Making Sauerkraut

Sandor Ellix Katz, the creator of this site, has earned the nickname “Sandorkraut” for his love of sauerkraut. This is Sandorkaut’s easy sauerkraut recipe from his book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Chelsea Green, 2003).

Timeframe: 1-4 weeks (or more)

Special Equipment:

  • Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greater
  • Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
  • One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock)
  • Cloth cover (like a pillowcase or towel)

Ingredients (for 1 gallon):

  • 5 pounds cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt


  1. Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love to mix green and red cabbage to end up with bright pink kraut. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it.
  2. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage. I never measure the salt; I just shake some on after I chop up each cabbage. I use more salt in summer, less in winter.
  3. Add other vegetables. Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables I’ve added include onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, small whole heads of cabbage, turnips, beets, and burdock roots. You can also add fruits (apples, whole or sliced, are classic), and herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries are classic, but anything you like will work). Experiment.
  4. Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
  5. Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.
  6. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
  7. Leave the crock to ferment. I generally store the crock in an unobtrusive corner of the kitchen where I won’t forget about it, but where it won’t be in anybody’s way. You could also store it in a cool basement if you want a slower fermentation that will preserve for longer.
  8. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold appears on the surface. Many books refer to this mold as “scum,” but I prefer to think of it as a bloom. Skim what you can off of the surface; it will break up and you will probably not be able to remove all of it. Don’t worry about this. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine. Rinse off the plate and the weight. Taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. In the cool temperatures of a cellar in winter, kraut can keep improving for months and months. In the summer or in a heated room, its life cycle is more rapid. Eventually it becomes soft and the flavor turns less pleasant.
  9. Enjoy. I generally scoop out a bowl- or jarful at a time and keep it in the fridge. I start when the kraut is young and enjoy its evolving flavor over the course of a few weeks. Try the sauerkraut juice that will be left in the bowl after the kraut is eaten. Sauerkraut juice is a rare delicacy and unparalleled digestive tonic. Each time you scoop some kraut out of the crock, you have to repack it carefully. Make sure the kraut is packed tight in the crock, the surface is level, and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below brine just add salted water as necessary. Some people preserve kraut by canning and heat-processing it. This can be done; but so much of the power of sauerkraut is its aliveness that I wonder: Why kill it?
  10. Develop a rhythm. I try to start a new batch before the previous batch runs out. I remove the remaining kraut from the crock, repack it with fresh salted cabbage, then pour the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut. This gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.

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123 thoughts on “Making Sauerkraut

    • Buy some potassium chloride and magnesium chloride and mix them 4 to 1 – as you appear to be on a low sodium diet.

      The taste is not the same as sodium chloride “appears” to taste sweeter, so expect a slightly metallic flavour by comparison.

      As most western diets are often deficient in these two minerals it is unlikely to overdose – but if you find that you are a bit “loose”, halve the magnesium in your next batch.

    • You can skip salt completely. I usually shred cabbage fine and pound it very well . Normally it takes 3 days max for initial fermentation and I transfer fermented cabbage into a glass jar and store it in fridge.

  1. It’s pretty clear that salt helps make good preserves and pickles, but medical research has shown that populations that eat a lot of salt preserved pickled foods have a high rate of stomach cancer. Have you explored this issue??

    • Eat fresh vegetables as well as preserved vegetables! My reading of the studies correlating high cancer rates with high rates of certain cancers is that if people eat fresh vegetables as well, their rates normalize. Moderation and diversity.

    • Pickled food and salted food (sauerkraut) are two different things. Pickled means vinegar. Two much vinegar is probably not too good for your stomach. Sauerkraut that contains good bacteria that populate your gut is actually helping your digestive system.
      Besides I never believe these “medical” researches. Statistics can be twisted very easily.

  2. Thank you for the extra information after the packing, salting and weighting of how many days to check the kraut. With my first effort I left it for weeks and tolerated the vinigar flies, the smell and the slime later on to pour onto my compost heap my untried kraut because no one had ever said what to do with it after sumbmerging it in the first place.

