Sauerkraut in mason jars?
Anyone have any luck making sauerkraut in mason jars? If so, can you share tips and directions? I LOVE sauerkraut, but buying the unpasteurized stuff is costing me a fortune ($8.50 for tiny jar - and we are a family of SIX so it is gone instantly with one salad). I have looked it up online but haven't found any "real" testimonials on how to do it, and I get nervous about fermenting stuff (I don't know why). I'd feel better trying it if I heard from someone that's btdt. =)
Do you have RFFE (Raw Food For Everyone)? Alissa's sauerkraut recipe is FANTASTIC!!!! I haven't made it myself, but I had it when I went to Grezzo and again when I went to Alissa's Level 3 Class when her chef let us try it. It's REALLY great!!! If I make it myself I'll let you know how mi e comes out!
This is what we bought and have not regretted it for a second! No second guessing - no spoiled batches. You might like to do a search here on this, I know I've posted pics in the past when I was making sauerkraut..
I even posted about making your own perfect pickler. We did - we just went to a home brew supply store (locally) and got everything we needed for just a couple bucks. I posted about that too..
Btw Deb, thanks for that posting. I'm going to try to make a couple next month when I get paid. I asked a friend (who has been brewing beer for the past few years) where he gets his supplies and he said there is a home brewing store less than a mile from me. I still need to pick up a drill bit that's big enough to drill the hole in the plastic lids, and get the lids probably from Amazon. I plan to start with sauerkraut, baby carrots and hopefully shredded beets.
Do you start it with a probiotic or just rely on the bacteria on the veggies? I'm thinking this time of the year it would probably be best to use a starter since the veggies won't be fresh from the garden and most of the natural bacteria will probably have been washed away before they get to the store.
I'll be taking pictures and posting them in hopes it will help others as well. I'm really looking forward to pickling my own stuff so I can use less salt, but I will use some sea salt, just not as much as recipes usually include.
I got the lead out and found the thread with the homemade pictures of the Perfect Pickler - thanks for the nudge SunshineMN!
You don't want that hole too big Sunshine - just big enough so that rubber stopper piece fits in - not as big say as the top of the stopper since it's tapered.
I can find that box of plastic screw on lids almost everywhere they sell Mason jars, they're getting quite common. I can even find them in grocery stores. Just a thought.
It's been a long time now since I've fermented anything, so just going from memory - it seems to me I did open up a probiotic capsule and add that to the 'broth' I used to top off the jars. The kind of probiotic I use / have on hand is this:
Yikes, that's gotten expensive - over $47. I used it because I already had it. I've been assured you don't need to use anything except salt. I'm pretty sure I've fermented only with salt.
One can also search YouTube for Sandor Katz and watch some of his videos on fermentation., I bought his book/DVD set and was disappointed in the video.
I've definitely added veggies like beets and carrots too - that's fun to do.
My favorite looking cabbage kraut is all green and then one small head of purple. The kraut will be the pretties pink when it's done fermenting.
I was looking through my files to see if I made any notes (I didn't) but came across this saved email from Mike, where I bought the Perfect Pickler:
Thank you for your order! This email has some resources for the sauerkraut maker.
The instructions are located at
Video: sauerkraut tutorial,
I have sample recipes at the bottom of this page-
This article discusses the role of the Starter Culture-
This page has a good review with photos-
A great pickle recipe:
This article discusses the importance of keeping the food covered in the brine-
You may need to add in more brine to the sauerkraut maker after a couple days. You make brine by mixing in a ratio of one teaspoon of salt per cup of water. Each day, for the first four days, you may want to open the jar and with a fork press down the cabbage to force out the bubbles. Re-seal.
Dr. Andrew Weil on kraut- http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART02021
Nomi Shannon's veggie kraut recipe:
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
By Nomi Shannon, The Raw Gourmet
The place of fermented foods in a living food diet has evolved over the years. Many raw fooders make a fermented beverage from wheat or rye berries (rejuvelac) and fermented pates out of nuts or seeds (seed cheese). But people sometimes have had negative reactions to these homemade fermented foods, in part because unwanted strains of bacteria occasionally grow in them.
As well, people who suffer from candida historically have not had positive reactions to the fermented drinks and nut and seed cheeses. It appears that non-protein foods are safer to ferment. As a result, many alternative health experts now say that health benefits from fermentation are best derived from only the occasional use of raw sauerkraut. This is of course subjective, because many people sincerely feel that they derive great benefits from eating all types of fermented food. If you are confused by some of the differing approaches the bottom line is, has, and always will be the same: listen to your body.
Raw sauerkraut is used much like the delicious Korean fermented cabbage dish called kimchee- as a condiment served with the main meals of the day. Aside from providing important enzymes, the fermentation process creates bacilli that encourage intestinal health.
Raw sauerkraut is fun to make and the best part is that it lasts for a very long time in the refrigerator (up to two months) so you can make a large batch. If you have checked the price for raw sauerkraut at the health food store you will see how much money you can save by making it at home. Also, although the label may say 'raw', if the jar was sterilized or the food pasteurized it surely isn't raw any more. And if sterilization and pasteurization did not occur, you should wonder if the sauerkraut was kept cold at all times during its transport to the store.
