Introduction: Easy Small Batch Fermented Sauerkraut

About: Retired teacher from long ago and semi-retired graphic designer who loves the outdoors. American expat living in New Zealand for over 20 years.

You might wonder how to get a big cabbage into a small jar.

Follow these easy steps to find out.

Step 1: All You Need to Get Started


Salt—must not be iodised

Bowl—bigger is better

Jar with wide mouth, gasket and wire bale 100mm wide x 150mm tall. These are readily available at kitchen and houseware stores.

Shredder or sharp knife

Measuring spoons

Step 2: Chop the Cabbage Into Sixths

This isn’t the cabbage in the first photo, that one was cut up before I could snap the picture.

Remove the outer leaves and wipe off any remaining dirt but don’t wash the cabbage.

Step 3: Shred or Slice Finely

We prefer to slice the cabbage as it tends to fall apart in our shredder.

Step 4: Add Salt

Add 1.5 - 2 Tablespoons of salt to the bowl full of shredded or finely sliced cabbage.

Remember to use kosher, plain or sea salt but make sure it isn’t iodised or fermentation won’t happen.

Step 5: Massage Cabbage

Roll your sleeves up and massage the cabbage for between 5 and 10 minutes.

After a few minutes water will be released from the cabbage. Keep going until the cabbage becomes very limp.

You might notice the bowl in this step is not the same glass bowl as in step 2. The glass bowl was too small to massage the cabbage in so I transferred everything to a bigger one.

Photo 3 in this step shows the limp cabbage, the next one shows the juice that was released through the massaging.

Step 6: Pack the Cabbage Into the Jar

Grab a handful of cabbage and put it into the jar.

Tamp down with your closed fist.

Repeat until almost all of the cabbage is in the jar, getting it as full as possible.

Some of the “juice” might need to be discarded.

Step 7: Fill the Jar Right Up

Then close the lid.

The key to making small batch sauerkraut is to use a wide mouth jar with a rubber gasket and wire bale.

The one I use holds about 750ml and is 100mm wide x 150mm tall. It's perfect for one head of cabbage. The wire bale allows the liquid to release from the jar during the fermentation process.

Step 8: Storage During Fermentation

Rest the closed jar in a bowl as liquid will be released during the first few days. The wire fastener keeps a tight fit while still allowing liquid to escape.

Store it in a cool dark place for 8 - 14 days. Fermentation takes longer in cold weather and less time in summer.

Step 9: The Finished Sauerkraut

Color and texture changes during fermentation.

There are many variables which contribute to different outcomes—the cabbage itself, the amount of salt, season etc.

Store in the refrigerator and enjoy the crisp, crunchy, tart sauerkraut.

Step 10: