How To Make Sauerkraut At Home: Tips & Tricks For Beginners -PeakCodex
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How To Make Sauerkraut At Home: Tips & Tricks For Beginners

16th April 2020
Purple fermented sauerkraut

It's all about the salt

The salt draws out the water from the cells of the cabbage which allows you to brine and ferment the cabbage in its own juices. We recommend that you add salt by weight of the cabbage. A fairly standard amount of salt to add is 2% of the weight of the cabbage in grams. Using the 2% per gram of cabbage rule you’ll get consistent results.

Using a small scale is the most accurate way to measure out salt. If your scale isn’t precise enough a level tablespoon of salt is about 17g.

Using too little or too much salt can interfere with the fermentation process and you may end up with sourkrout that is inedible. If it’s your first time making sourkrout use the 2% ratio of salt. After you’ve eaten all your sourkrout you can start to experiment with different salt amounts ranging from 1.5%-2.5%.

All salts are not the same so after a while you might want to experiment with different salts as well. You’ll get the best results from Himalayan salt even though most regular salts will work just fine.

What salts to avoid?

-Celtic Sea Salt or Grey Sea Salt or any salt that feels ‘wet’. You might end up with sourkrout that’s a bit funky or mouldy.

-Iodised or table salt. The anti-caking agents might interfere with the fermentation process.

-Coarse, rock or any large grained salt.

salt on a  spoon

Not getting much liquid during the preparation stage?

Always try to use a fresh cabbage, not one that looks old and wilted. Different cabbage varieties also have different amounts of water so experiment with ones you can find locally.

You can try to slice the cabbage more thinly to allow more water to escape.

You can also leave it to sit at room temperature after massaging for a couple of minutes. This will help to draw water out.

If the cabbage you’re using simply doesn’t have enough water, you can add a 2% salt water solution as brine. However some people report a brine solution will cause their sauerkraut to become mushy in texture, so be sure to eat it as soon as possible once it’s ready.

You can also add other vegetables with a high water content, such as carrots, beetroot or radishes.

What other vegetables can I mix with sauerkraut?

Most root vegetables can be fermented with the cabbage. Carrots are a popular choice. Onion, garlic and ginger can also be used to spice your sauerkraut. You can also add fresh herbs or dried spices.

Colourful carrots

Why do you need to leave space at the top of the jar?

It’s recommended to leave a good 4 cm (2 inch) from the top of the jar. This way none of the liquid will spill out when the cabbage rises during fermentation. Make sure to also place the jars on a plate or tray to catch any spills.

How do you make sure all the cabbage is submerged in liquid?

You’ll need to use something to weigh down the cabbage, such as small fermentation weights, smaller ceramic dishes, glass shot glasses or a small plastic bag filled with water or other heavy items that can be sterilized.

Be sure to check that your sauerkraut is submerged daily/every other day. Simply push it down with a clean fork.

Is there mold growing on top of your sauerkraut?

Mold is avoided with the use of clean jars and equipment, using a proper salt concentration as well as keeping the cabbage submerged in its own brine. The safest thing to do is to discard the sauerkraut.

Has your brine mysteriously disappeared in the fridge?

The temperature in the fridge often causes the cabbage to reabsorb the water. There is no hard rule to follow regarding keeping the sauerkraut submerged once in the fridge. Some people like to add a 2% brine solution while others report the sauerkraut staying fine for months as it is.

Purple fermented sauerkraut

Can you freeze sauerkraut?

Yes. But keep in mind the texture and taste may be affected.

What’s sauerkraut made of?

The most basic sauerkraut is made of cabbage and salt which is then fermented at room temperature before storing in the fridge.

Is sauerkraut good for you?

Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and has other nutrients in small amounts which are good for your health. The probiotic bacteria found in sauerkraut has been studied however the results are inconclusive whether they are always beneficial.

If you are interested in learning more about probiotics read our article.

Is sauerkraut keto? How many carbs does sauerkraut have?

Sauerkraut can be eaten while following a keto diet as 100g has only 1.5g net carbs. If it’s store-bought make sure to check the ingredients for any added sugar. It is relatively high in sodium which might help with the beginner keto-flu.

Fresh green cabbage

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