How to make sauerkraut from scratch- Easy Sauerkraut recipe
How to make sauerkraut from scratch
Making sauerkraut from scratch is very easy. We are talking about homemade fermented sauerkraut, of course.
What is sauerkraut?
It is fermented cabbage that originated in Germany. After fermentation, the result is a tangy probiotic food that you can use as a condiment in foods or eat by itself.
All you need to make this amazing probiotic food are cabbage and salt. The salt kills off bad bacteria and creates the ideal environment for the good bugs to thrive. The good bacteria eat the natural sugars in the cabbage and the output is beneficial lactic acid.
It is also packed full of vitamin C, K, and iron.
Do I need to use organic cabbage?
Use what ever you are comfortable putting in your body. Conventional cabbage will ferment just fine. Though, personally, I prefer to use organic.
Why you should use a kitchen scale.
I see recipes that call for one cabbage and a certain amount of salt. Since cabbages come in different sizes, the result will yield either too salty of an outcome or mold due to lack of sufficient salt. I find that using a kitchen scale and using 2% of the weight of the cabbage yields in a sauerkraut that tastes just right. If you must use a measuring spoon, it is 3 Tablespoons salt per 5 lbs cabbage per my hero, Sandor Katz.
You don’t need to buy any special equipment for making sauerkraut. You most likely have everything you need.
- Mason jars. Quart or Half gallon wide mouth jars will fit the bill.
- Something to pound the kraut. You can buy a kraut pounder, or use whatever you have in your kitchen like a potato masher, rolling pin, or a wooden spoon.
- Kitchen scale. They are inexpensive. You should get one.
- Weights. See below write up.
- Knife or Food Processor. When I use a food processor, I use the slicer attachment to shread it into fine pieces.
- Cutting Board.
- Giant bowl.
There are a couple of methods for making sauerkraut.
- Lazy method. Massage salt all over the cabbage and then let it hang out for a few hours until brine releases from the cabbage and then pack into jars
- Release your Anger method. Take a kraut pounder (anything you have like a rolling pin, potato masher will also work) and pound the cabbage along with the salt until the brine releases. Then pack it into jars.
- Combination of 1 & 2. Pound your cabbage for a few minutes and then let it hang out for a few hours. This is usually the method I use.
Weights are needed to keep the cabbage under the brine to create an anerobic environment. Here are some things you can use:
- Heavy vegetables. Use half an onion or carrot on top of your cabbage to weigh it down. Just make sure that the brine covers that too or it may mold
- Cabbage leaf. Many people reserve some leaves to put on top of the sauerkraut. Again, the brine need to be over the leaf
- Smaller jar. Use a smaller jar that will fit inside the bigger jar. A 4 oz jelly Mason jar will fit inside a wide mouth quart and half gallon Mason jar. You can also add clean rocks inside the smaller jar for more pressure.
- Fermentation weights. You can buy glass weights. I’ve been using the smaller jar method but it does take so much room when I could fit in more vegetables so I got some glass weights. I’ve been very happy with them.
- Burping. Burping is simply opening up the jar and releasing gas build up. I never burp. A lady does not burp. 😉 I put the jar in a container to catch any overflow. I like to leave it as undisturbed as possible.
- There are no bubbles. Is it really fermenting? You may not necessarily see bubbles. That doesn’t mean it is not doing it’s thing.
- Missing brine. Brine can dry up sometimes. When this happens, you can add more brine to it. Mix 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt in 1 cup of water and mix. Pour this brine into your jar until all sauerkraut is covered.
- Mold. Yes, mold happens if things aren’t covered. Some sources will say that you can just skim off the mold. Though, I say do what is to your comfort level. I am not comfortable with consuming something that had mold in it and will not recommend others to do so.
- 1 Cabbage
- Salt (Kosher or Sea Salt) – approx. 13 to 18 grams
- Cut up cabbage..
- Put bowl on the scale. Tare to 0. Set to “grams.”
- Put the cabbage into bowl. Take note of the weight of cabbage.
- Multiply the weight by .02. This is 2% of the
- weight of the cabbage. This is the amount of salt you will need in grams.
- Take the bowl off the scale and add salt.
- Now take your pounder of choice and beat the
- heck out of the cabbage for about 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes wilted and
- releasing brine.
- You can either keep beating to expedite the process or put some cling wrap over the top of the bowl and let it sit for a few hours until more brine comes out.
- When you are ready to deal with it, pack the cabbage into the Quart jar tightly. Pour any brine that was released into the jar.
- Put weight of choice on top.
- Put a lid on it.
- Let ferment 3 to 10 weeks in room temperature.
- Check it once in a while to make sure everything is under the brine. Push down
- on the weight if necessary.
- Put jar on a plate. It may get really happy and brine will get all over your counter otherwise. Once you like the taste, move the jar to the fridge.
How long will this last in the fridge? As long as there’s no mold, and you still like the taste!
Are you a visual person? I made a video on my method of making sauerkraut:
What other fermenting recipes would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below.