  3. Stomach cancer? I wonder if anyone has thought to check the finish of the crocks or the plates for lead before they use them ?
    As some plates have been found to have lead in the glaze. Just a thought. Maybe that could be the real source for their idividual cases of cancer.
    By the way , my mother fermented cut sweet corn in crocks , and also fermented green beans. The best! It made me the strong 49 year old man I am today !

  4. I’m trying your sauerkraut fermentation for the first time.I’m using a 80oz glass jar with a metal lid,as it has been sitting{16 hours} I have juices coming out on it’s own.Is this common and if not can i correct this and still save what i started.

    • Its been a while since you posted this and I am fairly novice, however each of my batches have initially overflowed their jars. Unless you are using a deep crock or not filling your container to the top this is to be expected. Its best to put them on a plate or in a bowl if you are not using a deep crock. The salt draws water out of the vegetables for the first couple of days. After that, when early fermentation is very active carbon dioxide released via fermentation can push up the vegetables and cause further overflowing. This can be prevented by weighting things down well. – Cheers

  5. Thank you so much for your recipe and your work. I have my first batch of sauerkraut fermenting away. As I didn’t have a crock, I’ve just put it in a preserving jar and packed it down using a whole leaf to keep it submerged as I read you can do. Nevertheless, some pieces are floating up to surface. Is this ok? After two weeks there is some pinky-brown looking powder substance settling on the top of the cabbage. What is this? It tastes fine!

  6. Hello….
    I am on the Budwig/cancer diet.. so need to start making my own sauerkraut…I want to use hymalayan salt… will this be ok to use please….. and how long would I leave it to ferment..! thank you….Sandra

    • You can use any salt you like. Length of fermentation varies with temperature and what you like, anywhere from 24 hours to 6 months. Try at frequent intervals.

    • at room temp depends on what room temp is; in a cool cellar indefinitely; in summer heat it will start to get mushy after a few weeks. In the fridge (your fermentation-slowing device), it can last indefinitely in a mostly full jar and covered by brine. lots of air space in the jar will support surface mold growth.

  7. I made my first batch of Sauerkraut with kefir whey. I prefer the vinegary tasting Sauerkraut though. Can I add vinegar to the finished product to give it that taste? Or does that mess it somehow?

  8. Can anyone explain the thing about using culture starters? I’ve read it’s to control what strains are in the cultured food/kefir, but I wonder if “wild fermentation” happens anyway, in spite of (or in addition to) the starter culture? Thanks!

    • With raw vegetables, I never use starter cultures, because lactic acid bacteria are already present on the vegetables. And yes, wild fermentation does occur alongside the introduced starter if you use one.

  9. Just completed my first batch with much success! Thank you for all the help. I would have had no idea what to do if not for informative sites like yours.
    I used the crock from my crock pot. (found a plate I had that fit perfectly, just snug enough to be able to remove it without getting stuck.) I used sea salt. Kept temperature between 63 and 78 degrees and had a small “bloom” only once during the 2 week 3 day period. I used a jar full of water to weigh the plate down just enough to bring the liquid to the plate’s rim. I stirred it and repacked every 3 days. (covered w/towel and tied with string to keep protected.)
    Noticeable improvement to digestive problems after a couple days (eating about 1/4 cup daily.) I used purple cabbage and some fresh young oak and grape leaves. A bit salty taste but crunchy and delicious. Next attempt will be with other vegetables.

  10. Many of the recipes on the web say to store the crock “in a cool place” while it is fermenting. The problem is, I live in a rural village in Thailand and the only cool place is in our refrigerator. Even when we run the A/C the temperature rarely gets below 28C (82F)and it’s usually a lot warmer. Would the kraut even ferment satisfactorily if kept at these temperatures?

    • Yes you can ferment at those temps but the process goes quicker and will not store long. Think small, short batches.

