Sauerkraut too salty

uaskigyrl(7)February 26, 2013

Hi All!

I started a batch of sauerkraut this week and I got a little carried away with the salt while massaging the cabbage. Is there anyway I can desalinate it at all? I was thinking of "flushing" it a couple times and refill with a less salty brine - or - add more cabbage?

What do you all think?


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Either works - adding more cabbage is what I do usually during the fermenting process itself. I have also been known to rinse it well with fresh water, usually right before serving if needed.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:04PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I would leave it the way it is for now as long as you see it fermenting as it should. The problem with rinsing at this point is that even with draining you will be introducing a certain amount of water and you don't want that. It will naturally become less salty as the cabbage juices leach into the brine but if you rinse you risk not-enough-salt, which is a bigger problem.

When the kraut is finished you can always rinse before use if it's still too salty.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Would you rinse before canning or can as is and rinse after opening the jar before use in a recipe?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Can in the salt brine and rinse when you open to eat. That way you can rinse, taste and rinse again if it is too salty for you.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:41PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I'm a newbie at Sauerkraut too. I was told at another website that too much salt will stop it from fermenting. Mine wasn't fermenting. I posted here, further down the page about it.

I don't know what I am doing so take this as a grain of salt. I am learning!

They suggested draining some of the liquid and replace it with distilled water, so that it it doesn't contain chlorine. They also suggested adding some lemon juice to it.

After doing this mine started fermenting and has a good but still to salty taste. Since the cabbage has gone down in volume I plan to pick up another head of cabbage after while and add it to the other without extra salt.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:06PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Depending upon temperature, cabbage may not show activity or look as if it's fermenting for some days, so a lack of activity isn't necessarily an indication of too much salt.

Again, you can't rely upon the taste of unfinished cabbage. That will change as it cures and if you keep adding water and cabbage to the original mixture you do risk spoilage.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:10AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Thanks Carol, I didn't know that.

I only added about 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. I will leave it alone.

I guess I can rinse it when I eat it to remove some of the salt? That will probably take away a lot of flavor though.

It is over 5 weeks old now, on top of the fridge to give it a little more heat.

I might make a mini batch with the proper amount of salt with the one I bought yesterday.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:22PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Since you're a newbie, just a comment that accurate measure of salt by weight (and the right kind of salt) is critical to fermentation. There are lots of threads on this issue and the varying weights of pickling salt vs. kosher salt (i.e. Diamond Crystal, not Morton's). Interchanging salts and measuring by volume can result in undersalted or oversalted product.

The optimal temperature range for fermentation is 70-75 degress. Lower is OK too, and 55-65 will yield good results, though the fermentation process will proceed more slowly and take longer (but like bread rising in cool temperatures, may taste better). Above 80 you risk spoilage, so I think you might want to check how hot it is on top of your fridge. Some get pretty warm, depending upon energy efficiency and insulation.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:32PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

It stays in the mid 60's on top of the fridge. It is very well insulated.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I just made my first batch of sauerkraut, and it seemed too salty initially, but now seems less so. I do think I put it in jars and into the refrig too quickly as it does not seem quite as tangy as I would like. Will the tang increase in the refrig or is it safe to set it back out again to ferment a little more?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Hello there,
This is mt first try at sauerkraut and I guess I didn't count that day... It's day 3, and the kraut is incredibly salty. But it has lots of brine and the jar is only 2/3 full so I was wondering could I add a little more cabbage without stopping the fermentation? I was thinking about taking some of the brine out and pour it on the freshly chopped cabbage in a large bowl, pound it for a bit, then take the contents of the jar, pour it in the bowl, mix the two together and then pack my jar again. Does this sound good? The only thing I am concerned about is not to stop the fermentation. Oh yeah, and the fermentation is just very slight at this moment, maybe because of the too much salt? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 6:59PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If it is only day 3 then the fermentation is just barely beginning and the brine flavor will change greatly day by day as more of the water is pulled from the cabbage.

While it is possible to add a little more cabbage when one is experienced with the fermenting process, I really wouldn't recommend it for your first try. It is too easy to throw the process out of whack and alter the pH into a dangerous level.

Let this batch run its course and learn from it. Then you'll have a better feel for the next batch...and the one after that. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - How to make sauerkraut

This post was edited by digdirt on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 15:20

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:41PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Christa, Mine was way to salty also, in the early stages. It mellowed some. I put an extra tablespoon of salt in mine instead of following the recipe. I'm a big dummy!

