Kitchen Scrap Sauerkraut Recipe

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Photo from Adobe Stock/Fiedels 

This sauerkraut recipe comes from Cornersmith’s head fermenter and teacher, Jaimee Edwards. It’s a very flexible one in which you can use up vegetable stems and leaves, or those bits lurking in the back of the fridge. Altogether you’ll need 2 kg (4 lb, 8 oz) of produce, including 500 g (1 lb, 2 oz) fruit and vegie “scraps.” Flavour the sauerkraut with whole spices or herbs to match your vegetable combinations. Caraway seeds are a classic with cabbage, apple and onion; black peppercorns go well with warrigal greens, fennel and beetroot leaves; and kale and dill are really delicious together.

PREPARATION TIME: 40 minutes, plus 20 minutes sterilising
FERMENTING TIME: 2 days to 2 weeks
STORAGE: up to 6 months
MAKES: 2 x 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cup) jars

Photo by Alan Benson, Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles


  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) white cabbage
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) assorted leftover fruit and vegetable bits, such as onions, apples, pears, chokos (chayotes), kohlrabi, silverbeet (Swiss chard) leaves, and the chopped stems and leaves from parsley, dill, beetroot (beet), fennel, kale, celery and warrigal greens
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole spices of your choice, such as juniper berries, caraway seeds, bay leaves and black or white peppercorns

Photo by Alan Benson, Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles


  1. Sterilise your jars and lids. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cabbage into manageable pieces, and shred any smaller portions of cabbage into thin strips. Place in a non-reactive bowl large enough to hold all your produce.
  3. If you are using apples or pears, cut them into thin strips and set aside. Cut your other vegetables and greens to about the same size as your cabbage, then add them to the bowl.
  4. Sprinkle the salt on the cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands. Using a pestle, or a rolling pin without a handle – or even the top side of a meat mallet – pound your produce until a lot of the water is released.
  5. You should be able to grab a fist full of the mixture, give it a squeeze, and see brine running freely. At this stage your sauerkraut is ready to jar up. If you are using apples or pears, mix them through now.
  6. Add the sauerkraut to your jars and pack down very tightly, to about 2 cm (3/4 inch) from the rim of the jars, allowing about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of the brine from your produce to cover the top of the mixture. This is very important to prevent spoilage.
  7. Seal your jars and place out of direct sunlight. In temperate weather, leave to ferment for at least 4 days; in summer, it is advisable to check on your sauerkraut after 2 days, as fermentation will happen much more quickly.
  8. Open your jar every few days to “burp” your ferment – this will release the built-up carbon dioxide, and prevent brine spilling out of the jar. Just be sure to press down your sauerkraut afterwards, so that the brine is covering the top by at least 1 cm (1/2 inch).
  9. You may leave your sauerkraut to ferment for 2 weeks, checking every few days to see and taste how it is developing.
  10. Once you are happy with your sauerkraut, refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Also from Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles: Vegetables with More Taste and Less Waste:

Preserving, using up and seasonal eating is the Cornersmith way. Since opening their neighbourhood café in Sydney in 2011, Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler have been committed to sustainability. Their recipes put veggies first with dishes such as black bean and spring slaw tortillas. Quick recipes include roasted sweet potato and parsnip topped with feta and walnuts, or make a tabbouleh with leftover veg ahead of time for an autumnal evening. Cornersmith reinvents everyday sides with pickled veg which can be stored for up to six months. In Cornersmith: Salads & Pickles, Alex and Sabine share their passion for cooking with minimal waste. In four chapters, each dedicated to a season, Cornersmith shows us the best way to use seasonal produce, before rounding off with three salad dressing, fermenting and pickling guides and innovative ways to use kitchen scraps, such as using fruit peel to flavour oils. These recipes aren’t about dieting, instead Cornersmith is a must have for anyone interested in the food waste management trend, providing a road map for the future of food.

Reprinted with permission from Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles: Vegetables with More Taste and Less Waste by Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler and published by Murdoch Books, 2017. 

Inspiration for edible alchemy.