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How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

When lifestyles will provide you with cabbage, you are making sauerkraut — and home made sauerkraut is a global excluding the stuff that comes from the grocer. It is crunchy and delightfully bitter, easiest for topping a spherical of beer-braised brats or layering into a large sandwich. Do not be concerned about wanting a unique crock or making such a lot you’ll be able to be consuming it for months.

Lately I am appearing you how you can make a small batch of sauerkraut in a mason jar — it is simply sufficient kraut to get you hooked!

Do-it-yourself Sauerkraut: Watch the Video

Sauerkraut is steadily one of the most first fermentation initiatives really useful to curious DIY-ers, and with just right reason why: It is past simple to make, it calls for little or no particular apparatus, and the consequences are dependably scrumptious. All you wish to have to do is mix shredded cabbage with some salt and pack it right into a container — a crock in case you have one and wish to make numerous sauerkraut, however a mason jar will just do tremendous for small batches. The cabbage releases liquid, growing its personal brining resolution. Submerged on this liquid for a length of a number of days or even weeks, the cabbage slowly ferments into the crunchy, bitter condiment we all know and love as sauerkraut.

How Is Sauerkraut Fermented?

Sauerkraut is made by means of a procedure known as lacto-fermentation. To position it (somewhat) merely: There’s really helpful micro organism provide at the floor of the cabbage and, actually, all vegatables and fruits. Lactobacillus is a type of micro organism, which is identical micro organism present in yogurt and plenty of different cultured merchandise. When submerged in a brine, the micro organism start to convert sugars within the cabbage into lactic acid; it is a herbal preservative that inhibits the expansion of damaging micro organism.

Why Must Sauerkraut Be Fermented?

Lacto-fermentation has been used for hundreds of years to keep seasonal greens past their usual shelf-life. The fermentation procedure itself could be very dependable and protected, and the fermented sauerkraut will also be stored at cellar temperature (round 55°F) for months, even if the ones folks with out cellars could make do with storing the kraut in our refrigerators. But even so holding the cabbage, this fermentation procedure additionally transforms it into one thing extremely tasty and provides it further well being advantages — fermented sauerkraut incorporates numerous the similar wholesome probiotics as a bowl of yogurt.

What Do I Wish to Make Sauerkraut?

On the most simple, all you wish to have is cabbage, salt, and a few type of container to retailer it whilst it is fermenting. It is vital that the cabbage stay submerged in its liquid all over fermentation. When making sauerkraut in a crock, you typically position a weighted plate over the cabbage to pack it down and stay it submerged. When fermenting in a mason jar, putting a smaller jelly jar stuffed with rocks or marbles within the mouth of the bigger jar serves the similar function.

The cabbage close to the skin has a tendency to flow, so when fermenting in a mason jar, you wish to have to both tamp down the cabbage a couple of instances an afternoon or position a big outer leaf of cabbage over the skin of the shredded cabbage to carry it down. Additionally make sure to stay the jar lined all the time with a blank fabric or piece of cheese fabric. This may permit airflow, however save you mud or bugs from entering the sauerkraut.

How Lengthy Does It Take to Make Sauerkraut?

For a small quart-sized batch like we are making nowadays, the minimal time is ready 3 days, even if the kraut will proceed to ferment and transform tastier for lots of days after that. So simple as it sounds, the most efficient rule of thumb is to stay tasting the kraut and refrigerate (or take it cellar temperature) when it tastes just right to you. The sauerkraut is suitable for eating at each and every degree of the method, so there is not any actual minimal or most fermentation time.

What Can Move Flawed?

No longer a lot! You might even see bubbles, foam, or white scum at the floor of the sauerkraut, however those are all indicators of ordinary, wholesome fermentation. The white scum will also be skimmed off as you notice it or ahead of refrigerating the sauerkraut. Should you get an overly lively fermentation or in case your mason jar could be very complete, the brine can infrequently bubble up excessive of the jar. This is a part of the explanation why I like to recommend the use of a bigger mason jar than is in reality important to carry the cabbage. Should you do get a bubble-up, it is not anything to fret about — simply position a plate underneath the jar to catch the drips and ensure the cabbage remains to be lined by means of the brine.

It’s conceivable it’s possible you’ll to find mould rising at the floor of the sauerkraut, however do not panic! Mildew normally paperwork handiest when the cabbage is not absolutely submerged or if it is too sizzling on your kitchen. The sauerkraut continues to be tremendous (it is nonetheless preserved by means of the lactic acid) — you’ll scoop off the mould and continue with fermentation. This stated, it is nonetheless vital to make use of your perfect judgement when fermenting. If one thing smells or tastes moldy or unappetizing, accept as true with your senses and toss the batch.

Need to Know Extra? Take a look at Those Sources:

I’ve been making fermented drinks and meals for years, and I’ve all the time been amazed by means of how simple they’re and the way scrumptious the consequences will also be. There are a couple of sources I flip to over and over:

  • The Artwork of Fermentation by means of Sandor Katz – It is a nice all-around useful resource on fermentation usually, fermentation problem-solving, and fermentation well being advantages.
  • Cultures for Well being – That is a web based useful resource for fermentation cultures and gear, however I additionally flip to them for numerous data on fermenting. They simply launched a unfastened e book on lacto-fermentation this is to be had for those who join their e-newsletter.

