Sauerkraut [General]

2008 Jul 29
It's dirt-simple to make good kraut.

Chop or grate your cabbage medium to coarse.
Add salt into the bucket as you are grating.
"stomp" it to squish the cabbage and "bring up the pickle". i.e. it brings up a brine so all the cabbage is covered in it's own liquid.
Let it spontaneously ferment for at least a month. There is a bacterium which lives on cabbage which accomplishes this task. The first week or 2 you skim anything off the surface like mold or whatever, should it form. After that the pH will be low enough to not worry about it.

I'll have to check my notes for the exact amount of salt because getting it close is kind of important. So you can't really make low-salt kraut because the bacterium needs a certain concentration to thrive. I seem to recall it's 1/4 cup per good sized head of cabbage. Which if I'm not mistaken works out to a full cup per about 18 litres. And you have to use kosher or pickling salt, no iodized table salt.

You can see the photo tour on my website here :

I've left it ferment as long as 13 months after which it was just about the most amazing kraut I've ever had!

We can do a sauerkraut making party if anyone wants to.

2008 Jul 29
Yup, it was 1/4 cup per large head of cabbage.

2008 Jul 29
Looks like I'll be getting my food grade (and beer fermneting) pail out this fall to do some kraut.

The fall seems to be the best time for cheap cabbage.

THEN .... Ill be making Bigos !! (see Bigos )

2008 Jul 29
Don't use it for beer after using it for kraut

2008 Jul 29
Oh yeah, and you can't do 100% red cabbage. The red is a natural iodine which inhibits the bacterium. ask me how I know :-) You end up with a bucket full of really terrible stinky ROTTING cabbage. A guy at the dojo tells me he successfully did a mixed batch with red and regular cabbage, but i don't recall what ratio.

2008 Jul 29
Zy: Thanks for the tips. I haven't fermented beer in my pails in years and years and have no plans of going back there.

As for a red and green cabbage blend saukraut ... My Polish/European friends would have a fit if I tried to feed them pink bigos.... but then again it would go with my salmon colored shirt. (see ---> <--- )

2008 Jul 29
Oh, I forgot to mention that you put a plate on top and a weight on the plate to hold all the cabbage under the liquid. I use a Phil's Phalse Bottom which I no longer use in brewing - it's like a plate perferated with hundreds of little holes. So no air bubbles under the plate.

In this photo you can see it in action with my dill pickles. You can sort of see through the "plate" and see the layer of grape leaves i have on top of the pickles. Grape leaves have enzymes which help make pickles crispy.

2008 Jul 29
Hmmm, for some reason it did not like that picture.

2008 Jul 29
And while we're at it ... dills are made the same way except you have to make a brine to submerse the pickles in.

- 1/2 cup pickling or kosher salt
- 1/4 cup vinegar (5 percent)
- 8 cups water

Wash the fruit in water just to get rid of visible dirt. Trim a few mm off the flower end of each cuke - the opposite end from the one that was attached to the vine. The reason being that all fruit have enzymes in them to make the fruit decompose. That's the job of the fruit - to carry the seeds (to entice an animal to carry them), then to rot and provide some food for the new seedling. Anyway, most of those enzymes in a cuke are concentrated in that last few mm. So trim it to get rid of most of them.

Do layers of cukes and layers of grape leaves if you have a grape vine like any civilized person should have (and a hop vine or 6, too). I usually do about 4 or 5 layers of grape leaves - maybe 5 or 6 leaves per layer - for a 20 to 25 litre bucket of dills.

Let ferment a month. Skim every day the first week.

Canning dills can be done in a boiling water bath. In fact, you only pasteurise the fully submersed jars at 180 to 190F. The pH should be low enough to keep them for years. I still have some from a batch maybe 6 or 7 years ago, and they are fine.

2008 Aug 6
zy - what is the purpose of the grape leaves? Flavour?

2008 Aug 6
No, they have enzymes which help keep the pickle crisp.

2008 Aug 7
Zym - Looks interesting, but alas not for me... too much work... LOL
I'll stick with the store bought stuff.

But, you have made me think about an item from my childhood... my European Grandmother used to love "red pickled cabbage". I wonder if you can buy the stuff? My sensory memory kicked in on this topic, and I got a hankering for the taste again.

2010 Aug 14
I've got the first 2 of my 3 sauerkraut making videos up now on my site

3rd one will be up tomorrow after our sauerkraut (making) party

2010 Aug 16
Food and think If you're looking for red cabbage go to
the European deli on Merivale Rd, they have it in a jar.
I believe any other deli has it to.

