Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600078
25 lb. cabbage 3/4 cup canning or pickling salt
QUALITY: For the best sauerkraut, use firm heads of fresh cabbage. Shred cabbage and start kraut between 24 and 48 hours after harvest.
YIELD: About 9 quarts
PROCEDURE: Work with about 5 pounds of cabbage at a time. Discard outer leaves. Rinse heads under cold running water and drain. Cut heads in quarters and remove cores. Shred or slice to a thickness of a quarter. Put cabbage in a suitable fermentation container (see explanation following processing times) and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Mix thoroughly, using clean hands. Pack firmly until salt draws juices from cabbage. Repeat shredding, salting, and packing until all cabbage is in the container. Be sure the container is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage. If juice does not cover cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1-1/2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water). Add plate and weights, cover container with a clean bath towel. Store at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit while fermenting. At temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, kraut will be fully fermented in about 3 to 4 weeks; at 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, fermentation may take 5 to 6 weeks. At temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit kraut may not ferment. Above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, kraut may become soft. If you weigh the cabbage down with a brine-filled bag (6 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water), do not disturb the crock until normal fermentation is completed (when bubbling ceases). If you use jars as weight, you will have to check the kraut 2 to 3 times each week and remove scum if it forms. Fully fermented kraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months or it may be canned as follows:
Hot pack--Bring kraut and liquid slowly to a boil in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fill hot jars rather firmly with kraut and juices, leaving 1/2- inch headspace.
Raw pack--Fill jars firmly with kraut, and cover with juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process.
RECOMMENDED PROCESS TIMES FOR SAUERKRAUT IN A BOILING-WATER CANNER
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Jar 0- 1001- 3001- 6001- Pack Size 1000 ft. 3000 ft. 6000 ft. 8000 ft.
Hot Pints 10 min. 15 min. 15 min. 20 min. Hot Quarts 15 20 20 25
Raw Pints 20 min. 25 min. 30 min. 35 min. Raw Quarts 25 30 35 40
SUITABLE CONTAINERS, COVERS AND WEIGHTS FOR FERMENTING FOOD
A 1-gallon container is needed for each 5 pounds of fresh vegetables. Therefore, a 5-gallon stone crock is of ideal size for fermenting about 25 pounds of fresh cabbage or cucumbers. Food-grade plastic and glass containers are excellent substitutes for stone crocks. Other 1-to 3- gallon non-food-grade plastic containers may be used if lined inside with a clean food-grade plastic bag. CAUTION: Be certain that foods contact only food-grade plastics. Do not use garbage bags or trash liners. Fermenting sauerkraut in quart and half-gallon Mason jars is an acceptable practice, but may result in more spoilage losses.