Sauerkraut – Using The Correct Amount of Salt
Making sauerkraut for the first time can be intimidating. I promise you, it doesn’t have to be. There are a few things you need to get right for a tasty, full flavored kraut.
The first (and most important) question I always ask myself is how much salt do I use for sauerkraut?
Expert sauerkraut makers agree on one thing. The amount of salt is critical to the quality and safety of your sauerkraut. Salt concentration recommendations range from 1.5% to 2.5% (depending on the source). But, 2% percent salt of the weight of your cabbage is my recommended starting point. It's a common and widely accepted concentration. This assumes your cabbage is fermenting in an 18°C to 21°C (64°F to 70°F) environment. As you keep reading, you’ll learn how to calculate this quickly for yourself.
In a nutshell, the method goes like this:
- Weigh your cabbage
- Do some math
- Weigh your salt
Seems fairly straight forward doesn’t it?
Step by Step Salt and Cabbage Measurements
Step 1 – Weigh your cabbage
First, weigh your cabbage using a digital kitchen scale.
By the way, I’m intentionally using the metric measurement of grams for this. It’s just easier to work with than the imperial system.
Don’t weigh your cabbage in the condition you’ve purchased it from the market.
Instead, weigh it after you’ve torn off the outer leaves and removed the tough inner core.
The trick is to weigh the exact amount of cabbage that will end up in your sauerkraut.
For example, let’s say you’ve set your cabbage on a kitchen scale and it weighs exactly 2000g. (about two heads of cabbage)
Great, step one is done!
Step 2 – Do Some Easy Math
So, from step one, you know your cabbage weighs 2000g, right? For step two, take that number (2000g) and multiply by .02. Notice how the number “2” is in .02? That’s how you end up with 2% salt.
Wait, before we continue, a lot of our readers don't like math! So why not try our sauerkraut calculator directly below?
Type the number of grams of cabbage you have below:
For ??? of cabbage, you will need ??? of salt.
After you multiply, you’ll end up with the number 40. That means 40g of salt is needed for 2000g of raw cabbage.
Let’s look at that again:
2000g of cabbage multiplied by .02 equals the number of grams of salt you need.
2000g x .02 = salt
2000g x .02 = 40g of salt
This also works for any amount of cabbage!
Let’s change the amount of cabbage and see what happens.
If you have 200g of cabbage, it would look like this…
200g x .02 = 4g salt
What about 654g of cabbage?
Let’s do it.
654g x .02 = 13.08g salt (we’ll just say 13g even)
And just to make it sink in, let’s have a little fun.
What about 40,000g of cabbage!
40,000g x .02 = 800g salt
Fantastic, step two is done.
Step 3 – Weigh your salt
Now, weigh your salt with a kitchen scale to match the answer you got above. That’s how much salt you should use. There are no tablespoons to measure here.
Next, find out why tablespoons are inaccurate when measuring salt for sauerkraut.
Fermenting Sauerkraut bonus resources:
Measuring salt is just one small part of making sauerkraut.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison and North Carolina State University have great information about fermenting vegetables, including sauerkraut:
You can find these at the links below. When you click on these links, a PDF will either open or download.
And while you’re here…please do leave a comment. Ask a question. Let us know your experience or opinion. I’d love to hear it!