Every year I make Rouladen for the hunt camp and red cabbage
is a side, that goes with it. My fellow hunters look forward to
it every year. They keep asking me "When are you going to make the rouladen?"

2010 Aug 16
FYI our sauerkraut party got postponed til tomorrow, due to rain. But I do have the 3rd video up already at the above link.

2011 Aug 7
It is that time of year again! The cabbages have been out for a while but they are just getting big now so more value for your money. I've been making kraut one cabbage at at time this summer - adding one more a few weeks at a time. So good!

BTW, I just found an error in the Ruhlman ( Charcuterie ) book and wanted to gloat^H^H^H^H^Hpoint it out :-) In talking about sauerkraut they say that any kind of cabbage will work, but this is not true. Red cabbage will not ferment and will only rot, because the red is a natural form of iodine that inhibits fermentation. I tried it myself a number of years ago and man did that bucket of cabbage stink! Then a friend was over last night and he mentioned he tried red cabbage with the same results. Though I did know a guy a few years ago who said he uses 1/3 red cabbage and it works fine (the rest of the 2/3 regular green cabbage).

2011 Aug 7
My first batch of this season is about two weeks out now, I'll probably start another later in August. It's a pleasure to make when the cabbage is very fresh since the water content is higher which gives you your brine very easily.
I've made it with about 1/2 and 1/2 red and green before and it did turn out. The red bleeds its colour out and turns everything pinkish.
I usually work with Sandor Katz's guidelines for salt: 3 tbsp per 5 lbs of cabbage, which should get you around a 5 to 6% salt solution; perhaps a bit salty for some but it definitely gets the job done.

2011 Aug 7
This is exactly how my mom's step-dad (now 92 or some such) makes sauerkraut. I get home-canned jars of it from him a few times a year. I've been wanting to get a proper stoneware crock to make my own, but I really should just clean out a brewing plastic barrel and have at it...

2011 Aug 8
Even my wife's grandfather who showed me how to do it used food grade plastic buckets. Go for it!

2011 Aug 8
I made 9 heads of cabbage - worth last year in a wine making bucket and it turned out great for the most part, but in the end I probably made a bit too much for my consumption. My last bit was eaten in April (about eight months fermenting at that point) and the flavour was great but the last 3-5 L of 'kraut was just too salty...I tried rinsing in a colander but in fact I think it needed to be soaked for a day or two like salt cod.

I used a 4% brine solution. I don't think I'd go lower than that, but I'll probably only make half as much this year and really pay attention to how I prepare the stuff that has been fermenting for a longer period.

Now I'm thinking about a November meal of sauerkraut and beer braised / roasted pork shanks. Too bad it is 28 degrees with what feels like 100% humidity outside right now...not the time of year for that feast!

2011 Aug 8
Oh yeah, looks like I never did post this. Last year I finally did some videos on making kraut

2011 Aug 9
A good way to use up that kraut without heating up the kitchen is to put it in the crockpot with some onion, a sprinkle of caraway seed, and PROPER kielbasa (locally, I'd get the stuff from Bank Street Deli again, omg awesome; in the US, Ekrich farms has a good kielbasa. Avoid Piller's brand at ALL COSTS over here), sliced into 1/2 inch or so chunks. Cook on low until the kraut is lightly browned. YUM. Just had it Sunday night for dinner, actually - let it cook while we explored the War Museum.

2011 Aug 10
Wow great post about how to make kraut zymergist! I too have suffered the heart break of a rotton batch.

As you may know, at Beau's Oktoberfest there will be a Sauerkraut competition.
Enter your best sauerkraut in 2, 1L jars to compete with other professional chefs, celebrities, and eager amature preserve-makers from acccross Ontario. Contest will be judged by local foodies and critics.

If you want to register to participate email Laura Beauchesne with your contact info:

You never know, you just might win a fabulous prize! Last year an amature beat out some of the best chefs in Ontario.

2011 Aug 15
When intestinal turmoil is your trouble - actively fermenting sauerkraut to the rescue!

I know, I know, too much info. But it DOES work against most minor stomach bugs.

Like right now, for example.

2011 Aug 16

2011 Aug 16
According to your video it smells.. where does the bucket reside? (sigh! I wish I had paid the extra 2-3k for the cold cellar when the builder offered it..)

2011 Aug 17
Does not smell in the least with the lid on the bucket. I keep it in the kitchen at the moment while it is fermenting and I am adding cabbage every week. Not the least little smell with a tight fitting lid.

