YIELD: 4 cups per batch
Sauerkraut is lacto-fermented cabbage: shredded cabbage that has been mixed with salt and fermented by lactic acid producing bacteria. These bacteria ferment the sugars in cabbage and make lactic acid, resulting in a sour, tangy flavour.     
1 green cabbage (organic if possible)
1 tablespoon salt (no iodine, no anti-caking agent)
  • OR 2 teaspoons salt + 1/4 cup fresh whey
  • OR starter culture (store in the freezer, measure carefully according to packaging) 
2-3 tablespoons sauerkraut juice (optional) – from a previous batch
Add one of the following (optional):
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
  • 1 peeled and grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale leaves + 1 peeled and grated carrot
  • 1 peeled and grated apple
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder + 1 tablespoon pepitas
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric + freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup filtered water (if required) – room temperature, no chlorine, no fluoride
1 teaspoon salt (if required) - no iodine, no anti-caking agent
1. Sterilise equipment. You will need a ceramic fermentation crock, a hinged glass jar or a glass jar with an airlock fitted in the plastic lid for fermenting to prevent contamination and spoilage. Wash all equipment in hot soapy water, rinse and dry before use.
2. Prepare ingredients: wash cabbage well, discarding outer leaves. Keep one good quality outer leaf intact for use later. Halve cabbage and discard core. Shred cabbage thick or thin and place into a large, non-metallic bowl. Add washed, peeled and grated remaining ingredients (if using).
3. Add salt and spices: sprinkle salt onto the mixture, adding spices (if using). Add whey or culture or sauerkraut juice (if using).
4. Mix and rest: Massage cabbage mixture gently and rest for 2-3 hours (refrigerate if room is warm) to allow the salt to draw the water from the vegetables.
5. Pack and pound: pack inch by inch into the jar or crock, pounding down with a wooden muddler to release water. Or, squeeze handfuls of salted cabbage over a bowl to collect the excess water and place squeezed cabbage into jar. Add the salt water from the bowl into the jar. Fill jar to 2-3 inches from the rim with the cabbage.
6. Add brine (if required): if the mixture is not submerged in the natural brine created during the packing and pounding step, add extra brine to cover. If ingredients are not submerged, they may mould. Extra brine can be made by dissolving 1 teaspoon salt into 1 cup filtered water.
7. Wedge or weigh (if needed): If the cabbage is rising to the surface of the fermenting vessel/jar, add the reserved cabbage leaf, folded over, or add a ceramic weight to help keep the mixture submerged. Allow 1-2 inches headspace between the brine level and the jar rim – otherwise the brine will overflow onto your counter.
8. Lid and airlock:
a) CROCK: pour water into the crock moat and then place the lid on top. 
b) JAR WITH AIRLOCK: attach airlock to plastic jar lid, half fill airlock with water as required, and screw airlock lid onto the jar.
c) HINGED JAR: secure lid on jar tightly. This method will need “burping” daily to remove excess gas created during fermentation.
9.  Store and wait: Place fermenting vessel in a dark and dry place. Ferment for as little as 3-4 days (mild flavour), 10 days (medium flavour) or 4-6 weeks (traditional, tangy flavour) or until you like the flavour. The green cabbage will slowly change from a bright green colour to a pastel green colour.
10. Check and wipe (if required): check brine daily for the first few days, topping up as required. Extra brine can be made by dissolving 1 teaspoon salt into 1 cup filtered water. If any white scum (harmless kahm yeast) appears on the jar rim/sides, wipe clean. Bubbling will show fermentation is taking place.
11. Refrigerate: Once fermentation period has finished (no more bubbling is evident), or the desired flavour has been achieved, store sauerkraut in glass jars in the refrigerator. If you used a crock or large jar, you might like to divide the large batch of sauerkraut between several glass jars. If you did not fully ferment your sauerkraut, it will continue fermenting at a very slow rate in the refrigerator, so ensure the lids are fitted loosely onto the jars to prevent cracking and check regularly to release any excess gas that forms.
12. Preserving sauerkraut: if you make a large quantity of sauerkraut, you can water bath jars of sauerkraut to store them at room temperature for up to 12 months. However, you will lose all of the beneficial bacteria with this processing step.
Processing times for Sauerkraut in a boiling water canner

Jar Size
Hot Pack
10 minutes
15 minutes
15 minutes
20 minutes
15 minutes
20 minutes
20 minutes
25 minutes
Raw Pack
20 minutes
25 minutes
30 minutes
35 minutes
25 minutes
30 minutes
35 minutes
40 minutes
Sauerkraut (green and purple cabbage), kimchi on the right.
(Click to enlarge)
Free jar tag design for you to
save and print for home use.
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