Sauerkraut cures all diseases, depression, and lack of pizzazz. Speaking of which, It goes great on pizza and zests up any dish. Cabbage is the cheapest vegetable. Here's how to make it into the most valuable sauerkraut.

Here are the basic tools:

Cabbage: These came from Haymarket in Boston, $1 each. If you wait til the Saturday night apocalypse you can buy them from in front of the bulldozer for a lot less. Or pick them up from the wreckage. Get a pile of cabbages that's bigger than the vat you need to fill.

Veggie Grater: What you really want is a "kraut knife" ($3 in Nicaragua) which is a board with a blade set in it at an angle. The shavings exit from a slot in the board under the blade. If you don't have one of those use a knife or machete.

Baseball bat: A friend cut the end off because he needed it for some project.

Sea salt: $1.50/lb at Trader Joe's. Don't use regular salt. It'll work okay, but God put sea salt in our blood for good reasons, and it's got to be replenished.

Knife: If the blade gets halfway through the cabbage it's plenty long.

Carraway seeds: Not seen in this photo but they improve the kraut. I have a friend whose real name is Cotton Seed. His brother's name is Caraway Seed.

p.s. I also have a friend named Paul who makes good sauerkraut.

Step 1: The Vat

Cut the top off a water jug.
As always, don't cut toward yourself and you won't get cut.

Use a knife to avoid getting shavings all over. Use a saw if you prefer.
This is a "shop knife" or "sloyd" from mcmaster.com.
It's got the best steel in the universe. It holds an edge while cutting other knives.

Ceramic pots from "crockpot" units are good for making kraut. Or any other vessel that won't put poison in the food when the acid "sauer" hits it. Don't use aluminum or stainless steel unless you want chromium, nickel, and other metallic poison in your food.
Salt MUST be added to keep bad bacteria from growing and give the good bacteria a friendly place to grow. <br />
I've used a food grade five gallon bucket with a lid and weighed the kraut down with ziplock bags filled with water. I also used a salt water mix in the cabbage to 'top it up' once the cabbage is in to make sure it is submerged and there is plenty of juice. Are you just leaving it in the fermenter and scooping it out as needed? I guess that would work. I jarred mine.
I do hope you don't mean you canned it, cause then you'd be destroying the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
No, I didn't heat treat or anything. Just put it in jars and put it in the fridge. Lots and lots and lots of jars.
Oh good! I just start mine in jars to begin with.
My favorite batch was made with savoy cabbage, bok choy, carrots, jerusalem artichokes, fat green onions, cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic (but much milder than kim-chee) and carrot/bock choy juice. And it was delicious with anything and everything. K maybe not toffee pudding, but I wouldn't wanna bet on that! ;-) If it could use a little more juice, you can use a juicer to top it off while adding more flavor and nutrients. You can reduce the sodium this way if you want. Get creative. If you like it or you have it, put it in. That goes for spices and veggies. It's kinda hard to screw up the flavor really, and you might hit on something you are wild about!
Great post, just what I needed. So you don't buy any bacteria, just let it go? Courageous ...! How long before it tastes like sauerkraut? Would it speed up the process if one would add some of the old Sauerkraut to the new batch? (like with bread) btw, I love sauerkraut with juniperberries rather then carraway seed
It's not really courageous, it'll be obvious if it worked or not.
Wow, I thought I was the only one 'tarded enough to use a baseball bat. Viva la scrounge! Whatever gets the job done, right? BTW, you made a comment about not using any salt at all---from what I've read, that's a no-no. Haven't done it, but I understand that the salt keeps the "bad" bacteria from growing, while allowing the correct lacto-aceto blah blah hootchiejiggers to convert the plants sugars to acids, hence the preservation and flavor. Great instructable. Try Kimchi, it's the same process basically, different ingredients, and tastes fantastic.
It can be done. I don't recall the details, but there's a nice yahoo group on wild fermentation.
This is soo much tastier than store-bought kraut.
Thanks so much for this. I used one bag of coleslaw shredded cabbage and filled one mason jar with it. It made the best Reuben sandwiches ever.
Hi Tim My brewbuddies and i have started to do this years ago. The first batch was some 70 pounds, now we make 150 pounds. We have a HDPE barrel and a wooden stomper with handle. It's something like a baseball bat, only tripple it's weight. Kraut is quite common around here, but i always hated the storebought stuff. I looked for Kraut recipes on the internet and found many. I looked for their similarities and differences. Our "Grand Cru 2007" was just bagged up yesterday. We bag it, when it reaches the desired sourness. Then we put it into the fridge to stop/slow down further souring. In addition to cabbage salt and caraway, we use some other interesting stuff, that makes it stand above the pack. We use some onions, horse radish, mustard seeds and juniper berries. We also top it up with white wine instead of just water. If someone is interested in the exact receipe, i have to get it from our brewery. Just let me know.
Most of the time I miss you, Tim. Step 7 reminds me there's an upside to being on the other side of the world. There's a reason it's not called 'happy kraut'
I'll have to try the caraway in my next batch of <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.instructables.com/id/%5bCollegiate-Meals%5d-How-to-Make-Sour-Kraut/">Kraut</a> :)<br/><br/>Fermented foods have become popular in my apartment :) We have a bucket of kimchi (a Korean sort of Kraut) that's stinking up the place right now :p<br/>
Hey! I didn't know you were a kraut artist! well done! I just added a link to yours.
Your's is easier... Hooray Paul, boo Tim ;-)
It's the same process :p Except Tim has style points for using a bat instead of your fists + using a water cooler jug :p Bigger Batches means less effort and more for everyone :)
Somehow I missed your's , way prettier, Hooray Paul, boo Tim ;-)
Awesome as always, I love kraut, married a Polish (the country, not the shoe) girl who hates it, go figure. Are you serious about the pizza?
Kraut on a pizza is great! My favorite is a cracker thin crust, with italian sausage. The cooked kraut is much mellower - not as sharp or sour.
mhhhhmmmm kraut My mom makes this with kielbasa and its so good, I think I might make this (In the garage, lol)

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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