With billions of probiotics in each bite, sauerkraut is being ranked as one of the highest forms of probiotics you can eat, including out-ranking over the counter probiotic pills.  It’s also one the easiest things to make in your kitchen where literally the chopping of the cabbage is what takes the most time. Click here to read more on the benefits of home brewed sauerkraut.

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First: take a medium to large organic head of cabbage and chop it up as fine as you like it. The finer the chop, the faster it ferments. I prefer to make my kraut by chopping it in the Vitamix, floating the cabbage in water. It takes 4 minutes to IMG_5045chop the whole head of cabbage this way.

Second: add 2 tablespoons mineral salt and stir. You want to have all the salt equally distributed throughout the cabbage pieces. Some people go on to pound their cabbage with a cabbage pounder like this or a meat tenderizer like this, some even use a clean baseball bat. Other people massage and squeeze it with their hands while others just let it sit and allow the salt to break open the cell walls. Either way let it sit or pound it until the cabbage is limp and liquid has come out of the cabbage. Since I’m a big fan of wait I let it sit while I do other chores. This is called salting.

Third: pack the cabbage into mason jars packing it tightly so that there are no air pockets. Be sure the top of the cabbage is covered by the liquid, this protects it from rising up and going moldy. Leave one inch of head space between the top of the cabbage and the lid. Brewing in a mason jar is an anaerobic ferment, meaning IMG_5050without oxygen. This only takes 4-7 days to brew. The warmer the temperature the faster it brews. If you need it to brew faster use one tablespoon salt, one tablespoon whey. I let my kraut brewed for 12 days. Once it is brewed to your taste preference, put it in the refrigerator to slow fermentation.

Take note, if any cabbage rises up over the top of the water brine it is fine. If it is left long enough, white mold will form. Traditionally, instructions have been just scrape it off and eat what is beneath. It sounds disgusting but that mold is not a damaging mold to your body, according to Sandor Katz the Godfather of fermentation and author of Wild Fermentation. He does say in this interview that if the mold does form, scrape off the white top before the layer gets too thick and reaches deep down into the jar, then put it in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process.

Since this is an anaerobic recipe it is important to leave the jar with the lid on, do not open it to see how it’s doing. Go by the look of how limp the cabbage is, the lighter the color, the more brewed. If you just can’t stand waiting then open it and taste it. Be aware when you do this you are letting in oxygen and halting the anaerobic environment so it’ll take longer to brew once you put the lid back on and you risk bacteria growth. People do this, you haven’t ruined it if you open it, it’s just not optimal.


1 medium  to large head of organic cabbage

2 tablespoons salt

Chop, salt, pack in jar, put the lid on, leave on the counter for 4-12 days (preferably under a towel, it likes a dark spot).

The FDA has never found any incidence of someone getting ill or dying from sauerkraut.



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becky head shot2*Nourishing Plot is written by a mom whose son has been delivered from the effects of autism (asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder, manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.




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173 Responses to Making Sauerkraut At Home In 3 Easy Steps

  1. Heather says:

    “Mineral salt”

    Is Celtic sea salt, kosher salt, or table salt appropriate?

    Thank you!

  2. When you say you float the cabbage in water to chop in in the vitamix. Do you then strain off the water before salting?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      yes! the instructions for chopping veggies in a high powered blender are to fill the blender 3/4 full with water, put some cabbage in, turn it on for a few seconds, drain in a colander and boom – chopped veggies in literally 30 seconds

      • Awesome, thanks .. I’m now off to make Sauerkraut πŸ™‚

      • Efil Rof Deliugeb says:

        Would would not water soluble nutrients be depleted by chopping cabbage this way?
        We have vitamix. Would love for be great use for sauerkraut, since chopping and grating so messy in tiny kitchen, but fear it would pulverize too much or, if using water, would deplete nutrition? Cannot find information anywhere (so far).
        Sometime use red cabbage, beets and red onions, so messy to chop and grate by hand! But fear seeing all colour and vitamins bleed away if chop under water then drain. What do you think? Can be use without water maybe?

        • Becky Plotner says:

          The water in the Vitamix allows it to flow freely to chop. I do not see a loss in nutrients compromising the kraut. The finer the chop the more you open the cell walls. It doesn’t work if you like a course chop kraut. It’s not long, literally 2-3 seconds. You can hear the cabbage suck down and flow freely.

      • sylvanstream says:

        Have just tried this (blending) as an alternative to shredding the cabbage which I usually do. I used the same water over and over after straining the cabbage – and put a bit of it in with the sauerkraut. Now have a fairly concentrated cabbage water which i might also ferment – what do you think? Not sure I like the texture of the finished product as much – but I’ll wait to see if it tastes as good as mine usually does.

      • Jack says:

        your directions are really somewhat vague. What kind of water. what do you do with the water from the Vitamix when you finish? What do you top off the cabbage in the jar with to cover the top of it?

        • Becky Plotner says:

          I chop my cabbage in the vitamix with tap water. There is nothing needed to top off the jars. The cabbage puts off liquid from the salt opening up the cell walls. Push the cabbage under this brine so it is not exposed to the air inside the jar.

