Sauerkraut is widely appreciated as a probiotic food. It’s also a delicious addition to sandwiches and sausages. I’ll just eat it by the spoonful though, I like it that much. I know it’s cheap enough to buy, but it’s even cheaper to make your own. Easy too, with the right equipment.
Mason Jar Sauerkraut Recipe
- 1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds), 2 outer leaves removed and retained, the rest thinly sliced
- Kosher sea salt, 1½ tablespoons Morton's aka Windsor Kosher Salt OR 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal brand
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (*Optional)
Make sure your mason jars (two 1-quart jars) are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. Add the cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Massage the salt into the cabbage gently with your hands until it becomes watery and limp, similar to coleslaw. This takes 5-10 minutes. If you’re using caraway seeds, mix them in now.
Pack the cabbage into the mason jars. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into equally into the jars. Place one of the outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.
Once all the cabbage is packed into the jars, put your fermentation weight on top and press the cabbage down until completely submerged in liquid. The weight helps keep the cabbage weighed down, and eventually, submerged beneath its liquid. Cover the the mason jar with a fermenting lid. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents dust or insects from getting into the jar. At this point, if your kit has a pump, use it to draw out all the air from the jars.
Press the cabbage every few hours. Over the next 24 hours, press down on the fermentation weight. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it’ll become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
Add extra liquid if needed. If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days. As it's fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65-75°. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid. Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than larger batches.
Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight and fermentation lid, cover with the mason jar lid and store in the fridge. You can ferment the sauerkraut 10 days or even longer until you’re happy with the taste. While it's fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don't eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
Store sauerkraut for several months. This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if refrigerated. As long as it tastes and smells good to eat, it is. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.
Did you make this mason jar sauerkraut recipe? If so, please let me know how it turned out in the comments. Or if you share pics of your creations on Instagram, please tag me so I can see them. Enjoy! :)