Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut

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Simple, No-Pound Kraut | People used to pound cabbage to get it good and juicy for fermentation. Pounding isn't necessary when you let salt do the work instead! |

Simple, No-Pound Sauerkraut

People used to pound cabbage to get it good and juicy for fermentation. Pounding isn’t necessary when you let salt do the work instead!

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon fine-grain sea salt (or 1/2 tablespoon sea salt + 1/4 cup leftover kraut juice from a previous batch)

Makes 1 quart. Quarter and core cabbage, discarding outer leaves. Shred cabbage by hand or in food processor. Put in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Cover bowl with a tea towel and set aside for half hour. Remove towel and stir. Recover with tea towel and set aside for another half hour. Remove towel and stir. It should be getting juicy. Transfer cabbage to a sterilized wide-mouth quart canning jar. Press down firmly to remove any air gaps and pack cabbage tightly. Fill jar to within 1″ of the rim. Cover tightly with metal band and lid. Leave at room temperature (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 to 7 days, burping daily to remove pent-up gases. (Or, use an airlock jar.) During the first 24 hours, open the jar a few times to press the cabbage down beneath the level of the juices. Transfer to refrigerator or cold storage, where it will continue to age for many months. Can be eaten any time.


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  1. says

    I guess I’ll be up late tonight for the unlimited internet access so I can download the video! I love Beyond the Peel!! I look forward to seeing the video.

  2. says

    Wardee, thanks so much for coming on the show and for all your kind words! You are a fantastic guest and hope to have you on the show again in the future! Thanks for sharing the sauerkraut recipe too. I’ll link that up on our site.

  3. says

    I enjoyed your interview! I’m excited to try the sauerkraut recipe. I’ve been buying Bubbie’s sauerkraut but it would be cheaper to make it myself, especially if I succeed in growing cabbage this year (I’m a little doubtful). I have a feeling I’m going to end up buying your book, too.

  4. Rachel says

    What’s the name – and where can one find – the wooden tamper you use in the photo to pack down the cabbage? I’ve used a wooden spoon but it doesn’t work nearly as well as a round, flat device like this one. I supose a bar muddler might work but this is much larger than any of those I’ve seen.


  5. Dani says

    I am at work and all videos are blocked, so I’ll have to tune in later from home–I can’t wait to see it, and am shocked that this is my first introduction to Beyond the Peel! Can’t wait to learn more.
    In lieu of some leftover juice from a previous batch, I’m sure I could sub an equal amount of fresh whey? I know it might not make it juice as much (might also add some filtered water), but my hubby DRANK the last of the juice from my last batch of kraut! Oh, and if you haven’t tried it yet, mix in a handful of mustard seed to each batch–we swear that it adds a nuanced depth of flavor that plain cabbage doesn’t give.
    BTW, I have found kraut pounders at flea markets from time to time. In fact, when I first decided I wanted one, I started looking online but put it off. Next time we were at the local “antique dealers’ warehouse” (aka gigantic indoor flea market with fixed stalls… I know CO isn’t the only place that has those!), Hubs actually saw it before I did, held it up, and said, “Honey, what’s THIS?” I said, “That’s my newest acquisition!” I had given consideration to stealing one of his wooden baseball bats if I couldn’t find one… Or, you could always buy one online LOL
    We LOVE our kraut on just about everything, and one of our favorite summertime meals is when I have one of those sourdough loaves that may be a bit beyond its prime, I’ll dice up a couple slices, and put them in a bowl with some fresh egg salad on top, then top it with the kraut. It’s like a deconstructed egg salad sandwich, served up with a spoon and lots of probiotics!

  6. says

    Wardee, I have your book and I love it!, have been recommending it to everyone (see But I was wondering: Some folks say you must ferment things like kraut 28 days to get the full probiotic benefit, and you are doing yourself a disservice if you put it in cold storage before that time. Does using the whey speed up the process so much that a 5, 6 or 7 day ferment is truly sufficient? Although…I noticed on this recipe that you don’t use the whey at all and it’s still ready in just a few days.