  3. Pat Weston says:

    Doing this tomorrow. Okay, after 12 days, then what do I do with it? Do I just put it in jars in the fridge? Can it in water? Please explain! Thanks.

  4. shaunna says:

    What about Himalayan salt? Is that considered mineral salt?

    • Becky Plotner says:


    • whisperingsage says:

      Be careful , the pink from Himalayan salt is flouride. A lot of Asia has high fluoride in the soils and it’s pink. This is why tea, even good green tea can have too high of fluoride, consider growing your own. Celtic salt is 13% minerals. I’m taking green tea now to rebuild my mitichondria.

      • emma says:

        The Pink from Himalayan Salt is Copper! Don’t confuse naturally occurring fluoride with man made chemical fluoride, it’s different!

  5. Rachel says:

    I have a 20 year daughter who has both Down syndrome and Autism, along with severe mania and OCD. We have been eating only organic, unprocessed food for the past 12 years and she has not been “delivered” from any of these conditions, and in fact the Autism has gotten worse. Be careful of giving people false hope about the impact of food on neurological conditions. Although eating healthy, fresh, unprocessed food is far better for the brain and the rest of the body than the alternative it’s not a cure all.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      i’m so sorry your daughter still suffers. every person responds differently, there’s more to it than food – dr. natasha campbell-mcbride discusses this in her GAPS book. she is a trianed neurologist, neurosurgeon and does work with thousands upon thousands of autistic patients in her clinic where all see healing. she says the worse the damage the more indepth the protocal. have you done her GAPS protocol? working with a gaps practitioner in your situation would help fine tune specifics, especially since you’ve done so much already. this is GAPS: http://www.amazon.com/Gut-Psychology-Syndrome-Depression-Schizophrenia/dp/0954852028/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=nourishingp0c-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=PFZ6Z4QBILV6YX4R&creativeASIN=0954852028

    • whisperingsage says:

      Look up Abram Hoffer and niacin therapy, 3 grams a day of niacin or no flush niacin with high dose natural b complex, all the b vitamins are nerve vitamins. Also look up Weston Price and his free PDF Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He discovered vitamin k2 but called it factor X. He discovered the importance of high dense nutrients in primitive diets of the healthiest peoples all over the world. He dealt with Down’s before it was called Downs.

  6. George says:

    Hi! Can I put some virgin olive oil on top of the jars before sealing them for a few days? This will prevent air from reaching the cabbage, but will the oil interfere with the process?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      i have read people do that successfully. i have not tried it. let us know how it goes!!

    • Don M says:

      it’s better to use coconut oil IMO. It does the same thing, but then when finished and put in the fridge the oil solidifies and is easy to remove.

      • Clare says:

        My concern with that is that coconut oil is highly anti microbial and could kill the beneficial bacteria you just created. I don’t see any need for the oil at all.

        • whisperingsage says:

          My understanding is that coconut oil is only antimicrobial to the bad bacteria. I am taking it twice a day for my gut.

  7. Lydia Hubbell says:

    How long does it keep, unopened in the fridge after it is “done”?

  8. doovermom says:

    Is the salt bad for people with high blood pressure?

    • whisperingsage says:

      Look up Mercola dot com on salt, new studies have shown salt depletion has been a bad thing for heart patients on excessively strict salt restriction.

  9. This is pretty confusing because it keeps mentioning “Sealed Jars” but then it also says not to heat up the cabbage. If you place them in mason jars and Seal them then you have to place them in a canning tub and boil the water and jars until the lids seal. Right?
    ** Where do you buy Mineral salt **? I’ve never heard of it.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      thank you tammy for helping, i will change the way it reads from “sealed jars” to putting the lid on. mineral salt is real salt, salt that contains minerals. i’ll link it in the post now. thanks!

    • Leeann says:

      The top of the cabbage is to be covered by the liquid. Is that the liquid left over from the salting?? What ignite is not enough liquid to cover do I use filtered water? When ‘sealing’ the mason jars is there a special process ??

  10. ron says:

    In one answer you said canning (heating) kills probiotics. When ready to eat and you heat to serve, say with a meat, did you just kill the probiotcs?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      depends on how long you heat it and at what temps. for optimal probiotic effect it shouldn’t be heated as heating kills the probiotic count

    • whisperingsage says:

      Enzymes are killed at 118 degrees F. I would guess that would agree with probiotics too.

  11. Yvonne Ser says:

    Hi, when putting in the fridge, may i know under what temperature?

  12. Yvonne Ser says:

    “Be sure the cabbage is covered up by the liquid” the liquid is filter water ? or the liquid from the combination of chopped cabbage and salt? What happen if the liquid not enough to cover the cabbage, can i add filtered water?

  13. Kerri says:

    You mention putting the cabbage in jars packed tightly with liquid over the top. What is the liquid? Is it the juice that comes out of the salted cabbage? Thanks.

