Is Sauerkraut Fermented or Pickled? Exploring the Process of Fermentation and Pickling

Sauerkraut has long been a beloved staple in many households, but there seems to be some confusion around whether it is fermented or pickled. Understanding the differences between fermentation and pickling is crucial to demystifying the sauerkraut-making process. Fermentation and pickling are two distinct methods of food preservation, each with its own set of benefits and outcomes. While both processes involve preserving food, they differ in terms of the microorganisms used, the time it takes, and the end result.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of sauerkraut and explore the intricacies of fermentation and pickling. We will uncover the truth behind sauerkraut's transformation and shed light on the various factors that contribute to its unique flavor and texture. Join us as we embark on a comprehensive exploration of sauerkraut fermentation and pickling. By the end of this journey, you will have a clearer understanding of the processes involved and be equipped with the knowledge to create your own delicious sauerkraut at home. So, let's dive in and unravel the mysteries of sauerkraut together!

Understanding Fermentation

Is Sauerkraut Fermented or Pickled? Exploring the Process of Fermentation and Pickling

Fermentation is a natural process that has been used for centuries to preserve food. It involves the breakdown of sugars by microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, in the absence of oxygen. This process produces compounds like lactic acid, which give sauerkraut its tangy flavor.

During fermentation, microorganisms feed on the sugars present in the food. As they consume the sugars, they produce lactic acid as a byproduct. This acid not only contributes to the unique taste of sauerkraut but also helps to preserve it by creating an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.

The Fermentation Process of Sauerkraut

Traditionally, sauerkraut is made by fermenting shredded cabbage with salt. The salt helps to draw out the moisture from the cabbage, creating a brine that promotes fermentation. It's important to create an anaerobic environment by ensuring that the cabbage is submerged in the brine and covered with a weight to prevent exposure to oxygen.

To make sauerkraut using fermentation, start by shredding the cabbage and massaging it with salt. This helps to break down the cell walls of the cabbage, releasing its juices. Then, pack the cabbage tightly into a fermentation vessel, making sure that it is completely submerged in its own brine. Place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged and cover the vessel with a breathable cloth to allow carbon dioxide to escape. Allow the sauerkraut to ferment at room temperature for about 2-4 weeks, depending on your desired level of tanginess.

The Science Behind Pickling

Pickling, on the other hand, is a method of preserving food that involves immersing it in a vinegar or brine solution. Unlike fermentation, pickling does not rely on the natural breakdown of sugars by microorganisms. Instead, the acidity of the vinegar or brine solution acts as a preservative, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Pickling can have a significant impact on the texture and flavor of foods. The acid in the pickling solution alters the structure of proteins in the food, resulting in a firmer texture. It also adds a tangy and acidic flavor to the food, which can be enhanced with the addition of spices and herbs.

Pickling Sauerkraut

Pickled sauerkraut offers a unique twist on the traditional fermented version. It involves immersing the fermented sauerkraut in a vinegar-based or brine solution, along with additional spices and flavors. The pickling process adds an extra layer of tanginess and complexity to the sauerkraut, making it a versatile ingredient for various dishes.

There are different methods for pickling sauerkraut, including vinegar-based and brine-based recipes. In vinegar-based pickling, the sauerkraut is submerged in a solution of vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, along with spices and herbs. Brine-based pickling, on the other hand, involves immersing the sauerkraut in a saltwater solution, along with spices and other flavorings. Both methods result in delicious pickled sauerkraut with unique flavors.

While sauerkraut is the star of fermentation in many Western cultures, there's a whole universe of fermented delights in other parts of the world. One such culinary treasure is japanese fermented food, offering a compelling balance of umami and health benefits. From miso to natto, these traditional Japanese foods undergo a unique fermentation process, enhancing their flavors and nutritional profiles. As we appreciate the global diversity of fermented foods, let's not overlook Japan's rich contribution to this ancient culinary art.

By pickling sauerkraut, you can enjoy the benefits of both fermentation and pickling. The fermentation process adds probiotics to the sauerkraut, which are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. Meanwhile, pickling enhances the flavor and texture of the sauerkraut, making it a tasty and nutritious addition to your meals.

In the next section, we'll explore the differences between fermented and pickled sauerkraut, including their taste, texture, and nutritional benefits. We'll also address the common misconception that all sauerkraut is fermented and discuss the factors that affect the fermentation and pickling processes. Plus, we'll take a look at other fermented and pickled foods from different cultures and provide recipe suggestions for incorporating them into your meals. Stay tuned!

Differences Between Fermentation and Pickling for Sauerkraut

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between fermentation and pickling, and how they can both be used to create delicious sauerkraut flavors. Let's recap the key points we covered.


  • Fermentation is a natural process that involves the breakdown of sugars by bacteria and yeast.
  • This process creates lactic acid, which gives fermented foods their tangy flavor.


  • Pickling is a preservation method that uses an acidic solution, such as vinegar, to preserve the food and give it a sour taste.

While both methods result in tangy flavors, the process and ingredients used are quite different.

