No-Fail No-Pound Sauerkraut (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

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batch of sauerkraut fermenting in the fido jar

“In a small but profound way, getting involved with fermenting food in your home is a way to embrace the bacterial allies that are all around us. And rather than getting caught up in the foolish, indiscriminate war on bacteria, we can embrace the bacteria around us and turn them into our physiological allies.”
~ Sandor Ellix Katz

Sauerkraut Power

  • Digestive Enzymes: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride introduces sauerkraut from day one on the GAPS Diet. Why is she such a strong proponent of this old-fashioned food? Because it’s one of the strongest natural digestive enzymes in existence. Advertisements for Tums antacids will have you believe that the majority of people suffer from an overabundance of stomach acid, when actually the reverse is true. A deficiency in stomach acid makes food take longer to digest (and often incompletely digest), causing the symptoms that make Tums a bestseller. In addition, there’s a domino effect in our digestive system, where one digestive process leads to the next. When we eat, the natural production of stomach acid stimulates the release of digestive enzymes from the pancreas and gallbladder into the small intestine. Together, they break down our food into absorbable nutrients. When stomach acid production is faulty, the other enzymes get released in smaller quantities as well, adding to our digestive woes. A little bit of sauerkraut before a meal stimulates the production of stomach acid (and therefore our other enzymes), preparing our body for the meal to come.
  • Probiotics: If you’ve ever bought a probiotic supplement, you’ve seen the word lactobacilli. These bacteria exist on the surface of all living things (including cabbage) and during fermentation, they break down the starch and sugar in the cabbage and produce lactic acid, which is a natural preservative. That is how people thousands of years ago were able to preserve food without the use of refrigeration. At the same time, the lactobacilli multiply during fermentation, making sauerkraut a potent ally for our health. In our digestive tract, they: (1) protect us against viruses, pathogens and harmful bacteria; (2) help maintain a healthy internal pH; (3) neutralize toxins; (4) chelate heavy metals; (5) suppress cancer formation; (6) convert food into nutrition for the cells of our intestinal walls; and (7) help to prevent or heal leaky gut. They’e good friends to have. (Source: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-Mcbride).
  • Vitamins: Another piece of fermentation magic is that it increases both the amount and bioavailability of nutrients. Sauerkraut is exceptionally high in Vitamins C, B and K, has a substantial amount of calcium and magnesium, and contains both antioxidant and detoxifying compounds. It is definitely a superfood.

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Buying vs. Making Your Own

  • Bubbies is the most popular brand of “raw” sauerkraut sold in health food stores. In my town, it costs $6 for a 25 oz. jar. The cost per ounce is 24 cents, and since the sauerkraut is loosely packed, a good portion of each ounce is liquid.
  • The average price of cabbage is 70 cents/pound. The recipe below calls for 5 pounds, which is a total of $3.50. This is enough cabbage to fill a 65 oz. jar. The cost per ounce is just 5 cents, and the sauerkraut is tightly packed, giving you much more sauerkraut per ounce as well. (Cabbage is a member of the Clean 15, so you don’t need to splurge on organic.)
  • In addition, Bubbies is partially pasteurized & fermented only a short period of time. Both of these steps reduce its probiotic benefit. This recipe for homemade sauerkraut is truly raw, long fermented and full of probiotic goodness.

top of a fido jar with a batch of sauerkraut inside

Fido Jars & Other Tricks of the Trade

When it comes to fermenting foods at home, I look for easy and foolproof options. Sauerkraut doesn’t usually fall within that definition. Many friends have tried and failed to make this superfood over the years, either battling mold, funky smells or strange tastes. Honestly, their failures scared me a way, so I bought my sauerkraut, and that gets expensive. Then I read two articles that changed my perspective: Lea of Nourishing Treasures wrote about a special jar that provides the perfect fermentation vessel. It keeps the bad stuff out and the good stuff in, all with no need to weigh down the cabbage. End result: tasty, probiotic-rich, sauerkraut every time. Kim of Nourishing Gourmet wrote about a no-pound method, where there’s no need to spend fifteen minutes beating up your cabbage before putting it in the jar. Put those two tips together, and you have my kind of recipe!


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No Fail No Pound Sauerkraut | Phoenix Helix

No-Fail No-Pound Sauerkraut (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Eileen Laird
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 68 ounces





  1. Wash your hands and be sure all of your equipment is clean.
  2. Cut cabbage in half and remove the cores. If the outer leaves are wilted, throw them away. Cut the remaining cabbage into large chunks and feed into your food processor, using the largest grater blade, or a slicing blade, to shred the cabbage. If you don't have a food processor, chop the cabbage finely with a knife.
  3. Transfer the shredded/chopped cabbage to a large bowl. Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp. salt and use two spoons to toss until the salt evenly coats the cabbage.
  4. Transfer the cabbage to your Fido jar. It won't all fit at first. That's OK – leave the extra in the bowl, and it will get added later.
  5. Cover both the jar and bowl with clean dry cloths, and let the cabbage “sweat” for 30 minutes.
  6. Once the 30 minutes have passed, use a large spoon or meat pounder to gently push down on the cabbage in the jar. It will compress and release its natural juices, freeing up more room in the jar. Add the remaining cabbage from the bowl and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  7. Compress the cabbage again. Its natural juices should rise up above the shredded cabbage itself. If it doesn't, you can add a little filtered water as needed. Leave two inches of airspace at the top of the jar.
  8. As long as you're using a Fido jar, no weight is needed. Simply clamp the jar shut. (For an explanation, click here.) The first week of fermentation is the gaseous stage, and the cabbage will expand upward. If your jar is very full, stick a plate under it. Sometimes a little liquid will seep out under the rubber gasket. This isn't a problem. The beauty of the Fido jar is that it lets excess fermentation gases out without letting oxygen in. (Oxygen causes mold.)
  9. Put a piece of tape on the jar with today's date, and set it out of sunlight, but someplace you won't forget about it. Let it ferment for 30 days. Don't open the jar during fermentation (this lets oxygen in which can lead to mold). If your house runs hot, ferment it 3 weeks. If your house runs cold, let it ferment 5 weeks. The best flavor and nutrient content develops between 60-75 degrees. Don't try to ferment in temperatures above 80 degrees, or the wrong type of bacteria takes over.
  10. Transfer the kraut into smaller containers and refrigerate. I eat mine in a month, but it should keep in the fridge for at least 6 months


  1. If you've only eaten storebought sauerkraut before, or have done shorter ferments at home, start slowly when eating this version. It has a much higher probiotic count and can cause some digestive symptoms if you eat too much too fast. Start with just a teaspoon, and work your way up to 1-2 Tbsp. per meal. Fermented foods are meant to be condiments, not major food groups. A little bit goes a long way.
  2. Many internet recipes for homemade sauerkraut use a short fermentation time of 3-7 days, but the fermentation process has hardly begun at that point. There are three stages of lacto-fermentation. This website shows that it takes about 20 days for all 3 stages to be reached. Traditional sauerkraut recipes have the fermentation time at 3-5 weeks, depending on room temperature.
  3. If you don't have a Fido jar, you can still use this no-pound method in your preferred fermentation vessels. However, you will have to use a weight, and it's no longer a no-fail method.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Healing Foods
  • Method: No-Cook, Fermented

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231 comments on “No-Fail No-Pound Sauerkraut (Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)”

  1. This site makes making sauerkraut so easy (and fun). I live in southern US, where the temps can go above 100F many months of the year. Keeping my sauerkraut at the right temp was so difficult during the summer months, catch the word ‘was’.
    I purchased an inkbird temp controller and connected it to a mini refrigerator, this solved my problem. Perfect temp with no guessing, or using a double cooler with ice as I did before.
    This will be used for so many things.

  2. Eileen, thank you so much for this recipe! A Fido jar makes all the difference. I have had failures in the past with other kinds of jars and weights, but so far I’ve made this recipe twice and both times turned out perfect (delicious, with no sign of mold) after fermenting for 1 month in a cool place (about 73°F). I’m so excited that this works for me. Thank you so much!!