  14. Jenny says:

    I let mine ferment for a whole month! So tasty πŸ™‚

  15. Laura A says:

    Okay, for optimal health, how often do you consume the sauerkraut? By the way, thank you so much for putting this out there to share with others. I am following SCD, Paleo, AIP, GAPS and several others to heal candida, IBS and several other digestive issues. The way I understand it, you only need to consume about 2 tablespoons to get the effect of the probiotics. Everyday or twice a week? How long does a head of cabbage last you and your son? Or how often do you have to make it?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      each person’s optimal health barometer is different. dr. natasha campbell-mcbride says to test with one teaspoon and see how your body responds – looking for die off. die off would be signs of bad bacterial trying to escape the body: diarrhea, rash, hives, problematic behavior, etc. you do not want die off as it inflames the body. go to the die off stage and cut back a bit. then gradually increase the quantity as healing takes place. it’s important to add different veggies to your ferments occasionally so that you do not create dominant strains. i feel best when i eat more than two tablespoons throughout the day, every day. remember candida wont leave if something is holding it there: http://nourishingplot.com/2013/12/12/five-factors-that-perpetuate-candida/

      • 2vauban says:

        Hello from Poland, Central Europe, where we makes, buys and eats a lot of sauerkraut. We do it just like you show, but we add some spices – mainly, a little of carrot. Usually, one medium carrot for two pounds of cabbage. Fine shredded carrot, of course. Second, some adds cumin seeds or any herbal spices, as anyone wishes to feel the taste. You can use a pepper, a coriander, a mustard, anything you want to experiment with. Someone likes different taste of sauerkraut with spices. In any shop at Central Europe you can but at last three – four different types of sauerkraut, with or without spices, as you wish. Sauerkraut is a base of one’s most famous national stew, the bigos. We are eating a lot of sauerkraut raw, too. Much more than a two tablespoons per day πŸ˜‰
        We are commonly use other vegetables to process just like cabbage – mainly cucumbers, zuchchini, cauliflores, mild papric and effects are interesting in a taste also with their pro-biotic activity. I’ve hear the Russians does the same with some species of edible mushrooms – especially with these, whom are too “al dente” with simple cookin’ or fryin’ – but personally I never try that at home.
        Generally, we in Poland tries remember to fermenting vegetables with using non – iodine salt, we believe the adding iodine makes fermentation weak and slower, we have a special kind of “non-iodined” mineral salt for processing purposes only, hovewer usually we are use normalized, iodined salt for ordinary use.
        But, finally, I have to say about myths about candida and so called “leaky guts”. There are a fake problems. No one proves that. With level of consumptions of the probiotics we shall have no problems with any issues like mentioned above, but we have. So, they could make you digesting healthier, maybe, but obviously they NOT cures anything. Sorry, it’s just a mumbo – jumbo.

    • Lori says:

      I’m doing ferments of all kinds, as I believe, that if you have variety you are more likely you are to keep it up and I also believe that it gives you a larger variety of beneficial bacteria, milk kefir is also a good one for a wide variety of bacteria.

  16. Staci says:

    What is that thing called that you put on top of the Mason jar to put the cabbage in without air getting in? I have a mason jar, but I don’t know what that thingy is.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      there is nothing wrong with simply fermenting in a mason jar with a mason jar lid. simple. you can use an airlock but it is not necessary. you can use an old salsa jar, any old glass jar with lid.

      • On other sites says that you have to give it a little air while fermenting, otherwise it will explode, or the cabbage becomes bitter. My mother used to blow in a tube from time to time in the big barrel while the cabbage was fermenting; otherwise, she said, the sauerkraut was bitter afterwards.

        • Becky Plotner says:

          You can absolutely burp your lid, if you choose. Stirring a barrel or large crock by blowing into a tube is very traditional and effective, you are correct. I’ve brewed hundreds of gallons of kraut, in mason jars, and had a jar explode once, no bitterness. I never burp. There are many, many ways to make kraut.

  17. Nena says:

    Can one add a bit if vinegar to the process? I just like the taste better but wondering if it’s ok to add

  18. Margaret says:

    I don’t generally don’t use my air condition will my house be too hot? Or, should it ferment in a cool place? What temp are you looking for?

  19. Audrie says:

    Do you remove the heart of the cabbage before you chop it?

  20. People, don’t make this harder than it is! Salt + Cabbage + Time = Sauerkraut.
    I prefer my cabbage finely sliced, not processed. The liquid should cover the cabbage as it is forced down in the jar. If not, add enough filtered water to cover, to the top, then seal. Which means ‘screw the lid on tightly.’ No heating!
    There will be some liquid oozing out of the jars after it has sat for awhile. No problem, just check occasionally to insure the liquid still covers the cabbage.
    I started with plain sauerkraut, now making kimchi(delicious!) and red kraut, which is still sauerkraut, just with some red cabbage, maybe a thinly sliced red pepper, and some carrot. Some garlic in there is also nice.
    Lots of recipes out there, I like this one for kimchi.
    Just do it, fermented veggies go with so many meals, and is so good for you.

