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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Vegetables and Herbs > Sauerkraut Recipe

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Vegetables and Herbs

Sauerkraut Recipe

William Schafer

See making fermented pickles and sauerkraut for safety precautions and details on equipment needed.


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


  1. 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.
  2. Put cabbage in a suitable fermentation container and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Mix thoroughly, using clean hands.
  3. Pack firmly until salt draws juices from cabbage.
  4. 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).
  5. Add plate and weights, cover container with a clean bath towel.
  6. 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:

Adjust lids and process.

Boiling water process times

Hot Pack Raw Pack
Pint: 15 minutes Pints: 25 minutes
Quarts: 20 minutes Quarts: 30 minutes


Taken from: USDA. 2014. Complete Guide to Home Canning Guide 6
Preparing and Canning Fermented Foods and
Pickled Vegetables, pp. 6-8, 6-9.

Related Resources

Reviewed by Suzanne Driessen 2015

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