          1. Here I am again to share the same success with fermentation of peeled broccoli stem sticks (made from those fat stems that usually end up in the compost pile because nobody will eat them) and cauliflower florets with red pepper. These were not compressed, but just packed with water and Himalayan salt. Beautifully fermented and delicious in the Fido jar! Thank you again for the best tip I’ve ever had to be successful at fermenting!

  3. I made this yesterday. I plan to open the jar in exactly 30 days . Is that correct? Want to make sure because i know you said fermentation takes 3-5 weeks depending on temperature. I am so excited and can hardly wait!! I have Hashi’s and think this will really help my gut.

    1. Hi Patty. I love this recipe, and I’m so glad you’re trying it. If you look at step 9 on the recipe, it guides you on timing. For most households, 30 days is perfect. But step 9 gives more details if your house runs hot or cold. Happy fermentation!

  4. Hello. I’m posting my results as promised, but I am so unsure about the results. When I opened the Fido jar, there was not a pop nor bubbling. It fermented for 4 1/2 weeks. I used red cabbage so it was hard to determine the ph level using strips, but it appeared to be around 3.5.
    The temperate ranged a low of 65 and high of 75 (highs and lows only a day or so), most days were around 68.
    It definitely taste different from store brands, much more stronger & very distinct (a bold taste).
    Since this is my first time, I am so nervous about something going wrong and getting sick.
    Thanks for your assistance.

    1. Hi BJ. There should have been a pop when you opened the jar. Since you changed the recipe and reduced the salt, that may have changed the fermentation process dramatically. I’m sorry, I cannot reassure that the end product is OK. I recommend making it again according to the recipe.

  5. What should happen after 5+days. My sauerkraut bubbled and I could hear it for about 3 days. I am not on week three. Since day 5, there has been no changes other than a lighter color. Is this normal? Many thanks for this site. Great information.

    1. Hi BJ. Yes, that’s normal. When the 30 days is up and you open the jar, there will usually be a pop and you’ll hear bubbling again which will subside. The bubbling isn’t something you hear constantly.

      1. Thanks so much. I used a salt ratio of 1.85%, so I was also worried that I did not use enough salt. Do you feel this is enough salt? Thanks again for your knowledge. This is such a great site. I have truly enjoyed the comments and answers immensely.

        1. The Fido Jars do protect from contamination, so it’s one of the reasons fermentation is so much easier in the jar. However, if you altered the recipe to use less salt, I’ve never done that, so I don’t know how that will affect the final product. Let us know once you’ve had a chance to taste it.

  6. I added enough water to cover the cabbage. It then started floating so the top has been out of water and is brownish. It has been fermenting about 3 weeks. Do I need to start again? Is it safe to eat even though is looks crappy? I’ve made this previously with no issues. This was a smaller head of cabbage so there was more room in the jar.

    1. Hi Cheryl. Hmmmm. That’s a tough call. Are you using a FIDO jar? It’s normal for the cabbage to dry out at the top of the jar if it’s above the liquid, but not to discolor. Usually discoloration is a sign of oxidation (which means it’s been exposed to oxygen). That shouldn’t happen in a FIDO jar. I did a little research online, and the advice for a small layer of brown cabbage at the top of the jar, is to simply remove it when you move it to the fridge. The rest should be fine. However, if there’s any sign of mold or the taste is “off”, I would toss the batch and start again.

  7. It’s my first time using a Fido jar. I used 1/3 of this recipe and it fit in a smaller jar. After packing the cabbage the liquid was about 1 inch from the rim. Today is the second day of fermentation and already the cabbage is almost touching the lid. There is no liquid coming out of the jar. Do you think this is a problem?
    I couldn’t believe how much liquid came out without having to pound it. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

    1. Hi Fedora. It’s not a problem. However, I do recommend putting a large dish under your jar. When I’ve overpacked my jars like that in the past, some liquid was forced out of the jar by the fermentation gases. Since the pressure is outward (not inward) there’s no risk of oxygen & mold contamination as long as you don’t open the jar. Just clean up the excess liquid if that happens to you (without opening the jar), and wait 30 days per usual before opening and enjoying your kraut.

  8. I have used your method and Fido jars many times now with wonderful results! But now I am worried! My trusty old food processor is lost somewhere in storage so I got a new one. I shredded all of this beautiful organic cabbage but when I mixed in the salt it seemed almost mushy! The shred is absolutely tiny and I’m worried that the batch won’t be any good! I kept going because my back is so bad standing there slicing by hand just wasn’t an option. So will this be bad kraut? Have you or any of you other readers made it so that the shreds are way tiny? It isn’t releasing liquid like I thought. I have it in jars and am going to add filtered water before I tuck it away for 30 days. If anyone has had a decent result with tiny shreds please let me know!

    1. Hi Fanny. It shouldn’t turn out bad. It will be softer, though. The bigger the shreds, the crunchier the kraut. But the flavor should be very similar. Since you like the bigger shreds, is it possible to buy a larger-holed shredding blade for your new food processor? Those companies do often sell a variety of blades as optional accessories.

      1. Thanks for your response! I’m so glad it will be edible! I have never seen it like this and just hated the thought of throwing it out! I probably would eat it myself but this was for a friend who has terrible digestive issues and the first jar I gave her (hand sliced) was really helping! So thank you again and I will check for the blade! Good advice as always 🙂 Fanny

  9. Hey there–hopefully you’re still seeing comments :). I have a problem: I’ve been using your recipe several times now, all with great results–except this last time. Tons of mold got in somehow, ugh!! So–I didn’t really do anything differently–maybe slightly less salt because I had less cabbage. But, could it be the gasket? How do you know when it’s time to replace a gasket (for the Fido jar)? Or, how long do they typically last?

    1. Hi Eileen. It could be the gasket. The only way to know would be to test the theory. You could make another batch, changing nothing, and see how it turns out. If there’s no mold, maybe it was just a fluke. Or you could replace the gasket as a precaution. When it comes to troubleshooting, it’s always guesswork and trial & error.

      1. Thank you, Eileen! 🙂 I really appreciate your response. Out of curiosity–do you routinely replace the gasket?

      1. Johanne LaFrance

        It’s too bad. It was so fascinating to read about all her experiments. I learned a lot by reading some of them. I should thank you Eileen, I never did. I just resumed making sauerkraut after stopping for a year, but I had made your recipe for a long time. I also made dill pickles in the Fido jars & really regret that I live in an apartment, otherwise I would make enough dills to last all year. Your method is incredibly easy.

  10. Mary Reisdorph

    I just made a batch of your no-pound sauerkraut. It is much easier than the regular pound method. I have not had any luck fermenting pickles. Would it be possible to ferment cucumbers in the Fido jar?

    1. Hi Mary! Absolutely. You can ferment anything in a FIDO jar. Just adapt your favorite pickle recipe accordingly (no need for a weight, and don’t open the jar until the fermentation period is finished.)

  11. I made some sauerkraut using the same method, including the Fido. I musta forgot it because when I found the jar the other day, it was dated June of 2016. It is now the first week of 2018.

    Stuff tastes great and looks fine. I never refrigerate fermented made in Fidos. I forgot that lady that tested these things, but she has my eternal gratitude. B

      1. No, not really super strong, just a little different–more mature maybe. I made it with Turmeric powder and minced garlic. The texture is fine, maybe a little softer or slippery-like, but certainly not slimy. And, believe it or not, but I never put into other containers or even in the ice-box.

        I totally believe in the Fido. I love the simplicity and safety of Fido-Kraut. I just started a new batch without the spices for 2019.