  11. Sister bought your book years ago and tried to get me interested. Didn’t have the time then but now I am a fanatic and spreading the message everywhere I can. Just finished my first batch done with no help from sister and want to start another because I left out something I wanted to put in this batch, which is much more exotic than our first, straight out of the book recipe. This time I added carrots, onion, home backyard growed garlic, a dash of coriander seeds and cumin seeds. I was wondering about a few things. Any kind of Oak leaves? We have an odd variety growing here in Arizona. Are there any no-no’s that you are aware of? Like no coriander, no red bell pepper but orange is OK, no little hot peppers that you grew yourself organically in your backyard?

    • I’ve tried a few different oaks with good results but certainly not all, though I have not seen any cautions regarding this in the literature. Feel free to experiment with seasoning.

  12. I am making my first batch of kraut, after the first week of complete submersion in the water it tastes like salty cabbage not like kraut. Am I doing something wrong? I used organically grown cabbage, it is in a plastic bowl with a plate and a weight. I used about 2 and 1/2 lbs of cabbage and around 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

      • Patience is not one of my virtues, but after the second week it is a great batch of kraut. Already moved it to the fridge to slow it down a bit as it is perfectly crunchy and tart. Thanks for all the info on your site.

  13. I just started my kraut yesterday, and it smells good! It has a lot of “powdery” looking sediment inside. Is that normal? Just wondering!

  14. I’m assuming that since it is an anaerobic reaction, I can use an airlock system instead of a cheesecloth, is this correct? I’ve got a couple of plastic wine carboys I was planning to use with built in airlock lids.

  15. Hi, my husband and I just spent two years volunteering on organic farms throughout New Zealand, where your book is the bible! We’re back in the states now, and just made our first batch of sauerkraut, but it’s been a week and there’s no bubbling happening. What can we do/did we do something wrong?
    Thanks for your time and any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    With gratitude,
    true sauerkraut lovers!

    • Bubbling can be very subtle. Don’t worry if you don’t see it. Taste your kraut and I’ll bet it’s delicious.

  16. I started my first batch 2 weeks ago but have been gone on vacation for the last week so added 2 cups salt water before leaving.The water still evaporated below the cabbage line and there are lg splotches of blue-green mold on the wood plate though nothing on the kraut and it smells fine. I am leary to taste it though due to it being unsubmerged for I don’t know how long. Any chance it is still ok? Thanks.

    • Remove the mold and the dry layer of cabbage and discard. The kraut that remained under brine will be fine. Enjoy!

  17. Thanks for the wonderful source of info. I wanted to let you know that I am raising a batch of chickens for meat, and I read somewhere that fermenting their feed was the way to go…I have been doing that for 4 weeks now and they seem very healthy- and they love it! Great interview recently on NPR, btw.

  18. Thanks for the instruction! I made my first batch about two weeks ago. It is still sitting on my counter, and I think would taste really good if it were not so salty. Guess I used too much salt and/or not enough cabbage. Is there anything I can do at this point?

  19. I’ve just started making this, and found it very digestively beneficial! I made a rather large batch, and am trying to figure out what to do with it going away for a week. It’s all in Mason jars under dark towels on the counter. Put in fridge with loosened lids to keep from exploding?

  20. It’s been fermenting on counter 7/4-7/12, so it will be fine for a week in the fridge, sealed mason jars, 2-3 inches of head room in each, just confirming.

  21. I have a basement and a large 5 gal crock, so I organized a kraut-making party with my friends. Guests came for a potluck dinner and brought a cabbage, too, for the kraut. We used the recipe on the post above and added radish, carrot and cumin seed. It was probably the first time making kraut for most of the people at the event.

  22. Here’s something I did to keep the cabbage below the water line. As I made my sauerkraut in a large 1qt. jar, nothing would really fit in the mouth of the jar. Therefore, I used the full leaf of a cabbage on top of the kraut by pushing it directly on top of the contents then tucking the edges of the cabbage leaf down between the contents and the side of the jar. The texture of the cabbage leaf made it adhere to the sides of the jar and kept everything from floating above the surface of the water.

