Caring for your DIY Sauerkraut


You made your take-home jar of sauerkraut at the San Diego Fermentation Festival. Here are some tips to ensure it turns out great!

  1. Be sure to “burp” the jar within a day to release normal pressure build-up.
  2. If you bought a Small batch fermentation kit (like Masontops Pickle Pipes and Pickle Pebbles), follow instructions to apply the fermentation kit.
  3. If not using a kit, remove lid and ring, add a weight (a river rock, small jar filled with water, or plastic bag filled with water) to keep the veggies under the brine. It’s Fine Under the Brine!
  4. Cover the jar with a clean dish towel or tea towel and wrap a rubber band around it (to keep flies out).
  5. Let it ferment on the counter at least 7 days (or up to 8 weeks). Taste it; when you like the taste and texture, remove the fermentation weight and lid (if using), add regular mason jar lid, and store in the refrigerator.
  6. White yeast/mold on the surface is normal. Don’t throw it out! Scoop, wipe, or scrape the mold from the surface, then stir the contents.
  7. The sauerkraut will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months!

Here’s the recipe we used. Feel free to browse our other recipes too! Curtido and Sauerkraut and more!

Slow Sauerkraut
Recipe type: Fermented vegetable
Prep time: 
Fermentation time: 
Yield: About 4 quarts
  • 5-6 lbs. red or green cabbage (2 medium to large heads)
  • 3 Tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ½ teaspoon juniper berries
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • (Optional) 1 medium fennel bulb or 1 medium tart apple (like Granny Smith)
  • (Optional) 4-inch piece of fresh ginger
Prep & Season Veg
  1. Slice cabbage in half lengthwise, so that stem keeps each half together. Shred each half into ¼” ribbons using v-slicer, mandoline, or chef’s knife.
  2. As you shred, add to a large mixing bowl, and add ¼ of the salt (about 2 teaspoons). Let sit while shredding the next half. Brine will form as salt draws water from cabbage. Repeat until all cabbage has been shredded.
  3. If adding fennel bulb, slice the lower (white) part thinly (using a chef's knife or on mandoline) and add to bowl. Discard or compost the green stems.
  4. If adding apple, remove core, then slice thinly (using a chef's knife or on mandoline) and add to bowl.
  5. If adding ginger, first peel skin using a spoon, then slice/julienne (to create matchstick-sized pieces) and add to bowl.
  6. Add spices to cabbage. Mix thoroughly with tongs or clean hands.
  7. Add veg to a gallon-sized or larger glass jar or ceramic crock (food-grade plastic containers are also acceptable.) Make sure to get every last drop of brine that has formed in bowl!
  8. Pack down contents so that surface is even and flat.
  1. Place a plastic lid (or ceramic plate) that fits inside container. Add a weight such as a glass bottle filled with water.
  2. There should be enough brine to completely cover the contents when weighed down.
  3. Cover container with a dish towel or tea towel to keep out flies and dust. Secure with a rubber band, twist ties or elastic strap. Stash it in a cool, dark place– a cellar, under the stairs, or under the sink in the kitchen.
  1. Check on it every few days. Mold may form on the surface. Remove weight and lid, and wash them with warm soapy water. Scoop out any surface mold, getting as much as you can. Don’t worry if you don’t get it all. Then stir the contents and re-pack the surface. Any residual mold will quickly be killed in the acidic environment of the brine. The contents are safe under the brine.
  2. Cabbage will start to ferment within a few days. It’s up to you how long you want to keep it fermenting. Fermentation time varies with the seasons and the climate.
  3. Will last in refrigerator several months.