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Fermented Foods: How To Make Your Own Sauerkraut

If you are just getting started making your own fermented food, you may want to consider one of the most commonly known foods: Sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut

Photo: anitasarkeesian

In its most basic form, sauerkraut only has two ingredients: Cabbage and salt.

If you are just getting started making your own fermented food, you may want to consider one of the most commonly known foods: Sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut, a popular condiment, is fermented cabbage. Cabbage is an ancient vegetable and has had a long history in European and Asian diets.

In its most basic form, sauerkraut only has two ingredients: Cabbage and salt.

Make Your Own Sauerkraut

  1. The finely shredded cabbage is layered with salt in a clean crock or jar. Each layer is pressed tightly and mashed down to release the natural juice creating the brine – enough to cover all of the cabbage completely.
  2. Once the crock is filled, a clean saucer or plate is placed on top of the brine. Then a plastic bag of water is carefully placed over the top, to ensure no air reaches the brine and to weigh down the cabbage, keeping it submerged.
  3. Put the filled crock in a room that is kept between 60 and 65 degrees.
  4. During the fermentation, check twice a week and remove any scum that has formed. Wash and rinse the saucer or plate before replacing it and the bag of water. After 6 weeks it is finished fermenting. During these 6 weeks, the sauerkraut will smell extremely strong – do this step in an out of the way place, trust me.
  5. Some people make sauerkraut directly into canning jars, thus being able to wipe the finished jars. They put on fresh lids and bands, then can in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure, for 20 minutes. This time is appropriate for both pints and quarts.
Amy Jeanroy

Amy Jeanroy lives on a small family farm in Nebraska. She and her family raise organic produce, milk, eggs and meat for sale. When she is not tending to the goats and gardens, Amy works as a freelance writer on gardening and green living topics, with a frugal touch. She is the Herb Gardens Guide for About.com, as well as the author of Canning and Preserving For Dummies, 2nd edition, 2009.

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