  23. Hi, I’m making my 2nd ever sauerkraut, the first one was very yummy but then became infested with little midgely bugs. The kraut was at ta winery, to get the feral yeasts floating round there.
    I’ve been checking it every day and today it’s all gone black. Smells very funky and I think I’ll have to throw it away.
    I keep it in a big old green crock, it was 2 x organic cabbages as I’ve heard that the regular supermarket ones can inhibit the yeasts due to GM cell structure.
    Can you tell me what you think caused the cabbage to go black? Organic cabbages are not cheap in New Zealand!! Thanks heaps..

    • Discoloration generally stems from oxidation. Keep kraut submerged to prevent that. Scrape away discolored kraut and you will probably find good looking, good smelling, delicious kraut beneath it.

    • The fermentation of cabbage is carried out by bacteria not yeasts, and these bacteria produce acids not ethanol and carbon dioxide. So, I think attempting to “contaminate” your kraut with yeast is not a good idea (with all due respect to yeast that do wonders for wine and bread)

  24. My grandmother used to make sauerkraut and I learned to make for a resturant that I worked at in the 80’s. We fermented in a meat lug and weighted it down with clean bricks. I think we used a tiny bit more salt than you call for and it took usually a week to ferment to the point that we liked it. Most of our customers raved. Some had never had fresh kraut before and didn’t believe us that it was sauerkraut, because it was nothing like that mushy stuff in a can.

  25. We made our first batch of kraut in, as per your instructions, an crock with a plate and a rock. We now have way more kraut than we can eat at once. Is it a good idea to cold can this stuff? We put it in sterile jars and then boil them for 50 minutes to seal. Do you have a better idea. there are just two of us and we would like to preserve our organic kraut for the winter!

    • Best to not can it, as heat destroys live cultures. Store in cool cellar or fridge, or make smaller batches as needed. But canning does work.

  26. Wowee Zowee! First bite of first batch of sauerkraut and I’m gobsmacked (in a good way). After 2 weeks of sitting in dark pantry (about 80 Degrees… live in Florida), I chilled it in the refrigerator overnight, then had a bite. What a thrill. FYI: purple cabbage makes a gorgeous deep pink sauerkraut that looks great on a plate as well as in the fridge. Thanks so much Sandor. (Both your books / DVD just arrived from amazon and I’m deep into reading them…. what an interesting world!)

  27. I. Am. THRILLED. I cannot thank you enough for the “recipe” and the beautiful, hand-holding instructions. I live in the Times Square section of Manhattan, in New York City, and simply put, not a heck of a lot of my cohorts “put up” much of anything beside a big fuss, nevertheless kraut or other briny delights. They know I’m the Renaissance Man of Midtown with all my baking and cooking compulsions but this undertaking really turned heads. I wanted my first attempt to be sort of “clean” so I kept my fancy pants in check as best I could and added only black peppercorns to the mix. One part red cabbage to 2 parts white, and it’s now a beautiful pink. It’s fragrant and tangy — AFTER JUST FIVE DAYS — and I’m already headed out for supplies to make a bigger and more daring batch because my Facebook followers viewing my progress posts have already lined up their mason jars for take-away of attempt number two. THANKS A MILLION.

  28. Greetings,
    Until I saw them in a catalog as “sauerkraut crocks,” I thought our stoneware crocks were just for holding wooden spoons! I might be getting a little silly, but I think our old crock is quite happy now that it’s been scrubbed and stuffed with three heads of cabbage. I’m now eyeballing the smaller “spatula” crock, as well as our jumbo in the living room currently holding our old newspapers.
    Thanks so much for the great recipe. I could eat kraut until I keel over, and I’ve only had the stuff from the grocery store.

    Jennie Alice

  29. I made 10 gallons of kraut in a new 20 gallon heavy duty trash can. I made a plastic cover for the kraut and sealed it all with the cover that came with the trash can. It seems to work great. Great tasting, very little bloom. It stays in the cool basement in Northern Michigan. I will enjoy all winter.