Fermentation Method for Sauerkraut

When it comes to sauerkraut, fermentation is the traditional method used.

  • The cabbage is shredded and then mixed with salt.
  • The salt draws out the moisture from the cabbage, creating a brine.
  • The brine acts as a natural preservative, allowing the cabbage to ferment over time.
  • This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the desired flavor.

Pickling Method for Sauerkraut

Pickling Method for Sauerkraut

Pickled sauerkraut is made by combining shredded cabbage with a vinegar-based solution.

  • The cabbage is then left to marinate in the solution for a period of time.
  • This pickling process gives the sauerkraut a tangy and slightly acidic taste.

While pickled sauerkraut can be made quickly, it lacks the probiotic benefits of fermented sauerkraut.

Now that you know the differences between fermentation and pickling, it's time to get creative in the kitchen! I encourage you to experiment with both methods to discover your preferred sauerkraut flavors. Try fermenting one batch of sauerkraut and pickling another. Compare the flavors and see which one you prefer. You can also try adding different spices and herbs to customize the flavor of your sauerkraut.

If you're interested in learning more about fermentation and pickling, be sure to visit the BurpLids® website. We offer a wide range of products and resources related to fermentation and pickling. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced fermenter, BurpLids® has everything you need to make the process easier and more successful. Check out our fermentation kit, which includes airlock vacuum-seal valve technology, quick release tabs, and a mechanism that releases carbon dioxide while keeping oxygen and other unfavorable airborne contaminants out of the jars. With our high-quality BPA-free materials and lifetime satisfaction guarantee, you can trust BurpLids® to help you achieve the perfect sauerkraut every time.

So why wait? Start experimenting with fermentation and pickling today and discover your own unique sauerkraut flavors. Don't forget to visit the BurpLids® website for more information and resources. Happy fermenting!

Enhance Your Fermentation Process with BurpLids®

Are you looking for ways to enhance your fermentation process? Do you want to achieve perfectly cured crops without the hassle of daily burping? Look no further than BurpLids® ! With our innovative products and resources, BurpLids® offers a revolutionary solution for growers who want to take their fermentation game to the next level.

Explore the BurpLids® Catalog

One of the first steps to explore the world of BurpLids® is by visiting our catalog. Here, you'll find a wide range of products designed to make your fermentation journey easier and more successful. From plastic curing kits to 12-pack and 14-pack curing kits, BurpLids® has you covered. The catalog is conveniently available online, so you can browse and choose the products that suit your needs.

Effective Use of BurpLids® Products

Once you have your BurpLids® products, it's important to know how to use them effectively. That's where the BurpLids® Instructions come in handy. These instructions provide step-by-step guidance on how to achieve the best results with your fermentation process. Whether you're a novice or an experienced fermenter, these instructions will ensure that you have all the knowledge you need to succeed.

Join the BurpLids® Community

BurpLids® doesn't stop at just providing products and instructions. We also have a strong presence on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. By following BurpLids® on these platforms, you'll gain access to valuable tips, tricks, and inspiration for your fermentation adventures. Plus, you'll be part of a community of like-minded growers who share your passion for fermentation.

Get Started with BurpLids® Today

What are you waiting for? Explore the BurpLids® catalog, access the instructions, and join the online community today. With BurpLids®, you'll have everything you need to elevate your fermentation game and achieve perfectly cured crops. Don't miss out on this opportunity to make your fermentation process easier, stress-free, and successful. Visit the BurpLids® website and start your fermentation journey now!

Revolutionize Your Crop Curing Process with BurpLids®

BurpLids® offers a revolutionary solution for growers who want to cure their crops to perfection. With our vacuum-sealed lids that fit all wide mouth mason jars, BurpLids® provides a faster and more efficient curing process. Say goodbye to the hassle of daily burping of mason jar lids, as BurpLids® eliminates the need for it. By using BurpLids®, growers can achieve a successful cure without the constant monitoring.

The Standout Features of BurpLids®


One of the standout features of BurpLids® is our fermentation kit. This kit includes:

  • Airlock vacuum-seal valve technology
  • Quick release tabs
  • A mechanism that releases carbon dioxide while keeping oxygen and other contaminants out of the jars

The waterless airlock fermentation lids have a low profile, allowing the jars to fit neatly into cabinets. With the fermentation weights included in the kit, growers can effectively keep their veggies buried beneath the brine. The BurpLids® fermentation kit is designed to make the fermentation process easier, stress-less, and successful. Plus, it comes with an unconditional Lifetime Satisfaction guarantee, making it suitable for both novice and experienced fermenters.

Take Your Curing and Fermentation Game to the Next Level

If you're ready to take your curing and fermentation game to the next level, visit the BurpLids® website to explore our catalog of products. You can also find detailed instructions on how to use BurpLids® effectively. Follow BurpLids® on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for tips, tricks, and inspiration for your curing and fermentation journey. Don't miss out on the opportunity to achieve perfect batches and worry-free curing. Visit the BurpLids® website today and start revolutionizing your crop curing process.

Check out the BurpLids® Catalog to find the perfect curing kit for your needs: