Making Sauerkraut

In the last food preservation workshop organised by the Food Security Society at Garratt Wellness Center, Karen DW demonstrated how to make Sauerkraut.


This is a simple home fermentation technique. You can use greens like cabbage, chard, etc to make Sauerkraut. The final product of the Sauerkraut is sour due to the acid lactic released by the bacteria during fermentation.


  • greens, like chards, cabbage, etc
  • salt


For the best sauerkraut, use firm heads of fresh cabbage. Shred cabbage and start kraut between 24 and 48 hours after harvest.

Here is an excerpt supply by Karen DW  regarding preparing and canning fermented foods extracted from the Complete guide to Home Canning.

A 1-gallon container is needed for each 5 pounds of fresh vegetables. Therefore, a 5-gallon stone crock is of ideal size for fermenting about 25 pounds of fresh cabbage or cucumbers. Food-grade plastic and glass containers are excellent substitutes for stone crocks. Other 1- to 3-gallon non-food-grade plastic containers may be used if lined inside with a clean food-grade plastic bag. Caution: Be certain that foods contact only food-grade plastics. Do not use garbage bags or trash liners. Fermenting sauerkraut in quart and half gallon Mason jars is an acceptable practice, but may result in more spoilage losses.
Cabbage and cucumbers must be kept 1 to 2 inches under brine while fermenting. After adding prepared vegetables and brine, insert a suitably sized dinner plate or glass pie plate inside the fermentation container. The plate must be slightly smaller than the container opening, yet large enough to cover most of the shredded cabbage or cucumbers. To keep the plate under the brine, weight it down with 2 to 3 sealed quart jars filled with water. Covering the container opening with a clean, heavy bath towel helps to prevent contamination from insects and molds while the vegetables are fermenting. Fine quality fermented vegetables are also obtained when the plate is weighted down with a very large clean, plastic bag filled with 3 quarts of water containing 4 1/2 tablespoons of salt. Be sure to seal the plastic bag. Freezer bags sold for packaging turkeys are suitable for use with 5-gallon containers.
The fermentation container, plate, and jars must be washed in hot sudsy water, and rinsed well with very hot water before use.

Source: Complete guide to Home Canning via Karen DW


Making-Sauerkraut-2Wash the greens and cut into smaller pieces and spin dry. Use a non metallic kitchen tool like the end of a spatula or rolling pin to pack the greens into the jar.
Making-Sauerkraut-1Sprinkle with some salt. For a one liter jar, it takes about one tablespoon of course salt. Repeat this a layer at a time. You have to season each layer with salt to ensure that all the greens are in contact with salt. Make sure the jar is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 to 5 inches above the greens.
Making-Sauerkraut-3To make a brine, use one tablespoon of sea salt for 1 liter of water. Use hot water to dissolve the salt but cool the brine before using it.
Making-Sauerkraut-4Fill the jar with the brine until all the greens are covered with brine.
Making-Sauerkraut-5In order to make sure that the greens stay under the brine, fill a ziplock bag with the brine (just in case it leaks) and use it as a weight to weigh down the greens. You can also use a plate to weigh down the greens.

Leave the greens to ferment for a few weeks in a cool 70 to 75F) place free of draft. If you are worried that bugs or dust will get in, use a clean towel to cover the top. At temperature between 70 and 75F, kraut will be fully fermented in about 3 to 4 weeks; at 60F to 65F, fermentation may take 5 to 6 weeks. At temperatures lower than 60F, kraut may not ferment. Above 75F, kraut may become soft. Do not disturb the jar until normal fermentation is completed. If you use jars as weight, you will have to check the kraut 2 to 3 times each week and remove scum if it forms.

You’ll know the fermentation has started once you see bubbles in the jar, which is the carbon dioxide release during the fermentation process. Once the bubbling cease, the fermentation has complete. 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 1/2 inch headspace.

Raw pack – fill jars firmly with kraut and cover with juices, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Please refer Complete Guide to Home Canning for details on recommended process time for sauerkraut in boiling water canner.

Karen, (and Ian) thank you for all the guidance in the Food Preservation workshops.

Leave a Reply