        Thanks for asking, and good luck with your Fido-Kraut

  12. I am just wondering what the finished sauerkraut should smell like. I just opened my jar after 22 days (Fido). The cabbage looks good, not much odor, but it reminds me of a garlic or onion odor. It tastes good but it’s pretty salty. My cabbage was smaller less than 5 lbs, maybe 3.5 lbs. I added some filtered water before refrigerating. Should it have a stronger smell/different smell?

    1. Hi Toni. Sauerkraut is hard to describe – it smells unique to me. If you’re accustomed to sauerkraut having a vinegar smell, that’s because most store-bought kraut isn’t fermented but bottled with vinegar instead. Homemade kraut doesn’t have a vinegar smell. If it tastes good and the odor’s not unpleasant, I’m sure it fermented fine. Since you opened the jar early, it won’t be as strong smelling or tasting as a full 30-day fermentation. To answer your second question about salt: Did you use the full 3 Tbsp. of salt even though your cabbage was smaller? That would explain the saltiness. You can transfer the sauerkraut it into mason jars, add some filtered water to each and shake well before refrigerating. That will dilute the brine. Enjoy your first batch!

      1. Eileen,

        Thank you! I did just as you said, and added some water to this first batch. It turned out great. I am starting another batch this week end and will wait a full 30 days this time to try it. I really enjoy your site, blog, and Podcasts. I appreciate all of the AIP sites, but if I had to choose, I would definitely list PhoenixHelix as my favorite!

  13. Is it ok to have air pockets throughout the sauerkraut? I noticed one of mine also has very small white specks throughout the cabbage

    1. Hi Bre. As long as you’ve never opened the FIDO jar, air pockets aren’t a problem. As for the white specks, however, I’m not familiar with those. My cabbage lightens as it ferments – is it possible it’s just the changing color of the cabbage?

      1. Thanks you for your rely! I didn’t find this website before I started my first batch so never used a FIDO jar. It’s just in a mason jar and a different website said to keep pushing the cabbage down each day. I’m worried now that it hasn’t been in an anaerobic environment. The brine is quite cloudy as well.

        Just reading your story. It’s interesting because I have what’s called reactive arthritis (an autoimmune disorder) and am trying different dietary changes to help reduce my joint inflammation. I’ve cut out gluten and dairy and introduced more fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, ACV and now fruits and veg. If you have any more tips let me know! The rheumatologist tested me for rheumatoid arthritis too but it happens to be so.something slightly different.

        1. Hi Bre. FIDO jars aren’t expensive, so I recommend buying 1 or 2 and starting over. It’s a much easier fermentation method. I have friends with reactive arthritis, so I do understand the difference, although the intensity of pain can be the same. The steps you’ve taken already are wonderful! If you’re ready for the next step, all of my advice is contained in a little pocket guide called A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. Wishing you wellness in every way, Bre.

      1. Yes. I used a Fido jar and sealed it and have not touched it. All the cabbage raised to the top and the water is at the bottom. The cabbage on top turned brown.

        1. Samantha, I’m sure that’s frustrating. I wish I had an answer. As you can see by the 100+ comments above you, for most people this recipe turns out perfectly every time. I did some quick research for you and browning is a sign of oxygen getting to the cabbage. So, it’s possible you have a faulty jar or worn out seal, since the FIDO jar should be an oxygen-free environment. Also, if you live with anyone else – adults or children – is it possible one of them opened the jar without your knowledge? Some other possibilities are: (1) If f you added water to the jar, that can cause browning depending on what’s in the water. (2) It’s important that you add enough salt and distribute it evenly, or pockets of the cabbage can turn brown. I hope that helps.

          1. I did add a little water as suggested since there wasn’t enough juices. No one else burped it. I am going to try again without adding water and making sure salt is evenly distributed. I will let you ow how it works!

          2. It turned brown again just on the top. I followed directions exactly. The house got really warm where it was. Would being in 80 degree for a short while cause it to turn brown?!? I just want some saukraut!

          3. Samantha, you did your own successful troubleshooting. Yes! Absolutely temperature affects sauerkraut fermentation. That’s why I give a temperature range in step 9 of 60-75 degrees. If you don’t have a cool spot in your house, I recommend waiting until Fall to try again.

  14. Went 27 days, and just opened the jar, accompanied by a very satisfying whoosh as the gas escaped. It smells like sauerkraut, and its all a kind of sand color which I generally associate with store bought. Tastes like kraut too, but I’m resisting the temptation to have a bowl. It’s moist, but there’s very little liquid; after I transferred it to 4 wide mouth quart Ball jars, there was about an inch of liquid in the Fido jar, which I divvied up among the 4. I’m going to refrigerate at least 3 of the jars, may let one stay at room temp a while. Should I add water to each quart until the kraut is covered? We’re on a spring fed well, so no worries about chlorine.

    1. Congratulations on a successful sauerkraut, Tom! I don’t add water to mine. I find it’s moist enough even though the liquid isn’t visible. If you prefer a wetter kraut, feel free to add. I encourage you to have confidence with your experiments and enjoy the process. You don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’ve got this! 🙂

  15. Hello again,
    Turns out the jar was 4 liters, and cabbage filled it not quite 3/4ths full (a little under 4 inches from the top of the jar.) I had to add a quarter of a cup of water to bring the brine level above the cabbage, even though I packed it pretty tight. I’m now 15 days in, and I haven’t opened the jar; my plan is to go past 21 days and then try it. Everything looks OK, but I haven’t seen any bubbling around the rubber seal, and the brine level is way down; I have to tilt the jar past 45 degrees to see any liquid. Is this a problem? I’m concerned that it might not have “burped,” and that the CO2 volume and pressure is pushing the liquid down.

    1. FIDO jars don’t burp, Tom. The fermentation gases are constantly pushing upward, keeping the oxygen out. Fermentation is all about experimentation. Just let it finish the 21 days, give it a taste, and let us know how it turned out.

  16. Hi Eileen,
    I bought 2 heads of cabbage weighing just over 5 pounds and the largest Fido jar I could find. Turns out it’s probably 5 liters; a gallon of water comes right to where the jar starts to slope inward, with a couple of inches to spare. So my jar being more than twice the volume your recipe calls for, it could end up being close to half empty. Is that too much air volume for the CO2 effect you describe to overcome?

    1. Tom, the only way to know is to try it. I’m thinking you’ll be OK, because I have done ferments with my jar not being full, and they turned out great. Report back and let us know!

  17. Should I be able to see liquid a certain amount above the cabbage or does it just need to be at the level of the cabbage? When I push the cabbage down it’s definitely got liquid all the way to the top but not a lot of extra. If I need to add water is reverse osmosis water ok or do I need to boil it first?

    1. With the Fido jar, the water level doesn’t matter so much. Traditional fermentation uses a weight to keep the cabbage below the water to protect it from oxygen and mold. But the Fido jar keeps mold out automatically, so the water is just there for moisture rather than protection. Add as much as you like, depending on how moist your like your kraut, and reverse osmosis water should be fine, Alana.

  18. Hi all, I just want to throw in my two cents here, in addition to my experiences with what looks like dry sauerkraut! First, I followed Eileen’s recipe and recommendation to use the Fido jars. I LOVE those jars and I have found if you just do not open them before you want to eat the sauerkraut, it is just fine. And it
    really isn’t dry at all. My sauerkraut does this every time, so I just add some filtered water to top it off right before I eat some. I think as long as you use a Fido jar your sauerkraut will not spoil. I have my third jar fermenting nicely in another Fido jar in the storage room. This one looks lighter than the last batch. The last batch looked darker to me and I would have sworn it was spoiled but one sniff when I finally opened the jar proved that wrong! It is as delicious as the first jar! So maybe it is because the cabbage is an older head, I’m sure that there is a reason but I’m taking all this that unless it has strands of mold all over the top, it is a good batch. One sniff should tell you that!
    Just be sure to follow everything Eileen has said, do NOT pop that lid until you are ready to eat the sauerkraut! I let mine ferment around 6 weeks and it’s perfect for me. Thank you Eileen for all you do!