  30. Should the kraut be rinsed before eating/canning etc. or just grab it and eat? Mines has been going for two days now and I’m very excited about it! I found four crocks in my grandpas basement 1,2,3 and 4 litres. I used three of them one double batch of regular, and two single batches. One with some onion and the other with some apple… Might taste it this weekend. Thank you so much for the step by step!

  31. Thank you for you great work. I was given a copy of you book from a nurse friend. We have enjoyed trying your fermentation recipes. Your an inspiration and a terrific writer.

    Sincerely, mbg

  32. I just made a batch of sauerkraut using salt with anticaking agent. No iodinr just the “yellow prussiate of soda”. Will this be a problem? Should I throw it out and start over?

  33. Hi! I’m italian. This is the best recipe I found about “sauerkraut”,even if
    the translation isn’t the best!
    Thank you very much!

  34. Hi! I’m italian. This is the best recipe I found about “sauerkraut”,even if
    the translation isn’t the best!
    Thank you very much!

  35. i have vacuum packing machine with plastic vacuum bags and wondering if the fermentation would still work if i placed the kraut in a completely stress bag to ferment? anyone got any ideas?

    • Fermentation would work (it’s anaerobic) but the bag would explode due to the pressure of carbon dioxide produced by the process.

  36. I have a 10 gallon pottery crock that I have had for 25 years. The inside has a spot about the size of a dime) where the finish has deteriorated. Is it O.K. to use this crock for sauerkraut? As a matter of fact, I currectly have a batch curing now. What causes the deterioration? I would guess the salt over time, though I washed it well afer previous use. Does it cause a health risk? Should I get rid of the crock?

  37. Thanks for detailed explanation.
    My grandmother and then my mother – both made it in almost this exact way as you explained it. They put some shredded carrot as well. And also add layers of bay leaf every 1-2 inches of kraut. Recently my mother also started adding whole Allspice – it gives a nice smell. And she adds whole black pepper during hot summer months. She said black pepper helps to keep the kraut from going bad when it’s stored for 2+ weeks without the fridge. All these extra things: Bayleaf, allspice and black pepper are removed from kraut before eating.
    After I made 2 2-gallon batches – I bought myself Presto Salad Shooter ($45 at Wal-mart or Amazon) – this is a must have slicing/shredding machine for anybody who is serious about making sauerkraut.

  38. My recipe, handed down to me by many generations of German farmers here in Minnesota, is rather similar.

    I have a two gallon crock and for that, I gather six (6) heads of fresh cabbage. I quarter each head and remove the core from each quarter. I then finely slice (between 1/4 inch and an 1/8 of an inch) each quarter, one at a time, and add then to the crock.

    After adding each quarter, I sprinkle on Kosher salt. Then I “punch” down that quarter. I return to the cutting board and slice up the next quarter.

    Between each added quarter, salt, and punching, I also take a swig of true German beer. This routine was taught to me by my Mother’s Uncle who not only learned it from his Mother, but by also traveling to Germany.

    Keep slicing, layering, salting, and swigging beer.

    After the first two heads have been added, liquid should start to form. After you get to the half way point, the liquid will almost be to the top of the cabbage. By the time you’re punching down your last few quarters, the liquid should be well over the cabbage.

    I then place a round piece of wood with many holes drilled into it and boiled in water on top of the cabbage. On top of that wood I place a well scrubbed and boiled rock. I then push down on that rock and then cover everything with a clean, white dish towel.

    For the first week, I continue to push down on the rock to further press the cabbage and remove any gasses. The needed bacteria need to be free of oxygen to work their best.

    After that point, I leave it alone for the following two weeks. Some may want to remove the “scum”, but I have found no difference if one does not.

    After this three week fermentation, I take a small sample to taste. If it is not to my liking, I leave it for another week. Rarely do I need more than four or five weeks. I keep my crock in the basement where the temperature never rises above seventy (70) degrees.

    After fermentation is complete, I pull out the Kraut and move it into quart sized Mason jars. This size batch will normally fill five full jars with a meal size left-over. Into each jar, I add the liquid that remains to top off the jar. Sometime, I will need to add a little extra brine, but this does not happen often. I cap those jars and allow them to sit at room temperature.

