Fermented cabbage, salty, slightly sour and crunchy. The perfect addition to a grilled sausage or a crunchy additive to soups, with all the wonderful health benefits of fermented foods. Sauerkraut is easy to make and inexpensive. It is important to use the right amount and type of salt when making sauerkraut. Sea salt and canning salt are ideal because they encourage the growth of good bacteria that is resistant to salt and produce lactic acid in the fermentation process. I have not received the same results with Himalayan or iodized salt. You can still use them, but the fermentation processes is significantly impeded. Lactic acid preserves the cabbage, is what helps in digestion and prevents growth of harmful bacteria. If you run into issues and cannot get the cabbage to ferment, it is possible that you added too much salt, the wrong type of salt, or the temperature you are keeping it at is too low or too high to encourage bacterial growth. It typically takes 3-4 weeks to produce a good sauerkraut, in ideal conditions, but may take 5-6 weeks depending on the aforementioned factors.
- 4 Pounds cabbage
- 7 Teaspoons canning or sea salt
- Finely shred the cabbage.
- In a large bowl combine the shredded cabbage and salt. Mixing the two together as the cabbage releases moisture.
- Pack the cabbage in the jars, leaving one inch headspace for expansion as it ferments and releases excess liquid. Place a fermentation weight on top of the cabbage in the jar, cover with plastic wrap, using a canning band or rubber band to hold the plastic in place.
- Place the jars in a warm place to encourage fermentation, ideally 70-75 degrees F. As the cabbage ferments you will notice the cabbage darken in color and the liquid bubble. the amount of liquid will also increase over time. At these temperatures, the sauerkraut will be ready in 3-4 weeks. After that time, refrigerate to stop the fermentation process.
- If this is your first time making sauerkraut, experiment with the fermentation time. After a week of fermentation, taste the sauerkraut. If it is too salty and doesn't seem sour enough, let it ferment longer. If you like the flavor, and don't wish for it to ferment longer, refrigerate to stop the fermentation process. To achieve the health related benefits of fermentation, It will take at least 2-3 weeks for the good bacteria to mature, break down the sugars and produce the lactic acid. The sauerkraut that is exposed to air during fermentation may discolor slightly. It is not harmful to eat it, but can be discarded for visual appeal.