Appalachia Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

How Granny Makes Kraut

How to make kraut in the jar
Granny and Pap make their Kraut in the jar. Pap and Granny have been making Kraut this week-so I went and watched.

How to make kraut without a crock
While Pap chops the cabbage-Granny sterilizes the jar. I have no clue why she only does one at a time-but that’s how she does it.

Making kraut
Granny puts one teaspoon of sugar in a sterilized jar;

Putting kraut in the jar
she packs the jar full of chopped cabbage-but not too tightly-Granny says it needs a little room to work.

How granny makes kraut
On top of the cabbage-Granny adds 2 teaspoons of salt.

old timey kraut
Then she fills the jar with cold water; adds the lid and ring and seals tightly.

Letting kraut work
Granny sits the jars out on the porch while the Kraut is making. Sometimes the juice will seep out around the lids-the mess is easier to clean up if it’s outside.

Easy recipe for making kraut
I asked Granny how long it took the Kraut to make-she said “Oh at least 2 weeks, but I like to leave mine on the porch till cold weather then I’ll carry it to the basement.”

Granny also said she thought the sun made the Kraut work faster. I said “Does a jar ever explode?” Granny said “Why Lord no it may run out some but it won’t explode.” Granny’s a worrier-after a few minutes she said “Well if it ever did explode it wouldn’t hurt nothing outside no way.”

Have you ever made Kraut in the jar?




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  • Reply
    marshall reagan
    August 5, 2019 at 6:42 am

    The main reason that I make mine in jars is that you can make ever how much you have cabbage for ,or how much you have time for . if you are making it in a crock you have to make enough to fill the crock at one time & if it should spoil you loose the whole crock , but in jars you might loose one or two but not the whole batch. i have made just 1-2 jars because that was all I had cabbage for but the last batch I made 7 quarts.

    • Reply
      Stacie waters
      August 5, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Marshall my grandma of 97 passed away and this post brought tears to my eyes. She always said “ever how much”. Thanks for that.

  • Reply
    Helen Gardner
    July 31, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    I don’t remember momma or the aunts making kraut. They canned a lot of vegetables but I don’t remember kraut. I do remember if daddy needed a ‘cleaning out’ he would drink a can of kraut juice from the grocery store so I figured he grew up with kraut in Tennessee.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    July 31, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    My mother and aunts made it in jars… cousin in Habersham County makes it in a crock…..I can’t tell the difference. I buy some kraut sometimes from Sue of Sue’s Burgers in Blue Ridge…..sure is good and I believe it is made in jars. Am going to make some of my own soon.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

    i always plant flat dutch cabbage as my mother did.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

    BJ-after the kraut has been on the porch for a few weeks-Granny just puts it in the basement till she needs it. But if you feel better about canning it-Im sure you could go by one of the recipes for kraut with directions about how to can it.
    Have a great day!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    BJ Moore
    June 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Tipper, does Granny can her kraut after its sat on the porch for weeks? or will it keep during the winter in just a dark room? I don’t have a basement. Would it have to be kept cold?

  • Reply
    Laura Cunningham
    May 7, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Tipper, you have great timing as I have a bunch of cabbage I just picked from my garden. I have never made kraut but I definitely will! Here’s my question, I live in Texas and its getting up to 92-94 degrees during the days already. Is that okay for kraut in the jars? Or should I set it in the window inside? Also, does it seal on its own?

  • Reply
    April 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    BJ-I don’t think it does taste as good as what you make it in the crock-but it is a whole lot easier : ) And still quite tasty too!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    BJ Moore
    April 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Tipper, your granny makes kraut in jars, you make yours in a crock.
    does the jar kraut taste as good as the crock kraut. BJ

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams Musings
    January 5, 2012 at 9:23 am

    This is how I make mine too. In jars is easier than the crock. I’ve done it both ways but love the jar method best.

  • Reply
    Gail Williams
    August 5, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Granny and Mom made it both ways. I remember helping Mom with the Kraut in a jar. She would have me packe it in the jar with a clean wooden hammer handle, then add the water and salt.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Audrey-Granny’s kruat is really good-and no I don’t think it tastes any different : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 23, 2011 at 10:15 am

    No I haven’t. But it sounds like fun to try!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

    That’s how my grandmother made hers. She would pickle the stalk from the center of the cabbage. It was like a prize hidden in a box of cereal. It was so crunchy & sour!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I tried making kraut in jars once; it spoiled! So since I don’t really care for it I haven’t tried again.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    My mom and Granny always made kraut in jars, never in crocks. I do recall them complaining the following day that some of the jars didn’t seal. After reading your instructions, I wonder if they were even supposed to seal or if I am mistaken about what they said. Mom was always proud of a batch that turned out snow white and disappointed when it was green. I assumed the color of the kraut was something to do with the processing.
    As a kid, I used to spend the night with my cousins and drink kraut juice till it was all gone. Just thinking about that makes my blood pressure rise!