2011 Aug 17
Perfect, thanks. I'll go hunt for some buckets now. I'm thinking that my kids daycare may have some..

2011 Aug 17
I can spare a few of those ice cream buckets if you want 2 or 3

2011 Aug 18
Hey, Beau's Tina - what are the details of the sauerkraut competition? I cannot find anything on the website. It mentions a "sauerkraut cookoff" - but what is there to cook?

Before I enter I'd like to know details on how it is going to be judged. 2 litres seems like a lot of kraut to give up!

2011 Sep 6
Hi Zymurgist!

I believe the website has been updated since, but here's what ya gotta do:

1) Sign up. Email
2) Make some Kraut
3) Show up and turn it in.
4) Win! (Maybe)

Happy Krauting

2011 Sep 20
I've got a batch that's been brewing for close to a month. No moss or anything for the 1st 3 weeks but I've now forgot to check it for a week and had some moss on top of the plate that holds everything down and some weird slimey film on the perimeter. I've removed moss / film and it all seems clean now. Should I add another cabbage to it? Wait for a few more weeks or enjoy it as is?


2011 Sep 21
You can do all 3 mart :-)

Take out a good sized sample and enjoy it now.

Then add more cabbage and wait :-)

Jul 19
I've been doing a lot of sauerkraut in 1.89 l of mason jars recently. Also doing kimchi at the same time for the first time but using my regular sauerkraut techniques for making the kraut for the kimchi

This is 600 grams of Chinese cabbage that I harvested from my garden this morning and sweat it for about 10 hours with about 16 millilitres of kosher salt.

I've been perfecting my measurements and nailed it at 2.5 mL of salt per hundred grams of cabbage. And have been using regular cabbage, Savoy, Napa and Chinese which is similar to Napa.

Jul 19
After 10 hours sweating in the white bucket the cabbage was perfectly soft and easily went into a fresh mason jar. That is the green on the bottom here. Then I dumped in the Napa cabbage from the other mason jar that had been fermenting for about 2 weeks now. Doing it inverted like this immediately inoculates the new cabbage with the bacterium to ensure a very high probability of proper fermentation.

Jul 19
As I was transferring the two-week-old kraut to the top of the new cabbage I held some back to sample. it was amazing and actually this is the first time I've ever fermented napa cabbage and I was surprised by the different flavour.

This is really my first time making kraut in mason jars. I'm enjoying it versus buckets but really wouldn't want to work with anything smaller than the 1.89 l. I do have some 1.5 l as well

Jul 19
I just discovered these pushdown springs from Ball. You still have to cut a piece of food grade plastic to size but once you get that fit it works spectacularly.

Jul 20
The two biggest improvements I have made in my sauerkraut over what was taught to me by my wife's grandfather are:

(1) precise amount of salt. As mentioned above 2.5ml per 100g cabbage is just perfect as it is enough to allow for good fermentation, but not too salty

(2) replace stomping with sweating. I came upon this a number of years ago now but you don't need to put all that effort into stomping. Just mix your shredded cabbage and salt into the bucket and leave it overnight. Or do that first thing in the morning and come back in the evening. The cabbage will be softened up and will be releasing its liquid. Now you can just easily push all the cabbage below its own liquid.

Jul 20
Sorry to intrude on your thread but here is the kimchi I am fermenting right now.

Jul 21
No intrusion at all - the more the merrier!

Jul 21
Some preliminary research suggests that eating live kraut helps your body fight off Corona Virus!

Jul 21

What do you use for shredding your cabbage? I'm really intending to get off my butt this year and get some homemade kraut going, once the cabbage harvest finally happens.

Jul 22
Once you've shredded your cabbage, multiply the weight of the cabbage in grams by 0.02 to get a 2% salt ratio. This is the minimum ratio required to promote good bacteria/inhibit unwanted bacteria. Equation can be used for fermenting any vegetable you'd like. You could also make a brine by including the water you intend to use when weighing the veggies.

Veg (g) x 0.02 = # of grams of salt required


Veg & h2o (g) x 0.02 = # of grams of salt required for a 2% brine

Jul 23
I usually just chop the cabbage by hand especially for the small batches I am doing now, but even for larger batches that's what I've done. But I know guys who use mandolines and food processors.

Regarding salting yes by weight is better and 2% is usually recommended. I had a long discussion on this yesterday with some friends and as a result I'll probably be reducing my salt and going by weight from now on. I did some tests with my Starfrit kitchen scale and it seems capable enough at measuring in the 10g range when I'm making small batches.

The dosing I have above of 2.5ml per 100g is more in the 3% range. But still I don't find it very salty.

Oct 28
So much sadness :-(