How to Make Sauerkraut Recipe in a Crock

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Are you ready to make the best sauerkraut you’ve ever tasted? Once you try it you’ll see why I love to make my sauerkraut recipe in a crock. 

Sauerkraut recipe crock

Sauerkraut recipe in a crock

I have a jar sauerkraut recipe here that is perfect for anyone just getting started making homemade fermented food on a smaller scale. However, my favorite way to make sauerkraut is in a 5 gallon crock. It’s a really efficient way to make a large amount of sauerkraut that will last our family for months.

Sauerkraut is one of my favorite fermentation crock recipes because you get the best flavor ever! The longer fermentation time also means lower histamine levels, which can be very important for those following the GAPS diet

Read all about the amazing sauerkraut benefits here. If you want lots of ideas for what to eat with sauerkraut, get 38 ideas here. Get my fermented beets recipe here. Some other of our favorite fermented foods are this fermented carrots recipe and this easy kimchi recipe.

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Easily make a big batch of the most delicious sauerkraut using the traditional stoneware crock method. Sauerkraut crock recipe, how to make sauerkraut in a crock. #healthyrecipes #fermentedfoods #forgut

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Get my full disclosure here. 

The basics and tips for making homemade sauerkraut 

It’s important to use the right amount of salt for successful fermentation. I use 3 tablespoons of a high quality mineral salt, like Celtic sea salt, per 5 pounds of cabbage.

This amount makes sure that there is enough salt for the right kinds of probiotics to develop, and to prevent the wrong kinds of microbes from growing. It’s also not too salty when it comes to taste.

I definitely recommend organic cabbages for making sauerkraut. In my experience, conventionally grown cabbages often mold, while organic ones don’t. 

The amount of cabbage you’ll need depends on the size of your crock, and the size of the cabbages. For a half gallon crock, 1-2 cabbages should fit. I use about 12 cabbages for my 5 gallon crock. 

Be sure and check out my sauerkraut recipe crock video to see these tips in action. 

Shredding cabbage for sauerkraut

Choosing a crock

There are different types of fermentation crocks out there, and it’s good to know the pros and cons of the different designs. The two main types of feremtation crocks are open top and water seal. I’ve fermented in both kinds with good success. 

An open crock is usually easier to find and less expensive, but it can be harder to keep mold and kahm yeast from developing. They don’t usually include lids or weights.

Water seal crocks provide an airlock system that is helpful in preventing mold and kahm yeast, but they tend to be pricier. They include a lid and usually some fermentation weights. 

If you’re in the market for a fermentation crock, check out my fermentation crock comparison here

How to make sauerkraut at home

How to make sauerkraut in a crock

Ingredients:

Instructions: 

  1. Clean crock thoroughly with dish soap and water and let air dry.
  2. Wash cabbages and remove any outer leaves that don’t look good.
  3. Remove cores from cabbage, and shred cabbages with a sharp knife, food processor, or kraut shredder. 
  4. Put shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add 3 TBSP mineral salt per 5 lb. of cabbage.
  5. Let cabbage sit with salt for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Pound cabbage with wooden pounder or massage cabbage with hands until it starts to wilt.
  7. Add shredded cabbage to crock.
  8. Pack cabbage down tightly until liquid starts to rise.
  9. Add fermentation weights on top of cabbage and press down.
  10. If liquid doesn’t cover cabbage completely, add some filtered water until cabbage is completely submerged.
  11. If using a water seal crock, add water to rim and put lid in place. If using an open top crock, cover crock with a towel.
  12. Let cabbage ferment in a warm room temperature area (around 70ºF) until you like the taste, around 6 weeks or longer.
  13. After fermentation is complete, move sauerkraut to jars and store in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator.

How to shred cabbage for sauerkraut

Homemade sauerkraut FAQs

How long should sauerkraut ferment in a crock?

I let my 5 gallon crock of sauerkraut sit for at least 6 weeks, often longer. If you’re using a smaller crock, you may be able to get by with less time. However, no matter what size container, I always find that the best flavor develops at 6 weeks or more.

How do you know when sauerkraut is done?

Suaerkraut is ready to eat when it has a pleasant, tart taste. If it isn’t quite ready, it will just taste like salty cabbage. 

How to store sauerkraut

Does homemade sauerkraut need to be refrigerated? It depends.

When I follow this sauerkraut crock recipe, I let it ferment in a warm room temperature area for 6 weeks or longer. After it’s done fermenting, I move the sauerkraut to half gallon or quart glass jars. 

