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Homemade Sauerkraut

Late season cabbage makes better sauerkraut. For cabbage to ferment properly, always measure accurately & follow the directions closely.

  • cabbage - about 15 lbs, shredded
  • 9 T. coarse canning salt

Preparation -
Rinse the heads of cabbage under cool running water and blot dry with paper towels. Discard the dark green outer leaves and any leaves that are cracked or damaged. Cut the heads into quarters or wedges - no wider that your slaw cutter or slicer. Using a slaw cutter, shredder, mandolin type cutter or a sharp knife, slice the cabbage to about the thickness of a quarter.

Working with about 5 pounds of cabbage and 3 tablespoons of salt at a time, place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl. Add salt and stir, using a large wooden spoon, to mix well. Place the salted cabbage in a clean 5 gallon stoneware crock (The crock should be washed thoroughly and rinsed several times with boiling water.) Pack the salted cabbage into the crock. A brine will start to form as you press on the cabbage to pack it down. Repeat the salting and packing, with 5 poinds of cabbage at a time, until all the cabbage is in the crock. After all the cabbage has been added, continue to press down on the cabbage until there is enough brine to cover the cabbage completely. The top of the cabbage should be 1 to 2 inches below the brine.

Place a heavy plate on top of the cabbage. The plate should be just slightly smaller than the diameter of the crock, but large enough to completely cover the cabbage and hold it under the brine. Fill a zippered plastic bag with water; seal the bag. Place the bag of water on top of the plate to weigh it down. Cover the entire crock with heavy plastic wrap, then drape a heavy towel over the crock, covering the rim. Place the crock in a cool area where the temperature will not rise above 75º.

Uncover the crock to check the sauerkraut at least every other day. Use a clean wooden spoon to remove any scum or film that forms on top. If a moldy scum forms on the plate, wash and sterilize the plate as needed.

Allow 3 weeks for fermentation if the temperature is 75º. Allow 4 weeks at a temperature of 70º. Allow 5 to 6 weeks at 55° to 60º. Do not store the crock at temperatures below 55° or over 76º or fermentation will not take place and the cabbage will spoil. Fermentation is complete when the bubbling has stopped and bubbles no longer form when the side of the crock is tapped.

To can the sauerkraut....
Place the sauerkraut in a stockpot. Cook over medium high heat long enough to bring it to a boil. Remove from heat. Ladle the hot sauerkraut it into hot, quart size canning jars. Place caps and rims on the jars. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. Cool, check the seals, label and store.

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