See making fermented pickles and sauerkraut for safety precautions and details on equipment needed.
- 25 lbs. cabbage
- ¾ cup canning or pickling salt
Quality: For the best sauerkraut, use firm heads of fresh cabbage. Shred cabbage and start kraut between 24 and 48 hours after harvest.
Yield: about 9 quarts
- Work with about 5 pounds of cabbage at a time. Discard outer leaves. Rinse heads under cold running water and drain. Cut heads in quarters and remove cores. Shred or slice to a thickness of a quarter.
- Put cabbage in a suitable fermentation container and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Mix thoroughly, using clean hands.
- Pack firmly until salt draws juices from cabbage.
- Repeat shredding, salting, and packing until all cabbage is in the container. Be sure it is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage. If juice does not cover cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1½ tablespoons of salt per quart of water).
- Add plate and weights, cover container with a clean bath towel.
- Store at 70° to 75° F while fermenting. At temperatures between 70° and 75° F, kraut will be fully fermented in about 3 to 4 weeks; at 60° to 65° F, fermentation may take 5 to 6 weeks. At temperatures lower than 60° F, kraut may not ferment. Above 75° F, kraut may become soft. If you weigh the cabbage down with a brine-filled bag, do not disturb the crock until normal fermentation is completed (when bubbling ceases). If you use jars as weights, you will have to check the kraut 2 to 3 times each week and remove scum if it forms.
Fully fermented kraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months or it may be canned as follows:
- Hot pack: Bring kraut and liquid slowly to a boil in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fill jars rather firmly with kraut and juices, leaving a ½-inch headspace.
- Raw pack: Fill jars firmly with kraut and cover with juices, leaving a ½-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process.
Recommended process for sauerkraut
- Boiling water bath
- Pints: 15 minutes
- Quarts: 20 minutes
- Pints: 25 minutes
- Quarts: 30 minutes