Sauerkraut and how to make it

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A large part of my mother’s family was German so that meant that sauerkraut was a common site on the dinner table. I always loved that sour tang that always paired so well with meats and between my mother and I, we could eat our weight in the stuff. So when we finally moved back to the country last year, cabbage was high on the list of veggies to grow just so that I could try my hand at sauerkraut. Last year I made a small batch with 5 heads of cabbage in an old pickle jar. The results were fantastic!! The best kraut ever. It was crunchy and tangy and absolutely fabulous on top of a hot dog.

So, this year I decided to go even bigger. I dedicated 12 heads of cabbage ( about 25 pounds after shredding) to making a bunch of sauerkraut. This is the first time I have done such a large batch, but the principles are the same. My mother gave me this old canning book from the 70’s ( Farm Journal’s Canning and Freezing cookbook) that has a really unique way of weighting done the kraut so that you don’t have to skim the scum every day. And so far, everything is looking really good. So, I am going to give you a Sauerkraut crash course using a method that can be used in a crock or in a large glass jar. Here goes!

The supplies you need are:

cabbage – red or green and enough to make at least 5 pounds of shredded cabbage ( about 4-5 heads)

Crock or large glass jar – make sure there are no cracks and scald the container, inside and out very well.

Pickling salt – the fine granulated stuff

Scale – to weigh cabbage

large bowls

Large, food grade plastic bags – Something big enough to fit your crock or jar. Gallon bags are fine for smaller vessels, I used a trash bag for my crock.

food processor

plastic wrap

terry towel

Step 1: Using the food processor, shred all of your cabbage using a thickness that is no thicker than a dime.

Step 2 : Working in 5 pound batches, cover each five pounds of cabbage with 3 Tablespoons of pickling salt and toss to coat. Pack each 5 pound batch into the crock tightly making sure to press down firmly. The cabbage will begin to release it’s own juice. Make sure that the cabbage stays covered in the juice that is releases. Continue with each 5 pounds of cabbage until all of the cabbage is used or you have nearly reached the top of your crock or vessel. ( if you are using a crock leave about 5 inches of headspace, if you are using a pickle jar, leave about 3 inches.

Step 3: Make additional brine to cover the cabbage if needed. Boil 1 quart of water with 1 1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt until the salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature and add to the cabbage until the brine covers the cabbage completely.

Step 4: Make additional brine to fill your food grade plastic bags ( 1 quart to 1 1/2 T. salt) so that they can act as a weight. You won’t need much for smaller batches, but you may need to make a couple of gallons for larger batches. Place the open bag on top of your cabbage and pour in the brine. Make sure that the bag fits snugly against the sides of the vessel so that it seals off any exposure to air. This will prevent yeast or mold growth. It is also a weight so that the cabbage stays covered with the brine. Twist and tie the bag closed. Since the bag is filled with brine, if it leaks it will not dilute the brine solution of the cabbage.

Step 5: Cover your crock with plastic wrap ( if you are using a large jar, simply put the clean, scalded lid back on top). Then place a clean terry towel over the top.

Step 6: Keep the kraut in a temperature controlled room some where around 75 degrees. At 75 degrees, the kraut will take 3 weeks to ferment. At 70 degrees – 4 weeks, 65 degrees – 5 weeks, 60 degrees – 6 weeks. Temperatures above 75 degrees may result in earlier fermentation, but run the risk of spoiling.  Keep track of the temperature so that you know when to check your kraut.

Step 7: Remove the cover from your kraut. Tap the crack gently to see if any bubbles rise to the top. If not, your kraut is ready! You can keep the kraut in the fridge for a couple of months or you can can it.

Step 8: ( optional) Canning – Pour kraut into a large pot and bring to a boil slowly, stirring constantly. Pack the kraut into hot jars, pressing down as you pack to remove air bubbles. Cover the kraut with juice leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim and put prepared rings and lid on top of each jar tightly. Process in a boiling water bath. Pints – 15 minutes, Quarts – 20 minutes. Remove from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours.

