Apple Sauerkraut with Celery and Black Pepper

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Enjoy the unique flavors of this apple sauerkraut recipe made with celery and black pepper. This apple sauerkraut is long fermented for 21 days, giving it the best flavor and making it perfect for gut health.

Making Sauerkraut with Apples

I love adding fruit to sauerkraut, especially apples. You know what they say…

The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a famous adage that suggests eating an apple daily can lead to better health and thus reduce the need to visit a doctor. This phrase originated in the 19th century in Wales, and its original form was, “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.

The rationale behind the saying is based on the nutritional benefits of apples. Apples are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are a good source of antioxidants. These nutrients benefit various aspects of health, such as aiding digestion due to fiber, improving heart health, and potentially reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases.

The antioxidants found in apples can help fight free radicals in the body, potentially reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

You know what I’m about to add here, don’t you? When fermented, the nutrients and vitamins in apples become more bioavailable!

Apple Sauerkraut Recipe Ingredients

Now, I never suggest trying to lacto-ferment fruit by itself. Most fruits contain too much sugar for the lacto-fermentation process, and instead will lead to alcohol fermentation. However, when you incorporate a bit of fruit into sauerkraut, it works beautifully!

When you incorporate fruit into sauerkraut, I suggest keeping the ratio of fruit lower. Always use way more cabbage than fruit. And as always, please use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Here are all the ingredients you need to make this apple sauerkraut recipe:

  • cabbage
  • sea salt
  • water
  • apple, grated
  • celery, grated
  • Black pepper
chopped apple sauerkraut recipe ingredients in a large white bowl with salt and black pepper sprinkled on top.

Supplies You Need to Make Sauerkraut with Apples, Celery and Black Pepper

For the best sauerkraut flavor and texture, you should use weight measurements for your fermentation ingredients. That means you need a kitchen scale. Weighing your ingredients gives you consistent and superior fermentation results. This is the scale we use in our home kitchen.  

Here is the equipment you will need to make it:

  • 32-ounce Wide Mouth Mason Jar
  • Fermentation Weight
  • Standard Metal Mason Jar Lid (this can rust in the presence of salt)
  • OR Rust-Free Plastic Lid
  • or you can use a Weck Jar (without the gasket; only use the clips to secure the lid)
  • Sea Salt
  • Scale
  • Mixing Bowl 

If you would like to read more about the best jars and lids for fermenting vegetables, click here.

a large, light green savoy cabbage on a white marble counter

Fermenting Apple Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut naturally takes time. I recommend fermenting your sauerkraut for at least 14 days before eating, with 21-28 days being the best fermentation time for optimal flavor and health benefits.

By checking the progress of microbial stages under the microscope, we have provided you with a handy timeline below! If you follow our recipe and directions, your timeline of sauerkraut fermentation should approximately match ours!

Note that temperature will influence how fast or slow sauerkraut ferments. This timeline is applicable between 70-80° F. If you keep your home colder, the process is slower. If your home is warmer, it will be faster.

My Apple Sauerkraut Recipe Fermentation Timeline

24 – 48 hours: All contents in the jar should be submerged beneath the brine. At this time, there are still Gram-negative bacteria and possible pathogens present.

48 hours – 5 days: After 48 hours, you should start to see lots of bubbles being produced. This is when the ferment enters stage two of vegetable fermentation. Leuconostoc bacteria begin to thrive, and Gram-negative organisms die off.

5 – 10 days: The bubbles in the brine will decrease as the ferment leaves stage two and enters stage three. The ferment will become cloudy, the color will change, and a pleasant sour smell will develop. You should also recognize light apple and celery smells. Lactobacillus species begin to thrive at this time.

10 – 21 days: Next, Lactobacillus make up most or all of the microbial population. They produce copious amounts of lactic acid, making the fermented cabbage smell even more pleasantly sour. This is when the vegetable mixture becomes sauerkraut and is preserved.

21 – 28 days: This is when you want to smell and taste test. Wait for the kraut to smell and taste as you like, and refrigerate when you find the smell and taste most pleasant! We like ours best when we refrigerate at about 25 days.

Apple Sauerkraut Care Instructions

During the first few days of fermentation: carbon dioxide and bubbles will be produced. Sometimes mason jars will become very full of liquid, and this liquid can seep out. You will need to burp the jar.

