt.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      just went to weigh my next head and it’s 5 pounds. i consider it a medium head.

      • Samantha says:

        Hello Becky! I have. 6 week old baby who has severe acid reflux and research has led me to your site. Do you know how many drops of this juice I could give her and how many times a day? Thanks so much for all the info above!!

      • joe says:

        Six Tablespoons of salt is a lot, to me. I usually use two T-Spoons for ea. five pounds.

        • Becky Plotner says:

          This is what I do too when I make kraut. Kraut juice is a different recipe and is more likely to form kham yeast if there isn’t enough salt.

          • joe says:

            But if too much salt this can suppress fermentation of the cabbage.
            And make the juice really salty.
            Got to watch the salt intake for older people.

  2. Mindy says:

    Ok, thank you!

  3. lydia902 says:

    How bathroom active does this make you? My son has Crohn’s so sauerkraut is out but I’m thinking this might be possible.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      the die off is specific to each person’s gut damage. if he has chrones he has gut damage. the only way to tell is to test a small portion and go from there – 1 tsp or less for the whole day and build up from there. once you get the squirts, back off on the dose and stay there for a few weeks and try to add a bit more. little amounts frequently throughout the day is most effective

  4. Wanda says:

    How much water in the vitamix? Does it matter?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      the water in the vitamix is just to float the vegetables to chop them. i fill it up 3/4 full with water, add in a palm sized portion of the head, 1/4 head or less, put on the vitamix for a brief second, then strain in a colander.

  5. Heather says:

    “A dark cool place”

    My home is not air conditioned and the basement is not accessible this summer. What would be the optimal temperature to ferment at? I might have to take my jars to my mother’s house if the typical summer temperature of over 76 degrees won’t work.

    Thank you!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      i’ve not heard of a house yet that doesn’t work. remember this is a traditional food. people did this before refrigerators and air conditioning to preserve food. the warmer the house the faster it ferments. just watch your batch and judge from there.

  6. Donna says:

    How long does it last? How much to do you take daily? tu

    • Becky Plotner says:

      it lasts in the refrigerator for a very long time, over a year. the amount you would take daily would depend on your gut damage, if there is any. when i started i began with 1 tsp. if i ate more than that i would get the walking farts or the squirts (i cant believe i just put that out there for the world to see!!!!) if you can tolerate that amt successfully increase it. die off symptoms are cold- like symptoms, flu-like symptoms, rash, the runs

      • Kate says:

        Hi Becky…….you say that you started with 1 tsp……..just out of interest what quantity have you worked it up to now? Thank you

        • Becky Plotner says:

          I actually started with one drop. Most people can start at one teaspoon. Before I started addressing SIBO directly I was up to 1/4 cup several times throughout the day.

          • shaunne says:

            AT what point did you switch over to eating the actual kraut? Can the filtered water be from a tap that has house filters?

          • Becky Plotner says:

            Only your body can tell you when it is ready for the vegetable. Yes, I use my house water filter.

      • Clark says:

        I recently made some kraut juice which i let ferment for a month in a very hot house. Holy histamines, Batman! GAPS says the longer you ferment the more histamines will degrade but my question is- if i already filtered the juice from the cabbage, can i put it back in the cupboard to ferment longer? Or can it not go further if its already filtered

  7. Carol says:

    Great info! I am wanting to make this, but I’m salt sensive. Does this way still cause problems with people that have to watch their salt intake? Thanks so much. ~ Carol

    • Becky Plotner says:

      carol this is a traditional method. sandor katz, the godfather of fermentation says salt is for taste and that the vegetables will ferment themselves just with their own enzymes. cut the salt in half if you are concerned, it’ll be fine. this is not a salty product in the end as the salt is part of the fermentation, especially if you cut it in half.

      • Joanne says:

        Maybe it would make a difference between using table salt and a proper mineral salt….if you haven’t tried the good salt yet, then you really should get some Himalayan or Celtic salt and see if you are sensitive to that.

      • Aly says:

        Can we eliminate the salt all together? I thought the salt was only to help draw water from the cabbage? If so – would it work to grate the cabbage, pound the little juice that can be released without salt use, separate into jars, and add water (rather than waiting when using salt) ?

        I make salt free Krout and it’s always been fine but wasn’t sure if the Krout juice recipe would be the same? However I could always juice celery and let that sit on grated cabbage to pull water as well, right?

        • Becky Plotner says:

          There are numerous methods, you are correct. Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation, says salt is for taste.

  8. Stacy Payne says:

    Hi, Becky, could you comment on Joanne’s entry about Himalayan salt? If I have any salt, I just bloat like crazy and my fingers swell. But, will take your advice. Thanks!

    • E. Gooding says:

      I think you may want to check your potassium levels. The body needs three times the potassium as sodium so if you find you still have problems after switching to sea salt (never use table sale like Morton’s produces) consider adding or increasing the potassium in your diet.

  9. Elena says:

    Since to is sometimes recommended that those with Hashimotos or hypothyroid are supposed to avoid excessive ingestion of cruciferous vegetables, what are your comments about that? Thanks! 😉

    • Becky Plotner says:

      since i am not a licensed dietician or md i can not tell you what to do. i can tell you dr natasha campbell-mcbride, author of GAPS who recommends fermented foods to heal gut issues specifically related to auto-immune says the fermenting resolves the cruciferous issue. my husband has major thyroid damage and when he eats something he shouldn’t have or drinks something he shouldn’t have (like cruciferous veggies in a juice) his throat closes up. he has no issues with kraut or kraut juice.

