The purpose of this video is to give first-timers the confidence and the tools they need to get started making their sauerkraut.
Hi, welcome to the Daddykirbs farm. A place where we believe everyone has a story and every story counts. More specifically today
Welcome to the Daddykirbs kitchen. I’ll be showing you how I make my sauerkraut.
Hopefully when we’re finished with this video
You will have the confidence and the skills, the tools that you need to make your first batch of sauerkraut.
We’re going to talk about the cabbage,
the fermenting container, the mixing bowl, the salt, and the weights and followers.
We are fermenting cabbage. That’s what sauerkraut is. So let’s talk about the cabbage first.
Preferably we would all be fermenting our cabbage that comes out of our garden. So it’s the most fresh, but I don’t grow cabbage well
here on the Daddykirbs farm, some people don’t have a garden at all
so I did purchase this and you can purchase cabbage usually very inexpensively at your local grocery and
I’m gonna give you a few tips about things to look for when choosing your cabbage.
I like to make my sauerkraut with both red and green cabbage in the same batch.
It makes it a beautiful color and I think the flavor is really nice.
Let’s talk about what to look for when you’re purchasing your cabbage at the grocery.
First of all…
the cabbage should be nice and dense and tight and fairly heavy for its size.
If the leaves are really loose then that means it’s an older head of cabbage and it’s probably a little
Drier and tougher than it would be if it’s tighter and heavier with more moisture.
Another thing you can look for is the sheen on the on the leaf
if it is especially dull then it’s probably dried out and not suitable for fermenting.
The next thing we’re going to talk about is the fermenting container. Now, we’re going to keep this really simple.
I use one-gallon pickle jars. Now, there are a lot of people that choose
different ways to ferment, different containers, different crocks. There’s a lot of really cool crocks that you can purchase for fermenting.
But if you’re just getting started and you don’t know what to purchase, but you want to get started right away
you don’t have to get anything fancy. A glass container or a ceramic container.
You have to be careful with anything glazed.
Then there’s a possibility of lead being in that glaze and you have to have that tested before you use it for fermenting.
For me, I just like to keep it simple with a glass container.
You can use a lid or not. I don’t tighten the lid down. Anyway, I just use it to help keep
bugs and whatever, you know, “things” out of it.
I never tighten it down, that way all of the CO2 that’s in there can escape but we’ll talk more about that in a little bit.
Your fermenting container can be a quart sized canning jar,
a pickle jar,
anything such as that. Glass, typically most people agree, is the best.
Now let’s talk about the mixing container. You’re gonna need a large bowl to mix your cabbage in.
What type of material should the bowl be made from? A lot of people are very concerned at this point about metal even plastics and
sometimes it’s difficult to know what to use. I’m using a plastic,
large mixing bowl (I would prefer glass or stainless steel) but at this stage because your ferment is not acidic yet,
you can use a large stainless steel mixing bowl.
Generally, you don’t want metal touching your fermented foods.
But in the beginning, before it’s fermented, while you’re mixing, a large stainless steel bowl won’t hurt.
Now the salt…
There are so many different types of salt, many varieties, and there’s a lot of different salts that will work
just fine in your fermented foods. I happen to like Himalayan pink salt. It’s full of minerals.
It doesn’t have the added iodine which you don’t want so don’t use regular table salt that has added iodine.
Just check that out when you’re choosing your salt.
I can’t go far in depth because I don’t know all the science behind the salt.
All I know is that Himalayan pink salt works really well. It tastes good and has the benefit of lots of minerals.
The basic concept of making sauerkraut is combining chopped cabbage and salt in such a way that it creates a brine and
Notice that I mentioned only two ingredients there is the cabbage and the salt.
Some people who make sauerkraut like to add extra things because they think it’s better flavor
or they put whey in it to help
to increase the bacteria at the beginning. But cabbage by itself has the bacteria needed to make sauerkraut and
traditional sauerkraut is only 2 ingredients,
cabbage and salt. Let’s get started by taking this head of cabbage apart. I’ll show you how to clean it up and
prepare it for your ferment. You need to wash your hands thoroughly. I like to use an all-natural
detergent that doesn’t have
any of the chemicals in it.
Just nice clean soap. And definitely not an antibacterial soap because that could mess with the bacterias
that you’re wanting to foster and nurture in your ferment. (Fermentation is a bacteria process…You don’t want to kill the natural bacteria on the veggies.)
