Canning Homemade Sauerkraut
January 8, 2009
I have a number of recipes and links about making kraut in the Simple Recipe Article. This Article is about canning the kraut for long term storage. Because of the high acid content, a pressure canner is not needed. Water bath canners are safe to use. Get your basic water bath canning methods and processing times from a source you trust, such as the USDA recommendations found in modern books. I like some of the older ideas in my collection of vintage cooking and canning books, but I double check with modern ones for safety.
After the kraut is fermented and ready to eat, it may be canned to keep on the shelf for years. This processing will stabilize the kraut, so it does not change in storage, and no longer needs to be kept at refrigerator or root cellar temperatures. It is fun to get a group together for a task like this, and it could also be a Cottage Industry type of project. We had a team of five for making two large crocks of kraut and later for canning it.
Once the kraut is ready, remove the weighted covering, and move it into a large bowl. From here it is packed tightly into the canning jars, and brine from the crock is added. Your processing recipe will probably say how far the liquid should be from the top of the jar. 1/2 inch is common.
To save time, we have two canners going on this electric range. One is made of thin aluminum, which heats faster, and the other is made of enameled steel, sometimes called Graniteware. We canned in both quart and pint jars to be ready for serving different numbers of people.
In ordinary times, we will have enough for several years to come. Kraut is a very healthy food according to many sources, so we may want to serve it more often!