    • jereading says:

      Elana – I am hypothyroid and have been fermenting cabbage to help with digestive issues as of late. My understanding is that fermentation will not inactivate the goitrogens in cruciferous veggies like cooking will, however, if consumed in quantities similar to a condiment and IF your iodine level is sufficient, no harm no foul by consuming either kraut or kraut juice. Here is one of the references for this info: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/bearers-of-the-cross-crucifers-in-the-context-of-traditional-diets-and-modern-science/

  10. Constance says:

    I’m not sure what “salt sensitive” is, so I don’t know if this would apply. I have to watch salt intake…beginning high blood pressure due to water retention…I have both kidneys, but less kidney function than one kidney, due to infection that destroyed kidney tissue, so have to use salt in moderation. Two single uses of table salt in a day (either cooking or at the table), and I retain water, especially face, hands and joints, lower legs, ankles and feet. I can use RealSalt mineral salt or Celtic Sea Salt in moderation…a little added when cooking and a little added at the table twice a day with no swelling and no apparent water retention, so up to two times the amount of salt (although I still keep the amount small) without any of the problem…it also has not caused any increase in blood pressure, which using regular table salt did.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      sandor katz, the godfather of fermentation, says salt is for taste not the fermentation process. he says in his mercola interview linked in the post that if you ferment without the salt the enzymes in the veggies will still ferment the veggies.

    • Linda says:

      I made some fermented saurkraut and let it sit for about 3 weeks. I used a good quality sea salt. I am super sensitive to salt and it makes my feet swell and ankles and legs. I noticed when I ate the quote salty sauerkraut, that the salt did not affect me and in fact the whole month I was eating about 2 tablespoons a day of the canbage part and two tablespoons a day of the liquid and it actually took all the swelling away and I was able to eat a TON of salt and salty foods and nothing swelled up. I have not been successful with the sauerkraut making since that first time I made it 6 months ago, but I have some fermenting for 3 weeks now that I’m going to let sit for a few months. I am positive that the drastic reduction in sensitivity to salt was due to the probiotics in the saurkraut I made.

  11. Joanie says:

    Thanks for providing this recipe. I have a couple of mason jars fermenting on my counter now. Do I need to open the jars to release the pressure that is being created or do I leave them as is until I refrigerate them?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      if your lid is bulging then yes. i never have only because once it set it on the corer of the counter it’s out of mind. some people do. it’s an anaerobic fermentation (without oxygen) so it’ll do better if you dont.

  12. Justine says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I have some organic cabbage heads waiting for me to ferment them. The only thing is I am leaving on a 17 day vacation in 4 days time. Is it still possible for me to make kraut juice & kraut? Should I put in fridge just before I leave ,or how can I best deal with the timing and still have potent, effective kraut & juice to come home to. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      the cabbage will keep while you’re gone and then you can control your brew time better, get a better probiotic out if it if brews longer. if your kitchen is very warm (80 degrees or warmer), and you chop your cabbage super fine into tiny shreds then a 4 day ferment would suffice and then put it in the refrigerator.

  13. Kirsty says:

    Hi Becky, I just refrigerated the kraut juice after trying your recipe. It kind of just tastes like salty, slightly cabbage tasting, water. No bubbles. Is that right? I let it sit on the bench for 10 days.
    I’m used to making water kefir which bubbles after 4 days so I’m not sure what to expect. Also, what do you do with your cabbage once you’ve drunk the juice? I don’t want to waste it! Thank you.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      the cabbage is now kraut. the dilution factor doesn’t provoke bubbles. still highly beneficial. it gets better with time in cold storage also.

  14. Melissa Howard says:

    For those of you who are salt sensitive, some people ferment their sauerkraut with fresh celery juice instead water and salt. There’s enough sodium in celery to give it some flavor without the added salt.

    • Aly says:

      Yes Melissa! I was just considering that as well, but wasn’t sure how it’s work for making Krout juice. I do make Krout by juicing celery, carrot, lemon and pouring over the cabbage and thsn stuffing it all in jars.

  15. Colleen says:

    I’m so excited about this sauerkraut juice recipe because there is never enough juice to just drink. After I make a big crock of kraut I want to store the kraut in jars with some juice to keep it moist. I usually let my kraut go for at least 8 weeks, but I”m guessing since this is not 12 pounds of cabbage packed in a crock it doesn’t take as long. So I only need 9-12 days?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      i do mine in mason jars. in crocks it takes longer due to the anaerobic/aerobic aspect. sandor katz does his in crocks, barrels and plastic buckets because he likes to taste them throughout brew time checking for when he likes them. i am low on space here so do mason jars. when i grow up and live in more than 1150 sq feet, family of 4, i’ll do it in a crock hopefully too.

  16. Gayle says:

    I don’t have a vitamix, is a regular food processor ok?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Yes, absolutely! The main point your are trying to achieve is small pieces so that it is easier to open the cell walls within the cabbage.

  17. Lori says:

    Do you use the core with this, I already make fermented vegetables, actually am eating some kraut now, but would love to make some kraut juice for when I’m not feeling well, am healing my body from many chronic health issues, and still have many days where I don’t feel well, (environmental pollutants I think, as I’ve been worse since moving into a new apartment, when I have to close the windows, I seem to feel rotten like today, any ideas on helping with this would be wonderful, since I’ve had to use my inhaler to much lately it seems), and what about the juice from other vegetables, like brussel sprouts & cauliflower mix, or english cucumbers, or beets, or dilly beans, I have juice from all these, actually I just added some to my kraut since all of it’s juice leaked out it seems when I fermented it, I’m a beginner and I think I filled my mason jar too full, I didn’t want to do it in my crock since there wasn’t a lot, and I used a quart mason jar, which I barely squeezed it all in there wasn’t much room left, I’ve recently found out you should leave extra room, though, but live and learn, at least none has molded on me yet, which I’m always afraid of.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Yes, the juice from all fermented vegetables would be highly beneficial, again, watching for die off symptoms which is what I believe you are seeing now. I do not add the core of the cabbage in because i can never get it to break down into a sizeable piece. Now that you’ve got me thinking about it I bet it would work well to weigh down the veggies to submerge them into the brine. I leave a solid one inch head space on top of my veggies or my brine leaks out too. Having mold on top of the vegetables is often just part of the brewing process. It happens to me all the time. I just scoop off the top and eat what it underneath. Remember this is how they preserved vegetables before refrigeration.

