Canning Sauerkraut

P1020859Making sauerkraut is something for the fall, when the cabbages are fresh and cheap. But, having made my ‘kraut last October and skimmed its scum all winter,To good effect. No less a luminary than James MacKinnon said—and I am quoting here—”…your sauerkraut was excellent. I bow deeply.” I am now portioning it into jars and canning what I won’t be able to eat fresh. Emphasis on me, since the little family are not enthusiasts, and will eat it only à la Mary Poppins—”A spoonful of bacon helps the medicine go down, medicine go down….”.

I want to note canning is not the recommendation of Wild Fermentation’s Sandor Katz, who proselytizes that we should eat fermented foods at all stages, from the freshest to the dankest. I think he is probably right, but I haven’t got past Reuben sandwiches and perogies with fried onion and ‘kraut. But I have my dreams…

Anyhow. Writing about making sauerkraut is for another day. Today I can. And will.

I am saving a few jars fresh, which will be gifted, traded, or stored in our fridge for eating. Other than that, simply heat the kraut to between 85°C and 95°C (180°F and 210°F)—do not boil. Fill jars with hot ‘kraut, leaving ½” headspace, then process in a boiling water bath. Pints get 15 minutes and quarts get 20.


  1. 15 pounds of cabbage made 13 pints.Violating my Grandma’s mnemonic (Grandemonic?) that, “A pint’s a pound the world around.”
  2. There was a litre of brine left overEt voilà, Grandma’s missing two pints return. She sure is a smart old lady. after filling the jars. Next time I will reserve a couple of cups of brine before heating, for drinking as a healthful tonic.
  3. 13 pints was four fresh in the fridge, eight in the big canner and one in the asparagus pot. I hate wasting energy heating water, so I bought an asparagus pot at the thrift shop. It came with a wire basket and will hold a quart jar. Perfect for pickling cukes from the occasional vine or rounding out a batch like this one.
  4. As if I needed more reasons to love my Squeezo Strainer, the wooden plunger was the perfect tool to pack ‘kraut in the jars.
  5. All of this could have happened months ago. A big point of sauerkraut is to preserve food without energy, so we should eat it throughout its life and can the leftovers. But as I said, I have dreams…someday I will be in harmony with the natural rhythms of fermented cabbage.


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