5

Yes, obviously it can vary. I'm just looking for an approximate range, as a good place to start for my first time making a batch.

A good answer would be something along the lines of:

10 to 20 grams of salt per 100 grams of raw cabbage

Or something like that.

[EDIT: that was just the format of answer I wanted. That actual ratio would probably be about ten times too much salt.]

  • 1
    I would add that there is, IME, minimal need to work the cabbage after mixing the salt in - some call for mixing it for half an hour. It's mostly the salt, and half an hour, that's needed, rather than mixing for half an hour that's needed. A minute or two of mixing spread over the half hour works just fine. And unless your cabbage is seriously dried out, you should not need to add any water. On my last batch I ground the salt in a mortar to get extra-fine salt (not essential, but probably helps it work a little faster.) – Ecnerwal Nov 3 '15 at 15:06
13

2% (20g per 1000g) would be my default recommendation based on sources local to me, but with care less salt may work if sanitation is extremely good (to minimize introduction of undesirable bacteria which the salt helps to supress.)

On the high end, I can say that 4% seems to slow things down, but work, and 8% seems to be simply too much. The pictured jars are 2%, 4% and 8% salt, using red cabbage, which acts as a pH indicator. The 8% jar (rightmost) has not turned pink (and is growing mold on the surface) while the other two are successfully acidifying (the 2% somewhat faster than the 4%) and mold-free. The lids are put on "fingertip-tight" as in canning, so they form a crude but effective airlock seal (they "burp" themselves as needed, just as in canning - they are not loosened manually to relieve pressure.)

saeurkraut experiment

enter image description here

Actually 75% red cabbage and 25% apples for these. And the stuff on top is some ceramic tile as improvised weights. Other than for pictures, they are kept in the dark.

  • By the way, about how long did these different batches take to reach ready-to-eat-ness? Like, for the 2%, say, how many weeks -ish? 1, 2, 4? – Owen_R Dec 10 '15 at 21:06
  • 2
    Not beng fond of contamination from opening the jars to check, and being of the firm belief that 6 weeks is about minimum to get to finished kraut (and 8 is not bad place to shoot for) we opened them up at 7 weeks. The 8% was tossed due to doubts about it stemming from mold, and the other two did seem reasonably finished. That's operating about 65-70F or 18-21C - some sources do say you can get it finished faster (3-4 wks) at 75F but others say the quality is not so good. Many of the "dubious health claim" sites seem to be fond of opening it way too soon. The 4% needed de-brining (rinsing.) – Ecnerwal Dec 10 '15 at 21:27
  • Thank you. I get a lovely taste with this ratio. However, I've spoiled the taste when I needed to add water. I ended up adding also 2% of the weight of water as salt to the water, and it makes the sauerkraut too salty. Any tips on how much salt to add to the water that I am forced to add sometimes when I can't squeeze out enough water from the red cabbage itself? – Rok May 17 at 22:42
4

I checked a few German Sources1 and found a range between

  • 7.5g salt per kg cabbage2 and
  • 20g salt per kg cabbage3.

So anywhere between one and a generous two teaspoons per kilogram (two pounds) should be fine.

But what exactly is the salt doing in your cabbage/sauerkraut?

Well, in theory you could leave it out. The bacteria and yeasts necessary for the process will work just fine without it. Unfortunately, so will unwanted bacteria which may be present on your equipment, your cabbage or your environment. Should you choose to try this, work very cleanly, sterilize your gear and do not attempt the open jar method. Still the risk of failure is high.

Salt in your cabbage will hinder all microbiological activity, including your "friendly ones". But unwanted "guests" will be affected far more than your desired acetic and lactic acid bacteria in the range recommended above. Too much salt will stop all fermentation, salt is a preservative, after all.

There is another reason to add some salt, though: The addition of salt supports the release of liquid from your shredded cabbage (together with "kneading" or "pounding" the cabbage), effectively speeding up the formation of the brine.


1 I guess we are nicknamed Krauts for a reason...

  • The upper end of your range (2% w/w) is the lower end of what's recommended in most US sources (2-3% with most saying 2-2-1/2%.) If going for the lower rate, surgically clean German precision (to minimize the wrong bacteria tagging along) is probably beneficial, at a guess. And, of course, the proper airlocked/anerobic container. My first batch is now done, and wunderbar! – Ecnerwal Nov 2 '15 at 15:45
  • @Ecnerwal True. Should perhaps edit this answer (later) that lower salt increases risk of spoilage while too much salt can inhibit or even prevent fermentation. – Stephie Nov 2 '15 at 16:12
0

Based on converting from the barbaric units from this source, I guess something like:

15 to 23 grams of salt per 1000 grams of cabbage

0

This PDF from the University of Wisconsin says to use 2.25 - 2.5 % of non-iodized salt by weight.

https://learningstore.uwex.edu/Assets/pdfs/B2087.pdf

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