Introduction: Mason Jar Sauerkraut

Picture of Mason Jar Sauerkraut

After an afternoon of thinning and harvesting the garden beds that we shared this summer as part of a backyard garden series in Whitehorse, a group of us learned how to make single jar batches of sauerkraut!

Making sauerkraut is one way to preserve some of the harvest for later, and because the cabbage is fermented, it forms lactobacillus's probiotics which are supposed to be extra good for you and your gut!

This method is super easy. Once prepared, the sauerkraut is stored in a cool place, like the back of the fridge or root cellar, for a few months, to be pulled out right around the winter solstice when it can be enjoyed almost like crisp fresh cabbage - or so i have been told! (our first tasting is still months away).

Step 1: Equipment and Ingredients:

Picture of Equipment and Ingredients:
    • freash cabbage head
    • non idodinized salt - sea salt or kosher salt
    • cutting board and knife
    • mason jars
    • boiling water - kettle/pot
    • plastic wrap
    • cool place to store for 4 months

    Step 2: Prepare the Cabbage

    Picture of Prepare the Cabbage

    Remove any wilted outer leaves from the cabbage and cut the head in half from top to bottom. This will allow it to be laid flat on the cutting board.

    Beginning at one end, cut thin slices off the head - cut them as thin as you can! (smaller than an 1/8" in thickness if possible). It takes practise to slice it this thin, it is almost as if you are trying to shave off one layer at a time. Don't include the solid core of the cabbage in your shreddings.

    You can either cut the entire cabbage head up this way, or stop once you have a sizeable pile cut.

    Step 3: Add the Salt

    Picture of Add the Salt

    Line up your clean mason jars, and add one tsp of sea salt (non-iodized) to each pint jar.

    Step 4: Pack the Jars

    Picture of Pack the Jars

    Add cut up cabbage to each jar, packing the jar(s) up to just below the top.

    Our cabbage was cut a bit thick (photo 1)! When we got better at cutting it thinly, we replaced some of the thicker cabbage (photo 3).

    Slice more cabbage if you need to, and continue to fill the jars until they are all packed.

    Step 5: Add Boiling Water

    Picture of Add Boiling Water

    Add boiling water to each jar until it covers over the top of the cabbage. Remove a bit of cabbage if the jar is too full to cover completely with water.

    Step 6: Seal the Jars

    Picture of Seal the Jars

    Add a layer of plastic wrap over each of the jars, before adding your metal lids. This will protect the lids from being corroded by the salt water.

    Tighten, but don't over tighten the lids :).

    Step 7: Shake It Up!

    Picture of Shake It Up!

    Shake it baby, shake it! This will dissolve and distribute the salt in the water.

    Step 8: Store It for Later!

    Picture of Store It for Later!

    Thats it. Once your jar(s) of cabbage have cooled to room temperature, tuck them away in the back of the fridge or cool root cellar, and try to forget about them for a few months :).

    This particular recipe and method must be kept cool and is intended to be opened and eaten around the solstice (Dec 21).

    Warning: Because this method involves making sauerkraut in a sealed jar, if it warms up too much, the cabbage will ferment more rapidly, produce more gas, and might become too pressurized - you don't want your jars to explode, so be sure to keep your sauerkraut cool!

    Comments

    TheGeek1984 (author)2016-08-30

    "...almost like crisp fresh cabbage..." So, it doesn't ferment then? Or does it? It states later on that if it's kept too warm it'll ferment too fast...so I'm kind of confused. Is this preserved cabbage, or sauerkraut like you'd get on a Reuben?

    licheness (author)TheGeek19842016-08-30

    The person who taught us how to make this called it sauerkraut but it will not be as soft as traditional sauerkraut, somewhat fermented but more crisp, she described it as having a bit of a fizzy quality, maybe like it tastes early on in the making of traditional sauerkraut. I'll add my impressions to this instructable when I get to taste it myself!

    TheGeek1984 (author)licheness2016-08-30

    Ah, okay. I'll check back. Thank you!

    pcairic (author)TheGeek19842017-09-03

    I am pretty sure raw sauerkraut must be cooked after it is fermented. Here is a quick recipe:

    Rinse the sauerkraut, press it to remove liquid. In a pan melt pork fat, with chunks of bacon, one glass of white wine or beer. Add sauerkraut and water to half, juniper berries, clove and laurel leaf. Simmer for three hours. The sauerkraut should be tender.

    For a vegan version, you can of course skip the pork bits.

    lipstic (author)licheness2016-09-09

    What you have made is propper sauerkraut. Unfortunately what we are used to is a soggy mess made with vinegar. Real sauerkraut has health benefits due to the fermenting process, vinegar based does not. Thanks for posting this :)

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