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Why Your Kraut Should Be Raw

Posted by Meghan Wilson on
A bag of sauerkraut behind deviled eggs

At Cleveland Kitchen, we are passionate about offering raw sauerkraut to as many people as possible. We’ve made this our mission for a few reasons:

First, raw sauerkraut is a global cultural treasure that stretches back thousands of years and incorporates a wide range of Asian and European influences

Every time you savor the taste of raw kraut, you’re nourishing the age-old tradition of learning and appreciating the culinary contributions of international cultures.

Second, raw sauerkraut is a powerhouse of nutrition, flavor, and pairing possibilities that make it a delicious and versatile essential of any foodie’s repertoire. 

When enjoyed in this original, purest, raw form, it avoids the pitfalls of canned, processed krauts and can help elevate your diet to the next level.

To help explain the perennial staying power and delicious health and diet benefits of raw sauerkraut, we proudly present our Guide to The Advantages of Raw Kraut:

Raw vs. Canned Sauerkraut

Before we dive into the many advantages of raw sauerkraut, it is crucial to explain the difference between raw and canned krauts:

While both raw and canned sauerkrauts are mixtures of fermented cabbage, variations in preparation and storage create significant differences in their taste and nutrition profiles:


At Cleveland Kitchen, we make our unpasteurized, lacto-fermented raw sauerkraut with the same attention and care applied by producers in Germany and Eastern Europe -- the locations where kraut is most popular.

After fermenting with its juices inside a container, our raw kraut is carefully packaged and cooled to slow the fermentation process and prepare the final product for consumption.

While this process requires patience and focus, the efforts certainly pay off: the resulting raw sauerkraut offers lively tastes, brilliant colors, and preserves all the potential health benefits of the fermentation process.


Conversely, the preparation and storage of canned sauerkraut come at the expense of flavor, nutrition, and ease of use. 

This is primarily due to one significant difference: heat.

In the preparation of canned kraut, the mixture of fermented vegetables is heated, sterilized, and then stuffed into hot glass jars before canning.

While essential to creating canned kraut, this heating process damages the taste, crunch, and color of raw sauerkraut. 

It also reduces its nutritional value and minimizes its health benefits.

Any kraut that is pasteurized, whether canned or bagged, has these downsides.

Bonus Tip: Next time you enjoy a pouch of Cleveland Kitchen’s raw sauerkraut, look for the small “degassing valve” at the back of the pouch. This one-way valve allows gas produced during fermentation to escape the kraut’s packaging, minimizing the risk of juice leakage and container explosion -- other disadvantages of canned krauts. 

Advantages of Raw Sauerkraut

Now that we’ve broken down the differences between raw and canned kraut, let’s go through some of the primary advantages of raw sauerkraut for your health, taste buds, and diet:

It’s Healthy

When discussing the health value of sauerkraut, it’s best to break the benefits into two categories: probiotics and general nutrients:


Probiotics are live microorganisms like bacteria and yeast that populate our microbiome (gut).

When we consume foods that are high in probiotics, like raw sauerkraut and kimchi, we support our microbiome in developing healthy and robust microbiota.

This development can lead to several fantastic health benefits, including:

  • Strengthened Immune System: probiotics can help restore white blood cell levels, foster healthy antibody responses, and provide greater protection against illness

  • Improved Gut-Brain Relationship: a diet high in probiotics supports the health of our microbiome and can thereby improve the relationship between our gut and cognitive function (the gut-brain axis)

  • Enhanced Digestion: a healthy balance of probiotics in our microbiome can help the body digest food and reduce unwanted symptoms of indigestion
  • General Nutrients

    As if these positive, probiotic impacts of raw sauerkraut weren’t enough, this fermented food also packs a diverse mix of essential nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron 
  • Potassium
  • Manganese

  • As you can imagine, these vital nutrients (and others) can play an immensely positive role in a healthy diet and lifestyle.

    Whether you like your kraut as a snack or as an addition to a meal, you can rest assured your body is reaping the benefits of your delicious choice.

    It Tastes Great

    While the health and nutritional value of raw sauerkraut might be its greatest value, this fermented food’s iconic taste is why it has remained popular for centuries.

    Like many great foods, raw sauerkraut offers a lovely array of layered, complex flavors that result in a dish that is simple and easy to enjoy.

    In basic terms, raw kraut is a mixture of fermented,  cut cabbage with a distinct balance of tangy, salty, sweet, and even spicy flavors that all culminate in an incredibly satisfying “crunch.”

    While this flavor profile is undoubtedly unique, it’s also very open to mixing with a wide variety of different herbs, spices, sauces, and more.

    It is this incredible versatility that inspired us at Cleveland Kitchen to create six different types of raw sauerkraut (as well as a variety of Kimchi) to fit a wide range of taste preferences:

    No matter the flavors you prefer or the meals you enjoy, there’s a raw sauerkraut to send your taste buds buzzing with excitement. 

    Bonus Tip: if you can’t decide which raw kraut to try first, our Variety Pack lets you choose four flavors to sample and enjoy!

    It Pairs with Many Foods

    Last but not least, the final significant advantage of raw sauerkraut is its incredible pair-ability.

    In tandem with our six varieties of raw kraut, there are infinite flavor, snack, and meal combinations that can perfectly harmonize this fermented dish with a multitude of culinary delights.

    As we’ve covered extensively in our 9 Tasty Uses for Sauerkraut and 5 Dishes to Serve Sauerkraut With blog posts and our wide-ranging page of culinary crafted kraut recipes, it’s simple, fun, and affordable to discover and enjoy delicious kraut combinations.

    If you’re looking for a great introductory step in the world of raw sauerkraut meals, a few of our favorite combinations include:

  • Hot Dogs, Sausages and Brats
  • Salads
  • Rice Bowls
  • Barbecued Meats
  • Stuffed Potatoes and Vegetables 
  • Plus, we are also proud to report that all Cleveland Kitchen krauts are vegan, kosher-certified, AND keto-friendly!

    Brats with sauerkraut on them

    Cleveland Kitchen and You

    Now that you’re an expert on the amazing powers of raw sauerkraut, it’s time to explore all the fermented goodness that Cleveland Kitchen has to offer.

    From our krauts to our dressings, we make our foods with the health and nourishment of our customers, environments, and local farming community in mind.

    To learn more about Cleveland Kitchen’s mission to bring fermented foods like sauerkraut to the American diet, keep up with our weekly blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with our world of kraut!

    Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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