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can I use sea salt to make sauerkraut?

 
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I make a batch frequently and have always used 'pickling' salt as I thought I understood that the minerals, etc in good sea salt would interfere with the ferment.  

Now I'm thinking of trying some 'real salt' brand...the pink stuff, in today's cabbage for kraut.

Has anyone used anything but plain white pickling salt for their ferments and had a good outcome? bad outcome?

I hate to ruin a batch as that means we are without for awhile but I might just try it anyway.....

 
Judith Browning
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Now, I see this thread in the 'similar threads' at the bottom https://permies.com/t/32366/kitchen/Don-regular-kosher-salt  

 
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I have the Perfect Pickler System (cap, gasket and airlock). The booklet that came with it has this to say about salt sources:

Good choice:
*Unrefined sea salt - We recommend light grey, sea salt which contains over 70 minerals.
*Unrefined sea salt with no additives listed on the packaging.
*Brine from previous batch "aged brine" - up to 2 TBS.
*Soy sauce and fish sauce in conjunction with sea salt.

Poor choice:
*Table salt - additives discolor the brine and effects the pickle culture.
*"Pickling salt" found in canning section of stores.
*"Kosher" style salt; is table salt and has additives.
 
Judith Browning
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:I have the Perfect Pickler System (cap, gasket and airlock). The booklet that came with it has this to say about salt sources:

Good choice:
*Unrefined sea salt - We recommend light grey, sea salt which contains over 70 minerals.
*Unrefined sea salt with no additives listed on the packaging.
*Brine from previous batch "aged brine" - up to 2 TBS.
*Soy sauce and fish sauce in conjunction with sea salt.

Poor choice:
*Table salt - additives discolor the brine and effects the pickle culture.
*"Pickling salt" found in canning section of stores.
*"Kosher" style salt; is table salt and has additives.



That is perfect Karen!

I actually have really good grey salt that I thought might be too unrefined...might have to do a double batch side by side comparison.  The grey is very chunky although I can smash it up easily.

thank you!
 
Judith Browning
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I have to add that my husband was slicing cabbage as I posted this and I had all the salt out undecided....he slices, I salt and mix and press.  We like to leave it sitting mixed with the salt for a few hours before packing in the gallon jar because then I can press it down and the juices cover without any added liquid.  Eventually it wants to bubble out the top though so I keep a jar of brine ready to top it up.  I try to remember to leave a whole leaf out to cover the top and then use a small jar of water to weight.
 
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I use pink Himalayan salt and it works great.
 
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Judith Browning wrote:  I try to remember to leave a whole leaf out to cover the top and then use a small jar of water to weight.



Excelllent tip with the leaf!
 
Judith Browning
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Todd Parr wrote:I use pink Himalayan salt and it works great.



thanks Todd...I'm not sure where I got that I had to use pickling salt...maybe Nourishing Traditions?  I'll probably have to track that down.  All along I would much rather have used some good sea salt but had it in my head it wouldn't work.

Trying the grey this time, next batch will be with Himalayan...now I have an excess of pickling salt to get rid of.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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You're very welcome. The booklet also says:
"When measuring coarse salt use a slightly rounded measure. If using fine or ground salt use a slightly scant measure. When making kraut or slaw, use ground salt for faster brine formation."

This system uses a wide mouth canning jar. For kraut: shread cabbage, sprinkle with salt (1T. per 1 qt.), massage or pound until brine forms, pack into qt. canning jar mashing it as you fill, fill to 2 inches from the top, place cabbage leaves on top (add filtered water to cover if there wasn't enough brine to cover), add overflow cup (included in kit, but you could hold kraut submerged with a chunk of the cabbage core too), screw on cap with airlock (water in airlock up to indicated mark).

Using this system, the kraut should ferment out of direct sunlight for:
4 days if temperatures are 74-71F (23-21C)
6 days at 69F (20C)
8 days at 67F (19C)
10 days at 65F (18C)

Four days fermenting is the standard. Don't ferment for less than four days. If the temperature is above 75F, you will have unsatisfactory results because yeasts and molds will compete with the brine.

I added a picture of the system in this post.
 
Judith Browning
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wayne fajkus wrote:

Judith Browning wrote:  I try to remember to leave a whole leaf out to cover the top and then use a small jar of water to weight.



Excelllent tip with the leaf!



I forget to save one about half the time...today I grabbed a couple but only after the head had been quartered so they are small pieces.  I always wanted to have a potter here make us some weights or I suppose I could buy the glass ones.  If I don't have the leaves I end up using a plastic lid and I don't like doing that.
 
Todd Parr
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Judith Browning wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:I use pink Himalayan salt and it works great.



thanks Todd...I'm not sure where I got that I had to use pickling salt...maybe Nourishing Traditions?  I'll probably have to track that down.  All along I would much rather have used some good sea salt but had it in my head it wouldn't work.

Trying the grey this time, next batch will be with Himalayan...now I have an excess of pickling salt to get rid of.



I have used pickling salt in the past too and it worked just as well it seems to me.  I just like the idea that good salt has minerals, but I would still use pickling salt if you have it on hand.  Or maybe use half and half so you still get minerals in there without wasting your pickling salt.
 
Judith Browning
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The booklet also says:
"When measuring coarse salt use a slightly rounded measure. If using fine or ground salt use a slightly scant measure. When making kraut or slaw, use ground salt for faster brine formation."



Oh! .....we're supposed to measure ?
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Oh! ...we're supposed to measure?


Only for those of us (me) who aren't as confident in our fermenting capabilities😉
 
Judith Browning
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A quick look in the Nourishing Traditions section on ferments shows that she actually lists sea salt as the salt to use for kraut.
I haven't looked in that book for years I guess.  In the past I made a lot of the other ferments using her recipes but for awhile now have been making just kraut.  
 
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Science gave us oceans full of plastic. Not intentionally of course!!! Now it's in all our sea salt, mostly from textile microfibers and water bottles. Science will create a solution with side effects that only later science can fix. Till then, I'm using pink Himalayan:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/08/sea-salt-around-world-contaminated-by-plastic-studies
 
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If you forgot to keep some leaves aside for the top you can use sweet potato leaves.
 
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I’ve been making sauerkraut for many years now and in the beginning I used Celtic sea salt but then a few years ago I switched to Himalayan pink salt. I’ve had good results with both but I prefer the pink salt (plus I can get it for a better price!). I use a courser grain pink salt and never measure — just go off of feel and taste. This reminds me I need to make some more here soon! :)
 
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Cynthia Thompson wrote:I’ve been making sauerkraut for many years now and in the beginning I used Celtic sea salt but then a few years ago I switched to Himalayan pink salt. I’ve had good results with both but I prefer the pink salt (plus I can get it for a better price!). I use a courser grain pink salt and never measure — just go off of feel and taste. This reminds me I need to make some more here soon!



I just tasted my batch with grey sea salt and it is fine, maybe better than ever  I'm still not sure why I got it in my head I couldn't use sea salt.  I think it might have been a box of Hanes sea salt with the anti caking stuff that scared me off.

I do want to try Himalayan pink salt now after you and others have mentioned it.  I did crush the grey salt...good to know that is not necessary...I always let it all sit in a bowl for a few hours after slicing and salting, so by the time I pack it in the gallon jar the salt would have dissolved for sure no matter how coarse.

thanks everyone  

 
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