Thursday, March 23, 2017

Getting Off The Grid - How To Make Kraut

A couple years ago I grew my own cabbage and I put up enough cabbage in the deep freezer to last me two years, but I want to go further in preserving food, cabbage for one, so that it will last up to four years.

With home canning in mind, so I won`t have to depend on the deep freezer, just in case of power loss for a long period of time, I read books and searched online and not once did I find a way to home can cabbage except for making Kraut / Sauerkraut. 

But...... I did find an interesting article about "how to home can cabbage" it was about why you cannot find anything online, saying its not safe because of lack of acid in the food, the stronger flavor and dull color after home canning, the last time it was written how to do it was in the Ball Blue Book home canning guide 1974.

And to my surprise I also read in that same article that you should not use cabbage in soups when home canning. Well, that statement was a shocker because I have for many years home canned my own soup and cabbage is an ingredient in one of my favorites but I may have made it safe by using tomatoes in the soup, because of the high acid of the tomatoes it killed anything bad.

Now lets get to making Sauerkraut as this will take some time.

You will need :

5 pounds of cabbage

3 Tablespoons of canning salt ( or more)

Working with around 5 pounds is the ideal amount to start with because it can be placed into a gallon glass jar.

Remove any wilted or sunburned leaves from the cabbage.

Cut the cabbage into four quarters and remove the core. Rinse cabbage and drain.

Shred or slice thinly, around 1/8 inch of possible.

In a large glass bowl, put the shredded cabbage and the salt, toss the salt to cover all the cabbage.

The cabbage will naturally release water, this is exactly what you want to happen. Every few minutes toss the cabbage again, using your clean hands if fine.

Fill your glass container, leaving 4- 5 inches at the top, and allow the cabbage to continue to "sweat" for a couple hours. 

If it did not make enough of its own fluid , mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of canning sat to each quart of water needed to cover the cabbage.

I had to use another quart of water to cover mine.

Next make sure that the cabbage stays under the brine using weight since cabbage will float, fill a freezer grade baggie with water and 1 1/2 tablespoon of canning salt and place on top.

Cover with a clean cloth and I used a rubber band to keep it in place, making sure no flying bugs get inside. 

Now I just wait 10 to 14 days for the fermentation to complete and I will have kraut.

I can put this gallon of kraut in the fridge for three months or I can home can it.

Home canning :

 Hot pack : In a large cooking pot heat the kraut in its own brine. Pour hot kraut into hot jars leaving 1/2 head space, seal with canning lids and process in a water bath 15 minutes for quarts and 10 minutes for pints.

Raw pack : Filled clean jars with kraut and brine leaving 1/2 head space, add lids and process in a water bath for 25 minutes for quarts and 20 minutes for pints.

Although this seems like a long process it will be worth it to eat your home made kraut, made with love from your own hands.

By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry


  1. I need to do this, we love Kraut.

    1. One of our favorites! We can eat it with hot dogs or just cold out of the jar.

  2. It may take longer but it is much cheaper to make.

  3. If I grow cabbage this year, and I probably will, I plan on making some sauerkraut. I'd like to make some kimchi, too.

  4. I've bought fresh kraut at Sprouts and Trader Joe. It tastes nothing like regular canned kraut in regular grocery stores. It's fantastic. I tried kraut with garlic and also kraut with cucumber. I'm definintely going to try making my own. It's rather expensive to buy fresh.

    1. I plan to add seasonings to a batch of mine too.

  5. We make something very similar here but it is cabbage and spring onions and salt and let ferment.

    1. Very interested, Please share the recipe :)

  6. Well, you can certainly can cabbage at home, but
    a) you'd need to pressure can it, just as with any other vegetable,
    b) the taste changes under pressure and becomes intensely strong.

    Combining tomato with the cabbage doesn't make it safer. You were lucky there were no problems. Tomatoes are very dangerously close to the 4.6pH line, and some varieties are lower acid. Any time you add *any* other vegetable to your tomato sauce, you should pressure can it.

    With all that said, though, isn't it great how easy sauerkraut is to make? :) And because it's a fermented pickle, you can safely and easily water bath can it.

    1. Yes its is wonderful how easy it is to make your own.

  7. I'm doing this!! Thanks for the recipe.

  8. You are welcome, I am making the second batch now, I will add caraway seed to think one when I can it.