Lazy person's sauerkraut

September 2023

Lesya Gowriluk admits her recipe for sauerkraut has its drawbacks. Although very easy to prepare, it doesn’t earn her any nods of approval for hard work from her Ukrainian relatives. “I’m sure my baba would be rolling in her grave if she ever saw me make sauerkraut this way!” She laughs. “My baba always believed in hard work, from sunrise to sundown, and if it didn’t require sweat, then it wasn’t good enough!”

But, Lesya admits, life is busy enough and since much of their garden harvest occurs in September when school begins, anything that makes canning easier is welcomed with open arms.

“I tried making sauerkraut the old-fashioned way in a crock, and while it tasted great, it was time-consuming and lots of work – and yes, it required a little sweat.”

When Lesya was given this recipe from her mother-in-law, she was a bit hesitant to try it. It looked too easy – and if it was too easy, then it couldn’t taste right. She tried it, and was amazed at the results. She’s happy to share it with anyone who enjoys the taste of sauerkraut but doesn’t have the time - or a crock pot - to make it.

Boil 30 cups of water (about 3 cups water per quart jar, depending on how much shredded cabbage is added to each jar) and keep at boiling point while adding it to the jars.

Sterilize 10, 1-quart jars in oven for 10 minutes at 275°C. Keep in hot oven until ready to fill.

Sterilize lids in boiling water according to instructions on package.

In the meantime, shred 2 medium size heads of cabbage into a bowl and set aside.

Set aside in separate bowls: 1 1/4 cup oil, 1 1/4 cup vinegar, 2/3 cup pickling salt, 1 1/4 cup sugar, and 10 bay leaves.

Remove one sterilized jar from the oven and pack – but not too tightly – shredded cabbage into jar, leaving one inch from the top. Add 2 Tbsp. oil, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, 1 Tbsp. pickling salt, 2 tsp. sugar and 1 bay leaf on top. Fill with boiling water to cover cabbage and bay leaf, leaving about 1/3 inch from top. Wipe jar rim with clean dry cloth, place sterilized lid on top, add ring, tighten and place on counter to cool. Repeat with each jar until all the shredded cabbage is used. Leave on counter overnight, tighten lids, label and store in cool place such as a cold room. Leave for about two months before eating.

To cook the sauerkraut, rinse in a colander and fry in a cast iron frying pan. You may add onions but no seasoning is required.

Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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