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: 3 days to 3 months (and beyond)

Vessel: 1-quart/1-liter wide-mouth jar, or a larger jar or crock

Ingredients (for 1 quart/1 liter):

2 pounds/1 kilogram of vegetables per quart/liter, any varieties of cabbage alone or in combination, or at least half cabbage and the remainder any combination of radishes, turnips, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, greens, peppers, or other vegetables

Approximately 1 tablespoon salt (start with a little less, add if needed after tasting)

Other seasonings as desired, such as caraway seeds, juniper berries, dill, chili peppers, ginger, turmeric, dried cranberries, or whatever you can conjure in your imagination



Prepare the vegetables. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and reserve. Scrub the root vegetables but do not peel. Chop or grate all vegetables into a bowl. The purpose of this is to expose surface area in order to pull water out of the vegetables, so that they can be submerged under their own juices. The finer the veggies are shredded, the easier it is to get juices out, but fineness or coarseness can vary with excellent results.

Salt and season. Salt the vegetables lightly and add seasonings as you chop. Sauerkraut does not require heavy salting. Taste after the next step and add more salt or seasonings, if desired. It is always easier to add salt than to remove it. (If you must, cover the veggies with dechlorinated water, let this sit for 5 minutes, then pour off the excess water.)

Squeeze the salted vegetables with your hands for a few minutes (or pound with a blunt tool). This bruises the vegetables, breaking down cell walls and enabling them to release their juices. Squeeze until you can pick up a handful and when you squeeze, juice releases (as from a wet sponge).

Pack the salted and squeezed vegetables into your jar. Press the vegetables down with force, using your fingers or a blunt tool, so that air pockets are expelled and juice rises up and over the vegetables. Fill the jar not quite all the way to the top, leaving a little space for expansion. The vegetables have a tendency to float to the top of the brine, so it’s best to keep them pressed down, using one of the cabbage’s outer leaves, folded to fit inside the jar, or a carved chunk of a root vegetable, or a small glass or ceramic insert. Screw the top on the jar; lactic acid bacteria are anaerobic and do not need oxygen (though they can function in the presence of oxygen). However, be aware that fermentation produces carbon dioxide, so pressure will build up in the jar and needs to be released daily, especially the first few days when fermentation will be most vigorous.

Wait. Be sure to loosen the top to relieve pressure each day for the first few days. The rate of fermentation will be faster in a warm environment, slower in a cool one. Some people prefer their krauts lightly fermented for just a few days; others prefer a stronger, more acidic flavor that develops over weeks or months. Taste after just a few days, then a few days later, and at regular intervals to discover what you prefer. Along with the flavor, the texture changes over time, beginning crunchy and gradually softening. Move to the refrigerator if you wish to stop (or rather slow) the fermentation. In a cool environment, kraut can continue fermenting slowly for months. In the summer or in a heated room, its life cycle is more rapid; eventually it can become soft and mushy.

Surface growth. The most common problem that people encounter in fermenting vegetables is surface growth of yeasts and/or molds, facilitated by oxygen. Many books refer to this as “scum,” but I prefer to think of it as a bloom. It’s a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. If you should encounter surface growth, remove as much of it as you can, along with any discolored or soft kraut from the top layer, and discard. The fermented vegetables beneath will generally look, smell, and taste fine. The surface growth can break up as you remove it, making it impossible to remove all of it. Don’t worry.

Enjoy your kraut! I start eating it when the kraut is young and enjoy its evolving flavor over the course of a few weeks (or months in a large batch). Be sure to try the sauerkraut juice that will be left after the kraut is eaten. Sauerkraut juice packs a strong flavor, and is unparalleled as a digestive tonic or hangover cure.

Develop a rhythm. Start a new batch before the previous one runs out. Get a few different flavors or styles going at once for variety. Experiment!

Variations: Add a little fresh vegetable juice or “pot likker” and dispense with the need to squeeze or pound. Incorporate mung bean sprouts . . . hydrated seaweed . . . shredded or quartered brussels sprouts . . . cooked potatoes (mashed, fried, and beyond, but always cooled!) . . . dried or fresh fruit . . . the possibilities are infinite . . .



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128 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.

    • Sandor, I’m a beginner on giving fermenting vegetables a good try. I had kimchi at a friend’s dinner and I was immediately hooked. My question is, can one reuse the brine from the previous batch or should you always start with fresh brine? Greetz, Suzanne

  62. Buttermilk is well known for it’s positive effect on the fermenting process. Is it an option to replace the salt for a dash of buttermilk?

    • I’ve never done it but I’ll bet it would be fine. People sometimes use whey, as well. These do not necessarily do the same things for the kraut as salt does. Salt is especially elpful for maintaining the texture of the vegetables. Have fun experimenting!

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