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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.

RECIPE RECAP:

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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168 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 🙂

      • 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:

      yes

    • 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?

    • Becky Plotner says:

      it’ll be enough. if it’s not squeeze it with your hands until more liquid comes out – like a sponge

  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 🙂

  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 😉
        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

    • Becky Plotner says:

      vinegar is beneficial yes. however probiotics will not thrive in vinegar. so it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

    • nuffzed says:

      If you are using vinegar I would recommend Apple Cider Vinegar (With the ‘Mother’) which is already fermenting.

  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:

    Hi,
    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.
    http://nourishedkitchen.com/kimchi-recipe/
    Just do it, fermented veggies go with so many meals, and is so good for you.

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