  21. Rebekah B says:

    Does commercial “store bought” kraut have the probiotics? Or from a health food store? I feel a bit nervous making my own. πŸ™‚

  22. trina lummus says:

    Im sorry for you and ur little boy’ as a child they dkdnt catcdidnt catch my learning problems at least u caught his and r getting him help at an early age be thankful n
    Thankful theres more help out there and all of r eyes r a little more open but we still got a long way to go before r kids get the help they need

  23. Marie says:

    Can you elaborate on how you chop it in the Vitamix?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      to chop vegetables in the vitamix quickly fill the vitamix up 3/4 of the way with water, drop in some chopped cabbage (roughly 1/4 of the head or just less – enough so that it flows freely in the mixer). put the machine on for just a few seconds so that the cabbage is sucked down to chop and no more. drain in a colander. repeat until the whole head is chopped.

  24. JB says:

    Hello Becky,
    My grandmother used to make sauerkraut using an big wash basin, with a huge round (clean) granite rock which held the chopped cabbage down with a board, and the whole was covered with a damp cloth and kept in a dark cool place for 7 to 10 days or so (can’t quite remember).
    Have you heard of anyone else doing this?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      i’ve heard of all sorts of ways, in a bucket even. i do glass jars because they’re easy and safe and i dont worry about aluminum leaching or pba leaching. sauerkraut has been made for thousands of years in countless types of vessels. i love grandma making stories, we have lost touch with how to do things. keep the stories coming!

      • Jen says:

        I remember staying with my grandparents, as a child, during Kraut making (as they called it), back in the 70’s. They, and their neighbors, grew massive amounts of cabbage, and got together for a long day of making Kraut. They made so much they used a “Kraut slicer”, which is a large wooden manoline type slicer. My grandpa gave it to me when I visited last year. They sliced, salted, and pounded the cabbage in large bowls, then packed it into large crocks. I can’t remember how they weighted it and covered, or if they kept it in the basement, or eventually refrigerated it. I’ll have to ask my grandpa next time I see him. I make it like you do, in the mason jars, though I would love to try a large crock eventually. I think I’ll make a few extra jars to take to my grandpa. I bet he would appreciate the real thing!

  25. Barbara Stone says:

    When you start checking it, you have introduced oxygen. Then what? Do you check the same jar each time? will it go bad? Thanks

    • Becky Plotner says:

      if you open it up you are introducing oxygen, yes. that is why it is best, if doing an anaerobic ferment, to leave the lid on the jar. if you care to do a ferment that you open and check for taste you are better off fermenting in a crock. if you are doing an anaerobic ferment, in a mason jar with a lid, it is best to wait a day or two after the fermenting bubbles disappear. an ferment that has brewed too long will have a white yeast film on top. if you see that film forming through the glass open it up, skim off the film and put the jar in the refrigerator.

      • Amy says:

        I thought you had to loosen the lid occasionally to avoid pressure building up, so I was opening them every day. Then I got so busy with work I neglected them for four weeks, and they were just fine.

  26. Lynn says:

    I love this and am in the process of making my second batch. I have a question though. I go camping often and have put enough in a small jar to take for the trip, putting the jar in the ice chest. This trip it got really cold almost frozen. How does this effect it’s quality? Many Blessings, Lynn

  27. Gin says:

    After mine got through sitting for the 14 days, I tasted it. Whoa! Salty! Too darn salty… After two weeks of waiting, I didn’t want to lose it, so I drained off a lot of the salty water and put in some clear water and put in fridge. After another week it was still tooooooo salty for me. ::slump:: I sat and thought about how other Sauerkraut tastes and just put in a little Natural ACV. Then let set a few days. When I tasted it, I loved it!! I guess I like the addition of the sour tangy taste.

    — I hope I didn’t mess up any healthy benefits ? Please tell me no… πŸ™‚

    – Thank you for your help!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      apple cider vinegar will yes kill the probiotics. it’s still beneficial, just not the probiotic aspect. too much salt will prevent good bacteria from growing. i’m curious to know how it turns out for you if you do it again using less salt.

  28. maria d says:

    Why the FDA disclaimer at the bottom of the recipe? ?joke

  29. Oh come on now….isn’t there a good place to just purchase sauerkraut?? Health Food Store? Maybe?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      there are. make sure they are refrigerated, not shelf stable. one 30oz jar will cost roughly $10, making it yourself will be less than half of that and it will have a higher probiotic count because you can allow it to brew further

  30. Scott Bryan says:

    I followed a link to your blog through the Fido Fermentation facebook group. It’s nice to see so much support for home fermenting. If you want to make the experience even better, try Fido jars. Fidos are excellent for fermenting. The clamp lid will allow pressure to escape but doesn’t allow any oxygen back in. Most ferments won’t even need a weight to hold them under the brine because all of the oxygen gets pushed out.