I found mine doing what Dave said "the brine flavor will change greatly day by day as more of the water is pulled from the cabbage."

My first batch turned out very good, thanks to the good people here and another website. Probably a little luck in there too since I did do some experimenting on suggestions from the other website.

I have a new batch started, with the proper amount of salt. It is almost ready!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 1:20PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

My second batch is great, much better than the first! I have another batch started and it is fermenting faster! I started it Sunday and it is bubbling and smelling great!

I'm sure that it is because of warmer temps and the correct amount of salt.

I'm hooked on homemade kraut. My homegrown cabbage is starting to take off so I'll have fresh cabbage soon. I plan to try some with bok choy if I don't eat all of it fresh!

Now I'm ready to add extra flavors to the next batch which I plan to start this weekend. I'm thinking 1/4 carrots and some type of dried herb. Dill, oregano, or sage maybe? I'm leaning more towards dill, it seems like a better choice.

Any suggestions Dave, Carol, or anyone else?

Just in case anyone is wondering how I eat so much kraut so fast. I'm not eating it all, I'm sharing it with friends! LOL

This post was edited by wertach on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 15:07

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:03PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

See, now you are a krautmaster! :)


    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:14PM
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Oh my goodness, I love homemade sauerkraut too. It's so amazing.

I used to think I hated it...that was until I made it homemade. Soooo gooooood!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:38AM
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I used red cabbage (my fave) and had a great deal of fun massaging it limp & juicy. I should mention I had no access to kosher salt so it was table salt I used. I packed my three medium cabbages and their released juices into a two-litre jar. It reached about 3/4 of the jar, leaving 2-3 inches of headroom, which I covered with an outer cabbage leaf. I tied a cloth down with a rubber band and pressed it down some times over the first day.

The outer leaves had imperfections, so I stripped them off before coring & shredding. The cabbages, unfortunately, were not organic (thereâÂÂs lots of organic in Thailand now, so IâÂÂm still hunting) but were only briefly rinsed as whole cabbages. IâÂÂm wondering if the outer leaves I tossed might have been home to lots of friendly yeasts & bacteria.

It looks good. Nice & sour after three days. Tastes too salty, though. The top of the cabbage is damp but not wet and definitely no liquid covering. Should I add brine, or water as itâÂÂs so salty? No real bubbles to speak of but it smells good. Not a BIG smell��"you have to get your nose right in the jar. But itâÂÂs crispy & squeaky, not soft at all.

IâÂÂm fermenting at a way higher temp than you folks. Think itâÂÂs time to put it in the fridge? When will my âÂÂkraut be right to eat?

Bangkok is a steady 85F day & night. Any ideas? Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 1:25PM
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According to the if the cabbage isn't covered with liquid.... you add more brine - 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water... yes your's will ferment quickly d/t the high temp so check is done when the flavor is to your liking...

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 12:28PM
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I have just had my Blood Pressure reading result and it is very 199/99 with a Pulse of 41. I think it may be because of the high salt content in my home made Sauerkraut. If I could rinse my Sauerkraut in filtered water to remove the salt, just before eating would that remove any of the Lactebillus bacteria which was created during the fermentation process?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2014 at 9:12PM
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When I buy sour cabbage to make cabbage rolls it is usually too salty. I take the head apart, rinse and freeze the leaves, then un-thaw. If it is still too salty, I repeat the process - it usually only takes doing this once or twice to remove the "salty" taste - if you do it too many times, it takes all the flavor as well. The same method should work for sauerkraut as well, since the product is essentially the same.
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2014 at 5:15PM
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I haven't noticed cabbage having a salty taste on its own before. I'll have to pay closer attention to this when I cut into a head of cabbage.

I did make sauerkraut for a friend a few weeks ago that went directly into a recycled pickle jar with a plastic brine bag covering the kraut. I checked it a couple of times for him and the top fourth of the kraut was dry both times. The flavor was spot on though. I added more brine both times. He put it in the fridge after another week on the counter and called me to come take another look. He wondered what the "black" flakes were in the kraut. Stopped by and looked/tasted... the "black" flakes were actually darker cabbage leaves. This was a relief to both of us. The flavor was great and we both were satisfied with the outcome.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2014 at 12:22PM
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