Saturday, March 2, 2013

Simply Sauerkraut

Fresh, Homemade Sauerkraut
One of my Great Grandmothers was Pennsylvania Dutch ("Dutch" here is a corruption of Deutsch - and indicates German ancestry, not Dutch!). She always taught that a table should be set with "Seven Sweets and Seven Sours." Although I never had the Blessing of meeting my Great Grandmother Clara, I like to think that a Sauerkraut like this might have been on her table. (BTW, due adoption in our family, I have no clue if I'm German or not!)

Sauerkraut is one of those foods that seems intimidating and full of mystery - much like bread - until you try to make it and find out that you did all that worrying for nothing. And, although fancy equipment may be bought for this job, it's
completely unnecessary.

Start with one Quart of Cabbage, packed full.
This Sauerkraut takes just TWO ingredients - Cabbage and Salt. (Other cooks add ingredients like Carrots, Juniper Berries, Caraway, etc - but I like to keep mine simple)

This is the method for a small batch - but once you've made a batch successfully, I imagine that,  like me, you'll want to increase the quantity.

Making your own Sauerkraut at home is not only much cheaper & tastier than the canned or jarred variety, but it also preserves the healthy, natural probiotics in Sauerkraut.

Finely Slice 1 Quart of Cabbage (pack it down to fit as much as you can in your quart container).
I used my Salad Shooter, but a slicing disc on the food processor, or an old fashioned box grater, or even a knife will work!

Add 2 teaspoons Salt

After Massaging Salt & Cabbage together,
and allowing them to stand for a bit, pack
them down in their container, till their liquid
rises above the level of the veggies.
Massage (scrunch it up!) with your hands for a couple of minutes, until volume reduces by about half.

Walk away and leave it there for about 1/2 hour, so that the salt can draw out the juices.

Put it into your container (one that has a securely fitting lid), and pack it down with something firm and heavy (I think I used an old olive jar). Keep packing till the juices rise above the level of the veggies.

Put a weight on top of it, to submerge and hold the veggies below the level of the liquid. (I used a small jar from olive spread - can you tell I like olives? - filled with water & capped). Vegetables must be in an anaerobic environment to ferment properly, which is why you want them below the liquid level.

Put the lid on the container.

Here the Cabbage is, ready to ferment
you can see the little water-filled jar that
I used for a weight inside the container, and you can
see the liquid level above the level of the Cabbage.
Then put it at cool room temperature for a few days (I put mine in the basement). They say it might be done as quickly as three days, but I like to let it go 5 days, till it really tastes like Sauerkraut, and has lost its fresh green color. Expect it to bubble after a couple of days, then the bubbles will slow or stop when it is done.

Store it in the fridge (unless, of course, you eat it all as soon as it's done!)

(I have heard that it is possible for mold to grow on top during fermentation, and that it's safe to just remove the top layer with the mold and discard it. I've never had it happen, and suspect it happens more easily at warmer temperatures.)

This is being shared on Frugal Tip Tuesday and Simple Living Wednesday


  1. My sister had make quite a bit of sauerkraut, with purple cabbage, as well, and shredded carrots, too. I will have to give it a try!

    1. What does purple sauerkraut look like? Sounds like it would be a great color for the Pascha table!

  2. I've done this with heads of cabbage and ziploc bags of water for weight. Extremely easy. Except I beat my cabbage with a rolling pin or pecan tassie masher things. I was adopted into a German home :-) Thanks for joining the Frugal Tuesday Tip this week.

    1. The ziploc bags sound like a great idea - as does the potato masher : )

      Thanks for hosting Frugal Tuesday Tips : )

  3. The older I get the more and more I get into Sauerkraut!

    1. We like it a lot at our house- my little one can't get enough of the stuff : )

  4. LOVE SAUERKRAUT!!! That is the one thing that I missed most after becoming a vegetarian...I assumed that I had to have corned beef to get it! So now, I eat sauerkraut by itself! I am ALWAYS Looking for more vegetarian dishes that the whole family will eat so thank you! I am having a linky party on Friday at if you get a chance to check it out and link up!


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