Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

How To Can Kraut

old timey kraut

Two weeks ago we made kraut the old timey way-yesterday it was ready to can. It’s normal for a skim of mold to form on top of the liquid in the crock-you can see what was waiting for me as I took the towel off.

First-take the weights out-then take a large spoon or spatula and get the mold off-discard mold.

Next take the plate that was pushing down the kraut out. Remember the large cabbage leaves I put on top-I discarded them too.

You can use a spoon, cup, or bowl to dip out the kraut and place it in a large stock pot-or in your canner. It may not all fit at once-mine didn’t.

Place the pot on the stove and heat the kraut to a simmer. If you don’t have enough liquid-you can add water.

While the kraut is heating up-you can begin sterilizing your jars-lids-rings. Some folks use the oven-some their dishwasher-I just use a pot of simmering water.

Once the jars and kraut are hot-you can put the kraut in the jars. I like to make sure there is enough liquid in each jar to cover the kraut. After each jar is filled place a lid and ring on it.

When you get to this point of the process you have 2 choices:

*We use the open kettle method of canning the kraut-which means the kraut is hot-the jars are hot and once you put the hot kraut into the hot jars and add the lids and rings-they seal as they cool. Both my family and The Deer Hunter’s family have used this method for generations-so we feel comfortable with doing it. However-if you do any research on the method-you’ll see modern day instructions warn you the open kettle method of canning should never ever be used to preserve anything.

*Your other choice-is to place the jars of kraut in a hot water bath. The Ball Canning Book says too: process pints 15 minutes and quarts 20 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Easy recipe for making kraut

I ended up with 14 quarts and 1 pint of kraut. I think it’s the best we ever made-it was crisp, white, and so yummy. Most of all I love that we grew the cabbage.


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  • Reply
    April 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Mike-We’ve had success with kraut lasting a good 2 years with the open kettle method. I’ve never thought about freezing it in the jars-thank you for that tip!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    April 12, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Hi Tipper,
    Hey I’m curious as to how long you or maybe the kin had a jar or kraut around that was good using the open kettle method I may try it 🙂
    I use the bath method
    I’ve gotten 2 years with good taste and texture and about 6 years with good taste but the texture was changed FYI I’ve froze kraut unprocessed in a jar to keep in/out odor for 5 years and it seemed like it was a month old.. just with that frozen texture that isnt that bad and comes no matter how long you hard freeze it so IMO for infinte storage the freezer wins

  • Reply
    January 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Janet posted a comment above about chow chow made from garden leftovers. My Mamaw used to make that, and I haven’t had it in years. I loved it, especially poured over rice. Do you know how to make it?

  • Reply
    Betty Gulledge
    September 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Our first time trying this.and I am 68 kraut turned out great …hope canning does……….Many thanks & blessings to you,

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Your kraut looks so good! We didn’t plan cabbage. We still have a lot of the turnip kraut left from last year.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Congrats to the winners. My mouth is watering just thinking about your kraut!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 21, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I’d love a Ruben sandwich made with that home grown kraut…also some fire roasted weiners…a pot of slow cooked pork and kraut…
    and of course sausages and kraut…Good old stick to your ribs winter food…aren’t you smart to have some jars for the winter!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I like kraut. I’m sure mom and grandma used to make it all the time. They always made chow-chow, too, with all the garden left overs.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Ethel-yes it tastes similar-only better : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    July 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    You really amaze me. I tried growing cabbage this year to little avail. But I will try again!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    July 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Tipper: Love it. Put it in a slow cooker with some sausage and I’m coming to visit.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I’ll be having my cabbage mature in the fall and winter this year – most years that is what we do, saving space for other things. So I’ll remember these posts. Thanks again for these, they are great – inspiring for sure.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Hey, congratulations to the winners!
    Tipper your kraut is beautiful!! There is great satisfaction in canning your own food, and more so since you grew it as well. You know the 100% purity of this food.
    I always think one of the greatest pleasures in canning in looking at the jars cool on the counter and know that I made it. The colors are crisp and clean. Great satisfaction !

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Wow, never made kraut before!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Congratulations to the Roper’s!
    I’ve never grew cabbage or made kraut. But you can bet if I ever get around to growing cabbage I’ll be back here to follow your directions.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    July 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Pat in Tennessee is right. Store-bought doesn’t compare to homemade. We’ve made it for years. But, I must say I don’t think ours ever looks a good as yours.
    You know, there’s even a sauerkraut festival up here … well, over in Waynesville, Ohio. They have a nice website. Started out centering on people’s homemade submissions and the contest grew and the festival grew and it’s a major Ohio event now.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    July 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Yum! My favorite way to serve kraut is with barbecued pork ribs.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    congrats on the winners 🙂
    and tipper.. wow you surely have harvested the bounty from the lord
    that looks so delicious.. and i can imagine how tasty it will be when you open up a jar…. and smile knowing that it came from your garden and hard work, carrying on the tradition of generations..
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    This has been an interesting process to watch! I’ve never had homemade kraut, does it have the same sharp, vinegary tang as commercially prepared? I’m sure it’s a million times better, like anything homemade or home grown! My mother and grandparents used to can everything out of their huge garden, always by the open kettle method and never had a problem with it in fifty-some years. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I think I can taste it, my mouth has a little tingle and I am almost sure i can smell it. more mermories of my mom for sure. YUM in some of the photos it is a little yucky, but i know the end result!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    The last time I made kraut was about 2 years ago and I made it in
    pint jars then. That cold juice
    straight from the frig sure does
    settle the stomach. Love it cooked
    with summer sausages. Enjoyed this
    post. Its great having you share
    “a touch of the past” with us. Ken
    ps: thanks so much for the Shirley
    Burns CD.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    July 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Congrats to the winners!
    I have made kraut over the years and there is nothing like it. Once you have it you certainly won’t want any store bought!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Congrats, winners! The kraut looks yummy,Tipper!

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