Homemade Sauerkraut (fermented in a ceramic crock)

homemade sauerkraut
My husband, Andy, is so excited about this. I mean, I love it too, and so do the girls, but this is the first thing he’s made himself.

First he tried fermenting the cabbage in mason jars, which has worked for some of our friends. But in a few days time ours were moldy. The large piece of cabbage that we used on top to keep everything submerged wouldn’t stay down. When exposed to air it became moldy, and the mold spread to the shredded cabbage below.

So we went ahead and bought a ceramic crock. It was expensive, but it will save us money in the long run. That jar of Bubbies we buy every week at the health food store is expensive. Still, if buying a ceramic crock is out of the question for you, then I hope you will enjoy hearing about how it works. It is fascinating.

I used a ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt per 2 cups of purified water. My big crock held about 3 shredded cabbages and about 8 cups of salted water.

Like my friends who make sauerkraut (successfully) in mason jars, I placed whole cabbage leaves on top of the shredded cabbage.
sauerkraut pot
Next come the weights. These came with my crock, but some crocks sell them separately. The weights keep everything submerged to prevent mold.

After you put the lid on the crock, water is poured into a well around the lid. This is a brilliant system. (And I think you will find it interesting even if you never do this yourself.) Gas is formed inside the crock. The gas escapes through an opening in the lid, which is covered by the water in the well around the lid.

The gas from inside can escape, but no air can enter the crock, because the only opening is covered in the well of water around the lid.

Genius, right? :-)

We put our crock on a cabinet at the bottom of our basement stairs, and we fermented it for 3 to 4 weeks. It’s very dry here, so we had to add water to the lid almost every day. Here it is inside the crock after fermenting:

sauerkraut fermenting pot

Our large crock made over 3 quart sized mason jars of sauerkraut (as seen in the top photo). We ate some right away, then we put it in the fridge to keep. It is so good. It’s crunchier than store-bought, but so good (to soften, just let it ferment a few weeks longer in the pot).

In 2012 we bought a 7.5 liter Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot, which seems to no longer be in production. On amazon we found a similar German-made 5 liter fermenting pot K & K Keramik.

♥, Kelly


  1. says

    Did you pound or anything? When I make it, I massage the salt in and it makes lots of juice and then I put it all in the mason jar. Everyday I reach in there with a clean hand and push it down.

  2. says

    Great post, I make my own sauerkraut in mason jars and the recipe i use calls for leaving it out for only three days, ends up very sour and delicious. I have found that if you close the cap on the jar nice and tight, there will be no mold. I always put my jars inside a cake pan in the pantry to catch any liquid that comes out.

    I like that the crock makes three quarts at a time, may try to convince hubby to get one, he likes to ferment veggies too.

    Also, I’m curious what recipe you used.


  3. says

    My hubby picked up an open ceramic pickling crock from a farm supply store for $35. At 2 gallons, it can make a LOT of sauerkraut. It looks similar to this one.

    Sure, you have to find a plate to fit into it, and a weight for on top of that (we use a jar full of water), and a cloth to put on top. You do have to skim it sometimes. But there are options other than mason jars and the expensive German crocks.

  4. says

    Right now i’m on the Body Ecology Diet, and they’re big on fermenting veggies! I’ve been wanting to try and make homemade kraut, but wasn’t sure exactly how! thanks for the helpful instructions!

  5. says

    Yum! Way to go Andy! I don’t have a fancy crock like that, but I did inherit a crock from my mother-in-law – it’s 2 gallons or so. I’ve fermented sauerkraut in it once. We just finally ate the last of it. I had to keep my kraut weighted down with my oh-so-high-tech plate that just fit inside the crock, plus a big glass jar full of salt water on top as a weight. It’s great, isn’t it? Now, you should totally try to make lacto-fermented pickles when the cucumbers are ripe!

  6. says

    I realize the fermenting crock isn’t familiar in American kitchens, but I thought it would be cool for everyone to see this specialized tool in use. I get the sense that these crocks are the way it’s done in Germany and Poland.

    P.S. We didn’t pound the cabbage (just shredded it and dropped it in).

  7. says

    I have never tried Sauerkraut. Perhaps I should buy some at the supermarket and if I like it I’ll try your recipe and make my own. Thanks for posting this.

  8. says

    Can’t wait to try this. My stepmom and my husband both come from large German families, and I just know this will be a hit. Homemade is some much better than store-bought!

  9. says

    I can’t wait to try this. My stepmom and husband both come from large German families, and I know they will love this! I just had a jar of homemade ‘kraut gifted to me and it is so much better than store-bought.

  10. Debra says

    My mother used to make peppers stuffed with cabbage and then were put in crock and fermented m(I Think)I know the cabbage had mustard seed in the mix and was slightly sweet the pepper stayed crisp I have had such a taste for these anybody heard of these?

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