Sauerkraut Recipe


1 good ceramic crock with lid (if you don't have a lid, you can cover it with a dinner plate and a clean weight of some kind to hold it down, covered by a tight fitting cloth cover). The importance of covering and weighting the lid is to keep unwanted airborne bacteria out of the mix. Cabbage contains it's own fermenting agents and that's all you want to have "working" the cabbage. For this reason, cleanliness is very, very important.

1 good cabbage shredder - some people invest in a device called a "mandolin". This is a flat board-like contraption with a sharp beveled blade; the cabbage heads are pushed across the board and blades, shredding the cabbage. I use a food processor to coarsely chop the cabbage.

1 good wooden device to pound the cabbage, a baseball bat (cleaned and disinfected works well).  


  • About 5 heads of cabbage
  • Non-Iodized Salt



Clean the cabbage under cold running water and discard any outer leaves that are blemished or bruised. Cut the cabbage heads into halves or quarters, which ever is easiest to handle, and remove the cores.

Shred the cabbage coarsely, enough to make a 1st layer in the bottom of the crock, about 2 or 3 inches deep. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Shred more cabbage and make another layer over the salted layer. With the wooden pounder, punch the cabbage until it is juicy.

Continue to add layers of cabbage, salt, cabbage, salt, pounding between layers to partially crush the cabbage and encourage the juice to form. When complete, the crock should be nearly full and there should be a nice layer of juice covering the mixture. Cover with the inverted plate, the weight, and finally, the cloth cover to keep out any airborne debris. Greater amounts of salt cause greater fermentation in the cabbage and therefore a more "sour" kraut.

Place the covered crock in the shady location where it will stay cool. I put our crock out on the porch out of the sunlight but free to breath in the crisp fall air. Make it a point of tasting the sauerkraut periodically (i.e. every other day) although I almost always test it daily until it reaches the level of sourness that you prefer, up to 4 weeks, depending on your personal preference and the outdoor temperatures. Cooler weather slows the fermentation process down. Some people can the sauerkraut using the hot water bath method, however, this tends to take away the freshness (in my opinion). I like to keep a covered bowl of sauerkraut in the refrigerator and eat it fresh. You can also put the sauerkraut in canning jars and keep them refrigerated, using it as you need. I have never frozen my sauerkraut, however, reports that you can freeze your sauerkraut for up to one year. As is true for any food storage procedure, cleanliness is very important.

Once you start making your own home made sauerkraut it will quickly become a fall tradition. There is nothing better than the sour, zingy, crunch of real, home made fresh sauerkraut.

Some folks enjoy adding caraway or dill, possibly shavings of carrots or even juniper berries. Also, the longer it ferments, the more sour it becomes...Mid to late fall preparation when the temperatures are cool allows for the best control of the fermentation.

- Tim Wittman

P.S. Bud Ashbach taught me how to make sauerkraut. And while our recipes differ in some respects, if it is possible, I would like people to know that he gave me my first introduction to sauerkraut making and inspired me to keep at it (also cider making, but that's a work in process)!

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