Q & A - Can we make sauerkraut in-house?
Q - Hello, I was wondering if we can make traditional sauerkraut? We slice raw cabbage and then pack it into mason jars with salt. Additionally, we hold it at room temperature to ferment, sometimes for weeks.
A - Thanks for asking if this is a safe practice! You are OK to continue this process as described.
Sauerkraut is made by a process called lacto-fermentation. There is beneficial bacteria present on the surface of the cabbage and, in fact, all fruits and vegetables. Lactobacillus is one of those bacteria, which is the same bacteria found in yogurt and many other cultured products. When submerged in a brine, the bacteria begin to convert sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid; this is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
Here is the fact sheet reviewing natural fermentation process and when a variance would be required.