If you’ve been wanting to start fermenting your own food, this homemade sauerkraut recipe is great to get your feet wet! It is SO yummy, filled with good, healthy probiotics for your belly, and super easy to make. I am no expert and am just learning how to ferment myself, but I thought I’d show you how I’ve been making my sauerkraut.
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What you need:
- good quality salt (I use this)
- wide mouth quart size mason jars
- canning weights (these are optional and I didn’t use them for my first few batches but they are definitely convenient to have!)
What you do:
Remove the limp outer layers of the cabbage (usually taking off the top two is sufficient) – don’t throw them away yet though, you might want to use part of it later. Cut your cabbage into thin strips. Some people use their food processor, I just use a knife (I find that a serrated bread knife works really well)
Put the cut/shredded cabbage in a large bowl (glass, plastic, ceramic – but no metal) and sprinkle with salt. There are “official” amounts online based on weight of the cabbage but to be honest I just do 1.5 tbsp for my medium cabbages and don’t weigh anything.
After you sprinkle the salt on the cabbage massage it a bit with your hands (like you’re kneading dough). You can continue massaging with your hands but I switch to this Pampered Chef meat cooking thingy (*official name, obvi) and use it to mash, crunch, and mix my cabbage.
After 5 minutes or so of that I cover the bowl with a towel and let the cabbage sit for most of the day. I really don’t time it, but probably 8 or so hours? You can do it before bed and let it sit overnight too.
The salt pulls some of the liquid from the cabbage and makes a natural brine.
After I’m done letting it sit, I pack the cabbage into my mason jar. I use a wooden spoon to push it down in there and I’ve always been able to fit the whole cabbage in.
Ideally, as you smush it down it will squish out more brine and there will be enough that there is liquid completely covering the cabbage. Sometimes that is not the case though and if not then you can make a brine (1 quart water + 1.5 Tbsp salt) and pour that in to cover it.
Before you finish you need to use a weight of some sort to keep the cabbage submerged in the liquid. I take the discarded outer cabbage leaves and use a knife to cut a circle out of it the size of the jar opening. I put that down in the top and then set my weight on top.
The first few times I made kraut I used a 4 oz jelly jar as my weight but then bought some actual fermenting weights because they fit better in the jar.
Put your lid on loosely and let it sit!
You will likely see bubbling over the next few days and it may even overflow some as more liquid gets released, so I recommend putting your jar on a plate to catch the mess. The first day or two I open the lid to “burp” the jar but then after that I just leave it alone sitting on my counter.
About 7 days later I open it up, give it a taste, and if it tastes good then we’re done! I store it in the fridge and enjoy some every day.
What do you think? Ready to give it a try? For those of you seasoned sauerkraut makers, what do you do differently with your method?