Be sure that you buy organic cabbage to make sauerkraut. Cabbage is a highly treated crop and the thought of mincing it up and letting it sit in its own juices, including dangerous chemicals, isn't very appealing or healthy. It would be better not to make sauerkraut at all than to make it out of cabbage that is not organic. Fortunately, sauerkraut isn't just made out of cabbage anymore! You can make many different types of vegetable 'krauts', as the variations below demonstrate. Additional fermented food recipes can be found in books by Ann Wigmore and by Viktoras Kulvinskas, both of who are well-known raw food pioneers.
Red or Green Sauerkraut
Use the cabbages soon after buying them. As they age they tend to dry out and you need the moisture from the cabbage for it to properly and evenly ferment.
4 or 5 heads of red or green cabbage, organic
Seaweed (wakame or other), several large pieces
Set aside 3-4 of the large outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the rest up into pieces and put through and grate it or put through your juicer with the blank screen. If extra juice is extracted, add it to the mixture.
While the cabbage is fermenting, it can have a strong odor. It is best to allow it to ferment outside of the main area of your home. In cool or very dry weather the process takes longer than in a warm humid climate.
Variations of Sauerkraut
Once you get the hang of making sauerkraut-you may never use the same ingredients twice. The flavor and visual aspect of red cabbage is preferable, but sometimes one can only obtain organic green cabbage. Here is a variation to add color and flavor to green cabbage. Place 1 green cabbage, 3 carrots, 2 medium beets, 1-2 slices of onion, to taste, 1-3 cloves of garlic (optional) through a Juicer with the blank screen, or grate them all together. Stir in 1-2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional), then layer the mixture in a crock with apple and seaweed, following the directions above.
This recipe has no cabbage at all! Use whatever seasonal root vegetables you can get your hands on. It is difficult to make a sauerkraut combination come out not tasting wonderful, so be creative. Place 6 large carrots, 4 beets, turnip, parsnip or rutabaga, to equal half the amount of carrots used, 1 small onion and garlic to taste through a Juicer with blank or grate them all together. Layer the mixture in a crock with apple and seaweed, following the directions above.
Usually you don't need to add more brine. It is natural for the brine to overflow and come out of the lid and airlock.
If you look in the jar and see there are dry spots without brine, you can add in a little salt water, and gently push down on the sauerkraut to help any stuck air bubbles float to the top.
To add the brine, you can just unscrew the big lid. You do not have to replace the liquid in the airlock, but it is okay if you do.
Yes, if you add more brine, you can follow the process like when you first packed the jar: make sure brine comes out the grommet and reinsert the bubbler.
Does this answer your question? Thanks Debbie!
Hmm - I got a message saying my last (large) post won't be available until it's been okayed by a moderator. Maybe because it has so many links in it..
Thanks for the information and link. I've been interested in making sauerkraut too.
Back when I was able to eat sauerkraut, I was buying supermarket pickle jars, discarding the contents, punching a hole in the lid, and fitting a rubber grommet and a brewers airlock. Worked like an absolute charm. Absolutely faultless, with great results.
But if you wish to use a masons jar, you can adapt those, too.
Some related links:
DebB, this is a right royal pain in the butt. It's the SPAM filter in the forum software.
Originally Posted by DebB
I have, however, found a workaround.
Just type ONLY 9 characters / letters into a new reply, post it, then immediately go back and edit it, pasting in what you really want to say. Usually works perfectly this way.
I really want to try this kraut making lark. This seems like a good way. On the subject of moderated posts, I agree with Arky, it's a good work around :) The issue must drive the mods nuts so a short post saying "I will reply to this in a minute" which is unlikely to get quarantined and which can then be edited saves everyone quite a bit of time and trouble. There doesn't seem to be any obvious reason for some of the posts being quarantined.
I buy my pickle jars from Lidl, but if you don't want to have to punch a hole in the top, to fit a rubber grommet and brewers airlock, then an alternative way of doing it, without using an airlock, is to use jars with lids that have a rubber gasket and a wire closing mechanism, since these yield slightly to the pressure generated in the jar during fermentation, and this prevents the jar from exploding. Ikea sell such jars, but they're made in Indonesia and I don't know for sure if they are truly safe glass (they might be, but I just don't know for sure). Therefore, it'd be wiser to spend extra and buy glass jars made in the UK (e.g. Kilner), France (e.g. Le Parfait), or Italy (e.g. Bormioli Rocco Fido). Fortunately, for you, there is a stockist of such preserving jars right on your doorstep:
Originally Posted by MysticTree
Please read the following webpage to see the various options:
Last edited by Arky; 01-21-2013 at 03:12 AM.
Thanks Arky. I have a long standing relationship with bottle company south. They are lovely people; I recommend them highly. I also buy from Lidl. Gerkins in large jars are perfect.
But you know that commercial pickles are made with unhealthy distilled vinegars, right..?
Originally Posted by MysticTree
But those are the same jars I use (I discard the contents and make my own)
They're nice fat stubby jars.
Originally Posted by DebB
rather than waiting for us to unmoderate your post... send us a link to the post in an email (by hitting the little triangle of your post or the post above it) and let us know you need it approved. MUCH faster as we see these emails immediately upon opening up our mail programs.
Thanks for your patience everyone...