Have you ever tried sauerkraut? Have you watched the video about how to make raw plain cabbage and "cole-slaw" varieties of kraut? Then you’re ready to see how you can be saving money and getting live cultures by making them yourself instead of buying expensive jars that may be only partially raw at the store!
If you don't know the benefits of making your own kraut, I explain it on this page. Here is where you can buy raw sauerkraut and cultured vegetables from reputable sources if you don't want to make it yourself.
You can chop all of the vegetables by hand if you don’t own a quality food processor, but getting them to be uniform in size may be difficult. Uniform size is important when fermenting vegetables, because you want everything to culture at the same pace. It’s also more time-consuming to do it by hand.
One of the appliances I use the most in my kitchen is my Cuisinart 11-cup food processor. I can stack the baby carrots in it and within seconds they are shredded. The same goes for the cabbage; I cut it into big chunks, and after a burst of food-processor power, it is all shredded.
Unless you already own a really big jar, you may have to buy that in order to ferment one big batch. However, to be saving the most money, you should plan ahead and save smaller jars (such as pickle, peanut butter, almond butter, pasta and jam jars) that can be re-purposed and used to store your fermented bounty when it is ready to be refrigerated. (Or you can buy quart canning jars which can be used again and again.) You’ll also need a re-purposed jar to use as a weight that is smaller than the opening in your bigger jar.
Although I used 4 pounds of organic green cabbage and 1 pound of organic baby carrots for my "cole slaw" sauerkraut in the video, I couldn’t find an exact match of ingredients in my local store or from my online sources. So let's assume, for the purpose of this comparison, that you are going to use only cabbage like I did for my one-quart jar of purple cabbage kraut.
If you buy a gallon jar , that will cost about $13. If you use re-purposed quart jars like I did for the one-quart purple kraut in the video, you won’t have any jar expenses for fermenting or for storage. You can even buy the same little white bowl I used for $7.50 to help weigh down the veggies in the gallon jar.
For now, let’s assume you bought the 2 half-gallon jars and the bowl. Now you need 5 pounds of cabbage. Organic purple or green cabbage in my area was $1.39/pound at the time I purchased them for the video. So far you’ve spent $13 + $7.50 + (5 pounds x $1.39/pound) for a total of $27.45, more or less.
The cost of the water is negligible. You actually need less than the 7 cups of water I mentioned in the video if your cabbage is fresh. Let’s assume you need 6 cups. The cost of the 3 tablespoons of Real Salt or Himalayan salt is approximately $0.85 (85 cents), bringing your grand total to just over $28.
Initially you will have nearly a full one-gallon jar or half-gallon jars. Once the cabbage ferments and packs down, however, you will end up with about half of a gallon or so of kraut with salty liquid on top. Let’s assume you get one-half gallon of kraut.
In my area, a 15 oz. jar of partially-raw, organic sauerkraut using just cabbage is $6.49. If you were to buy 64 ounces of the jarred variety, you would (theoretically) be buying 4-1/3 jars for a total cost of almost $28.
You are indeed saving money making it yourself if you make more than one batch or if you only jar in reused jars. You spend about the same amount for the first one-gallon batch as you would spend on the jarred variety. However, you probably won’t get as many live cultures with jarred kraut in a store because I’ve been told by a manufacture that some of the microbes have to be killed off so the jars don’t explode. Therefore, they are only partially raw.
The SECOND time you make sauerkraut in your gallon jar, however, and every time thereafter, you will be saving money because you won’t have jar and bowl expenses. And the gallon jar and small bowl you bought will last a very long time with minimal care.
After the first batch, it will cost you around $8 to make a half gallon of sauerkraut. This means that you save $28 - $8 = $20 each time you make your own instead of buying it.
To sum it up, here are the benefits of making your own plain cabbage kraut versus buying jarred varieties using plain cabbage that are partially raw:
It definitely IS possible to be healthy, yet save money!
To learn about making your own kefir, visit my kefir page.
To read about more sources of probiotics, click here.
If you would rather buy raw sauerkraut and cultured vegetables from trusted sources, see this page.
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