      • rick says:

        Curious…do u let ur salted cabbage sit for 20min or overnite before putting in jars and topping up with water?does it really matter?i know the longer it sits the more brine it will make.I make sauerkraut but never seem to have enough brine when its done.This would be great for topping up the sauerkraut jars im thinking?sound feasable?

  18. Judith says:

    I want to do the juice but am afraid of there being mold. I am allergic to mold and I take shots for it. How long could I allow it to set on the counter before any mold would form? This seems much better as a probiotic than what you buy over the counter because they add things in the capsules that I don’t want to put into my body. Also mold can’t grow on it unless oxygen gets inside the jar, so if the lid is kept tight on the jar then there will be no mold, right. I just wonder if by making this juice & using it there is a possibility that my allergies would clear up and I wouldn’t have to take shots any longer. I have been on them for over 30 years. I have chronic sinusitis, rhinitis & suffer from chronic constipation. I would really like to try this and see if it works for me. Just concerned about the mold. Thank you for any help you can give.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      You are correct, air is the enemy. You can also use a weight to submerge the cabbage under the brine layer and using an airlock will also help. Allergies are sourced from a damaged microbiome, the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut. They go hand in hand. With an allergy this severe GAPS would be the most complete route of healing. You can heal allergies where you will not require shots any further however, with a case this severe I would definitely encourage you to work with a knowledgeable practitioner on this and it doesn’t have to be me as long as it is someone who has walked out of this issue. Other signs and symptoms will occur along the healing path, all of them mean something. If the damage to the microbiome is really bad you will experience histamine issues, growing numbers of other allergies both food and environmental. If the issue is not addressed and supported, rebuilding the microbiome, it will only get worse. Further damage would be evidenced as autoimmune issues or even depression and anxiety. All of this can be resolved naturally.

      • Judith says:

        Thank you so much for answering. I don’t know a physician that could possibly understand or help me with what I have experienced for so many years. I just had an immune test done about 2 months ago. I was so shocked by the results. I had it done at the allergists office. I had gone in because I had been sick for 2 weeks, had taken an antibiotic and I was still sick with laryngitis so they did a blood test on my immune system. When it came back she said a good immune system would be in the 70’s but mine was in the 90’s. I was speechless to say the least because I thought it would be way low because I have been sick so much over the years. Anyway I live in a small town and I have no idea who to contact about this. When I get sick they just give me antibiotics or penicillin shots or cortorzone shots, whatever to get me well because there are times I have such an infection I can’t function. I have started eating healthier. I do smoothies in the morning & salads in the evening. I am very careful what I put in my system. So much stops me up and the pain is terrible. I eat organic as much as I can afford. Strawberries, avocados, bananas, coconut oil, flaxseed, chia seeds, coconut or almond milk, real honey from a local person, tomatoes, cucumbers, bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce, onions, apple cider vinegar, fresh grated ginger root, cinnamon, ceyenne pepper, cardamon, tumeric, black pepper, sea salt, cloves. I don’t eat out and I fix everything myself. I have been doing this for several months now. And I have to use prune juice in the morning. I don’t like doing that because it has so much sugar in it but I don’t have a choice. I really don’t know where to turn. I have just grown accustomed to what I do every day and realized that is just the way it is.
        I am 72 years old, 5 ft. tall and weigh 110 pounds. I have lived like this for so long but I have tried everything. Right now I have activated charcoal, calcium bentonite clay, & psyllium husk powder but have not used these things as of yet.I got them to do a cleanse but haven’t found the time to use them yet. I will be gone from home for 2 weeks starting Friday to help my sister-in-law who has parkinson’s disease, but will return on the 6th of July. Maybe I can try some of this when I return. Thank you for taking the time to read this and give advice if you want to. I am going to do the kraut juice when I return. I won’t be able to work on it before then. Sorry for the long write.

        • Becky Plotner says:

          Judith you poor thing. You describe a great number of things that point to a compromised immune system. There is something inflamming your system that is causing this issue. Please be careful with how much kraut juice you ingest at one sitting as it could very well throw you into a healing crisis, aka Herxheimer Effect. At your age, with this reflective decline in health, there are a number of things that can assist you. Please feel free to call my office for a consult. I am an ND, naturopathic doctor, who practiced traditional naturopathy in North Georgia with a specialty in auto-immunity as well as parasites and GAPS. I can do a phone or SKYPE consult but there is definitely hope and you can live a higher quality of life, as God meant you to live. What you are feeling is not normal and can be fixed. Six years ago I was suffering from repetitive illnesses,frequent colds and just flat out feeling horrible. At this point I haven’t been sick in four years. I look forward to hearing from you: 706-944-3061

          • Judith says:

            Hi Becky, again thank you for your quick response and for leaving your number. I do plan to contact you, but I am at my sister-in-laws helping her pack to move by the 6th of July. It was originally set for Sept. but when I arrived on Friday the plans had changed. Thank you again and I will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
            Judith

        • Amy says:

          Hi Judith, I am not a doctor or anything with a title, just a mom of two young children who peruses the internet for natural remedies.

