Sauerkraut means 'sour cabbage' and it is made using a very simple procedure involving wild fermentation. In effect it requires no live starter to begin the process. Salt is added to the finely shredded cabbage and this draws out water from the vegetable. Naturally occurring bacteria present in the cabbage react with the resulting brine and this causes the cabbage to ferment and take on its sour flavour. Although it can be purchased in jars and cans, fresh sauerkraut has a superior flavour.
'Sauerkraut has a clean but pleasantly sour/tart flavour that is good for cutting through the fattiness of some meats. It can make a refreshing side dish to sausages, ham and bacon and can be eaten cold in salads and sandwiches.' 1001 Foods you must try before you die.