Sauerkraut is the perfect way to begin making naturally fermented food at home. It's simple to prepare and the complex lactic acid tang of sauerkraut makes it a versatile addition to a number of dishes. Once you've got a few batches under your belt, it's fun to experiment with new flavors by adding spices, fruits and other vegetables.
At its heart, the process of making sauerkraut is simple. Salt extracts the juices from shredded cabbage, covering the cabbage with a brine. There, in the absence of air below the brine, naturally occurring microorganisms consume sugars from the cabbage and produce the lactic acid that gives sauerkrauts its distinctive sour bite. This lactic acid, along with the salt, then helps to preserves the cabbage from spoilage.