So just as an extra added precaution don’t use antibacterial soap. We’re gonna wash these heads of cabbage.
Just rinsing them off at first.
Get the outside rinsed off.
And we’re going to pull these large exterior leaves that are kind of loose
and set those aside because we’re going to use those later in the process
Normally, there’s only two or three that are loose. That one’s still kind of tight.
I’ll leave that one on. I’ll rinse this off.
All right, so we have the large outer leaves that we’re going to use in part of the process and then the heads themselves.
So when I get started with a head of cabbage, I typically will just cut it in half
And then just cut the heart out,
or the core.
Your rabbits will enjoy that.
Look inside there. That nice tightly packed head of cabbage. There shouldn’t be a lot of air gaps between the leaves.
Before I get too far with the cabbage, I want to talk about the salt and how much salt we’re going to use.
I had to do a little bit of math for this and I don’t know if I would explain it correctly in the video,
I’ll do my best.
My cabbage was 8.3 pounds. I know that because I weighed it on a scale
You can also know that by when you weigh it at the grocery store a lot of times the amount of weight,
they’re usually purchased by weight,
and that is printed on a receipt so you can know how much your cabbage weighs simply by looking at the receipt in most cases.
recipe, or the suggested amount of salt
for cabbage is somewhere between 2 to 3 percent of the weight of cabbage. So I took
8.3 pounds times 16 because that gives me ounces and then multiply the ounces by 2% and 3%
to get how many ounces I would need for this. At 2% It would be 2.656 ounces of salt.
And then also at 3 percent, 3.984. So approximately, 2.5 to 4 ounces by weight of salt.
I don’t have a kitchen scale right now that works so I had to convert the weight of salt into
actual measurements, so I went online and found a calculator for the weight of Himalayan salt and
found out that
the 2.5 to 4 ounces (NOT percent) would be roughly
a little more than 1/3 of a cup (1 cup of Himalayan salt=9.38 ounces)
so about that much. (9.38 oz. divided by 3=3.12 oz. That is 1/3 of the total weight in 1 cup. 3.12 oz is within the range of 2.5 to 4 oz.)
Keep in mind that
this doesn’t have to be precise. It can be more or less salt.
There’s a trick to knowing if it’s going to be good for you. (I may have made this more complicated than needed but this is how to measure without a kitchen scale.) And that is that you taste your cabbage with salt
as you’re going through the process and if it’s too salty in the beginning, (using at least 2% will ensure a healthy brine and good fermentation)
it’s going to be too salty as sauerkraut. If it’s not salty enough
then you’re gonna have to add more salt in the beginning to make the sauerkraut flavor that you like
We’re at the stage where we are going to be preparing our cabbage those large outer leaves that are now washed,
Stack them up and set them aside. We don’t want to cut those up. So we’re going to take our cabbage
and slice it. You can use a slicer if you like
but I just use a knife on a cutting board and I try to keep it
I try to make each slice less than a quarter inch thick.
Notice that I did not do a lot of chopping. I kept the strands fairly long, but I don’t want them really thick.
Wow, that is a lot of beautiful cabbage! When you get done chopping your cabbage
you might think…I have too much cabbage…but keep in mind that as you
prepare the cabbage it will condense, get smaller in size, and you’re gonna pack it tightly into a jar
so you’re gonna need a lot more than you think. This might be a little much for my jar
but let’s see if we can get it all in there. After chopping,
we’re gonna start mixing it and massaging it
to get the salt incorporated. The salt is going to work with that cabbage, breaking down fibers, pulling out
the moisture and creating a brine. The brine is the liquid from the
vegetable that the salt brings out. All of this right here,
that’s brine from this batch. That’s no added extra water.
So when we start preparing this we’re gonna break this cabbage up. We’re gonna put a layer
in our mixing bowl.
This is the entire amount of salt for the whole batch
So I like to keep that in mind as I go along and just add a little bit in layers.
And massaging that in
then adding more cabbage,
adding a little salt,
and just keeping this mix and this pace.
Kind of layering it, cabbage and salt.
When you’re doing this and you’re thinking about a massage you need to think about deep tissue massage.
None of this light back rub stuff. It’s deep tissue.
Within minutes you should start to notice your cabbage getting
wet because it’s pulling moisture out and sort of wilting just a little bit.