  19. Hi Eileen – I’ve made two batches of sauerkraut following your directions (my first time ever). The first batch I started December 30 (30 days ago) and the other 9 days ago. Both seem to be progressing nicely (color is good, no mold) although the older one seems to be out of liquid. Is this okay? I haven’t opened it yet as I’m wanting the color to get a little lighter. if it is out of liquid will it continue to ferment? Thanks !

    1. Hi Jill. The moisture does evaporate some over the 30-day fermentation. It’s not harmful, and yes fermentation is still happening. You can add filtered water to the jar in the future, if you like a moister sauerkraut.

  20. Hey Eileen, I commented on an old post from 2014 and worry that you wont see it that far back! Your info is great and thorough- hard to find straightforward info like yours!
    My question: my airlock system has worked great but my last batch dried out on the top 2 inches but i have never opened the jar and the airlock is still full of water so the seal should be good. And it looks and smells great still. Did the moisture just get re-absorbed into the cabbage and will it be ok to eat?
    I am sharing your site with my friends- thanks again!

    1. Hi Bryan. I don’t have any experience with the airlock system you describe, so I can’t say for sure. I can tell you that with the Fido Jar, the top part of the jar is often drier than the bottom and it’s not a sign of a problem.

  21. Thanks Eileen! It’s been fermenting for over 6 weeks now, so it’s ready to enjoy! I’ll open it tomorrow. Thanks again!

  22. Hi Eileen, I followed your instructions using a Fido jar and the experience has been worry free! I noticed a little leakage dried around the edge of the jar but nothing got inside because it isn’t discolored. Only thing I am concerned about is that after time the kraut itself rose above the level of the liquid and there wasn’t enough room to shove it down. In addition, it had been fermenting for some time and I didn’t want to open the jar at that point! Do you think I will need to throw out any sauerkraut that sat above the liquid line? It’s my first batch so it is fully my fault for not leaving enough room at the top! Thank you for your wonderful advice and help AND recipes on this new way of life for me!

    1. Don’t worry Fanny. It’s normal for the kraut to rise above the liquid in a Fido jar, but since it’s an oxygen-free environment, there’s no danger.

  23. Thank you so much for your wonderful info! We followed the recipe to a T. Looking back over it I think we might have opened it a time or two during the 30 day waiting period. (Did that hurt anything?) It has now exceeded the 30 days and we were anxious to try it but it seems rather Dry. My daughter has done this a couple of times and it was a lot more moist. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Chuck. Hopefully your memory is faulty and you didn’t open it, because the science behind the FIDO jar is that it keeps out oxygen. If you opened the jar and let oxygen in, that usually causes mold to develop. To answer your moisture question, cabbage has a range of moisture naturally. Organic cabbage usually makes the moistest sauerkraut. And if you want to make sure it’s moist in the future, you can add some filtered water the jar at the start of fermentation, before you close the jar.

  24. Curious…twice I have ordered the 67.75oz fido container from Amazon and they have sent me twice one that holds just over 34 fluid oz. Is your container a tall 2L container? New to fermenting and thinking there might be something that I am just not understanding. Sooo want a container of this going.

  25. Thank you for this great method of making sauerkraut. I just opened my first batch, and in spite of a few errors I made (used an imitation Fido jar, didn’t have enough cabbage so let it sit in the fridge for a day while I bought more, opened the jar to top up the brine after a day – oops!) it still worked out brilliantly. My whole family loves it, and my 2 year old and 4 year old think it is delicious, even though they don’t like cabbage. I have another one fermenting, and another being jarred right now! Thank you again!

    PS and to all who are filled with doubts (as I was) that the cabbage is rising out of the brine, or it looks like there are air bubbles in amongst the cabbage after a few days, don’t worry! Mine looked like that too! It will be ok!

  26. I made my sauerkraut after lunch and after supper I realized I didn’t have enough brine covering my cabbage. So I opened the jar and added some 2% brine. Is this ok since it had been only around 5-6 hours since I started the process?

  27. Hello Eileen, thanks for this informative article. I’m following this recipe for the second time having had great success with the first batch. However my current batch is starting to turn brown on top. I needed to add a little water to the jar and the liquid just came to the level of the cabbage. Now it looks like the cabbage has risen a little and the top layer exposed to the air is going brown. The cabbage only filled 2/3 of the jar when I put it down, maybe that’s a factor too?

    I’m wondering if I can salvage this batch and how I would go about doing that?

    Kind regards, Adam

    1. Adam, if you’re using a FIDO jar, the cabbage shouldn’t be getting exposed to air. It’s an oxygen-free environment, which is why no weight is necessary. My jars are often just 2/3 full, and the upper cabbage is always a little above the water line, and it doesn’t affect my fermentation at all. My questions for you are: (1) Did you open the jar during fermentation? Once you close that lid, it’s important that you don’t open it until fermentation is complete and you’re ready to eat it. Otherwise, you let oxygen in. (2) Did you filter or boil the water you added? It’s possible there’s something in the water that’s turning your cabbage brown.

      1. Adam Ratcliffe

        Think I found the source of the problem. The wire holding the lid was twisted under the seal at the back which must have effected the seal. In my haste putting it together I hadn’t noticed. Thanks for your help 🙂

          1. So mine is turning brown but the seal appears to be fine. Should I dump the whole thing? I’m afraid it’s going to be very odoriferous when I open the jar! 🙂

          2. Holly, it’s normal for the kraut to change in color from green to yellow as it ferments, but it shouldn’t be brown.

  28. Audrey Ascenzo

    Hi Eileen,
    Thank you for posting this great recipe! I have some hermetically sealed jars my Mother purchased many years ago that were made in England & I still use today for storage. Very similar to the Fido jars. I used the largest one I had which was 2 quarts. The sauerkraut came out good & everyone loves it! I only can tolerate a drop of the juice just as I have done with Bubbies, but it is enough to help me. I did have the same problem Mike had. I felt it was too dry, but not bad. I would like to add some water as you suggested. Would spring water be OK? I get it fresh from a near by town.

    1. Most spring water contains some bacteria – not necessarily harmful – but likely to affect fermentation. I think in this instance, filtered water is better. Or, you can boil the spring water to kill any bacteria, and then let it cool before adding it to the jar.

      1. I usually boil most of the water, enough for each day, but sometimes I run short, then I use it straight. Thanks for your suggestion. Do you have any other favorite fermenting recipes using the fido jars?
        Really do like the way you present your recipes!

        1. Hi Audrey, I made my first batch of Kimchi in the same size and type of Fido jar and it came out perfect! I didn’t fill it quite as full and we started eating it alot sooner but sometimes I wouldn’t have any for a few days and the lid would ‘pop’! when opened telling me that there was an air tight seal. I bought two more of these fantastic jars so I can keep fermentations going!

  29. Thank you for your great article!… unfortunately I only found it after making my sauerkraut. I’d found a few instructive articles on fido jar ferments and did well except for leaving airspace at the top. i left only 1cm between the juice and the rubber lid line (the cabbage however is an inch below this and held down with a glass weight). Im a few days in (Kept at 70 decrees) already bubbles are coming out from under the rubber seal. Ive bagged them in case of an explosion but i was wondering if the rubber will corrode with the salt / fermented juice and contaminate the batch. Any well founded assurance would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks again

    1. I’ve done the same thing. Just put a dish under it to catch the juice overflow. It won’t damage or contaminate anything. Just be sure you don’t open the jar! If you do that, two things will happen: (1) Sauerkraut will explode all of the place (again – I’ve made this mistake myself) and (2) You let oxygen in the jar which can cause mold. If you’ve already opened the jar, switch to a traditional fermentation method for this batch, and start a fresh batch in the Fido, leaving more room at the top next time.

