How to Make a Big Batch of Homemade Sauerkraut
Homemade sauerkraut is the bomb.
I know, I know. If you are like me, you hear the word sauerkraut and think YUCK.
But I’m guessing if that is your initial reaction, you’ve probably never made your own sauerkraut. I promise you that it does not compare to the store-bought kind.
Store-bought sauerkraut generally has been cooked (unless it says raw) and therefore the beneficial bacteria is no longer present. But, homemade sauerkraut contains those good bacteria that occur during the natural fermenting process.
A while back I shared a recipe for the The Best Homemade Sauerkraut. It is super flavorful as it contains garlic, onions and carrots.
However, my husband didn’t love it and neither did my kiddos. Since then, I’ve discovered two things:
- Sauerkraut made with red cabbages tastes best!
- I like simple sauerkraut with just cabbage and salt!
So I’m here today to share with you the method I use to make a BIG BATCH of sauerkraut. We grew massive red cabbage in our garden this year, so I need a way to make a bulk batch of it. And I’ve already done this twice this summer! If you want to do a smaller batch (such as in a quart-sized mason jar), you’ll want to read this instead – Quick Sauerkraut with a Head of Cabbage.
Cabbage (I prefer red)
A fermenting crock (or mason jars if doing smaller amounts)
A food scale of some sort.
A large bowl.
First, remove the outer leaves and wash cabbage.
Cut cabbage in half and remove the core from each half.
Slice the cabbage (and then dice into a small size).
OR, make it easier on yourself and use your Food Processor to easily shred.
At 3 Tablespoons per 5lbs of shredded cabbage, I found it easiest to first measure out 3 Tablespoons of salt.
Next, place a large bowl on the scale and “zero” the scale out. You’ll be weighing your shredded cabbage and adding salt based on weight.
As you add shredded cabbage to the bowl, alternate it with sprinkling on some salt. Then, mix the cabbage and salt and squeezing it with your hands until the water drips out.
Then, as your bowl fills up, gradually add the salted-and-squeezed cabbage to your fermenting crock. My method is to add some to the crock and then use a mason jar to squish it down nice and tight.
I repeat these steps until all of my cabbage is used up.
Finally, place the crock on some sort of cookie sheet or pan that has edges. Trust me, you’ll want to do this in the case of an overflow of fermenting brine.
The last step is to add weight to the top of your soon-to-be-sauerkraut in the crock. Some crocks come with a weight that you can add. However, mine did not. BUT, a friend shared that her grandmother always used a garbage bag filled with water as a weight. I have used that method several times, ALWAYS with good results.
That’s it! Now, you wait for several weeks as it ferments. After a day or two, gently lift the bag a bit to make sure it’s nice and juicy on top. If not, you may need to make some 2% brine to add to it. I have found a really nice resource for how to make more brine over at MakeSauerkraut.
After a couple weeks, use a plastic or non-metal utensil to get a bit of sauerkraut and taste it. Allow it to ferment until it’s at the texture and taste you prefer.
Lastly, once it’s fermented to your liking, simply scoop it out into clean mason jars. Secure a lid and place in a refrigerator where it will last for up to a year!
Have you made homemade sauerkraut? What scares you or prevents you from giving it a try? Please share!