How to Make Sauerkraut

There is a blog I check in with from time to time written by Rural Rose. She has a farm in British Columbia, and is a font of common sense practical information on her Life Through the Cracks blog. It was there I saw a post on how to make sauerkraut. Who knew it was so easy! Then on various catalogs I’ve been seeing ceramic crocks for fermenting for sell. So last month I ordered the smallest size ,1 gallon, and began the task of making my own Sauerkraut.

I researched various methods to ferment. The key is salt, plenty of it, and keeping your shredded cabbage sealed and weighted underneath the brine which forms as water is drawn out the cabbage. You also want to be careful of your temperatures as it ferments at room temperature. Not to hot or cold. You never want your environment to be over 75 degrees as the cabbage will become soft and not ferment properly. I found this link to best most comprehensive How to ferment sauerkraut. I liked this link because its comprehensive , addressing temps, altitudes for canning, etc.Don’t be alarmed if you see a scum during fermentation. You can carefully remove that.Some people wont get that at all. The cabbage is protected underneath the brine. Make sure your utensils and vessels are clean. Keep your edges clean as you weight your cabbage with a plate that fits inside. Then add a salt water filled plastic bag or water filled jug on top top weigh the plate down and keep the cabbage covered and air tight. A brine filled bag is good in case your water leaks. The total amount of salt varies, but use NON IODIZED Kosher or Sea Salt. Most people give a guideline of 3 tablespoons of salt to 5 lbs of cabbage. In addition the salt keeps the cabbage crunchy.

There are those that will argue the decision to can or not. As sauerkraut is formed through lactic acid fermentation, it is quite healthy with pro-biotic benefits. However processing your sauerkraut will kill the beneficial nature of fresh sauerkraut, and leave you with just a tasty treat . Wild Fermentation has an excellent post on this. The choice is yours . If you keep it fresh and raw , it will keep in the refrigerator for months after the fermentation period which ranges from 1-3 weeks depending on climate. If you process it in a water bath , the shelf life is longer and can kept at room temperature. For this first trial, I went the canning route to give as gifts and just to put up.

Be creative. Use red or green cabbage. I used both. Combine with other shredded vegetables or apples even. I threw in some caraway seeds and juniper seeds while fermenting to flavor.

As Autumn approaches you will have an enjoyable side to compliment your sausages and roasted meats and vegetables. Wash it all down with a cold beer.

Comments Closed

23 thoughts on “How to Make Sauerkraut

  1. Courtney

    One of the links I provided from the Natl Canning Institute gives a How to Ferment Pickles section. That’s going to be my next project. A fermented. Sour pickle.

  2. City Share

    I have been meaning to try making my own sauerkraut, but have been a bit intimidated. Thanks for the encouragement. The red cabbage really comes out beautifully.

  3. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    I’ve really enjoyed your series of posts showing your canning expertise. I knew you were doing sauerkraut but I did not expect it to be so beautiful. Now wish I just had some to eat with those brats I have in the fridge!

  4. saretta

    I have to try this because I know saurkraut is good for my intestines.

    I wanted to let you know that my Substitutes book arrived safe and sound! It survived the Italian postal service, hooray! 😉 I have been reading through it and I can tell already that it’s going to be so useful. Thanks so much! :-)))

  5. Donald

    we eat a lot of sauerkraut ’round here. put it on brats and dogs, and of times just plate it along side some grilled sausages.

    i’m going to have to give your method a shot here. homemade has got the advantage i’m sure.

  6. Pat

    I remember making kraut with my mother and grandmother every year. Actually the hardest part was shredding the cabbage by hand. Nothing electronic available then. We would sit around the table with 7 or 8 heads of cabbage seeing who could shred the fastest! We found the thicker the shred, the longer the fermenting time. Great memories!

  7. Donna

    I have been making saurkraut for 40 years–I gave up the crock method about 20 years ago in favor of a much simpler method—right into the jar. Here is my recipe:
    Shred cabbage and pack in sterile quarts. Boil together: 2 tablespoons pickling salt, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups of water. Fill quarts with boiling brine leaving 1/2″ headspace and top with sterilized tops but don’t overtighten tops. Set in warm place for 3 weeks, it will be fermented and sealed at the end of 3 weeks. Store in cool storage room. Ready to eat in 6 weeks and keeps up to 6 months.

Comments are closed.