They say good things come to those who wait and that certainly is true in this case! Remember that Sauerkraut I started 9 weeks ago? Well I FINALLY got around to canning it and let me tell you, it was worth the wait! Possibly the BEST kraut I’ve ever made! 🙂
This is going to be a cursory overview of the process I used to can my kraut. It is by no means a complete tutorial and I’m not going to go into great detail here. If you are going to can or preserve ANYTHING, a really good book on the subject is a must have! I got this one through my local extension office (University of Illinois Extension of Woodford County!). Your local extension services will have good resources online as well. It tells you EVERYTHING you could need to know about drying, freezing, canning etc. Lots of recipes and ideas too! Ball’s Blue Book is also a good reference.
I did experience some issues with scum and a little mold due to members of the household allowing the trough at the top of the crock to dry out while I was sick a few weeks ago. This allowed air into the crock negating the anaerobic atmosphere of the fermentation process, but they were easily enough removed from the top of the crock, thanks in large part to that layer of plastic wrap I put on top. I did lose a little of the product.
Once I removed the scum, I removed my HOT jars from the dishwasher and the hot lids from the pan of water on the stove and got to work packing the delicious kraut into them!
You want to pack firmly and make sure there is enough liquid to cover the kraut in the jar. Fill the jars withing 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe the rim of the jar and slap a lid on it and tighten the ring around it.
Because the kraut is acidic I can use a water bath canner to put my kraut up. I am using the “Cold Pack” method.
After placing all of the jars into the canner I add enough water to cover the jars an inch above their tops.
Once the water level is right, I lift the jars and start heating the water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil drop the jars in the water, put a lid on it and set a timer!
Once the time goes of it’s time to carefully lift the jars from the cooker using a jar lifter. I set mine on a towel-lined cookie sheet.
Now all that’s left is to wait for the *POP*. As each jar cools the metal lid “pops” and seals the jar. This is always my favorite part of canning. It brings back the memories of when my mother canned food. We’d go sit in the living room and count the pops! Happy times!
I’m happy to report that while I was typing up this post I heard 5 POPS!
Now I’ve got 5 little pints of delicious sauerkraut to enjoy! Hmmm…maybe with my corned beef this weekend?