    My husband has major digestive issues caused by chronic illness and antibiotics, but he loves kraut and eats it every day, and I’m hoping that will help him on his way to being a healthier person. The probiotic benefits of the fermented foods are so important to us; I just don’t want to be short-changing him by “harvesting” our ferments too soon. Please give me your take on this. Thanks so much.

  7. Tonya says

    Hello! I am sorry if this is an obvious question, but I am SO literal :) I am wondering if this can be done in pint-sized jars as we don’t use it very fast. If so, how would you do that? Thanks!!!

    • Polly says

      Tonya, I live alone and have limited storage space so generally prepare only very small quantities of ferments. It’s completely fine as long as you adjust the quantities accordingly. So, if you have a reasonable head for practical maths it’s no problem. I’ve also found that the recipes seem to have more natural ‘give’ than recipies you would use for baking etc.: if you don’t get the proportions perfect it’ll likely still work fine (and if it doesn’t it’ll smell and look so bad you’ll have no hesitation in consigning it to the compost bin). At the end of the day, the worst that’ll happen is you’ll waste a cabbage and a bit of salt – go for it!

  8. says

    Looks like you posted this just after I made my first sauerkraut earlier this year! I was looking and looking for a simple recipe like this and ended up doing a combination of several recipes, but it was almost exactly this method. That kraut is long gone, but I just got a good deal on cabbage and would like to make more. So excited to find this, and about to go chop my cabbage now! Thanks :)

  9. says

    So, I have a batch of this on my counter right now (second batch…first exploded!). How do you know it’s ready for the fridge? Is it like kombucha, just move it when it tastes right? Or am I looking for something specific?


    I am on GAPS right now and spending about $15/week on Bubbie’s. If I succeed at making my own, it will save a bundle!

  10. Wendy says

    I served a 2-week-old batch of this to my family today, telling them: “You like cabbage, right? And you like pickles and relish, right? Well, this is pickled cabbage!”
    Wow! I already knew I liked sauerkraut and my family of 9 isn’t generally picky, but despite the strong smell and it being a new food, they all tried it! The initial reaction was a big-eyed, “Wow, that’s strong!”, then almost immediately, “Can I have MORE?”
    You eat a bite and your tongue says, “This is okay…yeah, I could eat this occasionally…”, then something deep inside you says, “This is SO good!!! PLEASE give me more!!!!!!!”

    When I made this, I was aiming for 4 quarts, but one jar was a bit short, so I just added some chopped onions and anaheim peppers, plus a little more salt to fill it. I tasted that batch before moving it to cool storage and I almost couldn’t part with it! So tasty, and it smelled nicer than the plain-cabbage batches.

    I’ve noticed the frequent question about the possibility of jars exploding during fermentation…
    I love the ideas and gadgets to help with that question, but for those of us who are in the “meanwhile, what can I do with THIS batch?”, I’d like to point out that if you tighten a canning lid “fingertip tight”, it’s designed to let air escape, but not come in, correct? Because that is what happens during heat canning. I HAVE had ferments spill out liquid too and that is annoying, especially when enough spills out that you’re worried the veggies won’t stay submerged, but I think that is the worst catastrophe possible unless the lid was WAY too tight.
    Just a thought.

    I LOVED this easy method–thank you so much!

    • Wendy says

      My homegrown cabbage just didn’t have quite as much juice as it probably should this year (got it in late and it’s been a dry year–except for flooding in Aug-Sep–and we’re getting around to it late, since it’s willing to endure some frosts while we take care of other crops), so in my later batches I have added some water and just a bit more salt at the top of each jar to ease my conscience. So far, so good…

  11. Chaim Bochner says


    Since I cannot buy fresh cabbage because of the bug issue and Kosher dietary rules, what about vacuum packed pre cut cabbage from a greenhouse?

    Do you think it’s ok and will provide health benefits just as much as if I cut it myself?

    Please assist.

    Thank You.

  12. Autumn says

    Hi Wardee! I use the pound method, so I’m excited about trying this today!! My question is, we usually store the finished product in our cool basement storage room. Do you think that is cool enough instead of the frig? Thanks!!

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