This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
>From Ross Reid:
Sauerkraut not done in an "authentic", or, "old fashioned way" does
not mean that it will be inferior. Ancient krautmeisters made kraut in
stoneware crocks or barrels because that's what they had.
For these past many years, I have made my large batches of kraut in a
large (20 gallon?) container purchased at a wine making supply shop.
In such a shop it is normally referred to as a 'primary fermenter'
but, to anyone else it looks like a white garbage pail ;-). I have my
kraut fermenter clearly marked so that it does not inadvertently get
used as a wine primary.
However, I have also made kraut in wide mouthed, 4 liter glass jars.
Firmly press the cabbage/salt mixture into the jar, up to the
shoulder, cover with a few thicknesses of cheesecloth, hold it in
place with a few popsicle sticks wedged into the shoulder, keep in the
proper temperature range and it has produced excellent results. By
employing accurate measurements (by weight), for both cabbage and
salt, it should not really matter in what container the kraut is
fermented, as long as it is non-reactive. As a matter of fact, it is
quite interesting to watch the fermentation progress in a glass jar.
First the liquid rising, next, the bubbles of fermentation, finally, a
few weeks later, all that liquid seems to have magically disappeared
and you have your own homemade, excellent tasting sauerkraut, made in
a non-chemically preservative laced brine. Everyone should try it at
least once, especially if you grow your own cabbages.
While I agree that making kraut in a 1 liter (or quart) canning jar
will hardly produce a worthwhile quantity, when completed, it is still
Finally, the adventurous may want to try replacing the cabbage with
shredded rutabaga, in the same proportions, to produce a tangy delight
known as sauereruben.
From Eric Decker
Brined food done in a container where the scum has not been removed will
have a reduced level of acid which will render it unsafe jar except in
refrigeration. Depending on how much residual salt remains or if
vinegar Arggh! ] is or was added, the saurkraut may be fine despite the
issue of scum.