Homemade Sauerkraut
Prep time
Total time
Delicious and nutritious, homemade sauerkraut is easy with a simple fermenting kit.
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 1 gallon
  • 10 lbs fresh green cabbage (home garden, Lummi Island)
  • 4 Tbsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp whey (if not available, double the quantity of salt or use "starter")
  • 1 gallon glass jar or non-reactive ceramic container
  • Airlock kit (or non-reactive weight to cover cabbage and keep it under brine)
  1. Remove cores from the cabbage and shred the rest. In a very large mixing bowl (preferably stainless steel so it is unbreakable), add the salt and whey and mix well. Next, pound the cabbage thoroughly with a meat hammer, potato masher, or other type of pounding tool to release the juices. Keep at this, putting some muscle into it, for at least ten minutes.
  2. Put the cabbage into the gallon container, juice and all. Press down through the cabbage with a wooden spoon handle to push the brine juices to the top and remove air bubbles. The cabbage itself should be about an inch from the top of the container, and should be completely covered with brine. Put the smaller plastic lid over the cabbage, push down a little to help hold the cabbage below the surface of the liquid, and pour brine up to the top of the jar. (If you're using a crock instead of a jar, use something non-reactive to hold down the cabbage below the brine, such as a ceramic plate. You may need to weight it down with a jar of water. No airtight lid is necessary.)
  3. Screw on the lid with the airlock apparatus in place. Use a little of the brine juice to seal the airlock. (See directions that come with the airlock.) Set the apparatus on some kind of tray or plate to catch any liquid which may leak down the side as the fermenting progresses. Set the container aside and keep at room temperature, preferably not more than 70 degrees F.
  4. Wait three days, and then start checking the sauerkraut. Open the jar. If mold has formed on the top of the cabbage, simply remove it. As long as the sauerkraut does not smell bad, the mold won't hurt anything. If there's an obviously bad smell, the batch is spoiled and should be discarded. After any mold has been removed, taste the cabbage to see how it is progressing. If it tastes too salty at first, don't worry. As fermentation proceeds, the salty flavor is reduced. Replace the lids and airlock after tasting to continue fermentation.
  5. Sauerkraut can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to ferment sufficiently. Three to four weeks is about average, but every batch is different.
  6. When the sauerkraut tastes as sour as you want, transfer it to clean glass jars or other non-reactive containers and refrigerate. If your containers have metal lids, put plastic wrap under the lid to keep the sauerkraut from touching the metal.
  7. It's ready to eat! Fermenting will continue in the refrigerator, but a lot more slowly.
If you haven't made sauerkraut before, it’s a good idea to check first with the WSU Whatcom County Extension Office (360-676-6736) for information about food safety and sources of safe and reliable recipes. Kit available online at: http://store.therawdiet.com/pisaandkimch.html
Recipe by Whatcom Locavore at http://whatcomlocavore.com/homemade-sauerkraut