Sauerkraut is thinly sliced cabbage that has become fermented. In German the word sauerkraut literally translates to “sour cabbage.” This recipe requires very few ingredients as the fermentation process happens naturally when the sugars in the cabbage begin to break down and produce lactic acid. Instead of canning cabbage or traditional canned cabbage, you may consider this recipe an alternative. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post to see why.
Canning Cabbage or How to Make Sauerkraut
What You Need:
- 2 large heads of cabbage
- 4 – 1 quart jars, sterilized
- 4 tsp vinegar, separated
- 4 tsp canning salt, separated
- 4 tsp sugar, separated
Rinse your cabbage and remove the outer leaves that may have dents or abrasions.
Starting at the bottom cut each into 4 quarters. This makes it a little easier to then remove the inner core of the cabbage and discard.
Continue to cut the cabbage in thin strips. Cut those strips in half as well.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Pack the cabbage into 4 separate quart jars. You’ll want to pack it firmly as the pieces will become softer and condense after being heated. Just be careful not to tear or bruise the cabbage strips in the process. If you have extra cabbage left over just set it aside, you may be able to use it later once you add the water to the jars.
Add 1 tsp. of sugar, 1 tsp. of salt, and 1 tsp. of vinegar to each jar.
Pour the boiling water in each jar. Use a spoon to press the cabbage back down if it begins to rise with the water. If you notice this freeing up space in your jars, go ahead and add any additional cabbage had left over. Leave a 1-inch headspace in the jars.
Try to remove any bubbles you see in the jar. I like to use the opposite end of a spoon or any other kitchen utensil. Wipe the rims clean and attach your lids securely.
Process your jars in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Allow your jars to sit undisturbed for at least 10 days to “pickle”. A dark, cool pantry is ideal for this.
Note: You CAN can cabbage, however the USDA does not recommend this. Up until about 10 years ago it was acceptable to can cabbage and now they have decided differently because of concerns with botulism. If you decide to can cabbage, simply make the above recipe and process quarts in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. If you want to can plain cabbage (not pickled), keep out the vinegar and pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes. As I’m sure you know, we here at Little House Living don’t always agree with everything the USDA says but please can at your own risk.
You can also freeze cabbage by simply shredded and placing in a freezer bag. Any canned cabbage will discolor over time and this is natural.
*Contact your local extension office for information on altitude/temp/timing changes for all canning recipes.
Make sure you check out all the free Canning and Preserving Recipes we have on Little House Living!
Have you ever tried canning cabbage or making your own homemade sauerkraut? How did it turn out?