Monday, March 7, 2011


Sauerkraut is so simple to make that it feels foolish to blog about. Like giving up the tiny, elegant trick behind a sleight of hand. Or maybe just repeating the obvious. Luckily it can be darn purty as well, so I feel OK indulging myself...

For the uninitiated, sauerkraut at its most basic has two ingredients: cabbage & salt. Spices, herbs, vegetables (carrots, beets, daikon, etc.), and fruit (apples!) can be added for classic or innovative variations on the theme. For drier cabbages you may need to add water (and more salt). Yesterday I went basic: red and green cabbage (hoping for a pinkish final product), sliced fine, tossed with generous shakes of sea salt, massaged a bit, and packed down tightly into a crock. You then weight the cabbage with a plate & a nice big jar of water to continue squeezing out the moisture, wait a couple of weeks (depending on the temperature), and voila! Delicious, homemade sauerkraut. Great for you, cheap as can be, and easy as pie (actually far, far easier than pie).

A few notes: Sandor Katz is the reigning king of kraut, as well as being an extraordinarily interesting sounding individual and a lovely writer. His site is indispensable. In the crock department, you can alternately use a large food grade plastic container. I've seen this work just fine, but it somehow strikes me as less satisfying. I've also heard that packing directly into Mason jars and then topping off with brine works as well, but I can't vouch for this method myself. On the other end, specialized kraut crocks can run you over $100 from online sources. I split the difference and bought a non-specialized but nonetheless thoroughly satisfying 2 gallon stoneware crock at the local co-op (shout out, Rainbow Grocery!) for under $25. They are out there.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Allyse, thanks for the instructions - and encouragement. My kraut came out well - I'm happy it worked! Will try it with red cabbage next time.