Time to make Sauerkraut!

The ideal time for making and preserving homemade sauerkraut is in the fall.
Time to make Sauerkraut! - News

Updated: December 5, 2017

Time to make Sauerkraut!

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When it comes to home food preservation, one of the last foods put up for the winter is often sauerkraut. Cabbage harvested in the fall contains the natural sugars necessary for fermentation and the cooler weather allows fermentation to take place at a rate that discourages spoilage.

Some key points when making sauerkraut:

  • Shred or cut cabbage about 1/16 inch thick – the thickness of a quarter. It needs to be broken up enough to bruise the cells to release the sugars.
  • Use canning or pickling salt.
  • Use 3 tablespoons salt for each 5 pounds of shredded cabbage. Do not reduce the amount of salt.
  • Pack cabbage down to draw out liquid to cover the cabbage.
  • Let prepared cabbage sit between 60° F and 75°F. It will take 3 to 4 weeks to ferment at temperatures between 70° - 75°F and 5 to 6 weeks between 60° - 65°F.
  • Higher temperatures will encourage spoilage and at temperatures below 60°F, the cabbage may not ferment.

Once the fermentation is complete, you can package and freeze your sauerkraut or process it in a boiling water bath canner. Penn State Extension provides instructions to safely preserve your final product.

*Fermenting sauerkraut in jars is not recommended. In a jar, fermentation is less consistent and keeping the fermenting cabbage properly submerged is more difficult.

Authors

Martha Zepp