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

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.


Process Time at Altitudes of

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


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.

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