My Trader Joe's Style Sauerkraut: Recipe and Some Fermentation Tips

Left- My Sauerkraut   Right- Trader Joe’s

The Comparison

Well, my sauerkraut is finally done and it didn’t take me quite as long as I thought it would. I estimated it would take about 4-6 weeks on the counter but I tasted it at 3 weeks and I am happy with the outcome. I compared the taste of the two different sauerkrauts and mine is not as crisp as the Trader Joe’s but it has a very nice flavor. I could definitely taste the garlic and I loved the addition of the cucumbers.
I think next time I may omit the pounding of the cabbage and just allow it to sit and macerate. This in turn will keep the cabbage leaves crisper.

The Ingredients

The How To…

  1. Wash outer leaves of cabbage and discard spotted leaves. Slice cabbage thinly. Toss cabbage with 1 tsp of salt and set aside (about 30minutes) to allow juices time to drain.
  2. Slice cucumbers thinly and peel garlic cloves.
  3. After 3o minutes – 1 hour, toss the cabbage again until you have extracted enough liquid from the cabbage. Some sources say this step could take anywhere from 1-3 days to create enough liquid. Just cover, and toss every now and then.
  4. Next, I started layering my ingredients in the jars, packing in between layers to compress mixture and extract more liquid.
  5. Once the jar was filled 2 inches from the very top I pounded once more to make sure there was enough liquid to cover the ingredients.
  6. Place a weight to keep food submerged. Any food exposed to air increases the risk for mold.
  7. Cover and set on the counter for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. (to keep the good bacteria breeding, it needs to be kept out of the fridge until all the stages of fermentation have been completed)

A Few Tips

I am sure some people have different tips that have worked for them during fermentaion but here are a few I have found from my reading and small amount of experience.

  • Use fresh ingredients
  • Make sure you have the right amount of salt
  • Keep all food and floaties below the water line. Use a weight even if you don’t have a ‘fermentation weight’.Be creative (google fermentation weights)
  • Don’t use tap water as the chemicals can interfere with fermentation
  • Keep it covered and don’t touch it
  • Wait patiently

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