  31. Shawn Johnson says:

    I wanted to thank you for the wealth of information in this article and especially in your responses to some excellent questions about it. I wanted to share a bit of my life with you as it seems somehow relevant. In 1994 I succumbed to the HIV infection I had been living with since at least 1982. If you know anything about the AIDS virus and how it attacks the body then you probably know that it attacks each host differently depending on the strain each person is infected with. In October of 1994 I suddenly came down with something the doctors called AIDS related wasting syndrome, due to diarhea that was both uncontrollable and untreatable primarily because the medical community couldn’t figure out why those of us with it, had it. By Christmas of that same year I had gone from 207lbs to 148lbs, and I’m a big guy. The only thing that would stop the diarhea was tincture of opium and even that didn’t treat the problem, but did allow temporary postponement of the symptoms, meaning I could leave my home for short periods of time. By the end of 1995 I weighed 118lbs and had been receiving all nurishment through a pic line leading directly into my heart, because I could no longer even watch people eat. The smell of food, watching others eat, anything to do with digesting food repulsed me and I would have died had I not had the pic line in which to pump nurishment into my body. Here’s the deal though, during the year and a half in which the mere thought of putting food into my mouth and swallowing it would cause my body to lurch and dry heve, I discovered that smoking pot made me hungry, in fact made me crave, for two things and only two things. Oranges and Sauerkraut. When I say crave I mean I could sit and eat a bushel of oranges in a single sitting, almost cry when they were gone even. My hunger for saurkraut was more situational, some brands I could eat right out of the can (because I couldn’t eat it if it was microwaved or heated up in anyway….the colder the better) and some I could not touch (because some brands had a more chemically smell to them than the kind I liked). The cravings for both were always short lived and were completely gone within hours but I always wondered why oranges and saurkraut of all things. Given the symptoms I was suffering from then and what I’ve read in your comments I can’t help but wonder if, at least for the Kraut, if my body was trying to tell me what I needed to get better. I still crave both oranges and kraut more now then before I got sick and I really have never had cravings before for any food that I ever noticed. Anyway thanks for the information. Gonna start making my own soon.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      wow that is amazing! thank you for sharing this story. interesting too about the oranges and kraut – both are very high in vitamin C! so much to learn….. i’m praying for you, for a continual recovery of health. thank you for taking the time to share this.

    • Efil Rof Deliugeb says:

      We hear from talk a man say the way “ormus” minerals are made bioactive from both food and salt with fermentation and consumption of ferments. I do not know if true, but he so sure life preserving would be occurring. Bacteria be happy we be happy

  32. Jennifer says:

    Can you add caraway seeds to the sauerkraut before you put the lid on and will it affect the probiotics?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      adding different herbs and spices will increase the probiotic effect of the food by adding different strains. caraways seeds in kraut is very common in Slovakian countries, Russia and Poland.

  33. Chris says:

    I used to buy a commercial sauerkraut from a farm in Vermont. I liked it because it was crispy, and bubbling away. Most of mine comes out limp and soggy, which isn’t great.

    How did they make crispy sauerkraut without it turning into mush?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      they dont let it ferment as long. the longer it ferments the more probiotic strains it has. carolyn barringer from cooking with gaps says the probiotic count doubles every 30 minutes from when it begins brewing. there are three phases of fermentation, the bubbling is one of the early stages. you are getting a better probiotic if you let it go longer, however if you desire it bubbly and crisp then just pull it earlier and put it in the refrigerator sooner to slow the fermentation process. if your body craves that stage maybe there is something there you need nutritionally.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      For crispy kraut pull it earlier – like day 2 to 5. It won’t have as many probiotics but if you like it….

  34. Sonia says:

    I would love a good sauerkraut soup recipe . Can anyone help ?
    Does cooked sauerkraut still have probiotic benefits ?
    Once you open the jar should you put it in the fridge ? I mean does it go off when exposed to oxygen like that ? Thank you πŸ™‚

  35. Glenys says:

    Hi- a newbie here. All ready to start making sauerkraut (I have a culture also) but my friend said if I seal it, there will be a great explosion as hers did. What did she do wrong?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      leave one inch head space at the top of the jar. if you see the top of your mason jar lid bulging because it is building up too much gas inside unscrew the lid a bit to release some pressure but do not take off the lid completely to allow oxygen into the jar. this if for optimal outcome. some people, however, completely remove their lid and taste the product throughout allowing in oxygen

  36. Kevin says:

    Great job!Thank you for the great information.

  37. Robert says:

    Hi Becky!

    I have a quick question: once salt is added to chopped cabbage there a salty cabbage juice will be created. Shall it be drained away before putting cabbage into the jar or shall it be added in? I’m asking in the context of whether this salt is necessary in the next steps of the fermentation process.

    Also, I assume that if the juice with salt is to be drained away the jar/cabbage needs to be flooded with external water on top of compressing cabbage in a jar tightly?

    Thanks for your advice.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      add the salt and pack it in the jars. this topic has a bit of controversy among experts. sandor katz, author of wild fermentation says you don’t need salt, that it’s just for taste. that the vegetables have natural enzymes on them that create the probiotic count. he says you can just pack veggies in a jar with water and they’ll ferment on their own accord. others say you need the salt to create the fermentation process. for sure TOO much salt will cease the probiotic growth so don’t over do the salting.

      • Robert says:

        Thank you very much Becky.

