How to make sauerkraut

I love walking into my pantry and seeing the beautiful colors lined up screaming “pick me!”. From the green of green beans to the orange of pumpkin. Almost every veggie looks better dressed in glass. We do love our fresh summer picks. I think preserved food looks so good to us because we worked so hard nurturing it as a seedling to packing it into jars. It could be black and we’d still admire it. Okay, maybe not so much.

Does anyone else love sauerkraut immensely?

Why is it so stinking good??

Is it because it’s cabbage and cabbage is yummy? Or because it’s fermented and is so beneficial for our body? Or is it because it’s so simple to make?? All of the above!

So when we were in Virginia over the weekend visiting my parents we went to the state line produce in Cana so I could snag some mountain cabbage. I’ve been wanting to make some sauerkraut for quite some time. I haven’t made any in almost 2 years.

I always thought that pickling cabbage was sauerkraut. True sad story. Although the flavor might be similar the benefits are not. The benefits from fermented foods are incomparable to any other way of preserving. Pickling cabbage is a quick easy way to preserve the cabbage without waiting for it to ferment. Once you put fermented food through a canning process the heat kills the good bacteria that it worked so hard togrow. But if you want to enjoy your kraut year around then you have to make it shelf stable. Although it won’t have the same benefits as kraut that hasn’t been canned it will still taste amazing.

Here’s what I did…

• 2 heads of mountain cabbage

• 3 Tablespoons of sea salt (use 1.5 Tablespoons for every one head of cabbage)

• Clean mason jars

Two heads of mountain cabbage yielded 6 quarts and 1 pint of kraut. Mountain cabbage is bigger than what you tend to find in the grocery store. So if you’re using store-bought cabbage you can still use this recipe. You may not have as many quarts in the end as I did.

Any who..

• I first quartered the cabbage and removed the core – setting the core aside for later. I then chopped them as even as possible about 1/4″ in width cutting long ways (I don’t think it matters which direction you chop them).

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• I don’t have a stone crock so I used my water bath canner because that’s all I had that would hold all of the cabbage. I put the first chopped cabbage into the bottom then sprinkled 1.5 Tablespoons sea salt over it. Then I repeated that step with the second head. So it was cabbage, sea salt, cabbage, sea salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

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• After it rested for 10 minutes it should have started sweating.. I don’t know that that is the right term but anyways. I started working the cabbage with my hands and potato masher. Any utensil that will help you whack the crap out of it should do. Anger helps so plan to make kraut on a bad day. Lol just kidding. But really…

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• I worked it for about 20 minutes until the cabbage was about half the size it was in the bowl and it was kind of translucent.

• Now you’re ready for your jars. I started transferring my now wet cabbage into their new homes… packing them down after every spoonful.

• Once I had the cabbage in the jars I poured what solution that was left in the bowl over the cabbage. I didn’t have enough to cover all of the cabbage so I made a brine to finish off the rest of the jars. I brought 4 cups of water to a boil and dissolved 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Once it was dissolved I poured it over the cabbage. Then used the end of my spoon to get the air bubbles out. We’re getting close.

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• So we want the cabbage to stay under the brine so remember the core we set aside? Put that on top and push it down submerging the cabbage. Don’t worry if the core isn’t you probably will toss it anyways.

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• Tighten your lids to the jar loosely and set them on a plate or in a pan for they may “juice” which is totally normal. You may want to burp the jars by unscrewing them in a day or so. Let them sit for at least 1 week to ferment then enjoy! The longer they ferment the tangier they will be. After you’re satisfied with the ferment time then scoop off any “scum” and toss the cabbage cores and can if you wish.

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Congrats you made kraut!!

Look what we made for our camper 🙂

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I looove it!!

Happy fermenting and happy camping!

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16 thoughts on “How to make sauerkraut

  1. Great idea for using the cabbage core! I just made my first batch of sauerkraut using this method. It tastes correct but the cabbage is really soft and has no crunch. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Oh no! Mine has a great crunch. Fermenting is best in cooler temperatures. So if it’s really warm in your house then it might throw the fermentation off. It’s recommended to ferment under 72 degrees. I hope this helps!

      1. OK thank you, this is useful! It isn’t as enjoyable when there’s no real crunch or texture left! I thought it might be because I added too much brine? It’s been fermented at about 18 degrees C (65 farenheit) so I don’t think it can be that. Perhaps it’s the quality of the cabbage? I got some cheap in the market.

      2. I’m really all out of ideas unless there’s such a thing as beating the crunch out of it lol. Do you think you worked it too long? Like beyond translucency? Maybe next time don’t work it as long. Hopefully that would help the cabbage stay crunchy.

      3. Hahaha! No I don’t think I beat it out although the idea of it makes me chuckle. I got tired quickly and so did the minimal amount of beating out of laziness. Maybe that’s it? Not enough pummelling, followed by too much brine?

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