    As time goes on, the jarred Kraut seems to get better in flavor, but loses a bit of the “crunch”.

    I do try to keep up on production in order to always have my own Sauerkraut available, but since I only have the one crock, and need to cycle through Kimchi and Red kraut, it’s not always possible.

  39. I’ve run into a problem that I can’t fix. I finished according to the recipe, used a canning jar with a glass soy sauce dispenser to push the cabbage down. It’s covered by a cloth against the flies. In the few minutes that I have made it, nothing has happened. Update– just checked it since started this comment. Nothing. I can’t wait. How does one wait?

  40. Is it necessary to make a whole 5 lbs of cabbage at once? Will smaller batches work or do you need that much cabbage to sustain enough bacteria to be krouty?

  41. this is so exciting!! We’ve been paying nearly $7 a jar for sauerkraut and use it up too fast. When I read the ingredients …it was only cabbage, water, salt…I thought ‘ICANMAKETHIS!!’…thanks for the directions!

  42. Hello I made some kraut– and the juice is fizzy can anyone advise me about this– is it a part of the process?? or should I pitch it and start over???
    Please Help…

  43. My kraut has been fermenting for about 3 weeks on kitchen counter @ 70 degrees F. It has started to smell a little “off” and the brine is slimy. It tastes okay. Can I get rid of the slime and will it be okay.

  44. I’ve got my sauerkraut fermenting now. Did that about 3-4 days ago then each day there after I have added dill/garlic pickles in another jar to ferment. Then dill garlic carrots yesterday and now I am working on garlic to ferment. I’ve never done this before but have been reading about it for weeks now to learn what I need to do. Thanx for sharing your knowledge with us!!!!

  45. Whoever is talking about stomach cancer caused from “populations that eat a lot of salt preserved pickled foods have a high rate of stomach cancer” and relating it to kraut is 180 degrees off.

    White cabbage juice is the #1 natural healing method of ulcers. Here is a link to a study and there have been several peer reviewed medical studies.

    Untreated ulcers can become cancerous.

    The beneficial bacteria that form during the fermentation process make digestion much easier as compared to non-fermented white cabbage.

    At health food stores around the world they sell sauerkraut juice to aid stomach ailments.

    If you have a stomach problem drink cabbage juice and eat sauerkraut!

  46. The Budwig cancer protocol calls for fermented foods and sauerkraut juice. The Budwig yahoo group has been going for many years and has many good outcomes.

    The fermented foods that cause cancer may be processed hotdogs, pickles and olives and other processed foods that contain preservatives.

  47. Have just made some kraut using red and white cabbage.. salted and liquid has come up to top all good. random pieces of (I suspect its the white) cabbage inside the jar, well under the brine layer have gone brown? has anyone had this before? the kraut mix is about 4 days old

  48. Thank you for this healthful wonderful resource. I have one question about recipes declaring the use cabbages within 48 hours of harvest. While I can appreciate the need to acquire fresh produce, it seems fairly unlikely finding this freshness at even an organic grocer in the city, sometimes even the once a week farmer’s market. Is there any information relative to why this specific direction would be given as it relates to fermentation, reaction, quality, taste, health, safety, etc. Please advise, and I look forward to great kraut! Thanks.

    • I have used cabbages at all seasons and from stores and that have sat in my own fridge for weeks, and they all ferment fine. Don’t worry. Fresh is wonderful, but certainly not necessary for successful fermentation.

  49. Oh my gosh why isn’t anybody talking about the delicious taste of Sauerkohlblätter (aka sour collard greens)? The process is the same as for cabbage and the flavor is sublime! Go make some and try it; you’ll thank me later!

  50. It’s summer time and I only use air conditioning to keep my house at 79 degrees or even 80. Will the kraut be too hot?

    • In warm weather fermentation will go faster, so your kraut can’t be stored for months and months, but you can make fine kraut in summer temperatures.

