I am looking to trial making some Sauerkraut at home. I have been recommended getting canning salt. Trouble is the only available source is too much, at too high a price.

What other salts, readily available in the UK, would be suitable?

  • The major difference between the different kinds of salt is grain size. I can't really see grain size being significant for sauerkraut, though I confess I've never made it. Oct 10, 2014 at 15:36
  • 2
    Two things to know... different grain size salt will measure differently if measured volumetrically, so pick a recipe that specifies a weight for the salt, and weigh it. Also, a very key thing regarding your choice of salt is whether or not the salt contains iodine. For sauerkraut (or any fermentation application) you want non-iodized salt.
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 10, 2014 at 16:22
  • Also, you will want to avoid salts which contain anti-caking agents - you want a pure salt with small grains. Oct 11, 2014 at 15:22

4 Answers 4


Any salt will work just fine, salt is salt. But salt that has had iodine added (table salt) can result in a brine with a cloudy texture. Some might consider this less aesthetically pleasing.


Further research indicates that while iodine can cause some problems, other impurities can cause further problems:

Salt for pickling:

For pickling any variety of common salt is suitable as long as it is pure. Impurities or additives can cause problems. Salt with chemicals to reduce caking should not be used as they make the brine cloudy. Salt with lime impurities can reduce the acidity of the final product and reduce the shelf life of the product. Salt with iron impurities can result in the blackening of the vegetables. Magnesium impurities impart a bitter taste. Carbonates can result in pickles with a soft texture (Lal, Siddappa and Tandon, 1986).

So in summary look for a high concentration of Sodium-chloride (NaCl) vs other ingredients. As another answer states, it seems kosher salt is an excellent, reasonably priced choice.


I typically use kosher salt. You could use sea salt as well. It is not necessary to use canning salt.

  • 1
    From what I've heard from the local Amish; the important thing is that it not be iodized, so Kosher salt would be fine. I'm not sure what the iodine content is in sea salts.
    – Joe
    Oct 10, 2014 at 14:22

Probably in the "too much quantity" category though the price is generally quite low (especially on a per pound or kilo basis), water softener salt can be a good source of clean salt if you avoid the versions with any additives. I discovered it when I needed to maintain a water softener for a while and then noticed that it was a lot cleaner, more available year round, and oddly often cheaper than rock salt, so my ice-cream-maker salt is now a bucket of water softener salt. It is coarse and would take longer to dissolve unless you crushed it more.


The advice to use a 'canning salt' no doubt comes from a country (such as the USA or Canada) that adds iodine to table and 'ordinary' cooking salts.

This is not required or standard, if it even happens at all, in the UK; so you don't need to worry about it.

You may also want to avoid 'anti-caking agents' though, which are typically added to fine table salts, and not to those sold for 'cooking', or as coarser crystals (no need for it).

The price tag on the 'canning salt' you found is probably either because it's imported at great expense for whatever reason, or preying on people nonethewiser who assume it's important and will stump up the extra for the niche keyword they've cornered the market on.

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