          I am in the east coast, where a lot of doctors are in it for the money (vipers). I had perfect teeth (straight, no cavities) until I was in my 20’s when I got into the American culture of dessert after dinner (my parents are immigrants – we never had dessert). After childbirth, the dentist told me I needed several root canals. I was shocked at how my supposed “good genes” had deteriorated and did a dumb thing by not seeking a 2nd or 3rd opinion. After the root canals, all my neighboring teeth were infected and they remain infected.

          I can’t tell you the problems I’ve had with a chronic infection. But long story short, I have found that DR. CHRISTOPHER’S INFECTIONS herbal formula works wonders, at least for teeth. I have tried colloidal silver (which works wonders for chronic cough in my children but spraying teeth several times a day did not help much) and food grade hydrogen peroxide. I did not use the latter for too long, as I did not like the idea of ingesting H2O2.

          I just thought I’d share my experience with some products that deal with bacterial infection.

          Thanks Becky, for the great information on kraut juice – I have been taking the “pills” for years, need to switch to a more economic also more powerful solution for probiotics. My husband has no gall bladder and is in the bathroom multiple times a day due to gut problems. I will make sauerkraut and get him to drink the juice!

  19. I’m just wondering about putting a lid on the jars. I know that the probiotic bacteria in this case are anaerobic and don’t need oxygen, but they still give off gas that could cause the jar to explode, no?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      It depends. Some people release their gas by unscrewing the lid a bit and screwing it back on, others use airlock while others use just a mason jar with a lid and leave it on the counter. I do the later since it’s a hands off process and if it’s another task in the kitchen it probably won’t get done. I’ve only had a jar break once and I’ve brewed about 3 gallons of kraut juice every other week for over 3 years. It also depends on your jars.

  20. Eric Campbell says:

    What do I mix the cabbage and salt in ?
    Can I use a large bowl then cover with cloth.

  21. Debbie says:

    I’ve been looking for this information for ages, as I’ve been purchasing kraut juice from Wise Traditions, and it’s just too expensive to continue at the amounts I’m drinking – an $8 bottle a day. I’ve got the constipation issue, so – we’re not quite cured yet. I don’t have a vitamix and don’t really want one, as I have very limited counter and refrigerator space – I’m in a small apartment. Can you just chop into little pieces? Thanks so much!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Yes, absolutely! All you need is a knife and a jar. Yeah! So glad you can save some money now!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Debbie says:

    Also – can you cover the bowl of cabbage with saran wrap or something? I don’t like leaving food around since I live in the city. One jar broke, you say. Do you know what the conditions were that led that to happen? I can’t seem to understand the airlock.

  23. Debbie says:

    And – are there benefits to leaving the kraut and salt for many hours as opposed to 20 minutes? More beneficial bacteria? If so, why would one leave it for just 20 minutes? Thanks – sorry for all the questions.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      There have not been studies on this to date that I am aware of as they cost a lot of money. The majority of the cells open up within that smaller window of time but if your cabbage is sliced larger it takes longer.

  24. Debbie says:

    Last one: Have you considered adding starter culture? Is the juice made with adding water as you describe as “potent” as what I’m getting from Wise Choice, which is just the brine from their fermented kraut? Would adding starter culture increase the potency? Thanks again.

  25. Debbie says:

    For some reason my posts haven’t appeared, so I’m going to try again. I was mainly wondering if you’ve ever considered or have tried adding starter cultures for the juice? And would you say this method results in the same or more or less of the beneficial bacteria than would be in the actual sauerkraut? I’ve been buying fermented juice that is the brine from fermented kraut, so I’m wondering if making it this way would result in a juice/brine that is as powerful? Thanks!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      There is a video interview between Sandor Katz (father of fermentation) and Dr. Mercola on Youtube where Mercola addresses this same issue. Katz says he experimented with this extensively and found adding a starter culture began the fermentation process faster but in the long run it made no difference. I tested it myself when I found a probiotic I was very weak in and saw a great deal of die off with it – I added it to my kraut and sure enough, no difference. I was in miserable die off from one drop of probiotic but when I added two dropper fulls into my fermenting kraut I could still drink over half a cup with no die off.

      • Debbie says:

        Interesting! All I know is drinking this juice – about 8 ounces daily – has made a huge difference in my energy levels. I used to be obese; I lost 80 + pounds almost 30 years ago after many failed attempts. I’m going to be 60 now, and am just now starting to feel good physically. The digestion is still an issue (it’s much better, but there is still constipation going on). I think I really abused my system when I was young, and then taking antibiotics as well over the years harmed me further. Thanks for responding – I appreciate it. Now I just have to start chopping. I eat a lot of resistant starch too, by the way, in the form of potato starch, which has helped too, maybe. Have you heard of Tim Steele, the gut bacteria guy in Alaska? http://www.vegetablepharm.com Wonderful guy, really smart. Thanks again!

        • Becky Plotner says:

          I do NOT believe resistant starch is beneficial for all. For many people it slowly feeds pathogens making their situation worse in the long run.

          • Debbie says:

            That is always a possibility; it’s hard to know whether one is one of those for whom RS is NOT a good idea.

  26. Alycia says:

    Sorry if I missed this in the comments but do we throw away the cabbage and just keep the juice for refrigeration ?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      I strain my juice out and drink it as kraut juice. I pack the strained cabbage into jars and eat that as sauerkraut. Sauerkraut if more advanced in healing and is not digestible to all without precursory healing.

  27. Van says:

    I just made some juice but I think i may have done it wrong. I put the jars without the lids on in my pantry and I cover the jars with a clean cloth. I read somewhere that the lids should be on when the juice or kraut is ready to go in the fridge. Is my juice still good? The cabbage is floating to the top. Thank you.

