Small-batch Sauerkraut

From Julie Van Rosendaal

2015 Sep/Oct

When it comes to DIY fermenting, sauerkraut – literally, soured cabbage – is as easy as it gets; all you need is a knife and a jar. (And a cabbage, and some salt.) It’s made by a process called lacto-fermentation, in which beneficial bacteria turn the sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid, which gives it its distinctive sour flavour while preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.


  • 1 small green cabbage
  • 2 T. kosher salt


Remove the rubbery outer leaf or two from the cabbage, reserving it, and cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut out the core and thinly slice each wedge.

Put the finely shredded cabbage into a large bowl with the salt and toss to combine, massaging the cabbage with your hands to help start breaking it down. Let it sit for about 20 minutes – it should start releasing liquid.

Pack the cabbage into clean glass Mason jars, pouring any liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl over top. Place a large piece of the reserved outer leaf over the surface and weigh it down with a smaller jar or other weighted object – ceramic fermenting weights are available at some stores. The idea is for all the chopped cabbage to remain submerged in the brine.

Cover with a square of cheesecloth and an elastic band and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. If enough liquid has not been released to cover the cabbage, make extra by dissolving 1 t. salt in 1 c. water and pouring it over top.

Let the sauerkraut ferment for at least a week, and up to a month; if white foam or scum appears on the surface, simply spoon it off. Once it’s fermented, remove the weight and seal the jar; your sauerkraut will keep in cool storage for a couple of months, or refrigerated for longer. Makes about 4 cups.