Sauerkraut: Simplicity with a Twist

Sauerkraut: Simplicity with a Twist

I recently completed a Master Food Preserver Class, offered by UH Hilo, College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS), to expand my skills and knowledge, and bring that back to my work at HIP Agriculture and the greater Kohala community.

The class was set at the new commercial kitchen at Kohala Institute's GRACE Center with 12 inspiring adult students from all walks of life and two passionate instructors. The class covered food safety, jams and jellies, preserving fruits & tomatoes, meats, pickling & fermentation, drying & freezing, and charcuterie. The best part was connecting with fellow classmates and bringing home a jar of each item we made (I was able to bring home 14 jars of goodies to share with my family).

I love to make and eat fermented vegetables, which I call Kraut-Chi, inspired by The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. For this recipe, I sourced all ingredients from the Hawi Farmer's Market. The bounty of Hawaii has just begun for the season, so get ready to really play in the kitchen! I hope you are inspired to create your own kitchen arts.


(makes about 4 quart jars)

  • 6 lbs Cabbage (source organic)
  • 1/2 of 1 leek
  • 2 lbs turnips (source organic)
  • 2 in. ginger (organic)
  • 8 tsp Kosher salt

*For the best kraut use fresh organic cabbage within 48 hours after harvest.


  • Clean, sterilize, and set aside the mason jars to cool. (Quart or half gallon jars work best for this recipe).
  • Wash cabbage under cold running water. Take off outer leaves and clean well (reserve for later). Slice or shred cabbage the width of a quarter and set into large bowl. Food grade plastic, glass, or food safe earthenware are appropriate options for kraut making.
  • Wash turnips, cut in half and thinly slice into half moons. Wash and slice leek finely. Mince ginger with skin intact.
  • Mix turnips, leeks, ginger and 1 tsp salt and set aside.
  • With clean hands, place a 1/4 of the cabbage into another bowl add a 1-2 tsp salt, a handful of the turnip-leek-ginger mix and mix well with hands. Gently massage the vegetables together. Place into jar and pack down so that cabbage is submerged in its juices.
  • When the kraut reaches the shoulder of jar, place outer one of the reserved outer leaves on top to keep cabbage pressed down. Repeat until all kraut is packed into jars.
  • With a clean towel wipe clean the outer rim of jars and lightly place the lid on top. Place all jars in a pan or plate in case liquid spills out of the jars.
  • Store jars in a cool, dark place in your kitchen - you will want to watch the progress.
  • Depending on where you live in Hawaii, it will take 3-7 days to ferment to. Store in refrigerator for up to a couple months.
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