That’s what you want to see. And your massaging is helping to break down those fibers to make it a little softer
Now your mixing bowl is probably not big enough for the whole batch so we’re gonna do this in layers.
You want to make sure that everything that you mix in the bowl is nice and
massaged… I keep using that word but it really is about getting in there and
squishing it together,
mashing it down, breaking the fibers a little bit.
You don’t want to chew it all up, but you do want to make sure that cabbage is well worked.
As you’re doing this process here you may notice that yours isn’t really getting that moist.
It’s possible that you started with a head of cabbage that wasn’t
fresh enough or moist enough
so you might have to add more salt and give it more time and
press on it a little more. Work it a little more to get the moisture that’s in there, out.
This batch is looking pretty good when I pick it up.
I can see the water coming off of it and I can feel the water on my hands.
So this is working. When you look down in here
you can see the water pulling to the bottom. That’s the natural brine coming out of the cabbage.
Okay, I clearly don’t have enough room in my mixing bowl to do everything. We’re gonna get started in our container here.
After you get this worked and you get a lot of nice moisture building up there then
we’re going to start layering it into the ferment container. So we’ll put an inch or two on the bottom.
And I like to just use my hands as tools. You can use a plunger or you know, like a flat end French style,
I think they’re French style, rolling pins that don’t have the handles and mash it in there
But I just like to use my hand and press it down with my fist.
Pack it in real tight and then just add another layer of cabbage. Another couple handfuls on there.
Just keep pressing. As you press
you’re gonna start to see that liquid start to form and
eventually, you’ll see that liquid brine start to rise up above the top of the surface of the cabbage.
I think we’re gonna get it all in there. The whole first bowl
Well, it made less than half a jar. Now we don’t want to fill this all the way up.
We’re going to go a couple inches from the rim giving some headspace because it will swell as
But we’re looking good.
I may not have stressed it enough earlier
That as you’re doing this
One of the ways that you’re going to know if the finished product is going to turn out to your your taste your flavor
Is to actually take a little bit
and taste it.
And this batch is just a pinch of salty.
Not to bad, but what that tells me is that I probably will not, in fact
I will not use the entire amount that I had set aside for this. I’m gonna go a little light on this the second half.
If that moisture isn’t working for you one thing you can do is you add your salt, you massage,
you can cover it with a towel or lid and
walk away from it for about 45 minutes to an hour and
then come back and work it again. By that time the salt that’s in there has had time to really draw that moisture out and
it’s going to help.
I’m gonna play it safe and not add this last bit
because I know that sometimes it swells more than I expect and I don’t want that to spill over into my pantry. Just in case
you’re worried about that
you can place this on
a cookie sheet. Something that has a lip that’s gonna catch that moisture if it does happen to come out.
But for me this time, I’m going to just play it safe and not add the rest of this.
But I did work pretty hard for this brine
so I’m gonna pour that in there.
All right, we are getting to that point
where we’re gonna finish this off.
So I’m just pressing and notice every time
that liquid, that brine just keeps getting thicker and thicker at the top.
The more I pack it down the more liquid comes to the surface and that’s exactly what we want.
That looks really nice.
We are there to the point to where we’re going to need these leaves that we cut off in the beginning.
In a ferment, there’s your fermented vegetables with your brine and then there’s a layer called a follower and
also a layer called a weight. The follower is basically a leaf or a silicone
sheet or something like that that you’re laying in to help keep all of
those cuts veggies down below that brine surface.
So what we’re gonna do
is we’re gonna take this leaf here
and we’re gonna use it push down on top.
Turn that one over.
Alright those leaves are gonna help keep all that cut cabbage down below the surface.
Using my fingertips on the edges to help press it down.
That’s the primary follower. That’s the first follower over the cut veggies.
Now there has to be a weight and some people use even a secondary follower, which is another layer.
The baggie trick is one that satisfies both of those. It’s a weight and secondary follower at the same time.
So the baggie thing a lot of people are gonna say no no, no you can’t put plastic in there. In most cases
you’re correct, but
the freezer bags from everything that I could read and research they don’t have the BPA or other
chemicals in it that are going to leach into your food. So the freezer bags,
like I said, by everything I read, are safe. So we’re going to open a bag,
we’re going to spread the bottom of the bag out
into the top of that.
