Homemade sauerkraut?

lauriekallis
lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
I haven't had any luck finding unpasteurized sauerkraut in my area. So I think it is time to take the leap and try making it myself.

This is the recipe I'm going to try: https://cleanfoodcrush.com/homemade-raw-sauerkraut/#more-'

Anybody here have any experience on this front? Would love some suggestions/instructions/first hand experience. I'm a bit nervous. :#
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Replies

  • Martuna_Sandwich
    Martuna_Sandwich Posts: 10 Member
    My partner made some sauerkraut using fresh cream and cumin. Had it with with deer sausages 🤤🤤🤤
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
    My partner made some sauerkraut using fresh cream and cumin. Had it with with deer sausages 🤤🤤🤤

    I've not heard of making sauerkraut with cream? Wouldn't that cause problems with the fermenting? ????
  • Safari_Gal_
    Safari_Gal_ Posts: 1,461 Member
    I haven't had any luck finding unpasteurized sauerkraut in my area. So I think it is time to take the leap and try making it myself.

    This is the recipe I'm going to try: https://cleanfoodcrush.com/homemade-raw-sauerkraut/#more-'

    Anybody here have any experience on this front? Would love some suggestions/instructions/first hand experience. I'm a bit nervous. :#

    Wow - Inspiring!! There are a few folk on the produce thread in the food/nutrition forums that I believe have made home made sauerkraut and kimchi. @mtaratoot would know! :)

    Paging @mtaratoot :)
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    edited February 2021
    I haven't had any luck finding unpasteurized sauerkraut in my area. So I think it is time to take the leap and try making it myself.

    This is the recipe I'm going to try: https://cleanfoodcrush.com/homemade-raw-sauerkraut/#more-'

    Anybody here have any experience on this front? Would love some suggestions/instructions/first hand experience. I'm a bit nervous. :#

    Wow - Inspiring!! There are a few folk on the produce thread in the food/nutrition forums that I believe have made home made sauerkraut and kimchi. @mtaratoot would know! :)

    Paging @mtaratoot :)

    Well whaddaya know? Thanks for the shout-out. It's kind of funny because I just posted this to another group I'm in (https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/129605-lose-1-pound-a-week-and-keep-it-off-2021)

    You can use a little less salt than your recipe has. I do. A friend who KNOWS kraut says I have it down. I also make kimchi; so I'll post that too. I had a little of each today with lunch along with some mushroom barley vegetable miso soup. This batch of kraut also had carrots; I meant to add caraway but forgot. I actually REALLY like all the complex flavors of kimchi, but I don't let it ferment nearly as long as kraut.

    There are allegedly three groups of bacteria that go to work on sauerkraut over time. The last one doesn't even start until about the beginning of the third week. Manage temperatures for the best kraut. Use GOOD cabbage. Use pickling salt not iodized. I think I wrote about that.

    Anyway, here's what I wrote:


    Sauerkraut

    This is another crispy, salty, probiotic bowl of goodness. Some people add things like caraway, beets, carrot, or apples. That's keen. Some people make a batch and let it ferment a while, then add more cabbage later and that's when they add the other ingredients. I say do some experimenting. You can make a larger batch, then after a week or so, divide it and add some other ingredients to smaller jars to see what you like. I also suggest starting simple and pulling some out after only two weeks to see how you like it. It's more fully fermented after three weeks, and you can pretty much let it go as long as the temperature doesn't get above 70 degrees. Keeps for months in the fridge.

    I use LESS salt for sauerkraut than for kimchi. For kimchi, a lot of the salt gets rinsed off. For kraut? Nope. For five pounds of cabbage, I use about 3 TBSP (0.15 cup). If you're making a whole barrel, you'll go five pounds at a time anyway, and you'll use 0.75 cups per 25 pounds of cabbage. And if you do that, you better have a nice cool garage or basement to let it ferment or it might just stink you out of the house.

    Process is super easy.

    Rinse your organic cabbage(s).

    Peel off a couple outer leaves and set aside.

    Quarter the cabbage, and remove the core.

    Slice the cabbage nice and thin. I've heard it described as "thickness of a quarter."

    Put all this in a giant bowl, and add the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage. Let it rest 20 minutes, and massage some more. You want to keep mashing the cabbage gently so a liquid forms. If you want to add other ingredients; feel free.

