Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade Sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut? Seriously?

Eww... gross.

Actually, it's quite delicious and incredibly good for you! Fermented foods are a powerful aid to digestion and a protection against disease. I recommend adding at least a spoonful to each meal - it's like nature's version of Zantac. :)

Now, I will say fermented foods require somewhat of an acquired taste. This sauerkraut, for instance, is quite salty... but tasty.

Ok so let's get started.

1. Clean your cabbage and dry it thoroughly. I used three heads of cabbage. Try mixing green and red cabbage... it gives you a nice color at the end.

2. Chop your cabbage. I prefer to use a food processor for this step. It makes it MUCH faster. As you chop/grate/process your cabbage, place it in a large bowl.

3. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage, creating the brine that allows the cabbage to ferment without rotting. A good guideline for how much salt to use is three tablespoons for five pounds of cabbage (or so). For my three heads of cabbage, I used about two tablespoons (give or take).

Notice it is starting to sweat
4. Once you've chopped and salted all of the cabbage, start packing it into your jar. Pack a little bit at a time and press it in firmly with your fist or a utensil (I used an ice cream scoop), forcing the water out of the cabbage. Keep packing in stages until all of the cabbage is in your jar (you'd be surprised at how much you can fit in your jar).

5. Pack the outer leaves and hearts of the cabbage in very tightly on top until the chopped cabbage is fully submerged under the brine. You might even push a glass on top to keep the cabbage submerged.

My helpers

6. Loosely cover the jar with a cloth and place the jar on a plate or in a tub just in case the brine begins to spill over. Make sure air can circulate through the covering.

7. Over the next 24 hours, you might need to continue to add more pressure to the top of the cabbage, forcing more water out to keep the cabbage covered. If it seems like there isn't enough brine, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and add it to the jar.

8. Now leave the cabbage to ferment. I usually put my jar in the laundry room - out of the way. As it ferments, you might notice mold on the top. Don't worry about this - it's only on the surface. The kraut is protected by the brine.

Half way there! Notice the cabbage starting to change color.

9. Keep the kraut fermenting for at least 7-10 days. At that point, pull out the cabbage remains on top (I typically use gloves) and skim off the top of the kraut.

10. ENJOY! Add the kraut to sandwiches or hot dogs. Incorporate it into salads. Or just enjoy it on the side with your meal. Be sure to store the extra sauerkraut in the fridge.

*A quick note on salt. Be sure to use a good salt - not refined table salt. Go for something natural and unrefined so it includes all the goodness that salt provides. Salt is actually good for you... it is loaded with lots of minerals that our bodies are usually lacking. Check out what Dr. Mercola has to say about salt here or check out my doctor's book (Dr. Brownstein) titled, "Salt Your Way to Health." I use this salt.*

Questions? Comments? Did I leave any parts of the process unclear? Just leave a comment and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability!

Next week, I'll be showing you how to make homemade mayonnaise.


  1. Sauerkraut is what makes us Germans invincible and immortal! A spoonful a day… not NEARLY enough!

  2. Hey! This making sauerkraut in a Mason jar looks kind of familiar to me. I think I've seen it someplace before. :-)

    BTW, if you use a tall Mason jelly jar as a plunger to keep the liquid level higher you can almost always eat the cabbage leaf toppers too. They're really good.

    Congrats on successfully making sauerkraut. Now, on to pickles, right?

  3. I am reminded that I have one pint of kraut in the 'frig. I think it will be part of lunch today!