Homemade sauerkraut is incredibly easy to make. All you really need is fresh cabbage, salt, and patience. There are many ways of making it. My favorite is in an old fashion crock. After letting it naturally ferment, I store it in pint or half mint jars in the refrigerator. I put a small section of cabbage leafs on the top of the sauerkraut inside of each jar to act as an air seal.
Homemade sauerkraut is great to add to a salad or as a condiment on your plate.
The process of making sauerkraut is simple and always the same.
- Chop Cabbage – Chop it up fine, excluding the core. Use any type of cabbage, green, red or napa, it makes no difference.
- Place in a Container – For this steop, I use my kitchen dish pan. Anything works that will hold water and you can cover up. Add Salt – Generally about 2% by weight. Weigh your cabbage on a scale. Then multiply this weight by 0.02. No scale, don’ worry as exact amounts matter much less than you think.
- Pound the Cabbage and Salt Together – Here’s where you get some exercise. Do a lot of pounding with a blunt object to make the cabbage release its juices. I use a potato masher, but you can buy specialized sauerkraut pounders. Continue to pound the cabbage until it it begins to create its own juice. You can let it sit for a few hours or overnight, covered with a towel or saran wrap.
- Press the cabbage and the juice in to a glass container. My favorite is an old fashioned earthen ware crock pot. Just be sure your container is glass and you have a way to accomplish Step 5.
- Weight Down the Cabbage – Place some kind of weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged. I used an inverted plate with a gallon jug of water on top. You don’t need the fancy weights that are sold to do this. A small saucer, jar or even a Ziploc bag filled with water will work. Use anything you have to hold the cabbage under the brine.
- Allow the Sauerkraut to Ferment – You will see that more juice is created. Keep pressing you sauerkraut down even further.
- The total amount of time it takes your cabbage to ferment will depend on the temperature in your house and your own taste preferences. It can take from 3 to 6 weeks to before your sauerkraut is ready to eat and place in jars. Use the natural juice to cover the sauerkraut in each jar. Apply canning lids and bands. No need to seal.
- Keep your Sauerkraut jars refrigerated. This stops the fermentation process.
Your sauerkraut will keep several months as long as it is kept under the brine. Exposing to air is what causes contamination. If you do happen to see some white mold on an older jar, carefully remove the mold along with a thin layer of sauerkraut. The rest of the bottle will be fine.