        Let me share my experience of making the first jar: I have filled the jar nearly to the top leaving only about 2cm of space at the top. More needs to be left as it swallows and a jar would start to leak.

      • Amy says:

        Dr Mercola adds celery juice, which has a salty taste. My understanding is that bad bacteria cannot live in salt but the good ones don’t mind it.

  38. Joyce says:

    I think the 2 T salt is a typo. After reading the comment about the results being too salty tasting I decided to add only 2 tsp to my batch and it came out PERFECT!!! (1 head of cabbage into 2 quart size mason jars). I love making and eating my own sauerkraut now. It tastes just as good as any I’ve ever eaten. I feel fantastic after eating it too (but I admit being very susceptible to the placebo effect -lucky me!).

    The water in my jars did not cover the cabbage the whole two weeks. By the time they were ready to open the water line was about an inch below the sauerkraut. I just scooped off the top layer of cabbage and it tasted fine and I didn’t get any negative symptoms.

    In fact I’m allergic to mold so I used to be scared to eat fermented foods but I have never gotten sick from them.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      awesome! the 2 T isn’t a misprint, that’s what i use and prefer. i let it brew longer so it’s not salty when it’s done. the amount of salt is your choice, for flavor. i’m so glad you found the level you enjoy!!!!!

  39. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  40. […] Leave a reply Making Sauerkraut At Home In 3 Easy Steps […]

  41. Lucy says:

    Once made and eaten cold with salad, is is ok to add vinegar type dressing or with addition of vinegar even just before eating kill the probiotic? Thanks

  42. Matt says:

    I made sauerkraut using one of those pots designed for fermenting and on more than one occasion I let the water that seals the lid get a little low which could have let air in. I opened the lid today and there is green, gray and white mold over the surface but not into the kraut. Does anyone know if this means I need to start over? Thanks

    • Becky Plotner says:

      This is actually quite common. Most people just scoop off the top and eat what is below. Keeping the air out will prevent this from happening. Remember James Cook, the early explorer, is most known for mapping the islands he found while exploring and for keeping his sailors so healthy due to his copious amount of sauerkraut on board in large wooden barrels.

      • Jaclyn says:

        Hi, is the consistency of the liquid after it ferments supposed to be slimy? It smells fine and tastes good, but I’m not sure it’s supposed to be slimy. I made sauerkraut years ago and i don’t remember it being like that.

  43. Jeri Wilcox says:

    Becky, you have said not to can the sauerkraut because heating kills the probiotic. But surely you can heat it before eating without destroying the probiotic effect, right? Eating cold sauerkraut doesn’t sound very appetizing! My first batch has been fermenting for 11 days now and I can’t wait to taste it tomorrow!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Heating it in any way kills the probiotic factor. It’s still beneficial though, leaving behind valuable enzymes. It’s a good way to increase you microbiome benefits but seriously, it’s great cold! Let us know how it turns out!

  44. Becky, thank you so much for your leadership in this awesome food. I have a half gallon pickle jar with a lid and can’t wait to do this. I have been “hosting” Candida since 12/2006. I think it is embedded in my tissues. And severe abdominal bloating. I have had die off before in hideous rashes and fungus eruptions on the palms of my hands. πŸ™ I am eager to do this. …….Big hug, Lindy

  45. Phil says:

    Is there any advantage to mixing a little inoculent in with the cabbage? If so, any suggestions on what to use? What are the main anaerobic bacteria that produce the sauerkraut? My batch is sitting on the kitchen counter doing nothing.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Some say there is, others say there isn’t. My son and I are canaries-in -the-coal-mine and respond immediately to strong strains or things that are not food. Since we respond to one drop of Living Streams Probiotic but had no response when Living Streams was used as an inoculant, 8 different times, I say no it doesn’t make a difference. The vegetables will do what the vegetables do. The inoculant will begin the fermentation process faster, changing the pH quicker but in the end they are the same. The strains and bacteria are dependent on the location and soil where the cabbage was grown, the seed and many other factors. Usually it is lactobacillus based.

  46. fitnessguy says:

    Is there any place we can buy this all ready made that meets the criteria?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Unless you are buying from an individual person who has made it themselves for you, no. You can purchase Bubbies brand in the refrigerated section but home brewed will always contain more probiotic strains.

  47. Joseph Babinsky says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your original post, Becky, and all the wonderful comments, questions and answers. I just want to relate a story. I am 80 and for 5 short years of my childhood I lived with my family in a orphanage. My father was the superintendent. This small institution was for both older people and children of Hungarian descent. I have vague memories of the old men helping the women make sauerkraut. What I recall was seeing the men with pant-legs rolled up; of course, no shoes or socks! There were two or three men walking round about in a large wooden barrel, stomping on the chopped cabbage in the barrel. Wish I could tell more of the story. This all I recall; more of a picture than a vivid recollection. I can’t verify its accuracy…but thought I’d add it here as a story. Haven’t thought of this for many years – until I visited your blog. I do recall that our family ate a lot of sauerkraut. Lately I have been having problems with diarrhea and this is probably why I was drawn to read your blog. I’m thinking I better try to follow your directions and make some sauerkraut. I love the stuff, and now I am hungry to taste it again. Thank you for your blog, and thanks for reading my story.