  28. Debbie says:

    Since it’s still summer and the apartment is fairly warm without AC on, does this affect the fermentation process, as in – could these jars explode?

  29. Debbie says:

    I started my first batch of juice! But it doesn’t look like yours, it’s all floated to the top of the jar, with the liquid at the bottom. Today’s about Day 4. What do you think?

  30. Debbie says:

    Well, my juice is done, but it smells pretty bad. I can’t quite place the smell – sort of cheesy and sour. But maybe that’s because it’s warm? I drained it and put the jars with the juice and kraut in the refrigerator. I followed your instructions, didn’t see mold, they kraut was bubbling a few days ago, but not today when I checked. The smell was apparently from the first day or so (I unscrewed the lid of one jar for a second). If it still smells weird – I don’t know – any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Sauerkraut is a sour food. The sour is what assists the body in producing digestive enzymes assisting in the food digestion process. The smell is described by many as cheesy in odor. It sounds like you’ve done everything correct.

  31. Debbie says:

    Maybe it was the bowl I used to mix the salt into the cabbage – it wasn’t glass or stainless. Only possibility I can think of.

  32. Milla says:

    First of it all, thank you for sharing this with us!
    I have a question for you. I did my first batch and stored it in a cold place. I have experience with probiotic homemade food (kefir mainly, water and milk). However, I’m not sure how I’d know when the juice is ready. Does it have a particular smell when it’s ready or…? I live in latin america now so the climate is sorta warm, so I’m not sure if it will be ready before the 9 day mark (that is why I wanted to know how the finished product would look or smell or… ). I discovered that Kefir on my pantry tended to be ready in less than two days. I wouldn’t want the juice to go bad as I really need to take it for my leaky gut and adrenal fatigue -I’m on GAPS right now-.

    Thanks so much in advance.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      If you’ve made Chicha de jora and Pozol or cassava you know the “smell” and how different it is from the original version. Kraut is much the same. Kraut juice leans more toward the sour side. It will not go bad if you leave it too long, especially as I know you are watching it. The warmer climate will make it brew faster, yes, you are correct. As far as the rebuilding regimine of GAPS goes, kraut juice is a foundational healer. You can taste your KJ and if it’s too salty let it sit longer. If it tastes good to you have at it. Be careful of die off. Not sure what you are on GAPS for but die off from KJ can be pretty strong for those with deep damage in their tract. http://nourishingplot.com/2014/11/28/the-proper-way-to-take-a-probiotic-and-the-mistakes-that-are-wasting-your-money/

      • Milla says:

        I am on Gaps because my tract is swollen like you wouldn’t believe. I have candidiasis as well and adrenal fatigue (the whole picture). But I need to take extra probiotics (in the form of food). So I really need to get this right. I could purchase it but I don’t think that will do considering the damage of my tract. I rather do it myself.

        So far die off has been dreadful for me, but this only means I’m getting better right? Thanks again for the link and for the speedy answer!

  33. andrearaglan says:

    I’m a day away from having my very first sauerkraut batch. However I have a question: I opened the jar to check how things were going (never closed it tightly) and it smells like cabbage, tasted it and it’s not salty at all. However, the liquid is at the very bottom while all the cabbage is on top liquid-less (well, I bet if I’ll squeeze it it would squirt). There is very little in the bottom (cabbage). The cabbage has turned yellowish. All the green has faded. Below there is this green liquid (the juice).
    I’m a bit anxious because I wouldn’t want to drink something that’s gone wrong since I do have stomach issues. There is no mold or yeast (I’m assuming yeast would look white on top of the cabbage?). I’ve been trying to find some pictures of sauerkraut gone wrong to guide me, but so far nothing has popped up. So I thought I’d ask. Like I said, I wouldn’t want to eat something that its not good!

  34. Nicolas says:

    Hello becky,

    I tried my first batch of Fermented cabbage juice, I’ll have drink it to add probiotics to my alimentation. I’m also following the GAPS protocol.

    While the taste is not that bad (in my opinion), it’s not really good either (especially in the morning). At the moment, I mix it with some tomato juice. But I wondered if you had any ideas on how I could mix it so it is better to drink ? Ideally I would like to drink a lot of it, especially that I don’t like sauerkraut very much (maybe I’ll get used to it), so drinking the Kraut juice is a good alternative in my opinion.

    Especially that I dont mind drinking a lot of it !

    I am taking it because I’ve always had some digestive issues (diarhea), and have a kind of chronic sinusitis and I’m really often tired / in brain fog. I think that I really need to reestablish a good gut flora ! Natasha Campbell book’s really convinced me.

    Thank you very much for your article and your answers (I read all of them), that have been very interesting !

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Salt will probably help for flavor. Mineral salt, not the bleached white and iodized stuff, that’s not really salt it’s chemical stuff added to salt. From the symptoms you described you may want to be working with a knowledgeable GAPS practitioner. Most of us use Skype or phone for consults if people are at a distance. Find someone you feel comfortable with and use them for periodic guidance if you are not recovering well or feel as if you are getting worse in any way. I would have saved myself 7 years if I had done that.

  35. Isabel says:

    Thanks so much for this so useful information, I’m going to make it for sure, but I have a couple questions. I been having heartburn every day for the last 6 years , it started when I was 23 but my doctors haven’t been helpful at all, just prescribing the usual, telling me that this is just a condition I’m gonna have to live with, so I started going in the internet trying to find out what to do on my own. I went of the mess and started taking DGL which has helped quite a bit to control heartburn, but lately I been having IBS symptoms which have scared the c out of me. In search for a solution I found your page. So after this lengthy explication…. Sorry about that. I ‘m suspecting I have a h pylori infection, should I wait to drink this after my h pylori treatment? Or should I start it right now? For any help I would be truly be grateful as I am a mom of 4 little girls that need me to be healthy again.