  • When burping the jar, remove the lid and tamper everything back down using a clean tamper or spoon. Make sure everything, including the weight, is still submerged below the brine. You can also rinse off the lid daily to keep things clean.

Always Trust your sense of smell: In the beginning fermenting cabbage smells funky. When fermentation is finished, fermented cabbage should smell pleasantly sour and like strong cabbage.  Never eat anything that smells repulsive or yeasty. 

Never eat anything that has mold growing on it: By following directions, you should not encounter this problem. 

After 3-4 weeks, remove the fermentation weight, smell, and taste test. Your fermented cabbage should smell pleasantly sour. It should taste tart, salty, and cabbage. Store it in the fridge.

apple sauerkraut in a quart sized glass mason jar with a white plastic lid

More Sauerkraut Recipes to Try

apple sauerkraut in a quart sized glass mason jar
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Apple Sauerkraut with Celery and Black Pepper

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Enjoy the unique flavors of this apple sauerkraut recipe made with celery and black pepper. This apple sauerkraut is long fermented for 21 days, giving it the best flavor and making it perfect for gut health.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • fermentation time: 21 days
  • Total Time: 504 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Category: fermented vegetables
  • Method: fermentation

Ingredients

  • 350 grams cabbage
  • 18 grams unrefined sea salt
  • 200 grams filtered water
  • 200 grams apple, grated
  • 100 grams celery, grated
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash your fermentation equipment (jar, weight, and lid)
  2. Remove the outer leaves of your cabbage and lightly rinse with cool water. Using a knife, chop the cabbage to your desired thickness.
  3. Wash the apple and celery and grate them.
  4. Place your kitchen scale on the counter. Turn it on and set it to weigh in grams.
  5. Place a mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and tare/zero the scale.
  6. Add the designated amounts of chopped cabbage, celery, and apple.
  7. Remove the bowl from the scale and set it aside.
  8. Place a small, empty bowl on your scale and tare/zero the scale. Weigh out the salt.
  9. Add the salt into the bowl with the cabbage, and mix with your hands until the cabbage becomes wet. Add black pepper to taste.
  10. Place your empty, clean jar on the scale, and tare/zero the scale. Make sure your scale is still set to grams, and add the filtered water to your jar.
  11. Add the water into the bowl with the cabbage and salt. Mix everything well.
  12. Starting with the liquid, add the entire contents of the bowl into your jar, and pack everything down.
  13. Place your glass fermentation weight in the jar, submerging the cabbage pieces and weight fully into the liquid. If your weight is smaller than the diameter of your jar, you can tuck everything in with a large cabbage leaf and place the weight on top. If you don’t have enough liquid, place your glass fermentation weight in the jar and submerge as much as possible. Over the next 12 hours, the cabbage should release more liquid, and you can press down your fermentation weight below the brine.
  14. Secure the solid lid to the jar.
  15. Ferment for 21-28 days, then remove the weight and refrigerate. Don’t forget to burp the jar daily during the bubbly phase.
  16. If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a five-star review below!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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7 comments

Brett February 9, 2024 - 10:22 am

I’m going to try this one next. I have kimchi and hot sauce finishing up now.

What kind of cabbage is pictured here?






Reply
Anonymous February 13, 2024 - 9:28 am

I appreciate the detailed description of the stages of fermentation. Having no previous exposure to fermented food, not knowing what it’s supposed to smell like or taste like, and having food-trauma in my past, knowing more about the scientific process is helping me get over the fear of making an unhealthy product.






Reply
Da Gauthiers February 13, 2024 - 9:29 am

I appreciate the detailed description of the stages of fermentation. Having no previous exposure to fermented food, not knowing what it’s supposed to smell like or taste like, and having food-trauma in my past, knowing more about the scientific process is helping me get over the fear of making an unhealthy product.






Reply
Dawn February 25, 2024 - 4:39 pm

This is basically my first try at making sauerkraut. I have never even liked sauerkraut but keep trying it and am slowly starting to like it. I think I really like this though! I keep going back and trying more bites. I think next time I will add a touch more black pepper than what I did. Definitely going to try more of your recipes!






Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley February 26, 2024 - 8:10 am

yay! I’m so glad you like this recipe! Thank you for leaving a review.

Reply
Kelly February 28, 2024 - 8:43 am

When do you add the pepper and how much?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley February 28, 2024 - 8:56 am

you add it in when you add the salt, and the amount is to your taste preference

Reply