Just kind of push it around the edges
Now that that bag is pressed in there around all the edges
we’re going to fill it up with a water that we’re gonna use filtered water from the refrigerator and
I’m gonna add a little bit of salt.
The reason I’m adding salt
is just in case this bag leaks I don’t want it putting fresh water into my ferment. That
could mess with the texture and flavor. So we’re putting salt water
into our bag here.
And I’m gonna help make sure it spreads out.
I still want to leave the layer…
See, I’m still an inch to an inch and a half
below the surface there.
There’s a possibility of it swelling
so I need to make sure that there’s room for it to swell.
So now I’m gonna try to press as much air as I can out of this and then zip it up.
We’re gonna zip it up most of the way and then press the air out.
And zip it up tight.
I’m gonna try to keep that
facing up just in case there would be some leakage around that lock or that seal.
So basically what we’ve created there is a weight to hold down everything that’s in there with still some headspace.
And hopefully that bag doesn’t leak. I have not yet had a bag leak on me.
But I know that it’s possible. Not all bags are created perfectly, but I do trust the system.
I’ve used it several times and works out really well. So now that that is
all packed up I could leave it just like that. As an extra layer of protection from things getting into it.
I’m putting the lid that comes with the jar on there. I’m not tightening it down.
I’m gonna just tighten it a little bit so it holds on but the CO2,
the carbon dioxide that is produced in here from the
bacteria as it eats up the sugars in the cabbage and it ferments the cabbage. It’s going to be releasing CO2,
I need that be able to get out. I don’t want air
to get past this bag and into the cabbage.
That’s why there’s the brine layer, the follower and the bag and
then the added protection of just having to cover on it.
You can put a towel with a rubber band or cheesecloth or something like that, but I find that this works pretty well, too.
Just a loose lid. All right, this is the difference between a
cabbage ferment sauerkraut that’s done just like this one after about three weeks.
So when it first starts out because I like to use the white or green cabbage along with the red
It’s going to look all different layers and different colors, but it’ll become this beautiful
pinkish color as it ages.
That leads me to the next question, which many people will have is how long do you let it ferments? When does it become
Well that’s going to depend on your preference, your flavor, your palate.
After about seven days technically it’s fermented and it is sauerkraut. Some people really like that young sauerkraut flavor
Other people believe it’s not really sauerkraut until it’s been fermenting for at least thirty days.
Many diehards will go six months or longer before they really feel like they have a good sauerkraut.
Well that is truly up to your preference, your flavor.
I happen to like it right around the 30 day mark. So I’m going to wait another week on this one and
I’ll be happy to put this in the pantry beside it letting it ferment. That way by the time I’m done with this one,
this one should be ready. When you put this away for storage you’re going to want to put it somewhere
that doesn’t get a lot of light but the temperature is going to be fairly stable.
Room temperature is going to be fine, but you’re not going to want it to get extremely cold or extremely hot.
So put it away in the dark put a towel over if you have to and don’t disturb it until it gets to that level
that you’re that you prefer as far as timing. When you start doing your fermented
veggies you can dive so far into buying special crocks and special weights and special lids and all kinds of things that cost a lot
of money, but I wanted to give you this example to show you that you can do this at home with a very inexpensive
Pickle jars a lot of times
I find these at yard sales or
people give them to me. Or if you can find a place that sells pickles by the gallon in a glass jar.
Buy pickles, share the pickles with your friends and keep the jar.
If you feel like you just have to purchase the jar you can get them in this size on Amazon as well.
Please do check out my playlist called “In The Kitchen”. There’s things from kombucha to
pumpkins, pumpkin seeds, lemon peel, making powder from lemon peels and now the sauerkraut. It’s just a fun list.
It’s a fun thing that we do here on the farm preserving our food.
Check out that playlist. Leave your comments below about how you do your sauerkraut. If you feel like I’ve made an error
please let me know. If you are here for the first time and you are happy about
The tutorial and you’ve done this and it turned out well, please let me know that as well.
It has been my pleasure here in the DaddyKirbs kitchen showing you how I make my sauerkraut.
Subscribe, hit that notification bell, the like button, all those good things that YouTube likes and I’ll talk to you soon.
Thanks for making my kombucha video a success. If you haven’t checked that out yet head over to that video when you’re done here
so you can learn how to make kombucha at home as well.