  36. Isabel says:

    * off the meds

  37. DrT says:

    Just wondering what the method of pounding is (verses sitting). Does that cut down the sitting time on the kitchen counter? also using mason jars with metal lids…I read somewhere else that you cannot use metal lids. Your thoughts on that? Thanks..and by the way Dr Johannah Budwig (of the Budwig diet) was using sauerkraut juice 50 years ago to treat her patients…Dr Campbell did not invent this plus Dr Campbell added fermented vegetables to the SCD diet (and she took this diet from Elaine Gottschall (Breaking the visious cycle) when her own daughter (Elaines that it) was being seen in the 1960’s by a Dr in Manhattan who recommended a grain free, sugar free diet which Dr Cambell uses.
    Just seems to be that credit should be given properly to those who deserve it.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Some people think pounding opens the cell walls more effectively – which is true for cabbage when it is sliced in larger pieces. I reread the post and I’m not seeing where I said this was invented by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. Using sauerkraut and kraut juices goes back historically hundreds of years. The early explorer James Cook is most famous at the time for none of his sailors suffering from scurvy due to the large vats of sauerkraut on board.
      You are correct, the GAPS protocol is a modification from Elaine Gottschall’s SCD protocol which is a modification from Dr. Haas’s protocol. There are many more facts not put in this post due to space. Feel free to troll around further on my other posts which do mention further facts.
      This specific post is a recipe.

  38. DrT says:

    One other question about the salt/cabbage mixture and sitting…you say 20 minutes to overnight….that is a big difference. How do you know exactly how long based on desired effect? What would make one choose 20 minutes as opposed to overnight? What is the basis for the choice? Room temperature? Thank you. This is the easiest method I have yet to see. I am hesitant about mason jars based on the corrosive properties of the lids and have yet to find glass jars available with plastic lids..

  39. DrT says:

    It looks like my post from yesterday went from moderation now have been taken off.
    I had another question. I bought a 5 pound organic cabbage, and something is wrong with this recipe since you had stated you put 1/4 of the cabbage in the vitamix and it was a 5 pound cabbage. Perhaps that weight was in error since 1/4 of a cabbage weighing 5 pounds could not be cut the size of the palm and put in the vitamix. It took me almost 10 times to put what was the size of the palm of my hand into the vitamix with a 5 pound cabbage. I also have way more in my bowl than you do in your photo. I bought 6 ,1/2 gallon mason jars and it looks like I have double the amount of cabbage I will need to fill them 1/3 as you say. Please review the recipe as I think my comment will also help others. It seems that the weight of your medium cabbage may really be a lot less than 5 pounds. Thank you. If you do not want to post my comments, since you have my e-mail address perhaps you can e-mail me. Thanks again.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Your comment was not removed. The way making a comment works is you comment and it is sent to moderation where it approved for public viewing.

      When cooking there are some things that are an exact science while others are not. Making fermented vegetables is one of those recipes where you put in what you like. The ratio of salt to cabbage mix is higher in kraut juice than in kraut. A medium head of cabbage calls for 6 tablespoons of salt, tasting it will help you find your ratios. I reread the post to find “the palm” measure and couldn’t find it in the post. I do grab a palm full of cabbage when I grab the cabbage off the cutting board – meaning, as much cabbage as will fit in my hand when I slap my hand and palm down on the newly chopped head.
      Feel free to do what fits your lifestyle. Every time I make kraut juice I end up with a different quantity according to the head of cabbage, it’s never the same. Sometimes I add onion, or garlic, or carrot, it’s different every single time. Sandor Katz has a ratio in a math problem of the weight of the vegetables multiplies by .005% however that doesn’t work with kraut juice only kraut due to the amount of water making it juice.

  40. DrT says:

    Look at your reply to Wanda on June 22 2014 . You said a quarter of the cabbage, a palm sized portion. Anyway I read elsewhere that it ferments better in the refrigerators after three days.you say leave out 9 to 12. I pent so much time on other sites… There is absolutely no consistency whic is baffling! Well tomorrow s my third day o I will decide…refrigerate or not! Oh btw I ought plastic lids at wallmartbto replace the metal lids. 6 half gallon jars it’s me 12.00

  41. DrT says:

    Sorry, my iPad likes to delete letters. I ought to read before sending

  42. DrT says:

    I am actually doing the budwig diet so I needed sauerkraut juice and its so expensive. Almost bought the Caldwell cultures.what is your opinion of adding cultures to juiced cabbage as opposed to your method?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      You can do either. Sandor Katz is considered the fermentation forerunner and says added cultures speed up the process by changing the pH sooner while wild fermentation (salt) allows the same probiotic counts in the long run. Each process ends with the same product. I prefer salt because it is less expensive and I have it on hand.

  43. DrT says:

    One more!!! Since pounding opens up the cells, wouldn’t it be better to juice the cabbage? I have a masticating juicer and almost used the guy on youtubes method since it would make sense that masticating the cabbage would produce a more nutritious juice that just soaking shredded cabbage in water. Pure juice verses cabbage water.mtganks or your time.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      You can do either. Both have the same probiotic quantity from what I have found. If you find any other studies that show differently please let me know. I work with those who have very unbalanced microbiomes and respond with great die off with equal die off to both varieties. I choose to use this method since you get anywhere from 2- 3.5 gallons of kj per head vs 1.5 quarts if you juice the head and ferment.

  44. Sara DeMay says:

    I tried this for the first time, and perhaps left the jars out too long. Some of them are great, two have grown mold. It’s dark green/brown, in addition to the white, and it smells different. Has this happened to you before? Any idea what caused it? Should I toss it? The jars that worked are delicious though!

