First Sauerkraut

Discussion in 'Veggies' started by solaryellow, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    Since I already make corned beef, pastrami, sausage, and sour dill pickles, sauerkraut seemed like the next logical thing to scratch off the ol' to-do list. I have used the recipe for sour dills for a couple years now from Wild Fermentation so that is where I went for a sauerkraut recipe.

    Here is what was required.


    The simplicity of this is what makes it so attractive. Kosher or sea salt and cabbage. We picked up 17 lbs of cabbage from a local farmers market. The recipe calls for 3TBS of salt for every 5 pounds of cabbage. I peeled the outside leaves off and then chopped the cabbages up. Since my cabbages were 5lbs, 5lbs, and 7lbs respectively I would put in a quarter of each chopped cabbage and then sprinkle some of the kosher salt followed by punching down the cabbage with my fist to get it packed tightly.



    As I added more I could see the salt start pulling the water out of the cabbage until finally I was out of cabbage. In case you ever wonder how many liters 17lbs of cabbage is:



    And then to keep the cabbage tamped down I placed a dinner plate with two quarts mason jars filled with water on top to weigh it down.


    Then a towel was placed over the top of the bucket to keep any foreign objects out while the cabbage ferments. Over the next 24 hours the salt should continue to extract water from the cabbage until it is totally submerged in its own juice and lactic acid production ramps up. I am planning to leave it alone for about 3 - 4 weeks before trying the sauerkraut. I will check it daily to make sure the cabbage is submerged and skim any scum off the top.

    brentforsberg likes this.
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I hate that stuff with a passion!

    My other half spent time in Germany and says I have to do it home made.

    Link saved, and I may call on you for help.

    Being one of the seemingly few people who likes a good kimchi, I should like a good kraut, being half German.  [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member


  4. Hey joel, my dad showed me this little trick when he taught me to make saur kraut, I'm not sure what type of vessel you are using tho but for anyone who maybe using a crock this method works well and it also seals off your crock

    find a plate that fits in your crock as best as possible then take a large bag, I use clean garbage bags and stretch 4 down over the crock so they are on up side down then I fill  them up with a gallon of water this makes an almost airtight seal across the top of your crock and helps keep the smell down, and also helps keep out any type of bug that maybe attracted to it, after I put the water in I take the top 2 bags and pull them back up and tie them but don't pull them up so tight that they pull away from the side of the crock and then I put one more bag down over the top again, also with this method I have never gotten the foam on top and the gallon of water is plenty of weight to hold everything down

    I love kraut and we need to get ours canned!
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I want to try a small batch as I like it but that's about it here...Thanks for the post...JJ
  6. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow it is unbelievable but i started this today i got the recipe from SQWIB it will be for 6 weeks.yours looks good .

  7. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow that's cool.  Good luck on your kraut.

    I remember my dad trying to make kraut once and it was a total wash. Don't remember what went wrong, all I remember is the horrid smell. So I have never tried making it.
  8. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    That is interesting that you like kimchi but can't stand kraut.

    That part remains to be seen Joe. lol

    I am using a 22qt container from a local restaurant supply store. Now that is a brilliant idea Harry! I am assuming that the gas is still able to pass by the bag as fermentation happens? Part of the reason it took me so long to do a batch a kraut is fear of stinking up the house. I will probably pull out the mason jars and try your garbage bag method later today. When this batch is done and if it tastes right I plan to vacuum seal it in 1lbs amounts rather than can it and stick it in the fridge. My sour dills seem to do well with that method.

    Ever add any other ingredients to your kraut Harry? I wanted to toss in some onion and garlic but figured it would be best to get a baseline before I start messing with the recipe.

    Good luck!