Sauerkraut and How to Make it

Sauerkraut and How to Make it

Making your own sauerkraut isn't hard. Follow these step by step instructions and make your own!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: condiment
Author: jodiemo

Ingredients

  • cabbage - red or green and enough to make at least 5 pounds of shredded cabbage about 4-5 heads
  • Crock or large glass jar - make sure there are no cracks and scald the container inside and out very well.
  • Pickling salt - the fine granulated stuff
  • Scale - to weigh cabbage
  • large bowls
  • Large food grade plastic bags - Something big enough to fit your crock or jar. Gallon bags are fine for smaller vessels, I used a trash bag for my crock.
  • food processor
  • plastic wrap
  • terry towel

Instructions

  • Step 1: Using the food processor, shred all of your cabbage using a thickness that is no thicker than a dime.
  • Step 2 : Working in 5 pound batches, cover each five pounds of cabbage with 3 Tablespoons of pickling salt and toss to coat. Pack each 5 pound batch into the crock tightly making sure to press down firmly. The cabbage will begin to release it's own juice. Make sure that the cabbage stays covered in the juice that is releases. Continue with each 5 pounds of cabbage until all of the cabbage is used or you have nearly reached the top of your crock or vessel. ( if you are using a crock leave about 5 inches of headspace, if you are using a pickle jar, leave about 3 inches.
  • Step 3: Make additional brine to cover the cabbage if needed. Boil 1 quart of water with 1 1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt until the salt is dissolved. Cool to room temperature and add to the cabbage until the brine covers the cabbage completely.
  • Step 4: Make additional brine to fill your food grade plastic bags ( 1 quart to 1 1/2 T. salt) so that they can act as a weight. You won't need much for smaller batches, but you may need to make a couple of gallons for larger batches. Place the open bag on top of your cabbage and pour in the brine. Make sure that the bag fits snugly against the sides of the vessel so that it seals off any exposure to air. This will prevent yeast or mold growth. It is also a weight so that the cabbage stays covered with the brine. Twist and tie the bag closed. Since the bag is filled with brine, if it leaks it will not dilute the brine solution of the cabbage.
  • Step 5: Cover your crock with plastic wrap ( if you are using a large jar, simply put the clean, scalded lid back on top). Then place a clean terry towel over the top.
  • Step 6: Keep the kraut in a temperature controlled room some where around 75 degrees. At 75 degrees, the kraut will take 3 weeks to ferment. At 70 degrees - 4 weeks, 65 degrees - 5 weeks, 60 degrees - 6 weeks. Temperatures above 75 degrees may result in earlier fermentation, but run the risk of spoiling.  Keep track of the temperature so that you know when to check your kraut.
  • Step 7: Remove the cover from your kraut. Tap the crack gently to see if any bubbles rise to the top. If not, your kraut is ready! You can keep the kraut in the fridge for a couple of months or you can can it.
  • Step 8: ( optional) Canning - Pour kraut into a large pot and bring to a boil slowly, stirring constantly. Pack the kraut into hot jars, pressing down as you pack to remove air bubbles. Cover the kraut with juice leaving a 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim and put prepared rings and lid on top of each jar tightly. Process in a boiling water bath. Pints - 15 minutes, Quarts - 20 minutes. Remove from canner and allow to cool for 24 hours.
Tried this recipe?Mention @TwoLuckySpoons or tag #twoluckyspoons!

jodiemo

Jodie is a wife, mom, writer and lover of chickens and gardens. She runs her family's winery by day and cooks and writes by night.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. I have a question. I have some cabbage this week and planned to start a batch of saurkraut (my first), but just found out that I will be leaving next week, and will be gone for eight days. Will it be all right to leave it provided the room temp is 75 or below?

    1. As long as you follow the steps here and keep it submerged in the brine and weighted down and covered well, you should be fine. Good luck!

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