  30. Hi there! Fermenting newbie here. I’m on Day 6 of sauerkraut in a Fido jar. I did not use a weight. The kraut is riddled with large air pockets and the brine seems like it has almost…reabsorbed back into the cabbage (best I can describe). It essentially looks like really fluffy, airy and moist cabbage. Is this okay? If it is not, what can I do to avoid this?

    FYI – I feel like I did a nice job of compacting it…the cabbage was about an inch below the brine when I started and I wasn’t seeing any bubbles.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. It’s fine Angelina. The gases of the fermentation process cause the cabbage to rise up above the brine during the FIDO process. The bubbles come from the fermentation gases. As long as you don’t open the jar until fermentation is complete, all should be well.

  31. I have a question about the preparation. At what point, if at all, do you wash the cabbage? I’ve made coleslaw before, where I shredded it and then washed it which was very tedious. I’ve also just washed the outside of the head of cabbage. Is any of this necessary when you’re going to be fermenting it?

  32. we live in a subtropical country, its 25-25 degrees most days, which can be between 80-95 degrees F, How long do I ferment for? I have it sat in an esky to control temps but have no way to tell what temp it is in the esky, I add an ice pack each day, but temps drop at night so leave it overnight. thanks

    1. That’s a tough one Natalie. 80-95 is too hot for sauerkraut, but if you’re using a cooler and an ice pack, I’m sure you’ve lowered the temp. But without knowing the temperature inside the cooler, I can’t give a guess on what’s the ideal fermentation time. You might do better with a more traditional sauerkraut method where you use a weight to keep the cabbage below the brine, and then check it after a week, and every few days thereafter, using flavor as your guide (it’s done when it’s the right amount of sour for you). Since the fido jar is designed to be left alone unopened, at steadily cooler temps, it’s not the best choice for you.

  33. Hello, so I have been fermenting my very first batch of sauerkraut for 3 1/2 weeks now in a room that is 62 degrees. My main question is how do I know it’s done since I can’t open it? Is there a such thing as “over fermenting?” will be in there 4 weeks this friday should I wait another week or so?

    thanks for your time!


    1. Hi Brian. Congratulations on your first batch! The good news is that your really can’t over-ferment. As long as its an oxygen-free environment, it’s safe, and in Germany some people ferment for 6 months. The longer you ferment, the greater number of probiotics, but also the sourer the taste. Since it’s your first batch, you can give it another week since the room is cooler, and that would be the same as a 4-week ferment at 68 degrees. Or you can open it up at 30 days and see how you like the flavor. Do some experiments with timing on your first few batches – fermenting some longer and some shorter – until you find the taste that’s perfect for you. Fermentation lends itself to experimentation!

  34. You said to use a 68oz fido jar in this recipe with 5lbs of cabbage. My friend gave me what she says is a gallon fido jar that she used with 5lbs of cabbage. I don’t want to go through the whole recipe and find out the jar is not the proper size. Can you give me some clarity on this? Thank you!

    1. The size of the jar is correct. As long as you let the cabbage sweat and compress it down when you fill the jar, it should fit. My guess is that your friend either loosely packs her cabbage in the gallon jar, or leaves a lot of space at the top. Both methods (and jar sizes) would work fine, as long as it’s a Fido jar.

  35. Per Kombucha in a Fido. NO! Kombucha needs more direct airflow so that it grows a new SCOBY and doesn’t go moldy. Do not use a FIDO. Get a SunTea gallon jar at your local thrift store. Use a tightly woven, yet breathable cloth. You want to keep out dust and bugs, but not air.

    PS thanks for posting these sauerkraut instructions. Works like a dream, despite all those pro Picklit ppl and Fido haters out there!

  36. Apologies if this was already asked, I tried to read through all of the comments but there are so many! Does it matter about the colour of the cabbage? I have a red one and a regular one, I ate the stir fry one. I think two tone would be cool! Second question, have you ever put them in smoothies/juices? It might be the only way to get it into my Crohn’s boy which is how he gets most of his nutrients. I was thinking about it and it makes sense to me that it should work. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Lydia. You can absolutely use either color (or both together). As to your second question, I haven’t done that, but I don’t see why not. One other suggestion for you is to add some extra filtered water to your jar before sealing it for the month. That way, the fluid will become filled with probiotics as well, and you can add that very easily to your son’s smoothies/juices.

  37. Thanks! I will look into that probiotic and am ready to dive into trying the Fido Jar method. I’ve seen jars like this at the container store I believe called wick jars but want to make sure I follow the steps as mentioned. I appreciate this site and the recipe!!!

  38. I’ve been buying trader joes raw ferment kraut and as you mentioned it is quite pricey vs making homemade but have had the same concerns over making a batch and having bad results being so food sensitive it is a scary thought I might upset my sensitive stomach/system. I am avoiding gluten, dairy and soy and alot of probiotics have that listed on the allergens in the ingredients. Is there a specific probiotic you can recommend that is a good choice? I would love to make this to help cut down on some of the costs as I follow a new AIP diet. I love adding kraut to my salads and meals. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennie. Sarah recommended Prescript Assist during the recent fermentation podcast as her favorite probiotic, and it is gluten/dairy/soy-free. As for switching to home ferments, you have two options: Buy Sarah’s video class where she’ll teach you everything you need to know about homemade kraut, or try the recipe above. (The Fido Jar used in the recipe keeps out mold). Either way, just start with small amounts of the homemade, to see how you tolerate it, and increase slowly. I made the switch from storebought to homemade very smoothly, and I have the same food sensitivities as you.

  39. I just opened my first jar of sauerkraut , it was perfect !!! This is my first time making it and I used the 5 liter Fido jar with 10#’s cabbage and 6 Tablespoons of sea salt ( this yields 12 pints of kraut) . I never really cared for the store bought stuff, but this I ate fresh from the jar & it’s delicious. I made two jars a few days apart and this jar seemed to have plenty of liquid right even with the cabbage, the second jar does appear to be a little drier and the liquid is a couple inches below, but still looks great , I can’t wait to open that one as well. Thank you so much for sharing !!

  40. How do you make it turn out crunchy like Bubbies? We love the taste and texture of that brand but it is pricey!
    My first batch tasted bland and is soggy. 🙁

    Love your site! Thank you!

    1. Some people have added some of Bubbies brine to their homemade batch to mimic the flavor. You could try that. As for the crunch, I believe bubbies ferments their sauerkraut for less time. You won’t get the same number of probiotics, but you can open the jar in 2 weeks, and see if you like that texture better.

  41. I had a couple of questions. 1: my last batch went mouldy and i assume it is because the liquid layer did not quite cover the cabbage – it did initially but not during the expansive gaseous phase. I have managed to avoid this with my second batch by pushing it down over several days, adding water and then transfered it to the fridge (house not running hot however). Any suggestions re all this? Also, can adding too much salt be harmful to the probiotic profile of the kraut?

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Katie. Are you using a Fido jar? This recipe is specifically designed for that, and in that case, the jar should never be opened during the fermentation cycle. When you open the jar, you let oxygen in, which allows mold to grow. As long as you keep the jar shut the entire time, mold never has a chance to enter, even if the liquid evaporates at the top of the jar. (My liquid is always evaporated at the top of the jar by the end of the gaseous phase.) If you are using a different type of jar, or are more comfortable opening the jar and adjusting things during the fermentation process, I recommend using a different recipe.

  42. Thanks for the recipe and instructions. I’ve never had sauerkraut before, but I’m getting ready to start GAPS so I guess I’ll learn to like it. When I was buying my Fido jar I noticed that they also sell gaskets for it. Do you need a new gasket each time you ferment?

    Also, I usually use pink Himalayan salt. Is this an acceptable salt, or should I stick to sea salt?


    1. Hi Angie. The gasket lasts quite a while. I’ve been making the sauerkraut for almost two years now and am just now considering replacing my gaskets. (The jar should be hard to open at the end of the fermentation cycle and pop when you open it; mine have been opening a little easier, so I’m taking that as a sign that the gasket might be wearing out). As for the pink himalayan salt, that should work fine. Happy fermenting!

