This single-quart sauerkraut is perfect for those who love their traditional homemade German fermented cabbage but just want a manageable sized batch. Here’s how to make it. Including the perfect salt ratio.
Historically, people made their sauerkraut in large batches after the first frost because a freeze makes cabbage sweeter and slightly more tender. The cabbage would be finely sliced, salted, packed into large crocks, and pressed until it released liquid. Then it would be allowed to ferment in a cool place. These days, most of us don’t have the space for large sauerkraut crocks—or the desire to eat it every single day of winter. However, for those of you who have a taste for homemade sauerkraut, this single-quart recipe is my favorite way to make it in small batches without any special equipment beyond a wide-mouthed 1-quart or 1-liter jar and a cool, dark corner. [Editor’s Note: Know how legendary bourbon houses offer small batches of prize vintages? We suspect that the same sorta thing could happen with this single-quart sauerkraut recipe…]–Marisa McClellan
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 14 D
- Makes 1 quart
Special Equipment: Wide-mouthed 1-quart (or 1-liter) jar and a quarter pint jar (125 milliliters), both with tight-fitting lids
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Recipe Testers Reviews
I love this single-quart sauerkraut recipe. It tastes fresh, remains slightly crunchy, and isn't as sour or acidic as what you buy in the store.
I had a large head of cabbage, so I cut off 2 pounds worth and sliced it by hand, but a mandoline or food processor would work well for this, too. The 2 pounds cabbage miraculously fit into the quart jar when I packed it tight. After 2 weeks, though, only about 2/3 of the jar will be filled with your sauerkraut.
I made this recipe in the late fall and stored it in my uninsulated garage. I didn't have a quart-size jar so I used a glass water bottle and it worked perfectly. I didn't really get much bloom and didn't have anything to remove.
I tasted the sauerkraut after 2 weeks and liked the mild flavor, so I moved it to the refrigerator.
I'm of Polish heritage, so I can do a lot with cabbage, but when my sister-in-law gifted me with, no kidding, a 5-pound specimen from her CSA, I was a little flummoxed. I've never made sauerkraut before, but it's ridiculously easy, and, with a little forethought, I may never have to buy it again.
Anyway, I chopped off 2 pounds of the bowling-ball sized cabbage. Two pounds shredded on the mandoline yielded 3 1/2 quarts. I salted the cabbage and massaged it down to 1 quart in only a few minutes. I packed the cabbage very tightly, added the liquid from the bowl, and topped it with a quarter-pint jar filled with water, as instructed. This fits perfectly in the mouth of a quart jar and does indeed keep the cabbage below the level of the liquid. An old kitchen towel secured with a rubber band topped the jar, which I set on a plate and stuck in a corner of the dining room for 2 weeks.
I checked it diligently every other day or so, but did not get any bloom. At the end of the two-week period, I tested it. It was fermented but not overly sour. The cabbage still had some freshness and crunch. I suspect that my house has been chilly at night, which would slow the fermentation process. I could have left it for another week or two, but as I won't be using it till Christmas time, I decided to let it slowly ferment in the fridge.
It will be a key ingredient in the Polish kapusta, or cabbage soup, that will be served on Christmas Eve.
Easy peasy, indeed.