Saturday, August 7, 2010


Ive been doing quite a lot of pickling lately due to the large harvest of cabbage and cucumbers from my garden. This however is my first attempt at making sauerkraut.

I scoured the internet, ok I barely glanced, and found a few things to read but nothing really caught my eye as a definitive source. It was kind of like pickling, there's too many recipes out there with follow up or a rhyme or reason for doing what they do. So I followed my gut and made the entire thing up - its worked in the past, hopefully it doesn't let me down this time!

Sauerkraut 1.0

  • 1 Head Cabbage
  • Non-iodized salt (iodized inhibits bacteria)
  • Misc spices (garlic, chili's, fennel, etc)
  • Quart size jars + lids
  • Boil and chill enough water to fill 3 or 4 quart jars
  • Chop the cabbage into thin strips
  • Dice up any desired spices
  • Place any small or crushed spices into the bottom of the jar (stops them from floating to top)
  • Layer cabbage and any larger spices (garlic, chili's) until jar is full
  • Add ~0.5tbsp of non-iodized salt to each jar (I used 1tbsp and it was a tad salty for me)
  • Push down to compact cabbage and fill to top
  • Fill with cooled water (can be slightly warm as it gets the bacteria going and helps dissolve salt and spices)
  • Place a weight on the cabbage to keep from floating to top - Ive found a glass shotglass works perfectly
  • Let sit in a cool location for ~1-2wks until desired level of sourness is achieved, then chill and eat

Notes: You can also ferment in a big bowl to make it easier to weigh down the cabbage, Ive found the 1gal ice cream buckets work really well for this. You can take the edge off of the lid, poke a few holes in it and use it to hold down the cabbage. It is also a really good idea to keep whatever is used as a fermentor in a larger container to capture any liquid that spills over

In my jars I used different combinations of spices, I found that everyone really enjoyed the garlic and chili pod version. I added ~3-4cloves of garlic and ~4-5 japanese chili pods, it really adds a nice kick to a brat. The least favorite was the most traditional with fennel seeds.


Patrick B. said...

This site is awesome

How did you actually get a yeast culture from your Sauerkraut for use with your beers?

Ryan said...

Thank Patrick!

I ate the kraut and saved the lees

The lees in homemade sauerkraut have quite a bit of yeast in them, not only bacteria. The scum that often forms on top of pickles/kraut is an oxidative yeast

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