  43. Eileen, is there any sure way of knowing if your sauerkraut turns out bad or not? I just opened mine after 4 weeks of fermenting and the color had changed a little and I didn’t feel a strong suction upon opening. However, the taste is ok – not wonderful, but not bad either. Do you think it’s all right? i wonder if I should have opened it a week earlier? Thank you!

    1. If it tastes good, you can trust it. The color always changes during fermentation – usually starting as a bright green and turning to a pale yellow by the end. The only time I had a bad batch of sauerkraut in the Fido jar was when I opened it a few days into the fermentation cycle “to check on it”. (Totally against the Fido rules. I had inadvertently let the fermentation gases out and allowed oxygen in.) When I opened it again in 30 days, it smelled bad and was inedible. Otherwise, as long as I follow the instructions and leave it be for 30 days, it always comes out fine. Some batches have strong suction, some weak suction, and flavor varies from batch to batch. That’s the nature of fermentation, especially with seasonal weather variations. You can certainly ferment your next batch for 3 weeks instead, and see if you like the flavor better; just remember, once you open the jar, you need to eat it – don’t try to reseal it and ferment it longer. Also, if you’re worried that your sauerkraut is bad because you let it ferment too long, that’s not how fermentation works. The longer you ferment, the greater the number of probiotics. Traditionally, some cultures left it fermenting for 6 months. One thing I’m experimenting with right now is how finely I grate the cabbage. I’m finding it tastes a little better if it’s in bigger pieces; I’m now using the slicing blade on my food processor, instead of the grating blade.

  44. Eileen, I have a hand made fermentation crock (with weight) that I have yet to use. It doesn’t appear to be completely air tight. Any tips on anything I might be ablt to do to make it air tight? Also, I live in Florida. I keep my house temp at 75, but I turn it up to 78 when I am gone all day. Do you think that is pushing it on the temperature?

  45. Eileen, you say that if the weather is on the warmer side, the sauerkraut may be ready in 2 or 3 weeks rather than in a month. How can you tell if it’s ready earlier? Does it look a certain way?

    1. It doesn’t look different; it’s simply the science of fermentation. Every batch is going to be a little bit different anyway; that’s the art of fermentation. So, it’s okay to just open it up and start eating when you feel the time is right.

  46. thank you for this simple way of making sauerkraut! I’m just trying my first batch. Does it get real smelly in this process of fermenting?

    1. Hi Nita. Sauerkraut in general smells sour when it’s done, hence the name, which is German for sour cabbage. I’d say this method smells the same as any sauerkraut.

      1. Thank you, Eileen…my question wasn’t clear. What I meant to ask is if there is a strong smell that comes from the cabbage during the process of fermenting? I live in an apartment building and am a little worried if there could be a strong smell bothering other residents as the sauerkraut is fermenting. Thank you!

  47. Can you make kombucha in locked Fido jar? If sour kraut works, shouldn’t kombucha as well? I had no idea Fido jars let gases out! I have kombucha in one of them, and I took the lid off and covered the jar with coffee filters!

    1. That’s a really good question, and I don’t know the answer. I did a quick google search and people seem to recommend a fido jar for the second ferment, but not the original brew. If you try it, let me know how it goes! There’s also a FIDO group on Facebook, and I bet someone there has tried it:

  48. After reading your article I immediately bought a Fido to make kraut for the first time. The kraut is on day 19 and I see a black spot about 3 inches down from the top. Does this mean it is ruined? I have not opened the jar since I first made it.

    1. Hmmmm. I see a couple of possibilities. Sometimes there’s variation in the color of the cabbage leaf, so maybe you’re just spotting a dark green leaf? Mold usually grows on top of a ferment, so it would be unusual to be in the middle. This is what I hope is true! However, if it is mold, there’s only three ways that could have happened: (1) contamination while making the cabbage (utensils, hands not 100% clean); (2) not using the gasket on the fido jar, which is what makes the safe seal; (3) a faulty jar. When you open the jar, it should be difficult to open because of the suction, and sometimes there’s even a popping sound when it releases. If the jar opens easily, then you know it didn’t seal properly. Let me know what you discover, Tonya.

  49. I just made this sauerkraut recipe & wanted to share this. Been working on blood sugar issues via paleo principles for about a year (was diagnosed 6+ yrs ago). While doing a 3rd Whole30 last month, batch finished up & started eating it. It turned out a little too salty for my taste, but kept trying until I got to a Tbsp or so every meal. Since that point a couple weeks ago, my fasting BG went down to the low-mid 80s for the first time ever. I attribute this to the kraut, because it is essentially the only change in the last 2 weeks of a Whole30 month. I have no idea how or why, but there it is — so this stuff is now big time medicine in my house. Thank you!!

  50. One more question. It is o.k. to use the Redmond Real salt? I don’t need to use pickling salt or kosher salt? Thank you!

  51. I am almost to the 30 days of fermenting, but I opened the jar once to make sure there wasn’t any mold. Will this batch still turnout or do I need to throw it out and start over? I hope I can still use this batch. This is my first time making it.

    1. Unfortunately, you let oxygen in when you opened the jar, and that ruins any ferment done in a FIDO jar. I’ve done that myself once, so I can commiserate. Throw it away, start over, and resist the temptation to open the jar next time. Sorry!

  52. I just opened my sauerkraut. Went for 5 weeks at about 68 degrees F. Everything looks good and like your final picture, but I was wondering what it should taste like. It is still crunchy and definitely still tastes like cabbage with a salty and slightly tangy brine. Is this correct? I’m used to the grocery store kind that has been processed. Thanks.

  53. I’ve eaten sauerkraut sold in a heavy platic bag.

    I rinse it to remove the salt.

    Does rinsing it make it less probiotic/less healthy??

    1. When you buy sauerkraut, make sure it’s sold in the refrigerated section and specifically labeled “raw”. That way, you know it still contains probiotics. (Most sauerkraut sold in stores has been pasteurized.) As for your question, unfortunately rinsing does remove some of the probiotics – not all of them, though.

  54. Me again – I have a question. I got nervous about my Fido jar (I overfilled it) – so I “burped” it (juice everywhere). I quickly locked it down, but now notice that I have a couple of darker spots in the kraut here and there. I think I’m paranoid about mold. Do you think I should start over with a new batch? Also, is it a problem if there are a few air bubbles throughout the jar? I thought I pushed everything down well enough to get rid of any air pockets, but I see a few tiny spots and wondered if this could be a problem. Thanks for the help!

    1. Oh my. I made the same mistake. What a mess! We both need to learn to trust the Fido! Sadly, burping the jar lets oxygen in, and oxygen feeds the bad bacteria. I learned this through experience by letting mine ferment for the month (after burping) and then tasting it. It didn’t look moldy, but it tasted awful! I recommend starting with a new batch, and never burping the jar again.

      1. Sigh – I’m glad I asked. I read an article on the dangers of the Fido and it started freaking me out…I should have stuck with the plan. I had a great experience the last time. The kraut was easy, no problems, and it tasted great.

        Thanks for getting back with me so quickly!

  55. Eileen,

    You are just “da bomb”! I loved the sauerkraut the first time around and it was so easy. I’ve fallen off the wagon, though, but am trying to be resolved to incorporate these important foods (and drink) into our diets. Thanks again for this great recipe. I love feeling confident that I’m not introducing pathogens!! XO – Jen

  56. Hi! I drink the juice and don’t eat the cabbage. Does anybody know if instead of cutting up more cabbage and making a whole new batch of sauerkraut, can you just refill with new water to make more sauerkraut juice?

  57. I’m going to try and make a batch in summer and keep it cool. But there will be a few days above 80, but I’ll try to keep it in a cool place in the house. What signs should I look for to recognize bad bacteria?

