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how to ferment sauerkraut



  • 1 quart jar
  • plastic ziploc bag
  • stainless steel knife


  • 1 head of cabbage about 3.5 lb
  • 1-2 tbsp. sea salt


  • Let's start by discarding the tough outer leaves of the cabbage. Now, remove a couple of the large unblemished leaves and set them aside (we will use them later to top off the sauerkraut).
  • Get out your favorite stainless steel knife and quarter, core, and chop or shred the cabbage.
  • Sprinkle the cabbage with the salt and start massaging and kneading the cabbage. You can also pound it with a potato masher. It should start looking wet and limp. The goal is to knead the cabbage until the liquid begins to pool. If this doesn't happen, try adding a little more salt and/or covering the kraut and letting it sit for an hour. Then try massaging it again.
  • The hard work is done. Now, it's time to stuff the cabbage into your jar. Make sure to press down the cabbage so it sits underneath the brine (liquid). If necessary, add a bit of water to completely cover the cabbage. Leave 2 to 4 inches of headspace.
  • Top the cabbage with the leaves you set aside and weigh it down with a sealed, water-filled ziplock bag and screw on the lid (not too tightly).
  • Set aside out of direct sunlight at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) for four to 14 days (I let mine sit for 2 weeks) until it's pleasingly sour/pickle-y. You'll also notice that the cabbage will turn a translucent, yellowish color. Check daily to ensure the cabbage remains submerged and burp every couple of days to release excess pressure.
  • Once the sauerkraut is finished, tighten the lid and store it in the fridge. It will keep for a year continuing to develop its buttery, sauerkrauty flavor over time.


Once you've mastered this basic recipe, have some "flavoring fun" by adding other vegetables, herbs and spices. Try adding a few caraway seeds, juniper berries, ginger, dill or turmeric. You can also add root vegetables like carrots, radishes and beets.