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Here is how you can make a small batch of sauerkraut in a mason jar — it is simply sufficient kraut to get you hooked!

How To Make Do-it-yourself Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

Makes 1 to at least one 1/2 quarts

What You Want


  • 1

    medium head inexperienced cabbage (about three kilos)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    caraway seeds (non-compulsory, for taste)

  • Apparatus
  • Reducing board

  • Chef’s knife

  • Blending bowl

  • 2-quart wide-mouth canning jar (or two-quart mason jars)

  • Canning funnel (non-compulsory)

  • Smaller jelly jar that matches throughout the greater mason jar

  • Blank stones, marbles, or different weights for weighing the jelly jar

  • Fabric for overlaying the jar

  • Rubber band or wire for securing the fabric


  1. Blank the entirety: When fermenting anything else, it is best to present the nice, really helpful micro organism each and every likelihood of succeeding by means of beginning off with as blank an atmosphere as conceivable. Ensure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all cleaning soap residue. You can be the use of your arms to therapeutic massage the salt into the cabbage, so give the ones a just right wash, too.

  2. Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Reduce the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each and every quarter down its duration, making eight wedges. Slice each and every wedge crosswise into very skinny ribbons.

  3. Mix the cabbage and salt: Switch the cabbage to a large blending bowl and sprinkle the salt over most sensible. Start operating the salt into the cabbage by means of massaging and squeezing the cabbage together with your arms. In the beginning it could no longer look like sufficient salt, however regularly the cabbage will transform watery and limp — extra like coleslaw than uncooked cabbage. This may take five to 10 mins. If you would like to taste your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, combine them in now.

  4. Pack the cabbage into the jar: Snatch handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. When you’ve got a canning funnel, this will likely make the process more uncomplicated. Each so steadily, tamp down the cabbage within the jar together with your fist. Pour any liquid launched by means of the cabbage when you have been massaging it into the jar. Non-compulsory: Position one of the most greater outer leaves of the cabbage over the skin of the sliced cabbage. This may lend a hand stay the cabbage submerged in its liquid.

  5. Weigh the cabbage down: As soon as the entire cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with blank stones or marbles. This may lend a hand stay the cabbage weighed down, and in the end, submerged underneath its liquid.

  6. Quilt the jar: Quilt the mouth of the mason jar with a material and protected it with a rubber band or wire. This permits air to glide out and in of the jar, however prevents mud or bugs from entering the jar.

  7. Press the cabbage each and every few hours: Over the following 24 hours, press down at the cabbage each and every so steadily with the jelly jar. Because the cabbage releases its liquid, it’ll transform extra limp and compact and the liquid will upward push excessive of the cabbage.

  8. Upload further liquid, if wanted: If after 24 hours, the liquid has no longer risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and upload sufficient to submerge the cabbage.

  9. Ferment the cabbage for three to 10 days: As it is fermenting, stay the sauerkraut clear of direct daylight and at a groovy room temperature — preferably 65°F to 75°F. Take a look at it day by day and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.

    As a result of it is a small batch of sauerkraut, it’ll ferment extra briefly than greater batches. Get started tasting it after three days — when the sauerkraut tastes just right to you, take away the load, screw at the cap, and refrigerate. You’ll additionally permit the sauerkraut to proceed fermenting for 10 days and even longer. There is no hard-and-fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “completed” — move by means of the way it tastes.

    Whilst it is fermenting, you might even see bubbles coming throughout the cabbage, foam at the most sensible, or white scum. Those are all indicators of a wholesome, satisfied fermentation procedure. The scum will also be skimmed off the highest both all over fermentation or ahead of refrigerating. Should you see any mould, skim it off in an instant and ensure your cabbage is absolutely submerged; do not consume moldy portions as regards to the skin, however the remainder of the sauerkraut is okay.

  10. Retailer sauerkraut for a number of months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it’ll stay for a minimum of two months and steadily longer if stored refrigerated. So long as it nonetheless tastes and scents just right to consume, it’ll be. Should you like, you’ll switch the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer garage.

Recipe Notes

  • Sauerkraut with different cabbages: Purple cabbage, napa cabbage, and different cabbages all make nice sauerkraut. Make particular person batches or combine them up for a multi-colored sauerkraut!
  • Canning sauerkraut: You’ll procedure sauerkraut for longer garage out of doors of refrigeration, however the canning procedure will kill the nice bacterias produced by means of the fermentation procedure. See this educational from the Nationwide Heart for House Meals Preservation for canning directions.
  • Higher or smaller batches: To make greater or smaller batches of sauerkraut, stay the similar ratio of cabbage to salt and alter the dimensions of the container. Smaller batches will ferment extra briefly and bigger batches will take longer.
  • Cold and hot temperatures: Do the entirety you’ll to retailer sauerkraut at a groovy room temperature. At prime temperatures, the sauerkraut can infrequently transform unappetizingly delicate or move dangerous. Low temperatures (above freezing) are tremendous, however fermentation will continue extra slowly.

This submit has been up to date — at the beginning printed September 2015.

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