    1. As long as it will be under 80 degrees most days, it should be fine. You’ll just want to shorten the fermentation time to 2 weeks. As for signs of poor bacteria balance, pay attention to flavor and texture. At high temps, sauerkraut often gets soft and doesn’t taste as good.

  58. I have noticed in my first two batches of kraut in my 5 liter fido jars that towards the bottom the juice is pretty salty. Wanted to know if maybe I am using too much salt. I use 7.5 grams of sea salt to each lb of cabbage. I then added 8 cups of filtered or boiled and cooled water with 6 T. of sea salt to the 5lbs of cabbage that fits into a 5 liter fido jar. Is this the ratio you use? My husband and I both prefer the taste our new kraut with the fidos over Bubbies!

    1. I use the recipe in the article above, which only calls for 3Tbsp. sea salt for 5 lbs of cabbage, packed down into a 68 oz. jar. I don’t add any water. To adapt the recipe to a 5 liter jar, you would need around 12 lbs. cabbage and 7.5 Tbsp. salt.

  59. I packed two jars on Saturday. Today is Thursday. So about 5 days later and I am not seeing any bubbling. Should I? Does that mean I did it wrong? The cabbage is losing its green color, and I don’t see any browning, mold or other things. I just expected it would bubble since other websites have said this should happen. I forgot to weigh the cabbage at the store, so I had to guess how much was 5 pounds. So my salt to cabbage ratio might be off. Would that be a problem?

    1. You don’t always see the bubbling, Julie. Don’t worry – fermentation is happening! The hardest thing to do the first time you ferment is to just trust the process.

  60. Just finished my first batch last week…. this worked SO WELL!! THANK YOU … it tastes so great (I added lemon rind and rosemary like my favorite store- bought version). I’m wondering if this method will work with carrots and beets too??

    1. Oooh, lemon rosemary – doesn’t that sound good? I would think it would work just as well for carrots and beets, although I’ve never done that. If you try it, let us know!

  61. I’ve made some brilliant kraut thanks to you over the winter but now summer is upon us! The temperature can easily hover around 95 and smash through 100 on hot days. What are the implications for A) my batch that has already done it’s month and is now happily sitting on the counter dispensing into a smaller container as required. (fridge is the obvious solution but would rather keep it out) and B) any batches that I want to brew over summer.

    Much love thanks and good bacteria,


    1. Hi Noam. Does it get that hot in your house, or is that the outside temperature? Generally speaking, any temp over 80 degrees makes the kraut soft, with poor flavor, and low diversity of probiotics, so it’s not recommended. Is there a cool place, like a basement or a garage you can use to ferment in the summer? If not, it might be best to just make this a winter activity.

  62. What is your thoughts on rinsing the sauerkraut before eating to get rid of some of the sodium if you’re on a low sodium diet but still want the probiotic benefits that eating fermented sauerkraut gives you? Appreciate the recipe you shared!

    Thank You, Dona

    1. Hi Dona. Rinsing it wlll remove some of the probiotics, but not all of them. It sounds like a good compromise for your needs, though.

  63. I am new to fermenting, I am using mason jars with lids that have a built in vapor lock. My kraut bubbled over and left some of the cabbage without liquid for a little less than a week. Do I need to throw out the whole batch or can I scrape off the top layer that was without liquid?

  64. I have been testing out my Harsch fermenting pot. The first batch went for 4 weeks and wasn’t that sour tasting and there was a little mold on top. I want to avoid all mold and that is why I bought the Harsch. I made sure this last time there was more salt water and the kraut was submerged and no mold this time around. I went 9 weeks and this batch is much better. Not quite as sour tasting as Bubbies which is what I am shooting for. I do think the bacteria count is great with mine than with Bubbies. I just think they have a better sour tasting kraut I want to replicate. Are you saying that you can achieve a Bubbies sourness and crunchiness in 4 weeks with a Fido jar in 70 degree temperatures? I read elsewhere that it takes at least 10 to 12 weeks of fermenting to achieve this with cabbage. But I have heard that Bubbies only ferments for about 2 weeks. I wonder if they spike the process by just keeping the liquid and putting new cabbage in and this way and this accelerates the process. If that is so then maybe using the liquid from a jar of Bubbies as a starter (much like bakers use starters) would shorten the fermenting process. I think using a Fido jar would be much easier to work with since my 10 liter Harsch is extremely heavy and very expensive. I could have many jars going at once with the Fidos.

    1. My kraut gets very sour and is still crunchy at the 4-week mark in the Fido. I like it better than Bubbies, actually. If you want the specific Bubbies flavor, I think using some of their liquid as a starter is a great idea. I’ve heard of other people doing that, and they say it works like a charm.

      1. Well I wanted to follow up on this now that I just tried my first batch of kraut from one of my fido jars. It works really well. Yes it has a good tartness to it like Bubbies does. Not the same but very good. Much better than my expensive Harsch pot! So much quicker too! I need to sell that thing on Craigs List to recoup the expense. I plan to have four fidos one for each week of the month going. I used the 15 grams of sea salt to 2lbs of cabbage and then added 8 cups of filtered water with 6 T. of sea salt to the 5lbs of cabbage I fit into my 5 liter fido jar. I do think getting the right ratio of salt is key to this as well.

        1. Thanks for the update, Deanne! Isn’t it awesome when the less expensive version works better? Happy fermenting. 🙂

          1. Eileen have you ever used the juice from one kraut batch and used it as a starter for a new batch of kraut? Did it speed up the process or taste different? I know that it is best to use organic cabbage but sometimes I can’t find it. Have you or anyone noticed that using GMO and non organic cabbage resulted in in bad kraut? Has anyone actually ran tests on such kraut and what have they found under the microscope? Has anyone ran tests on what strains are found in organic and non GMO kraut and in what quantities? Any research to cite? I have to say I am so glad I found your site and the information here it has been invaluable! I am trying to sell my Harsch now and no one is interested : (

          2. That’s a lot of questions! I’ll answer what I can. I have never used juice from a prior batch as a starter. It’s not necessary. Cabbage is actually one of the Clean 15 (crops with very low pesticide use), so I think it’s fine to use conventional for sauerkraut. I’ve used both organic and conventional cabbage, and I can’t tell the difference. They both seem to ferment equally well. If you’re concerned with GMO, just look at the produce number. If it starts with an “8” it’s GMO. If it starts with a “9” it’s not. As for the other questions, I don’t know. Give the Harsch time; someone will snap it up!

    1. Hinder. Vinegar is only used when you want to pickle something, which is a different process that doesn’t contain the benefits of fermentation. Also, since ACV is a living food, you would be introducing different strains of bacteria that would compete with the ones that develop naturally during sauerkraut fermentation.

  65. Hello, thank you!!

    My first batch is ready but the brine seems to have evaporated from the top quarter of the jar. Is the dry stuff ok to eat? what can I do to prevent this happening in the future?

    fermented regards,


    1. The brine hasn’t evaporated; instead your cabbage has expanded during the fermentation to rise above the brine. As long as you used a Fido Jar, it’s totally normal and safe to eat.

      P.S. Although a weight isn’t necessary with a fido jar (which is why I like them), you can certainly use one if you want to keep all of your kraut below the brine. Just make sure you can still close your jar with the airtight seal.

      1. I’ve also just done my first sauerkraut. I didn’t use a Fido jar as I live in South Africa and couldn’t access one. I used something that looks like it that I bought from the supermarket. The same thing has happened to mine after the month – the brine has dropped and only covers about 2/3 of the cabbage. I’m so nervous to open it up and try it as I do react to water kefir soda. Worried the yeasts or bacteria will get to me. But I’ve gone to all this trouble of fermenting it. How can I be sure it’s safe?

          1. Thank you so much. This podcast gave me many answers I’ve been looking for. I decided to try a bit of kefir tonight. It didn’t affect me. I’ll increase gradually instead of expecting to get down a whole glass. I will try a small piece of sauerkraut. Do I take off the dry bits on the top and just eat the cabbage under the brine? They look a bit wilted.