  45. DrT says:

    I left the 1/2 gallon jars out in my house for 5 days then strained and refrigerated the juice. It takes fairly mild. There are so ,any recipes out there ith do many differences in temperature and time out it really makes my head pin. Some say it ferments better in the refrigerator some say better in high 70’s temp indoors. It’s difficult to comprehend why there is o much conflicting opinions! I have no idea what to do with the strained cabbage and how long I can keep it in the fridge before it goes bad. I also have difficulty believing that the juice, without preservative can stay in the fridge for any length of time. I do feel gurgling in my stomach and intestines after drinking it… I had a hard time leaving it out for the 6 to 12. Days and didn’t want to deal with any mold!!

  46. DrT says:

    One more and sorry for iPad errors! When you blend the cabbage in the vitamix, aren’t you losing much beneficial juice? How can this method , since you have so much water in the jars and are just getting a small amount of juice from the bits of cabbage, be better than juicing the cabbage and adding cultures to that? In the later you are starting from juice not water , which seems to make a more concentrated juice. Your method you are getting juice from one head of cabbage yet unt it really water that’s being made with just a cabbage essence? Thanks for your response!

    • DrT says:

      Ok I see you responded to this earlier. So same probiotics with juicing cabbage? How can you measure this? Right now after my evening 1/2 glass of juice my stomach is rumbling. Is that a common symptom?

      • Becky Plotner says:

        Symptoms are individual to each person. If the die off signs are too much to tolerate it is best to back off on quantity and go slower with increasing that food until the body’s enzymes are rebuilt. Probiotic foods rebuild these enzymes and good pathogens, many people need a slower introduction of beneficial foods.

  47. Debbie says:

    I too wonder about how long to keep the jars out fermenting. I’m reading everything from 3 days to many weeks! I’ve also read that the stronger taste doesn’t necessarily mean a stronger ferment. The first – and last – time I tried to make the juice my whole apartment smelled of it, which was unpleasant. I ended up thinking something was wrong and dumped the whole batch. I want to try again, but have been putting it off. Just sharing. I love sauerkraut juice!

    • DrT says:

      I hear you Debbie! I misread this blogs 9 to 12 days as 6 o 12 and left them out out 5! ( was afraid of the mold) We must be reading the same sources since I also read only 3. so my next try ill go the 9 days and see if it tastes any different and report back. I still have a lot left in the fridges but I do wonder how much more potent it will be left out more days before straining and fridge.

      • DrT says:

        So it is stronger tasting left out 9 days but a couple of jars had a cheesy smell. And some white on the cabbage. I am reading online that making juice from the juiced cabbage is better than water. I have two juicers so maybe I will try that next. Maybe more potent? I am wondering what the blog host thinks about this?

  48. Lorna says:

    Thank you very much for posting this!! Can you keep adding water and salt and let sit 72 hours or so and reuse again?

  49. […] Click here to learn how to make your own. Click here to learn how to make sauerkraut at home and here to learn how to make kraut juice, a more gentle on the stomach probiotic for those with leaky […]

  50. Nassima says:

    can we use red cabbage?

  51. Angie says:

    I’ll be using your recipe for sure. Every Christmas I make what we call Sour Soup. Take the juice from canned or jarred sauerkraut( squeeze out all you can get). Measure it (cups worth) and add an equal amount of water. I also add a desired amount of cooked barley and cooked mushrooms(any variety). Heat and serve. It’s tart but delicious. An acquired taste!!

  52. DrT says:

    There are some that say you can’t make cabbage juice from water. Only from the juice itself. What defense is there against this nice you are making it from water. Thanks

  53. Bec says:

    Hey Becky, when putting lids on jars, are they tightly sealed? The jars I have, have a flip lid, so they are either open, or sealed tight. Thanks for the post! It was exactly what I was looking for!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      That’s fine.

      • Becky Plotner says:

        Some people like to burp them to let some of the fermenting gas out as if the glass is compromised in any way it may break. I like to keep my lids on and just let them sit. I’ve never had one break while fermenting. It’s a personal preference.

  54. Serene says:

    question! do you think that kraut juice can safely be made from cabbage that has already been fermented? i’m still at stage 1 of intro and can only have the juice for now, not the cabbage. i don’t want all that fermented cabbage to just sit around until i’ve advanced – i feel like i could use it to make more juice. i just took a dollop of kraut from a jar sitting in the fridge and put it in another jar with some salt and filled it up with filtered water, sealed it, and left it out, in hopes that it will become good kraut juice. do you think this is a good idea? thanks!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      No, once you make the kraut juice out of the cabbage you have opened all the cell walls and retrieved all your beneficial enzymes. You would be better off saving the kraut for once you have advance or giving it as a gift to someone you like. Some people sell them for $10 a quart or more.

  55. Dustin says:

    I have this fermenting in my fridge for over a month now, and am ready to do a 3 day Dr Oz detox cleanse with this Kraut juice as the probiotic. So from what I’ve read –

    I take 1 tsp/serving and then am I suppose to ALSO eat the cabbage/juice mix or strain it first and just drink the juice only?

    Thanks for the valuable information

  56. Lee says:

    I am currently on a very low carb (ketogenic) diet and had the skin rash which went away already but still have eczema on my hands due to candida die off. Will drinking this accelerate the healing process?

  57. Dustin says:

    I have some sitting in the fridge for over a month now .Do I also drink the pump raw cabbage or strain it, and drink the juice only?

