Fermenting cabbage doesn't just increase its shelf life, but it improves its nutrition and taste as well.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes active, 3-4 weeks


A large bowl to mix the sauerkraut in
A sharp knife
Possibly a box grater or food processor with a shredder disk
A jar- 1 medium cabbage fits about a pint-sized mason jar
A weight- this can be a smaller jar, a cleaned rock, a bag of water, or a pickle pebble
A mashing device- you can use your fist if you can fit it in the jar.

This here is a good kit:

Optional carrots, apples, or onions
Spices to taste, caraway seeds, peppercorns and juniper berry are nice


  1. Wash, peel, core, etc. all the veggies you will be using, taking care to select several large, clean cabbage leaves to leave intact, set these aside to use later.
  2. Shred all your veggies. I find using a sharp knife to cut the cabbage into small pieces easier than using a shredder because of all the layers which tend to separate while shredding and just generally cause problems. Use what works best for you.
  3. Layer your veggies in the mixing bowl and sprinkle with a bit of salt on top of each layer. Don’t overdo it on the salt, just sprinkle a bit. It is better to not add enough now, as you can always add more later.
  4. Mix it all well with your clean hands, massaging the salt into the veggies in a kneading motion until everything starts to feel wet. The salt draws the liquid out of the cabbage. The fresher the cabbage, the more liquid you will get.
  5. Taste a bit of your veggie mixture. It should taste salty, but not unpleasantly so. If you need more salt, add it now and mix it in with your hands. If it tastes bad, you can rinse some salt off, but it would be better if you didn’t have to. You want to use those naturally occurring juices, when you rinse them off, you’ll have to replace them with water.
  6. If you added more salt, mix it in well with your hands. It should be all dissolved into the liquid that is drawing out of your cabbage.
  7. When it tastes pleasantly salty, begin loading it into the jar. When the jar is filled, use your mashing device to pack the kraut in as tight as you can manage, then continue loading with the rest of your mixture and repeat until the jar is nearly full (most jars have fill lines, about an inch from the top) You will notice that liquid is pooling on the top, that is good.
  8. Now take your reserved cabbage leaves and use them to cover the top of your kraut. You want to push it down into the top of the veggies so the water goes over the top of the cabbage leaves but the cabbage leaves are holding the shredded vegetables beneath.
  9. Next, place your weight on top of the cabbage leaf to hold it down. The water should cover the weight. It’s okay if a bit of the cabbage leaf sticks out of the water as it will be discarded later, but you should make sure that all of your sauerkraut is completely submerged. If there isn't enough liquid to accomplish this, add a little water until you get there.
  10. Next, you will cover your jar. You can use a special lid, or just cover it loosely with a regular lid, to allow air to escape.
  11. Place your jar somewhere that it won't be disturbed or forgotten to rest for a few weeks at room temperature. It should be out of direct sunlight and at a moderate temperature. Below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you won't get the bacteria action you need. Above 75 it will sour quite fast, but still be good until about 85 degrees, when flavor starts to go downhill. In the winter I put them on my kitchen counter, so I can't forget to check them daily, but in the summer I have to put them in the basement and rely on my memory.
  12. Every day for the next three weeks or so, open the lid and use a spoon to push down on the weight to remove the air bubbles that form throughout the kraut due to bacterial action, then replace the lid. After three weeks, smell and taste your kraut. It should smell sour, vinegary and also cabbagy, but it should not smell musty or moldy or foul. It is okay if there is some scum on top of the liquid, just scoop this off and then pull out the cabbage leaf and the weight. If there is any mold on the cabbage leaf, tear off that bit and throw it out. The kraut should taste salty and sour. If it not sour enough, you can leave it on the counter another week or two.
  13. When your kraut is ready, put it in the fridge where it will keep for several months. If you’ve been using a metal lid up till now, you may want to switch it out for a plastic lid, as the corrosive brine will cause the metal to rust.
  14. Every time you use your kraut, you should replace the weight to keep it below the level of the brine for storage.

Watch my offspring and me make sauerkraut

Additional Comments:

This dish is best served on the following occasions:

This dish carries energies for the following magical purposes:
health, strength

Attribution: Traditional

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