          2. That’s what I usually do. It’s not a safety issue; I just think the moist sauerkraut tastes better.

      2. You imply that keeping the kraut below the brine is optional, which is absolutely false. There should be an inch of brine above the kraut at all times. You can top kraut off with more brine you make yourself (19 gms of salt per quart of water). This is what you need to be telling people.

        1. What you say is true for traditional sauerkraut fermentation, but NOT this recipe, which uses a special jar called the FIDO. The reason traditional recipes keep the kraut below the brine is to protect it from exposure to oxygen (which creates mold). The FIDO jar is an oxygen-free environment (as long as the jar is kept closed as the recipe indicates.) You can certainly add more brine at the start of the recipe, for a moister kraut or a higher liquid ratio. But it’s not needed for mold protection in this recipe.

  66. I’m looking forward to trying this! I’ve been so scared to make a fermented food myself, but you’ve taken the scary out of it. Thank you!

    1. Let me know how it goes. Sauerkraut in particular scared me until I stumbled upon these tips. Now, it’s so easy, I keep a batch going all the time.

  67. Sauerkraut is not something I ever learned to like, despite my German heritage. I know it’s good for you, though. Maybe I need to try it again. Thanks for sharing this at Raw Foods Thursdays!

    1. Expanding our tastes can be challenging sometimes, can’t it? You can add flavors, though, and that might help! Kirsten in the comments above mentioned that she added garlic and dill to her first batch, and ginger to her second batch.

  68. Thanks for the advice…I think the problem is two fold. First off doctor Natasha says that it will be ready in a week. I found a post online that says the only time it will be ready in a week is if the surrounding air temperature is around 80 degrees. I keep my house around 71 so that could be why. Do you think if I add a little water and stick it in the garage it will do its thing or do you suggest starting over since the top was exposed to air for a few days?

    1. If it was exposed to air, I would start over. A lot of modern recipes for sauerkraut use short fermentation times of 3-7 days, but that’s really too short to develop any beneficial bacteria at almost any temperature. The links in the Notes section of the article above show that. I suggest leaving Natasha’s recipe behind and follow this one instead. Sauerkraut tastes best AND has the best blend of probiotics when fermented at lower temperatures for a longer period of time. So 71 degrees is perfect, and give it 3 to 4 weeks fermentation with your new batch.

  69. I’ve tried to make sauerkraut three times now and the sauerkraut releases plenty of juice initially. Then it seems to soak it back up and becomes completely dry. Any idea what is causing this? I’m lost and I’ve followed Dr. Natasha’s recipe to a T each time.

    1. Hi Mike. It’s normal for there to be no visible liquid, but the kraut should still be moist. Store-bought sauerkraut is sold with water added, which is why it seems juicier. You can add water to your finished kraut at home. I do, because like you, I like the extra moisture. So after 30 days, when my sauerkraut’s ready, I add some filtered water to it, and give it a shake to distribute the moisture. You can add as much water as you like. It shouldn’t harm the sauerkraut at all. However, if you mean the sauerkraut is dried out like it’s been sitting in the sun, I don’t know why that would happen, but I would imagine it’s a problem with your jar or crock. In that case, I recommend trying a Fido jar instead.

  70. Kirsten Tiedemann

    My sauerkraut turned out GREAT! I added some garlic and dill, and it’s deeeeeeeee-lish. I’m thinking next time I’ll add some ginger. Thank you so much Eileen!

    1. Do you mind sharing the ratio of garlic and dill you used to cabbage and salt? I would love to try that flavor combination. Thanks!

  71. Hello again, So I am ready to make my Kraut. Unfortunately I can’t afford to get fido jars at this time, so will the regular mason jar work with the ring and seal? If so, do you heat the seals? Or just put them on and tighten? Do you tighten then tight? Also, if you need to add water, do you use hot water or cold water? Every jar I made last year was just not good, I have a large crock, I would love to try this method too, but don’t know where to begin with it either. Thank you for all your help.

    1. Hi Cathy. One thing that’s helpful to realize is that fermentation is nothing like canning. There is no need for water baths or vacuum seals or any heat at all. The fermentation process itself preserves your food. That said, I’ve never done the mason jar method, so I can’t say that’s no-fail. The main difference is that you’ll have to use a weight, to be sure the cabbage stays below the brine the whole time. Otherwise it will mold. Lea from Nourishing Treasures is a sauerkraut expert and she has a free video course you can watch:

  72. I was excited to find this recipe! I bought a Fido jar and followed the steps you outlined. My ‘kraut is at Day 7 right now. One thing that I’m a little unsure of: my cabbage has all risen to the top of the Fido jar, and there is about 1 inch of liquid at the bottom of the jar. I assume it’s okay that the cabbage is floating like this? Is this normal? There definitely is still some liquid in and around the cabbage itself.


    1. Yes, that’s fine. The first few days of fermenting are a gaseous stage, and this moves the cabbage upward. That’s why weights are used with other jars. The Fido lets the gas out without letting oxygen in (so no need for the weight). As long as you keep it closed (no opening the jar to check on the kraut) it should stay safe and sealed during the full month’s ferment.

  73. I just bought some big fido jars in order to start doing some ferments! I tried some last year and they didn’t turn out, so I’m excited to do this. PERFECT timing for this post. Thanks so much for linking it up on Wellness Wednesday!

    1. That’s just a few degrees above the ideal range. As long as you don’t go above 80 degrees, it should be fine. Just check it sooner – it will probably be ready in 2 – 3 weeks.

  74. Hi, I you make this in the Fido jar, when it is ready to eat, do you just take out what you want and keep the rest in the refrigerator? When it is ready to eat, can you freeze it, or do you have to water bath process?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Cathy. It will keep a very long time in the refrigerator – at least 6 months, and some people say indefinitely. You can leave it in the Fido jar, or transfer it into smaller jars. Either way, the fermentation process preserves it. There is no need to freeze it or do a water bath. How’s that for easy?

  75. I found you on Pennywise Platter Thursdays!

    Just gotta say…Love it! I will have to try it this way next time. I’ve got some purple cabbage waiting to be made into sauerkraut 🙂

  76. I have cabbage planted in my garden and I’m looking forward to making my own sauerkraut this year! Thank you for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Hope to see you again.

  77. I have a question. After the fermentation is done, Do you leave the sauerkraut in the same Fido jar ? or Do you transfer it to another non airtight jar like a mason jar

      1. I am brand new to fermenting, so sorry if this is obvious. After the fermenting period, do you just put the jar in the refrigerator? And then how long is it good for?

        1. I put mine in the fridge, but Lea from Nourishing Treasures leaves hers on the counter. The beauty of fermentation is that it preserves food for a very long time. Count on a few months at least, though I think it will keep much longer than that. I’ve read that after a few months, the flavor and texture changes, but that it doesn’t go “bad”.

    1. Thanks, Judee! I love it when something intimidating (to me anyway) turns out to have an easy method. Let me know how yours turns out!

  78. Thank you for posting your method of making sauerkraut. I’m going to order a couple of those jars and make it as soon as my cabbage in the garden is ready. I’ve had success using a crock before, but I’ve had failures, too. Love the no-fail perspective.

    1. Traditional foods really are amazing. We’ve lost that knowledge with our modern ways, but we’re getting it back!

  79. Your writing is so easy to understand, it makes me think I might actually be able to do this! 🙂 I didn’t realize sauerkraut was such a rich food. With this in your diet, do you eat other pro biotic foods/supplements, or is sauerkraut all the probiotics you need?

    1. Most people recommend a variety of fermented foods. I make kombucha also, and I’ve made kefir in the past. Each has a unique profile, so variety is good. When it comes to sheer numbers of probiotics (and digestive enzymes), this sauerkraut can’t be beat.

    1. I just bought a Fido 1 liter jar at Tokyu Hands in Shibuya. You might be able to find them through Amazon Japan, though I haven’t checked.

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