    Thanks

  58. Can i use the kraut juice i already have as a starter to make more by just adding water?

  59. […] probiotisk kost som surkålsjuice – ett mycket enkelt och bra recept på surkålsjuice finns här – och andra fermenterade grönsaker och drycker. Många fantastiska recept finns i på denna […]

  60. Linda says:

    Wow! Great information and thank you for answering questions with so much detail. I made some kraut 6 months ago using generic Pickl-it plastic airlock jar lids that I purchased on eBay. It came out good the first time( just good luck), but 3 times since then they have failed. I have researched but could not really find answers I’m looking for. I did see a lot of your replies that helped me too.

    Thank you for explaining that the cell wall of the canbage pieces need to break down to release the beneficial enzymes, and that chopping will excellerate this process.

    I think my biggest question is that I live in Cocoa Beach Florida and it’s hot now and I think my garage gets to about 90 degrees inside during the summer months. Would it be ok to put my fermenting cabbage and fermenting cabbage juice in the hot garbage to ferment? And what’s the shortest period of time that It will produce a really good amount of probiotics?

    I have a serious case of leaky gut and I’m working with a dr that really knows about it but the process is very slow. I myself have read all the popular books and am very knowledgeable about it. I need the fermented probiotics so badly to help me feel better. The biggest problem I have is chronic constipation that I have almost died from. Trust me when I say I have tried everything. I did notice that 6 months ago when I ate the small bottle of sauerkraut that I made, my intestinal tract felt better and my mood improved and inflammation in my body all noticeably improved. So I’m exciting and so anxious to make this saurkraut juice since it takes less time to ferment.

    Anything you can tell me would be so appreciated. And just a reminder that I want to use the airlock tops.
    Thank you and God Bless you for sharing your knowledge !

    • Becky Plotner says:

      The heat will speed up the brewing process. You can watch the brewing with the stages of fermentation. When bubbles rise up from the bottom floating up to the top it is in the second stage of fermentation. If I were in your shoes I would mark the time it took to bubble, wait until the bubbles are done and wait that same time.

      I’m not sure what you mean by it failed. Kraut doesn’t really fail. It can mold on top. If that happens you can scoop the mold off and eat what’s below.

  61. bcmeng7 says:

    I’m about to go strain my juice and try it for the first time. I was really bummed after 3 days when I discovered mold on the top of 2 of my jars, including the large gallon size one, so I threw out those 2 jars of juice. As far as I can tell, there’s no mold on the other jars. I put everything into the fridge on the 4th day because of that, and it’s now been 2 weeks since I started the batch. I’d been waiting because I couldn’t find in the directions whether or not to strain out the cabbage first, but finally found it in the comments. Hopefully this works well – we all need it! Thanks!

    • bcmeng7 says:

      Okay, 2 more of the jars had mold, white spots rather than a full on blue fuzzy coating, so I scooped out as much cabbage as I could, strained the rest and put that juice in a separate jar, tossed the cabbage. The 2 jars that did work, the kraut and the juice are both delicious! Now to try to figure out how to avoid mold entirely!

      • Becky Plotner says:

        Consider air locks, something to press the cabbage down under the brine, more salt, the jar – many factors.

  62. April says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I got three large mason jars full – I erroneously put closer to a half than a third of the shred in. I put the cabbage and salt mixture (used a food chopper) into the jars and filled to the brim with water. We have pure, cold delicious well water. I left them in the kitchen – air conditioned but about 70F for a week, then moved them to another room about 64F. I opened one today after nine days. The mixture was getting cloudy and the cabbage pale and a little soft. I tasted it. There was a tang and a little fizzy bite to it. It is very salty, but so delicious I want to decant and drink the whole jar right now. I took a few tablespoons before I saw it was only supposed to be a few drops to a tsp. Since I had opened it, I put it into the fridge. The other two jars may as well be in the fridge since they sit right beside the AC vent. My question is about the cabbage after the juice is gone: 1. Can the jar be refilled with water using the old cabbage and kept in the fridge for more juice (I hate throwing food out) or 2 eaten til gone? Or 3 should I discard it to the compost?

  63. Joseph G LeSanche says:

    HI Becky,

    I’ve been fermenting for over 25 years and I cannot believe it took me so long to discover your site. A pleasant surprise. I have what I call a ‘legacy’ crock on my kitchen counter that has been fermenting with discarded cuttings for about 10 years. The crock has a fairly tight fitting lid and I’ve had no problem with mold formation since I give the bubbling mixture a good stir every morning before removing a healthy cup for my morning consumption. Once a month, I remove the fermented solids but leave the juice and begin again with the discarded remnants of the other vegetables I ferment.
    I’ve thrown everything from cherry pits to corn husks into the crock and the resulting juice has always been slightly carbonated and highly flavorful. I take a certain satisfaction knowing that I’m recycling my discards into something edible and that the bacteria in my crock are from a culture I began a decade ago.
    On a side note, I have NEVER been sickened by this potion and I do not believe I could begin my day without it.

    Happy fermenting!
    Joe

  64. michelle says:

    If I use some of the fermented kraut juice as an starter, can i add water to it and set it out to make more? Also, if I open canned sauerkraut and leave put it in a mason jar, will it ferment?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      You can but it will be weak. You are better off making more kraut juice. It doesn’t really need a starter, it’s going to do what it’s going to do anyway.
      No, canned sauerkraut has been paturized. It is dead.

      It’s scary jumping in for sure. I keep thinking, “this is what they did when there was no kitchen, no refrigeration, crude cooking.” If they did it I can do it! Jump my friend!!!! Everything new is scary.

  65. […] tolerate sourdough bread, then maybe sauerkraut is the best one to start with.  I understand that kraut juice is the gentlest probiotic and can be consumed by even the most damaged guts albeit in tiny […]

  66. Andrea Harvie says:

    Hi Becky, what would you class as a histmanine response?

What do you think?

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