Canning Sauerkraut

Recently I wrote about our Cabbage harvest and using some of it to make Sauerkraut. It’s an easy way to preserve  some cabbage and Graham loves it along with perogies and sausages. Here’s how to make your own Sauerkraut.

After leaving the kraut in the crock for a couple of weeks and checking it often, I scooped a bit out for the Gman to do a taste test. He found it to be delicious and mild, which he likes.

So it was then time to finish off the preserving of the Sauerkraut. We could just put the crock as is down in our Cold Room and use it as desired. We keep our Cold Room between 32 and 40F, and this temperature would be fine for the Sauerkraut.

We chose to can it instead – so should you if you cannot keep the crock in a cool enough place. Here’s how I did it:

Sauerkraut, canning kraut, fermenting cabbage

Heat the Sauerkraut – you want it to gently simmer, don’t boil it. Add a bit of the juice. Make a brine, in case you don’t have enough juice in the crock.

You’re going to Hot Water Bath the Sauerkraut, so wash your jars and then set them into your boiling water canner and keep them there for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile you can get your seals and rings ready. Pour boiling water over them and let them sit until you need them. I’m using Tattler lids for some of the jars – I should have ordered more!

Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt for each 1 quart of water. Heat this brine on the stove.

Once you get your Sauerkraut warmed up, hot pack it into jars. I use pint jars but you can use quarts if you like.

hot packed, sauerkraut, canning, water bath canning

Leave 1/2 inch of headroom in the jars. Add the warm liquid and use the brine, if you need to. Leave 1/2 inch of headroom and wipe the tops of each jar.

If you are using Tattler lids and seals, there is a slightly different process to follow and you can read it here. It is very important to let the contents vent during the processing.

Place your jars in the Boiling Water Bath and once the water comes back to a boil, set your timer for 15 minutes for pints. If I had used quarts, the processing time would be 25 minutes. I have to add 5 minutes because of our altitude (2800 ft). Make sure you always take your elevation into account when you do canning, it is very important.

canning, Tattler, Sauerkraut, processing food

Once the time is up, remove your jars and leave them alone for 24 hours. After that, you can wipe the jars down, remove the metal bands if you like, and place the jars on your pantry shelf.

I have a very handy Canning kit (Presto) that includes jar lifter, seal grabber, a funnel, a measuring gauge that allows you to easily figure out the headspace and more. These items are almost a necessity when canning. You can order one of these Canning kits here.

Enjoy your Sauerkraut! The Gman has already enjoyed one meal of Bratwurts and Sauerkraut along with Perogies, and is looking forward to many more.

We ended up with 17 pints of Sauerkraut using a 3 gallon crock, which held a total of 15 pounds of cabbage.

 

 

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How to Can Green Beans – Pressure Canning

When it comes to doing any kind of pressure canning, I am very serious about the process. I don’t mean to scare you – I home can cases and cases of vegetables and we eat from our cold room all winter long.

However, pressure canning is serious business. If it isn’t done properly, the food can spoil. You can make your family very sick by eating improperly canned food. So learn the process and then treat it like a serious process – each and every time you do canning.

Here’s some more important information about how to use a pressure canner. I’ve had a Mirro pressure canner for more than 12 years now and just love it.

 

Pressure Canning Green Beans

Here’s an awesome harvest of 18 pounds of green beans. I’d love to say they came from my garden, but they didn’t. I bought these from a gardening friend down the Valley. My garden is an overgrown mess of outsized beets, flowering broccoli and runaway bolting lettuces. That’s because this year, I kept my head down and focussed on the garlic weeding and harvest. Next year, I’ll be smarter and not plant such a large garden.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be harvesting and emptying the garden. There is a LOT of food that needs to be brought in. Potatoes, carrots and beets all need to be dug. Lettuce seed needs to be gathered so I can plant some next year.

The other day, I picked up the beans and got started. Since we are running low on canned beans, I needed to make sure I put up another good supply.

I cut the ends, snapped the beans, washed them and then blanched them for a few minutes in a large pot with lots of water (I’ll need that water when filling jars).

I washed pint jars in hot soapy water and rinsed them well. I soaked the seals in hot (not boiling) water for about 10 minutes to soften the rubber. I got the jar rings ready and my canning kit out.

 

Canning Beans

 

I put 3 1/2 quarts of water into the pressure canner and then filled my pint jars with the hot beans. I added the liquid leaving a half inch of headroom in each jar.

 

Using a Pressure Canner

 

Then I wipe the rim of each jar to help ensure a good seal, put the seals on, twisted the rings on tight and set each jar in the pressure canner. My canner holds 7 pints, but you can get taller ones so you can process 14 pints at a time. Just be sure to have a metal rack on top of the first layer of jars. You don’t want the jars in contact with each other while processing.

 

Pressure Canner Venting Before Weight Goes On

 

On goes the lid and the canner goes on the heat. Put it on high (make sure the weight is NOT on!) and once steam starts pouring out the top, let it go for 10 minutes. We do most of our canning outdoors on a propane heater, but you can also use your stovetop.

Then add your weight (since we are at 2850 feet elevation, I can everything with 15 pounds weight). If you are below 1000 feet elevation, you will can with 10 pounds weight.

Once the weight has been added, let the pressure canner go until the first release of steam. Once that happens, you should lower the heat under the canner, likely to between low and medium. Also set your timer for 20 minutes for pint jars (for beans). Check the time required for every vegetable or meat you want to can. Meat is usually 90 minutes but it is very important to check the recipe or Google.

Every once  in a while, the pressure canner will let off a big release of steam and pressure. Thi

s is normal. Once your timer goes off, turn off the heat under the canner. Then…wait. Do NOT open the canner right away or jiggle the weight to release the pressure. It’s important to let the canner cool down naturally. Only then, do you lift the lid.

Lift the lid AWAY from you. There is still steam inside the canner and you don’t want to get hit in the face with it.  You can jiggle the weight after about 10 minutes to see if there is still steam inside.

 

Home Canned Green Beans

 

Remove the jars right away using a jar lifter and set them on a towel or blanket on your counter or wherever they can sit for 24 hours without being disturbed. At all.

Within a short time you will hear the jars pinging. This means they are sealing and that’s a good thing!

The next day, tap the lids of each jar. You will definitely hear the difference between a sealed jar and an unsealed one. If a jar hasn’t sealed, you can either pressure can it again or just put it in the fridge and use it up within a few days. From the 18 pounds of fresh beans, I ended up with 33 pints of canned beans.

Here are some links you may want to check out:

How to Can Salmon and other Fish – pressure canned

How to Make and Preserve Pickled Beets – water bath canning

How to Make and Can Tomato Sauce – water bath canning

 

Blanching and Freezing Peas

Want to preserve peas? Read How to Blanch and Freeze Garden Peas for the super easy way to enjoy garden peas all winter.

 

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