Ward of Winter Colds With Homemade Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut tastes great on more than just hot dogs. Toss it on just about anything and stay healthy the old fashioned way.

Before refrigeration, fermentation was a common method of preserving foods. Not only did fermenting foods keep them from going bad, it transformed them into super foods — making them more digestible, loading them with beneficial bacteria, Vitamin B12, and making other nutrients more bio-available.
Fermented foods have been making a comeback in recent years because of their health benefits.  Here’s an easy recipe for one of the most popular fermented foods — sauerkraut — that’ll keep your immune system strong all year long.
Two glass jars, one quart-sized, wide mouth, mason jar, a smaller jar or glass (the right size to fit through the neck of the larger one), some green or purple cabbage, and some high quality salt is all you’ll need to get started.
Follow the instructions below, and in as little as a week you can be eating your very own kraut.
1 head green cabbage, about 1 3/4 pounds
1 1/8 Tablespoon salt (non-iodized)
1. Wash your jars well.
2. Chop the cabbage (and any other vegetable you want — peppers, onions, carrots, etc.) into long, thin strands.
3. In a bowl, toss the sliced cabbage with the salt—it will start to weep water, which will dissolve the salt and make your brine.
4. Mash the cabbage down into the quart-sized jar with a mallet, spoon or your hand.
Fill the smaller jar with water and use it to press the cabbage further down into the quart jar, forcing out any air and making sure the cabbage is covered in brine. Leave it there to keep the cabbage from floating.

5. Drape a towel over the jars to keep out dust and flying insects and set it on the back of your counter.
A couple of times a day, plunge down on the inside jar to further pack the cabbage and raise the level of the brine until it is over the surface of the cabbage.
If the brine doesn’t cover the cabbage after about 24 hours, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 1/3 cup of water and pour it on top of the cabbage to raise the brine level. Then you can stop pushing down the weight jar.

6. After a few days, you may see some mold floating on the surface; this is normal and harmless. Your cabbage is safely out of reach under the brine, where more desirable organisms are working their magic. Scoop out as much of the mold as you can, wash the weight jar, and you’re good to go again.

If the thought of letting cabbage sit unrefrigerated on your counter for days at a time is unsettling, just know that all the lactic acid is killing off any harmful organisms, while bringing out the flavor and nutrient content of the cabbage.

7. Taste your cabbage every day thereafter. It will start to get tangy after just a few days at room temperature. When the flavor is perfect, put a lid on your jar and put it in the fridge (the cold slows the fermentation process), and eat it up within a few weeks.

The sourness of sauerkraut pairs well with sweeter meats, which is why it’s often served with pork.

If you have any brine left in the jar when the kraut is gone, don’t throw it out! Kraut juice is a popular digestive tonic. Drink it straight, add it to salad dressing or add to any of your favorite German dishes.





15 responses to “Ward of Winter Colds With Homemade Sauerkraut”

  1. CAROL DREYER Avatar


  2. TERRY Avatar

    thanks, will try it.

  3. Mary Avatar

    Why isn’t the kraut you buy in grocery store just as good for you as going by this recipe?

    1. Michelle Priestley Avatar
      Michelle Priestley

      Most store bought kraut is pickled with vinegar. Its tasty but doesn’t have the same nutrition as fermented foods, they have good bacteria for your gut.

      1. dawn conner Avatar

        yup. it is. I worked at a living history site, and I asked every older woman who came through if she had HER mothers ‘kraut’ recipe. I wrote them all down. I have them in a notebook. one lady remembers her mom actually just quartering the smallest heads of cabbage and making it that way. sounds weird to me, but, I wasn’t there so, who knows. its hard to understand how people got over the ‘ICK’ factor of living w/o refridgeration(sp?)

    2. Troy Avatar

      Because grocery store kraut is pasteurized to increase shelf life and pasteurization kills all the good bacteria.
      It’s also worth noting that you need to use non-iodized salt as iodine will also kill the good bacteria that you want.

  4. Chris Avatar

    My parents would put up 2 giant crocs of this every fall. Never really got the recipe. This one sounds perfect for me being the only Kraut lover in my house.

    1. Martha Kay Karsnia Avatar
      Martha Kay Karsnia

      Crock Kraut Recipe

      5# shredded cabbage
      3 Tbsp. Pickling/Canning salt

      Toss in the crock and pound with a mallet or heal of hand until water comes up over the cabbage. Add another 5# batch with 3 Tbsp. salt to crock and pound until water covers the cabbage. Continue until the crock is almost full OR you run out of cabbage.

      Take 2 unscented 13 gallon trash bags, fitting one inside the other. Put enough water in the inside bag so when placed on top of cabbage in crock the water covers the entire area. Seal each bag up individually and leave for 8 weeks. No need for a weighted plate, the water bag does the trick. We’ve been doing our kraut this way for years and get rave reviews on the taste.

      Good Luck and enjoy.

      1. Bill Buel Avatar
        Bill Buel

        we have been making Kraut in a crock for better than40 years it turns out great each year found a great recipe in a book called Stocking Up by the Editors of ORGANIC GARDENING AND FARMING

  5. Robin Avatar

    My kraut did not ferment. It has done absolutely nothing. Time to try again. I may keep my house to cool for the fermentation to take place.

  6. David C Avatar
    David C

    Perhaps having a senior’s moment here, but is that 1 x one eighth tsp of salt (tiny amount), 1 and one eighth tsp of salt(odd amount), or something else?

    1. Barbara Avatar

      I am confused on this one too – hope they answer.

  7. Diana Avatar

    Just curious. I have bean pots will this do the same and could a water balloon do the same.
    And can you can this after the facted.
    As uou can see ” beginner”

    1. Larry J Gallagher Avatar
      Larry J Gallagher

      I make it in a gallon jar and than transfer to smaller jars and have canned it. I think some of the probiotic and natural bacterial protection gets destroed by cooking it. (cold packing) But you don’t have to refrigerate after that until opened and still good roughage. Larry

  8. Gail Avatar

    You can freeze in freezer bags…I use quart bags.