Gut Friendly Golden Sauerkraut

hilary cabbage

Hilary in the Viome kitchens demonstrating her fermentation technique.

Fermenting food at home is fun and easy! Chances are you already have all the tools in your kitchen.

Sauerkraut is a “wild ferment,” which means the naturally occurring lactobacillus bacteria on the cabbage, and on your hands ferment the cabbage. No additional microbes are added.

Eating fermented foods regularly has been shown to increase gut microbial diversity and decrease inflammatory markers in the gut.1 This sauerkraut recipe takes an already gut-friendly food like sauerkraut to the next level by adding turmeric and cumin seeds. Turmeric is known for helping to reduce gut inflammation and permeability, while cumin seeds can reduce gas and bloating.2,3

This sauerkraut is great on top of salads, rice bowls, in soups, on top of stir-fries, with curries, eggs, and more. The possibilities are endless!


  • 1 head organic green cabbage finely sliced or shredded (reserve the outer cabbage leaf)

  • Fine sea salt

  • 1-inch knob of turmeric, peeled and grated

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds


  1. Add cabbage and cumin seeds to a bowl. Weigh the mixture in grams using a kitchen scale, careful not to weigh the bowl. Multiply the weight of the cabbage in grams by .02. This is the amount of salt you will need in grams.

  2. Add the salt. Mix and massage the cabbage well using your hands.

  3. Add the turmeric and mix using a spoon (turmeric will stain your hands and fingernails).

  4. Allow the mixture to sit for several hours (about 2-6 hours) while the moisture draws out. Stir occasionally.

  5. Stir the sauerkraut again and then place it in a large glass jar. Pack it down into the jar well using a sauerkraut tamper, your hands, or the end of a wide spoon. Pack well so that the liquid (aka brine) covers the contents. If the brine does not cover the contents, make additional 2% brine (1 ¼ teaspoons salt to 1 cup water) and add enough to the jar to cover all the cabbage.

  6. Fold the reserved outer leaf of the cabbage and place it on top of the sauerkraut to help keep it below the brine. The salt in the brine prevents oxidation and the growth of molds.

  7. Place a fermentation weight, small jar, or ziplock bag filled with water on top of the cabbage leaf to help keep the mixture pressed down.

  8. Cover loosely with a lid and place in a warm place (preferably around 68-75F) for about 3-5 days. "Burp" the jar daily to release any pressure build-up.

  9. The fermentation will occur faster if the jar is in a warmer place versus in a colder place. When you start seeing some bubbles, this means it’s getting close. You can start tasting the sauerkraut around day 3. Once it has reached your desired level of sour flavor and softness, place the jar in the fridge to stop or slow the fermentation.

  10. Sauerkraut stores well in the fridge for up to 6 months. Continue to burp the jar occasionally to release any pressure build-up.


  • Sauerkraut is typically made using a 1.5-3% brine. You may use more or less salt in step 1 as long as it is within 1.5-3%.

  • Using organic cabbage is critical for sauerkraut. Some pesticides can kill the microbes naturally present in the cabbage that promote fermentation.

  • If you’re using a particularly large head of cabbage, more turmeric and cumin seeds can be added without affecting the fermentation process.


  1. Wastyk, H. et al. (2021). [Gut microbe-targeted diets and human immunity study].

  2. Scazzocchio, B. et al. (2020). [Study on interactions between gut microbes and curcumin]. PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine.

  3. Agah, S. et al. (2013). [Case series on cumin extract and IBS patients]. Middle East Journal of Digestive Disorders,