    Pack this into your fermenting vessel. For five pounds of cabbage, I use a one-gallon glass jar. I had two, but one broke. I need to hit up some restaurants for another one or two. Meantime I borrowed one from a friend. Pack it down. Keep packing it down. Ideally the liquid should cover all the cabbage. You don't want any cabbage sticking up above the surface.
    6m0ow42kztig.jpg

    Take those leaves you set aside and put them on top of the surface and push THEM down. This will hold the shreds under the liquid. There's a few ways to keep everything submerged. One way is to fill a small (pint) jar with brine and use that to weigh things down. One thing I like to do is get a good quality plastic bag, push it into the jar, and then fill it with brine. This not only holds things down, but helps maintain an anaerobic environment. Worst case scenario; the brine leaks out of the bag. If you use a 2% salt brine, it won't hurt anything. That's the same as what's in the cabbage.

    Now you wait.

    Stick the fermenter in a cool dark place with relatively stable temperature. Check on it every day or three. If any pink fuzzy stuff shows up, scoop it out! After a couple weeks, you can risk carefully pulling the bag of brine out and fishing out a piece to taste. If you like it, pull it out and refrigerate. I encourage you to let at least some keep fermenting at least three weeks. Allegedly, there's three different types of bacteria that work on the cabbage, and the last one doesn't get started until about two weeks or so into fermentation.
    1dmidxe5f4qt.jpg

    ez180fs7ud9d.jpg


    If you are on a low sodium diet, consult your dietician or physician to see if this much salt will be bad for you. It's low calorie and I think it's delicious. I hope you do, too.
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    I know you were asking about kraut, not kimchi, but there's nothing wrong with being inspired by both Germans AND Koreans. In fact, you can sort of mix and match, but I like kimchi. Here's what I posted the other day:


    It's crispy.

    It's sour.

    It's salty.

    It's got umami.

    It's probiotic.

    It's very low calorie.

    How could you go wrong? Yes, I'm talking KIMCHI!!!!

    You can make it from a number of things. I've been doing a mixture of Napa cabbage and Daikon radish. If I could find Korean radish, I'd use that. Other things you'll want is lots of garlic, some ginger, some green onions, some hot chiles (there's a specific Korean chile that is meant for this, but I use others depending how hot I want and what I have on hand), fish sauce, and of course salt.

    Pickling salt. Don't use table salt. The iodine will give it a metallic taste.

    I use the easier method of chopping the cabbage versus making a paste and coating all the leaves without taking them fully off the cabbage stem. Too much work, and I am what they call "Lazy."

    Pull off a few of the outside leaves of the Napa cabbage and set aside for later.

    Cut the core of the Napa cabbage in half, then pull it apart from the top so you don't cut that part. Then cut in quarters. Then cut out the hard core. You can wash it before or after. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

    If you have a huge cabbage, it's five pounds. If you have a medium cabbage, you'll want two to make five pounds. Add a half cup of salt and massage it into the leaves. Some liquid will come out. In 20 minutes or so, add some water and keep massaging. Let the liquid cover the leaves. You CAN add the radish and salt it too; I've done it that way or add the radish later. Set this huge bowl aside for a few hours.

    You can peel and cut the radish into small pieces. Some do julienne (matchstick). I prefer little coin shaped pieces. You can FINELY chop the ginger after you peel it with a spoon, or you can toss it into the food processor with some other ingredients.

    You can chop the garlic.... more garlic. NO. That's not enough. Use more. Did I say more? I meant more than that. I like big chunks. Or you can put it in the food processor.

    You can chop up the hot chiles. Last batch I used I had some fresh green serrano chiles and some dried Arbol chiles. I just used them. Or you can put them in the food processor.

    You can chop the green onion and set aside.

    Now. Go have a martini or some sake or take a nice walk through the park. In a few hours, come back and drain the salt water brine from the cabbage. Save a little; you might need it. Now rinse the cabbage a few times. Good job!

    Now you can put the cabbage back in the bowl and add all the other ingredients, either chopped or processed. Don't process the green onions, but you can process the ginger, garlic, and chiles. Add either a bunch of high quality fish sauce (I use 40 degrees N) or some dried shrimp. Mix it all up.

    You can now stuff this into a gallon glass jar, a crock, or some other non-reactive vessel. Push down. Keep pushing. There should be liquid. Good! If you need a little more, you can add some of that brine you saved. Ideally you won't need it; it can get too liquid.

