State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600857
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 l- 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.
Cabbage and cucumbers must be kept 1 to 2 inches under
brine while fermenting. After adding prepared vegetables
and brine, insert a suitably sized dinner plate or glass pie
plate inside the fermentation container. The plate must be
slightly smaller than the container opening, yet large
enough to cover most of the shredded cabbage or cucumbers.
To keep the plate under the brine, place on it 2 to 3 sealed
quart jars filled with water. Covering the container
opening with a clean, heavy bath towel helps to prevent
contamination from insects and molds while the vegetables
are fermenting. Fine quality fermented vegetables are also
obtained when the plate is weighted down with a very large
clean, plastic bag filled with 3 quarts of water containing
4-1/2 tablespoons of salt and be sure to seal the plastic
bag. Freezer bags sold for packaging turkeys are suitable
for use with 5-gallon containers.
The fermentation container, plate, and jars must be
washed in hot sudsy water, and rinsed well with very hot
water before use.