  51. Is it OK to add ingredients after fermentation begins? I started with cabbage, garlic, and salt, but now I am wishing I had added carraway seeds.


  52. Hi, I’m from northeastern China/Manchuria, and this looks very similar to a dish my family makes. However, we usually use whole cabbage without shredding them, the serving size is much bigger, like 20-something cabbages at once, and we leave it alone for a much longer time, usually for 1-2 months. I am surprised to come across this on an American site, and want to try this. What should I expect to be different?

  53. What a great posting and site, and very helpful additional information after reading the book. Thank you very much!

  54. I found an unused brown 5ltr canning jar somewhere in the shed (previous owners)and then proceeded to make a batch of sauerkraut with green and red cabbage, the leaves of a large head of cauliflower, carrots, garlic and some salt. I chopped everything up, added a small amount of left-over yogurt whey (I make lebnah or yogurt cheese) and then used an empty thick beer bottle to break up the cabbage, adding salt as I went. After leaving it in the bowl for about 1 hour I placed everything, including the juice, in the jar and packed it down with the same beer bottle, careful not to chip off any glass. As I couldn’t fit anything inside the jar I used a ziplock bag, placed it inside the jar on top of the veggies, making sure it fit snugly, and filled it with water. I then replaced the glass lid without the rubber canning rim attached. The next morning the counter literally swam in red cabbage juice as things had started coming alive. Obviously I had packed the jar too full. I then placed the jar inside a steel bowl so any juice would be contained. The morning after that there was plenty of juice in the bowl but the veggies were still submerged. I actually drank the juice and it had the greatest tangy-sweet flavor. The next day I discovered that it had had a huge impact on my body as I had a normal ‘evacuation’ for the first time in months! We’re now at day 4 and tomorrow I will try some of the kraut to see where it’s at. The kitchen is now filled with the smell of fermenting kraut and it smells great! Clean and tangy. Thanks you for your tips and advice, I will keep on making batches as a way to keep all the nasty viruses and other discomforts this coming winter at bay.

  55. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it
    or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message
    home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog.
    A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  56. If you cover the cabbage with a clean(0fcourse)Linen dishtowel and then put a plate over this, you can clean off any dirt or mold very easy by lifting off the cloth with the mold ,wash towel and replace

  57. I’ve thought using juice from an old batch was not the best way to start a new one as it might disturb the sequence in which fermentation takes place.

    Still, a very nice recipe.

  58. My relative was getting regular blood panels while eating lots of kraut, and his salt never increased in the panels, so for him, eating kraut wasn’t a problem, and it actually cured his acid reflux, after fighting it and being on reflux meds for years. It’s totally gone. The kraut got him off the meds. Next time you get heart burn or acid reflux, take a big spoon of it and see what happens. It should help you feel better fast, and if you keep eating it, it can cure the reflux. Happy Fermenting!

    • Had similar problems for years, but after I learnt to make sauerkraut from Sandor my reflux, heart burns etc have all subsided. I have been eating it for the last two months. Its a great food!!!

    • I’ve had heartburn for years too. Eating store bought sauerkraut straight out of the jar without cooking has for the most part eliminated my heartburn, so I started searching how to make sauerkraut to make my own unpasteurized sauerkraut.

  59. Read miles of info on fermenting but can t find any info regarding the amount to eat in a meal ,can you eat it with each meal ?

  60. Gave this a shot and tried to keep up with the kraut, but after a couple weeks noticed tiny worms around the rim of the crock. Not sure if that’s a bad sign or if I should keep at this. This is my first attempt

    • These are maggots, and evidently you did not protect the sauerkraut from flies. They laid eggs and they hatched into maggots. Next time use a tightly woven cloth tied around the vessel to keep flies out!

  61. Sandor, I bought your book some time ago and enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s currently in storage with all the rest so was glad to find this site and continue my sauerkraut adventure. Number 10 was especially useful because I didn’t have enough cabbage to fill my crock this time, want to make more when I get cabbages and only have the one crock. I know I could use another container but I love your idea of kick starting the new batch with the leftovers.

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