    Now remember those outer leaves? Carefully stuff 'em into the top of the jar to help hold all the other chopped goodies under the liquid. Take another smaller glass jar, add whatever brine is left, and use that as a weight to hold things down in the liquid. Don't let any of the ingredients be in the air. They can mold. Yuck.
    fi4chv4ca8ef.jpg


    Set this all aside in a dark, cool place. Ideally about 60-65 degrees F (15-18C) or a little warmer. Over 70F (21C) it will get mushy and yuck. Below 60 and it might not ferment. In a day or two, you'll start to enjoy a wonderfully delicious STINK coming from your container. You might come home from a walk and think, "Oh no; something is rotting in here!" Well... it is. But it's a good rot. There are a few species of bacteria that can live in the salty and now acidic conditions that convert the sugar in the vegetables to lactic acid.

    Now is the hard part. It takes two to six days to get mildly fermented kimchi. Some people don't ferment it at all. At that point it is more like a salad. Some people like it UBER sour. In fact, you can let it bubble along for a month or three. I like it about three or four days in. When it's to your liking, pour it back into a bowl, mix one more time, and put it in smaller jars and keep it in the fridge.

    Share with your friends. They'll love you unless they don't. I gave some to a good friend who hates fermented cabbage. I also gave them some sauerkraut. He liked kimchi, but not kraut. Guess what? They both now like kimchi and sauerkraut. I think he only ever had the drek from a can. Yuck.

    Now you know.
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
    @mtaratoot Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am going to try both!

    Can you put apples in the kraut? Have you? Had that once from a deli and loved it, but not sure if it complicates things too much.
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
    @Safari_Gal_ Thank you!
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    @mtaratoot Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am going to try both!

    Can you put apples in the kraut? Have you? Had that once from a deli and loved it, but not sure if it complicates things too much.

    You can; I have not yet. If you do, I suggest letting the cabbage ferment on its own for two weeks then adding the apples and maybe some more cabbage and letting it go a VERY short time.

    The batch I made with carrots is totally fine, but the batch I made with LOTS of garlic was REALLY good. I wasn't adding the garlic to add flavor to the cabbage, even though it did; I added it so I would have a lot of pickled garlic. I need to do some garlic on its own; it takes a long time.

    The main thing is use a little less salt than the recipe you have. I have some USDA guidelines that talk about a half cup of salt per 25 pounds of cabbage, and that works out to those three tablespoons for FIVE not four pounds of cabbage. You'll be glad you did. Don't add any extra brine unless you really HAVE to; just keep mashing the cabbage until it makes its own brine.

    I ate both again today. I opened a new jar of kimchi, and oddly it's a little different tasting than the last jar even though it's the same batch. Go figure.
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    I started a new batch yesterday. This time with caraway, lots of garlic, and two carrots. In three weeks it should be done. I'm expecting that I have three weeks of kimchi left, but I'll probably be starting a new batch pretty much as soon as the kraut is done.

    Did anyone else get those probiotic bacteria growing in a jar? So delicious.
  • Alliwan
    Alliwan Posts: 1,263 Member
    I really want to try this! I make my own kombucha and Kiefer but havent tried sauerkraut or kimchi yet, altho I really want to. Thanks for posting this!
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
    Finally did it! Mine is 2 weeks 3 days old today...not quite there...but I tasted it at 1 week and at 2 weeks and OMG it is so delicious already. Thank you so much for your guidance @mtaratoot ! Next is kimchi...then another batch of sauerkraut - and I'm going to try adding carrots too! How do you process the carrots? Slices? Shredded? Sticks?
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    I don't put carrots in my kimchi. My friend does; it's fine. I use Napa, daikon, ginger, garlic, several kinds of hot chiles, green onion, and fish sauce. I soak the cabbage in salt for a couple hours, then rinse it. Last batch I put some of the garlic in the food processor with the ginger and some of the chiles and left a bunch of it whole or coarsely chopped. That batch had a smaller than normal Napa, so it was heavy on the radish, and that was great. I just made thin coin shapes; very good and crisp.

    For sauerkraut, I just shred the carrots. I have a batch that is two weeks old today; I haven't bothered to taste it. I will pack it in smaller jars in one week and then probably need to make more kimchi myself. Soon it will be too warm to make any of it, so I'm loving it while I can. I actually put caraway and garlic in this batch of kraut in addition to the carrot.
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Soon it will be too warm to make any of it, so I'm loving it while I can.