  • Reply
    Mary Jane Plemons
    July 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    If you will add a “glug” (a few tablespoons) of white vinegar to the water when sterilizing jars or in the waterbath canner or pressure cooker, your jars won’t have the white residue on them.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Year before last I made kraut in
    pint jars. An old lady friend of
    mine showed me how. She’s with the
    Lord now for a few years and she’s
    the lady that gave me the old Kettle you now have. I ’bout wore
    my phone out asking her questions
    while I was canning that stuff. She said after 4 days in a cooler
    dark place to tighten those rings.
    I also used one teaspoon of salt
    to each pint. Later that fall I
    opened a jar. It was delicious
    and so sour it would make a pig
    squeel. I’m like Vera Guthrie, I
    keep a jar in the frig and love
    to take a swig of that juice…Ken

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, I’ve never even heard of anyone making kraut right in the jar. Does the taste differ significantly? I’ve also never heard of putting sugar in.
    P.S. Love that she added a final worrier’s comment. HA!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    July 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    That’s a new one on me. I’ve made kraut in a crock and than canned it.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    My granny & mama made kraut in a wash tub chopping the cabbage with a sharpened straightened out hoe. Granny had 19 kids so she worked out many quicker ways of doing stuff. They put it immediately in jars with 1 tsp salt & 1 tsp sugar. Filled up with warm water & put the lids on. Set out on the porch till it finished “working out”. It wasn’t processed at all but always kept & was always good.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I meant to add that sure is some pretty white kraut…Granny probably sterilizes one or two jars at a time so she does’nt turn the jars white by letting the others sit in the boiling water while she fills one..
    Your jars will turn lime white color when scalding jars.
    This way she quickly sterilizes, fills and caps..
    I found some of Mom’s jars with
    white deposits from over scalding where my Mother left her jars sterilizing too long in the water..She would still use them the next year or so, for when
    they are refilled with liguid you don’t notice the white of the jar..She was a fanatic about her jars being “bloody hot” when she took them out to fill them, even when canning boiling hot tomato juice, etc…Always afraid of bacteria to the point of burning her fingers or mine, (I capped them most of the time) when wiping any little spill on the rim and using hot pads, lfters etc…Ha
    I think about that now and how hot the kitchen was back then..
    When I was a young girl helping her all that boiling water heating up everything…
    No wonder she would start her canning late in the evening after it had cooled off…NO AIR CONDITIONING BACK THEN…sometimes we didn’t even have a fan blowing ’cause
    she was afraid it would blow something from outside into an open jar!
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I’ve never made it, but my mom used to make it when I was small. Thanks for sharing Granny’s method. Looks easy enough for me to try:)

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

    This is new to me! I must say her worries comment made me chuckle. Love your info as always, Tipper!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 9:13 am

    My mouth is watering now, sauerkraut, kimchi, chow chow are all great! I have not made any of those yet, my mother used to make kimchi in Hawaii.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 22, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Tipper, I just canned a run of sauerkraut, put some hot peppers in it and it turned out good.
    I use a crock. I tried a few times to do it in the jars but they just didn’t turn our for me. I noticed Granny’s cabbage looks very white in the jars. Mine usually looks a little green when I put it in the crock and turns a little yellow when canned…. but tastes great.
    A woman once told me there is a variety of cabbage that makes the best kraut and makes it come out white. The name was Dutch something but that’s all I remember.
    I’ve also often wondered why we call cabbage sauerkraut while we call a bean and corn mixture Pickled beans and my grandmother called a corn/bean/cabbage mixture Chow.
    More mysteries from the past!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

    mother used to make it, but i have no memory of how. i had no idea it is made with nothing but cabbage and salt, that is amazing to me. i love kraut but buy mine in the jar.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Have never made kraut but Granny’s recipe sounds like a winner to me. Seldom eat it but would imagine the homemade would be much better than store bought.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Anastasia-the Kraut Granny makes – is sauerkraut like the Germans make. Over the years the word has been shortened here to simply be Kraut. The salt Granny adds to the jar aides in the pickling process.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 7:36 am

    i have had much better luck making kraut in the jar than any other way and no explosions here either! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 7:35 am

    As far as I know, kraut is a German word meaning cabbage, herbs or leaves. It was also used as a nickname for german soldiers in both world wars, by the way. I’ve also heard of sauerkraut – pickled (or sour) cabbage – used a lot in Germany. I first tried it in Frankfurt 5 years ago. I hate cabbage, so I did not really like it. But I must admit, I was impressed by the way Granny makes kraut! Isn’t it too salty? And why do you use the german name for cabbage? In Cyprus we have something similar called pickled cabbage just like we have pickled peppers / aubergines/tomatoes / capers. We only add a little salt and mostly vinegar. Ah well, I don’t know how to make them!!!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I’ve never made kraut in the jar..only in a crock…We don’t eat much kraut but homemade is the best..I made more Chow Chow and hot relishes…
    My Mother and Grandmother worked their kraut in the jar..The salt and fermenting process would make the kraut juice spew out onto those old zinc lids..and sometimes run down the sides of the jsrs onto the shelves..that is a sign it is working good..I can almost distingquish a zinc kraut lid from a green bean lid by the white etched marks..My Father’s Mother worked her kraut in a crock. According to my Father it was kept in a crock in the cold cellar and some canned..
    Along with the kraut was pickles kept all winter in a crock..He said he didn’t know how they kept from spoiling ’cause when the brothers came in from the field hot and sweaty, they would slip to the cellar, take off the wooden lid and steal a couple of those large cold pickles, (probably without washing their hands or using a dipper), nothing tasted better…
    My husband loves Kimchi…the ultimate fermented vegetables..
    He said you could smell Kimshi a mile away while he was in Korea..Sorry I don’t like it but it is said to be very healthy like kraut..except the salt I would think..
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    July 22, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Mama made Kraut every year and it was so good. She always said to make it on a full moon so it would work off better. She put the jars in a big enamel pan in the utility room and after a few days the whole room smelled of kraut. It was so good and no store bought kraut will ever be as good as homemade. One little “quirk” I have is I love to drink kraut juice. Thanks for the great memory and I may even check for the next full moon and have a go at making my own!

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 6:05 am

    This is a new one on me. I might try it, since I have a lot of cabbage this year.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2011 at 5:11 am

    No, I have never made kraut at all. I am going to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog and history here.

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