    Great minds think alike?
    Thanks sprky! I have read that the smell can get pretty intense.
  9. actually no I don't add anything untill I cook it and usually just onions, and sometimes a small amount of beer, thats big around here  to mellow out the salt, I kinda like the salty flavor,

    My Dad told me when he was in Germany they locals just kept there crock in the cupboard and when they wanted kraut the pulled it out, and then put it back in, said they never refrigerated it or canned it, also he said they put rye seeds in them
  10. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    12 hours later and the liquid is up to the plate. You can see the volume of the cabbage has already shrunk by 20%.

  11. rstr hunter

    rstr hunter Smoking Fanatic

    Likely fennel seeds which many use in rye breads.
  12. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    you will love it, Joel.  I made sour pickles this year from the same site.  Then I made kraut...awesome.  I'm ready for another batch, this time will be using purple cabbage.  I eat it "raw".  fantastic!  

    Also on my second batch of kimchi.  there is something addictive about fermented foods!

  13. Thank you, what ever they are I can't stand that flavor...LOL,

    I don't mind it in sausages, but I do not like it on my bread and in my kraut
  14. Caraway seed is what's traditionally used in sauerkraut and rye bread.
  15. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This post will be a classic!

    Can't wait to try it!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  16. mrh

    mrh Meat Mopper

    I have used the garbage bag method for the fermenting of the kraut too.  I highly recommend it! I usually make it in a 10 gallon crock that my Grandpa used to use.  I put a relish plate upside on the kraut and then double bag a couple garbage bags and put some water in them to help weight down the tray and it seals out to the edge of the crock.  Basically it is a airlock it will let the gasses from the fermenting out and keep anything else from getting in.  Don't hardly ever get any scum on the edges.  One year I canned 55 quarts. Good stuff!

  17. I don't think garbage bags are a good idea, they're not food safe and they're prone to leaks.

    I used to use zip bags full of 6% brine so if they leak it won't ruin a whole batch of kraut!

    I've since switched to totally eliminating the air space in the fermentation chamber....I fill the, in most cases, 1/2 gallon canning jar all the way to the rim and top with a lid without a ring....weight on top of the air space for mold to grow. This does the same thing as the bags without any fuss. Works like a charm!


  18. We have been using the trash bag method for as long as I can remember, never had any problem, double up the bags in case of a leak, I have always been under the impression that there needs to be weight bearing down on the shredded cabbage to help break it down, we usually shred 50 to 100lbs of cabbage in a batch, what do you do with the kraut after it has fermented?
  19. hemi

    hemi Smoking Fanatic

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]This thread has gotten plumb strange..  about a year ago I took up Kraut makin'    Because I like it.. always have..Grandma used to make it.

    I revived her recipe for what she called her''fancy'' kraut.  Half red cabbage, caraway seed , apple slices and sometimes onion and/or cucumber slices.

    mosta the time the cucumber slices turned to mush.

      I use the above ingredients but I also save the left over juice from my Kimchee and add it when I put it in jars.

    can U spell GOOOOOOOD ?

      A friend gave me a huge stainless stock pot that is made too cheap and thin to use for a stockpot.  Works great as a kraut crock.

    I use a two gallon food storage bag and fill it with a brine mixture just in case of leaks.

    I think I will just use gallon pickle jars next time.  We leave it out until it tastes about right and then put the lids on just snug and refrigerate.

      I will leave a jar out on the back counter for a personal 'stash'   Aboutm the time that it smells like u stepped in something like a ''landmine''

    and tracked it in...   YuMMMMM..

    Slice some polish sausage on a diagonal and slice some onyons' Fry it out on the griddle inna smoker where the hotspot always is..  git out the alkaseltzer..

    Damn, it is makin my mouth water...    Hemi

    BTW the griddle thingie is pretty good quality for chinese stuff.  I am a machinist and I don't think i could have made it myself for less 50bucks?

    Lowes..  Sizzle Q..
  20. been making it for my whole life, german grandparents and we were the labor 45 gallons once a year ,end result well worth it. if most people saw the funk that grows on top of the batch they would never eat it.i like big casino's trick but grandpa kraut said the funk was necessary for flavor and what he said was law

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