    I hadn't thought of that! I better get on it while I can, too. I'm going to try one batch of kimchi - following your guidelines except no fish sauce (I'm a vegetarian), and one more batch of sauerkraut - adding carrot this time.

    Do you think I'd be okay adding "matchstick" carrots to the sauerkraut? I like the idea of that shape - but would hate to mess it up when I might not be able to do another batch this year.

  • renzjms000
    renzjms000 Posts: 1 Member
    I have made organic level sauerkraut before. I used to make it in 55 gallon drums. All you need is shredded cabbage, salt (pickling or water softener salt), something to tamp it, and ziplock bags. Shred your cabbage, toss in .5 cup of salt per pound,, and tamp ot down in layers inside of a ceramic container. The key is to pack ot as tight as possible with as little air in the mix as possible. Once you have it filled, fill a gallon zip lock bag with water, and have it cover the entire top. This allows the gasses to escape while keeping critters out. Then set it in a warm room for 3 weeks, and enjoy. You can let it sit longer for a kraut with more tang, but no longer then 5 weeks.
  • RivkaS7NV
    RivkaS7NV Posts: 2 Member
    Just scrolling down and seeing the pics made me cringe. The CDC has a department dedicated to home food preservation. Please go to that website and use their methods and recipes and keep yourself safe while you are getting healthy. I have a master's certification from this agency in canning. Don't laugh. It is an actual thing. However, sauerkraut comes under the auspices of fermentation and I currently do not hold a master's certification in that particular area. That is why you need to go to the website for the Center for Home Food Preservation. They can educate you on how to do this safely. Don't mess around with this - stay safe.
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    edited April 2021
    renzjms000 wrote: »
    I have made organic level sauerkraut before. I used to make it in 55 gallon drums. All you need is shredded cabbage, salt (pickling or water softener salt), something to tamp it, and ziplock bags. Shred your cabbage, toss in .5 cup of salt per pound,, and tamp ot down in layers inside of a ceramic container. The key is to pack ot as tight as possible with as little air in the mix as possible. Once you have it filled, fill a gallon zip lock bag with water, and have it cover the entire top. This allows the gasses to escape while keeping critters out. Then set it in a warm room for 3 weeks, and enjoy. You can let it sit longer for a kraut with more tang, but no longer then 5 weeks.

    I use a LOT less salt than that. I use about a half cup of pickling salt per FIVE pounds. I let it sit in a large mixing bowl for a little while, massaging it from time to time, and only when it releases enough liquid do I pack it in the fermentation vessel. I save a couple outer leaves and use that to help hold all the shredded cabbage under the liquid, and I weigh it down with a jar partially filled with brine. I cover that with some plastic wrap and fix it to the lid with a rubber band. It still lets the gas out. I put that whole gallon jug in a plastic bucket to keep the temperature more stable and away from light and critters. If the temperature gets over 75 degrees, the kraut won't stay crisp. After three weeks I like to refrigerate it to slow fermentation way down.

    I just packed up my last batch, and I might be able to make one more before it gets too warm. I also need to make another batch of kimchi, but that only takes a few days. This batch had a couple nice heads of cabbage, a couple shredded carrots, lots of garlic (very non-traditional) and a palm full (or more) of caraway seeds. It's really good.

    If you use water softener salt, make sure it's NaCl (sodium chloride). Some softener salt is made with potassium chloride (KCl).
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    RivkaS7NV wrote: »
    Just scrolling down and seeing the pics made me cringe. The CDC has a department dedicated to home food preservation. Please go to that website and use their methods and recipes and keep yourself safe while you are getting healthy. I have a master's certification from this agency in canning. Don't laugh. It is an actual thing. However, sauerkraut comes under the auspices of fermentation and I currently do not hold a master's certification in that particular area. That is why you need to go to the website for the Center for Home Food Preservation. They can educate you on how to do this safely. Don't mess around with this - stay safe.

    Fermenting with salt is an ancient technique and it works. Sauerkraut is a live food, and we're now learning that probiotic foods like fermented vegetables can promote gut health. Well, at least that's what we think we're learning from the data we're finding. Food science is a very young science, and we keep correcting things we used to believe.

    It's really hard to mess up a sauerkraut ferment. Check on it every few days to make sure no mold is forming. If you start with clean equipment and keep all the cabbage under the liquid, it's really hard to have something go wrong.

