How to make Homemade Sauerkraut
I decided Sauerkraut was a good starting point on my fermentation journey. It’s a very easy thing to make and I had grown some red cabbage on the allotment so had exactly what I needed to get started. I only made one small ( mayonnaise) size jar to start as I had not eaten it before and didn’t know if we would like it.
Cabbage - red or white
Sea salt or Kosher salt 20g of salt per kilo of cabbage, of course you can scale this down depending on how much you are making. You want 2% of the salt for the weight of the cabbage.
Sterilize your jars and make sure everything is clean before you start, including your hands.
Remove the outer leaves and core of the cabbage and finely slice. I hand sliced my cabbage as I was only making a small quantity. But for larger quantities a food processor or mandolin would be helpful.
I sliced half of a small red cabbage and that was just about enough to fill my jar one and a half times. ( it’s going to shrink in size)
Place the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle it with salt. Mix the salt in well with clean hands almost as though you're giving your cabbage a massage. And leave it to rest for 15 mins.
Mix the cabbage again and then leave for a further 10 minutes. You will notice the cabbage has reduced in size and liquid (brine) collecting at the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon your cabbage into the jar pushing it down tightly to get any air out. You can use your hands or a pestle or even a coffee making tamper. Do not discard any of the brine from the bottom of the bowl at this point.
As you push the cabbage down tightly into the jar the liquid will rise and it’s really important that the liquid completely covers the cabbage. So if you have any residue in the bowl use this also to top the liquid up.
To keep the cabbage under the liquid, put an egg cup on the top, or a plastic bag with water in it works equally as well to weigh it down.
I then place the jar lid loosely on the top to stop anything getting in, but importantly allowing fermentation gasses out. If you put the lid on tight it will explode!
Label your jar and date it! Then leave at room temperature for two to three weeks. You can taste test your sauerkraut along the way to make it just how you like it. The longer you leave it the more sour it becomes.
Once it’s at a stage of your liking, put the lid on the jar and put it in the fridge and it’s ready to use. The drop in temperature in the fridge stops the fermentation so don’t worry it is safe at this stage to keep the lid on firm. It will keep for a month or more if you don’t eat it first!
You can also read our Introduction to Fermentation Fridays.