  48. Carol says:

    Your post is still useful! I read it today for inspiration as I await my batch of sauerkraut to ferment. It’s in a crock – the recipe said 4- 8 WEEKS! I’m not holding my breath. πŸ™‚

  49. sandra says:

    Hi Becky, Really enjoyed reading your column, this is the first time we have made sauerkraut, we made 3 mason jars with metal lids loosened off, we tasted one after 4 days as read could do this, after 7 days the brine had gone down a little in the other 2, we topped up with a small amount of distilled water, does this mean we have spoiled by letting the oxygen in, and will there still be a good probiotic count?? we are going to let the 2 jars go for 11 to 14 days, the one we opened after 4 days tastes really good and very crunchy, today is the 7th. day so have tightened the lid and put in the fridge, it does not taste salty at al,l so hopefully we have made our first batch okay, thank you for all your advice, regards sandra

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Kraut specialist Sandor Katz says he opens his kraut and tastes it all the time. Studies have not been done, to my knowledge, showing the probiotic count with the lid left on or with a sneaky taste. However, I do not believe you have damaged anything or committed any alteration to the product.

  50. KrautMaker says:

    As pointed out before, keep it simple. You just need cabbage, salt (any salt) and a crock. Press it until the juices come up and cover it with a plate weighed down with a clean rock or jar filled with water. You can taste it every few days and you won’t harm it. No need to add distilled water or vinegar. My parents (Russian and Polish) made it for decades usually in 15-20 gallon crocks at a time. We ate it daily in the winter. I continue to make it. Eat it cold as a side dish. I think 2 Tbsp for one head of cabbage is much too salty – I prefer 2-3 Tbsp per gallon (~4 heads of cabbage). As my parents did I also add shredded carrots and caraway seeds to give it a more distinctive taste. It’s good for you.

    I don’t know about the “leaky gut” syndrome but it sounds like quackery and pseudoscience. Leave it out of a food blog.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Kraut Maker for more information on Leaky Gut you can research Intestinal Permeability on Pub Med. Intestinal Permeability is the medical term, Leaky Gut is layman’s terms. There are over 100 research articles there for you explaining it further.

  51. suneetha says:

    Hi Becky, is sauerkraut and kraut juice both are different ? which one is better to start in stage 1 ? I kept 3 lb cabbage head with 2 tbsp of celtic salt..in just one bottle with no additional water, but just brine solution. Is that ok to start with ?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Yes, you have made a lovely sauerkraut! The juice that comes from that product is considered kraut juice. We have tested the die off from different formulations of kraut juice, including the juice from what your jar makes and found the die off the same with canaries in the coalmine individuals. This resulting recipe of kraut juice allows for more juice with the same die off response that kills pathogens. You can do either method in making kraut juice. This is the recipe I use: http://nourishingplot.com/2014/06/02/kraut-juice/

  52. Seems Kal says:

    Hi Becky!! the information is really good. I would like to try it for my husband who has ulcers and IBD. Would it help him? Also are we supposed to take the Kraut and juice together or only the kraut?

    • Amy says:

      I had ulcers from Helicobacter Pylori. I got them under control using Mastic Gum and Slippery Elm before starting the sauerkraut. Take the kraut and the juice together, as a side just as you would a relish or pickle. I’m feeling good after having the sauerkraut for just a week, and I am “going” very regularly, which is a change. Make sure you cut out all suspect foods like wheat, dairy, sugar and alcohol, and eat organic unprocessed. I take HCL and Dr Valerie Nelson’s Fungus & Candida cleanse and Intestine Enhancer (enzymes). Sauerkraut also has enzymes so I hope I won’t need all the supplements eventually.

  53. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  54. Kate Gebhart says:

    I’m wondering if I can add medicinal mushrooms like maitake, reishi, shitaki when fermenting sauerkraut. If yes, should they be dried or fresh? Would love to know because
    I want to start a new brew soon. thanks much

    • Becky Plotner says:

      It would certainly be beneficial however the flavor is going to be different for sure. I prepare reishi mushrooms and I can’t imagine that flavor making anything better- if you figure it out PLEASE fill us in so we can enjoy it also!

  55. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  56. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  57. Makala says:

    Is it possible to use pink Himalayan salt for this recipe?

  58. Gwen says:

    Aloha Becky!
    I have just made my first batch of kraut! Two heads sliced on my mandolin. I kneaded and squished the cabbage with 2T of Himalayan salt. After about 45 minutes I put it in a large glass bowl with a plate on top and pressed really hard. Not enough water came up. So I added the juice, as a starter, from my girlfriend’s batch. Still not enough liquid came up to make an oxygen free seal. Then I dissolved another Tablespoon of salt in almost 2 cups of filtered water and poured that in. Mashed with a potato masher, plate on top and weighted it down. Got enough liquid to come over the top of the plate. Covered the bowl and weight with another inverted bowl and draped muslin over all….what do you think? Will it be ok?