I store most of the jars of sauerkraut in our basement, where it is cooler and darker. As long as the kraut stays submerged beneath the brine, it stays good for many months. Whatever jar we’re currently eating out of I keep in our refrigerator. 

Sauerkraut in a fermentation crock

How do you use sauerkraut in a crock?

Like I mentioned above, I store the sauerkraut in jars once it’s done fermenting, so I just use it out of the jars. If you’re careful to keep the sauerkraut submerged beneath the brine, you could continue to store it and use straight out of the crock, as was done traditionally. I just find it’s easier to use it out of jars. 

Can you use too much salt when making sauerkraut?

Yes, too much salt will prevent the probiotic bacteria from properly growing. It will also make the sauerkraut taste too salty. If you follow the rule of 1 tablespoon of mineral salt per head of cabbage, it should work perfectly. 

Can sauerkraut ferment too long?

I suppose it’s possible, but it would have to be a really long time! Traditionally, making sauerkraut was how people preserved cabbage to keep it and eat it all winter long. They would have had their sauerkraut fermenting for about a year. 

Like I described above, I do keep mine unrefrigerated in our basement year round, and it only tastes better with time. 

How do you know when sauerkraut is bad?

If sauerkraut goes bad, it will be really obvious. Whenever I’m checking my ferments to see if they’re good or bad, I check for three things, in this order: Sight, smell, and taste.

I look for mold or any other strange colors. If it looks good, I smell it. If it smells bad, like an obvious rotten smell, I toss it.

If it looks good and smells pleasantly tart or sour, I taste it. If it tastes okay, I know it’s good to go. If it doesn’t taste quite right, I play it safe and toss it. 

Why is my sauerkraut not sour?

If sauerkraut hasn’t developed a pleasantly sour taste, it just needs to ferment longer. Let it sit at room temperature for a while, and then taste again. 

Homemade sauerkraut

What is sauerkraut?

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Before refrigeration was invented, fermentation was how people stored vegetables so that they would have them to eat during the winter. 

Is sauerkraut good for you?

Sauerkraut is one of the best super foods there is. It provides a huge amount of probiotic bacteria for the digestive system, high amounts of vitamin C, and lots of other nutrients (source). Read more about sauerkraut benefits here.

Can homemade sauerkraut make you sick?

Properly fermented homemade sauerkraut shouldn’t make you sick. However, if you’re new to eating fermented foods, you will want to start slowly adding them to your diet.

Adding too much too soon could make you feel yucky, but it isn’t because the ferment has made you sick. Fermented vegetables, like sauerkraut, go in and start to clean up your body, providing beneficial bacteria and lots of nutrients. This can trigger a detox reaction if you’re not used it. 

The best way to enjoy fermented vegetables is to start slowly, with a small amount, and gradually increase over time. That way you can enjoy the benefits without feeling yucky. 

How to make sauerkraut crock

More easy fermentation recipes

Crisp pickles

Zucchini relish

Sourdough starter

Have you ever fermented in a crock?

What fermented vegetables do you enjoy making? Share in the comments!

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Yield: 0.5-5 gallons

Sauerkraut Recipe in a Crock

Sauerkraut recipe crock

Are you ready to make the best sauerkraut you've ever tasted? Once you try it you'll see why I love to make my sauerkraut recipe in a crock. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 month 11 days 14 hours
Total Time 1 month 11 days 14 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Organic cabbages
  • High quality mineral salt, like Celtic sea salt
  • Filtered water

Instructions

  1. Clean crock thoroughly with dish soap and water and let air dry.
  2. Wash cabbages and remove any outer leaves that don't look good.
  3. Remove cores from cabbage, and shred cabbages with a sharp knife, food processor, or kraut shredder. 
  4. Put shredded cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Add 3 TBSP mineral salt per 5 lb. of cabbage.
  5. Let cabbage sit with salt for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Pound cabbage with wooden pounder or massage cabbage with hands until it starts to wilt.
  7. Add shredded cabbage to crock.
  8. Pack cabbage down tightly until liquid starts to rise.
  9. Add fermentation weights on top of cabbage and press down.
  10. If liquid doesn't cover cabbage completely, add some filtered water until cabbage is completely submerged.
  11. If using a water seal crock, add water to rim and put lid in place. If using an open top crock, cover crock with a towel.
  12. Let cabbage ferment in a warm room temperature area (around 70ºF) until you like the taste, around 6 weeks or longer.
  13. After fermentation is complete, move sauerkraut to jars and store in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator.
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