Friday, September 11, 2009

How To Make Sauerkraut (video)

An instructional video of me making sauerkraut (expertly filmed and edited by how2heroes!)

(Click here if the video does not appear below.)


Anonymous said...

Hi. I am the health columnist at NOW Magazine in Toronto. Would you please spare five minutes this morning to talk about fermentation and health benefits. Sorry for the short notice. Thank you so much
Elizabeth Bromstein
(sent my number to your harvard email)

Nelson Beads said...

I had no idea making sauerkraut was that easy. Thanks for a great video.

Unknown said...

Saved this for our Thanksgiving video mix. We loved it! We love your style. And we're going to love our very own sauerkraut.

We want to collect all your videos. Please make a whole series!

Alex Lewin said...


Glad you loved my video.

Ask and ye shall receive! Click below for more videos.

When you make sauerkraut, let me know how it turns out.

Alex Lewin said...

Joanne, I'm glad you liked it! Let us know if you make some sauerkraut!

Muffin Dad said...

Thanks for the great post! I'm trying my hand at this for the first time today.

Question - I didn't get enough liquid to cover the cabbage in the jar. What should I do?

An aside - do you find that it gives up more liquid if the cabbage is at room temperature before you begin rather than chilled?

Thank you!

Alex Lewin said...


Yes, I suppose the cabbage might give up more liquid if it's at room temp.

If you just made the cabbage and there's not enough liquid, try packing it in the jar. If there's still not enough, wait a day or two (and pack it down each day). If there's STILL not enough liquid, make a brine solution with 1 cup of water and 1 Tablespoon of salt, and pour the brine into the jar until your kraut is covered.

Hope this helps!

Joelle said...

Hi Alex,

Thanks for answering my question about whey and salt amounts (I can't remember where on your blog I posted it). My problem isn't that it's too warm, but I fear it's too cold in my kitchen for fermentation, is this possible? Is there an ideal temperature range for fermenting veggies?

After watching your video, I've made a bunch of krauts. My favorites have been red cabbage/apple, green cabbage/onion/carrot/radish/garlic/ginger, and green cabbage/Macomber turnip/fresh fennel. My next will be green cabbage/carrot/ginger since the carrot ginger one I made came out too dry.

Any thoughts about a pickle video? I make these often but would love to see you version. Thanks for publishing such a nourishing (on many levels) blog!


Alex Lewin said...


I'm glad you are enjoying the blog!

As far as temperature goes: It's true that fermentation slows down a lot as the temperature drops. In Korea, they bury kimchi in the ground to ferment. The temperature underground (if you go down a few feet) is a pretty constant 50-55 degrees F. So from that I conclude that 50-55 degrees F can support fermentation. When you get down to 40 degrees (a fridge), it's too cold. So unless your kitchen is below 50 degrees or so, you should be okay.

An ideal temperature range? Maybe 60-75 degrees F. Any colder and things can get a little slow; any warmer and there's a slightly increased chance of having to deal with molds and yeasts.

Congrats on your kraut-making! If things are too dry, you can always add a little brine (1 tablespoon of salt disolved in 1 cup of non-chlorinated water). Adding cabbage, as you are planning to do, is also a great way to help things along.

A pickle video...that's a great idea. I'll put that on the docket for next time I'm making videos.

Joelle said...

Hi Alex,
I thought I had posted a question, but when I came back to look for your answer my post wasn't here. So forgive me if I post this twice. The short question is that I made up 2 new batches of sauerkraut at the same time. One fermented perfectly (5 days), and the liquid of the other has a gelatinous texture to it. It's green and savoy cabbage, onion, radish and ginger.
Any thoughts? Did it go bad? I transferred it immediately to fridge, but won't eat it til I understand the issue better.

Alex Lewin said...

Hi Joelle,

This is the first I've heard of this question. No worries in any case!

I'm not sure why your kraut liquid in one jar would have gotten gelatinous. I've not seen this nor heard of it. There are some vegetables, like green pepper for instance, that can turn to mush. How does it smell? Same as the other jar, or different?

Could the one jar have been contaminated, or not clean, when you started the sauerkraut?

Better safe than sorry. I'm not going to advise you to eat it if you think it's not the way it should be. Better to sacrifice a dollar or two worth of veg than to get sick.

(But if you do decide to taste it, take a small taste first, then wait a couple of days.)

Joelle said...

It was actually the whole batch of 5 pints that did this--the other batch I made with different ingredients and fermented in the same place for the same amount of time, was fine. Weird. In any case, I think I'm gonna compost it all, since even if it doesn't make me sick, the consistency looks pretty nasty. Guess I was hoping you'd tell me this was some sort of exotic yet extra healthy variety of lactobacilli!

Thanks, as always, for being such a generous resource to us real foodies.


Alex Lewin said...

Hmm...I could see how that would happen with not enough salt. Are the pieces of onion still intact, or have they vanished? If they have vanished, then they're the culprit. If you are patient and not squeamish, you might empty a jar out onto the counter and poke around in it before you compost it.

Joelle said...

Ok, finally a moment last night to take apart one of the jars. Eeeewwwwww! Because I grate my veggies in the food processor, I couldn't make out the difference between the onions and the green cabbage, but the most remarkable thing we all noticed was the smell--it just smelled rotten and like nothing I'd like to ever eat or serve. My best guess at this point is that I let it ferment too long. I checked it on day 3 and all was well, in fact, it was bubbling like crazy. It just usually takes a bunch of days to ferment around here, so when I forgot to check on day 4 I didn't think much of it. And by day 5 is was bad. So I think the extra bubbling was a big sign that things were fermenting quite well, and probably needed to be put in the fridge that day. I did have it in my basement since I was dehydrating in my usual fermentation corner and it was too warm there, so I must not have gauged the different conditions well.
Now I know!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this video. I started my first sauerkraut three days ago and today I've put up my extra zucchini using the same approach (roughly grated to increase the surface area of the pieces).


Alex Lewin said...

Meesto, great! Be aware that the zucchini might get mushy. Remember to check on your veggies every day or two!

Mrs. Vegas said...

We really enjoyed the video from here in Sonoma. Have an enormous cabbage and getting ready to make some kraut.

Yannick, Rachel, and Javier

PS. Nice hat.