  59. Cortney says:

    How ling does the cabbage need to sit before it’s ready to be packed in the jars?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      It depends on many factors including the temperature of your home. I usually let it go 20 minutes to an hour.

      • Cortney says:

        So I followed the instructions and when I opened the sauerkraut to check it and it fizzed up and out of the jar….is this normal? should I replace the liquid that ran out?

        • Becky Plotner says:

          Well…. I’m not sure how much bubbled out so I can not answer this question. Kraut brews without oxygen. When you introduce oxygen you risk the degredation or rot from the imbalance that shouldn’t be there. If you see bubbles in the jar it is important to not open it. The best way to actually brew kraut if you are using a glass jar with a lid is to just leave it for 12 days.

  60. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  61. David says:

    Hi. You say to keep it sealed air tight in a mason jar and to leave it sealed. But dont you need to let it “burp” or risk pressure buolilding and cracking the jar? Isnt the sub water environment anerobic with or without the lid sealed? Ive made kraut twice and both times leave it with the lid covering it and screwed mostly shut but not air tight and have had no ill effects. Am i risking my health or that of the kraut or do we just do things slightly differently?

  62. David says:

    Btw (one more comment at least). I just used the ninja food processor – im sure its like the vitamix – and i added the salt to the water i used in the blender, blended that first, and im sure it mixed it completely with the cabbage so i dont need to mix after, allthewhile hoping its thorough enough. It is chopped to much finer pieces than i got when cutting with a knife but it saved me sooo much time. I chop slowly. I think itll be as good. Ill report back.

  63. Carl Boustead says:

    I have made kimchi. One failure and the next successful. I am going to try sauerkraut for the first time. I have read all of Becky’s comments. Thank you so much for the information. I am going to follow the recipe here. Using 2 pounds of cabbage with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt no additives. I will use one ounce of store bought kimchi that I know is good and mix it well when I add it to mason jars. Also adding fine ground carrots and caraway seeds. Are my variations okay.

  64. Carl Boustead says:

    In reading the blog I have heard many comments that they do not like to eat cold sauerkraut. I do not either. Here is what I do. I let the kemchi or sauerkraut warm up to room temperature before eating it. Also the longer you warm it up in the room the more probiotics it will produce. Never add it to hot food or heat it up in the oven if you do not want to kill the probiotics. Also do not heat it up in the microwave for more than zero seconds.

  65. Faye says:

    Should sauerkraut brine be strained off.before bottling

  66. Ann Dyer says:

    Sometimes my sauerkraut gets dry. Is this OK? I added filtered water to cover it. Is this OK?

  67. Ann Dyer says:

    In the beginning of the process I can see bubbles so I can tell there is something going on and probiotics are being formed. As it gets older if I don’t see the bubbles is it still full of probiotics.?

  68. Kumar says:

    do we need to wash cabbage in water before cutting it.

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Most folks do. I don’t because there are more microbes on it. Nothing pathogenic can survive the second stage of fermentation so it’s not going to hurt you.

  69. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  70. Azeria says:

    hi. can you kindly tell me which one you meant.. cover with towel (allowing some air in) or the whole lid making it airtight. wont it blow? thanks!!

    • Becky Plotner says:

      I have never had one blow. I put the lid finger tip tight then cover with a towel or just leave it on the counter. If you are afraid of it blowing using an airlock will assist.

  71. smk says:

    Is it the same process/ recipe for a head of cauliflower? Are the little pieces of cauliflower that float on top a problem?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      Yes it is the same method but doesn’t take as long. The vegetable goes moldy when exposed to air. Keeping the veg submerged is best.

  72. […] of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.” That means 2 ounces of home fermented sauerkraut had more probiotics than a bottle of 100 count probiotic capsules. Translated this means one 16 […]

  73. I love this! thanks so much for an informative article. I love learning more about fermentation and how to make my own probiotic goodies! Can’t wait to try your recipe at home.

  74. Dawn Parks says:

    I just did this and am getting ready to put lids on. There are a few air bubbles on top from pressing down the cabbage, should I wait till there are no more bubbles to put the lids on? Thanks!

  75. NICOLE J BURTON says:

    Planning to make SK today but bought a bag from the refrigerator case in the supermarket. Ingredients are cabbage, water, salt, sodium benzoate and sodium bisulfite (as preservatives). Do these preservatives affect the probiotics? SK is really helping heal my IBS gut issue. TY for this great site.

  76. Emilia Contressa Gomez says:

    Ever done this using a probiotic capsule instead of salt? Open it up n dump powder in. Ive heard the salt way isnt as potent.

  77. Tara M. Beech says:

    A tablespoon of caraway seeds adds some great flavor to the Kraut. thanks for posting!

  78. Paola says:

    Hi! Thanks for this! I’ve made many times, but it’s been a while since I made this recipe. This time I put too much salt, and I waited 4 weeks as I forgot to check! It tastes a bit different than normal, but doesn’t taste off…. do you think it’s on? 4 weeks?

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