    The National Center for Home Food Preservation actually does publish instructions for making sauerkraut. If you check them out, you'll find they say exactly what's being said here. I have a copy of their technique that I printed 25 years ago, and that was my guide when I got started.

    Making sauerkraut is safe, and good fresh sauerkraut might make you happy and/or healthy. I'm sorry you cringed at the pictures of some of my ferments. Maybe you don't like sauerkraut, and that is fine. I can tell you it's really good. My neighbors always appreciate when I jar some up for them. They sometimes do the same for me. They sometimes even give me a special hot sauce that one of them makes by fermenting hot chiles from their garden. It's really tasty.
  • lauriekallis
    lauriekallis Posts: 2,571 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    I can tell you it's really good. My neighbors always appreciate when I jar some up for them.

    The "power" kraut (as it is affectionately called now) I've made following your instructions, and the several batches of kimchi have proven very popular with neighbours, friends and family. Not sure if we are healthier for it (yet) but I am certain we are happier for it. And these days, that is saying a lot! Thank you, @mtaratoot !
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    Powerkraut. That's funny.

    I was reading a few weeks ago that there are three general organisms that work on sauerkraut. They colonize the ferment in series. The first one does create a small amount of ethanol. The third doesn't really get started until after two weeks; that's why you leave it at least three weeks. You can let it keep going, and it will get more sour. It also looses a little of its crispness. I usually let them go just about three weeks then put them in clean jars in the fridge. They will last for months. The low pH generated by the lactic acid (that's the byproduct of the bacterial fermentation) is what preserves it. Those same Lactobacillus is an organism I've seen listed in probiotic supplements. I have to think getting it from actual food is better. It's definitely cheaper if you make your own kraut. Same with kimchi; it's about a quarter the price of buying better quality versions in the store.

    Adding all that garlic to the last batch was very nontraditional. I like it.

    I am not sure why kimchi isn't fermented for weeks; it's really good after just a few days. Some people don't ferment it AT ALL.

    If we each made batches of the same recipe, they would all taste slightly different. There's different organisms that live on each of us, and they can affect the flavor. I heard it said that kimchi is a process not a recipe, and you can actually taste the love. I think that's from the different organisms.

    Ain't fermentation great? Same process that allows us to have wine and beer - just a different organism. Same process that makes tempeh and miso - different organisms there, too.

    Low calorie, too.

    More sauer to ya :smile:
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 7,645 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    renzjms000 wrote: »
    I have made organic level sauerkraut before. I used to make it in 55 gallon drums. All you need is shredded cabbage, salt (pickling or water softener salt), something to tamp it, and ziplock bags. Shred your cabbage, toss in .5 cup of salt per pound,, and tamp ot down in layers inside of a ceramic container. The key is to pack ot as tight as possible with as little air in the mix as possible. Once you have it filled, fill a gallon zip lock bag with water, and have it cover the entire top. This allows the gasses to escape while keeping critters out. Then set it in a warm room for 3 weeks, and enjoy. You can let it sit longer for a kraut with more tang, but no longer then 5 weeks.

    I use a LOT less salt than that. I use about a half cup of pickling salt per FIVE pounds. I let it sit in a large mixing bowl for a little while, massaging it from time to time, and only when it releases enough liquid do I pack it in the fermentation vessel. I save a couple outer leaves and use that to help hold all the shredded cabbage under the liquid, and I weigh it down with a jar partially filled with brine. I cover that with some plastic wrap and fix it to the lid with a rubber band. It still lets the gas out. I put that whole gallon jug in a plastic bucket to keep the temperature more stable and away from light and critters. If the temperature gets over 75 degrees, the kraut won't stay crisp. After three weeks I like to refrigerate it to slow fermentation way down.

    I just packed up my last batch, and I might be able to make one more before it gets too warm. I also need to make another batch of kimchi, but that only takes a few days. This batch had a couple nice heads of cabbage, a couple shredded carrots, lots of garlic (very non-traditional) and a palm full (or more) of caraway seeds. It's really good.

    If you use water softener salt, make sure it's NaCl (sodium chloride). Some softener salt is made with potassium chloride (KCl).

    Actually even less salt than I wrote. A half cup for 25 pounds of cabbage. I use about three Tbsp for a five pound batch, and that's what I make.

    I do use a half cup of salt per pound of Napa cabbage when I make kimchi, but I let it go for a few hours, massaging along the way, then I reserve the brine but rinse the cabbage a few times to get most of the salt out. I only add the brine back if it needs more liquid.