Sauerkraut from ‘58 canning book

  • <i>By Judyrae Kruse</i>
  • Wednesday, September 26, 2012 3:26pm
  • Life

Now’s the time when our wonderful local cabbage is being harvested, which means now’s the very best time to turn some of it into sauerkraut.

So let’s do that again, thanks to today’s recipe sent along by longtime Forum helper Elaine Steinhoff over there in Freeland. “This recipe is for Barbara Colleen Adams,” she says. “Just ignore the personal notes.”

Now come on, Elaine, do you think we could possibly do that? Especially since you’ve noted that this is good, “so buy shredder.”

Also, possibly even more valuable for those who want right this minute to make some in a jar, but might then immediately want to make a bigger batch, we have this great notation of yours, “A 3-gallon crock requires about 6 heads of cabbage (41/2 pounds, if not more).”

Hey, that’s important info, and we appreciate it, can and will use it, and hope you will understand us taking the liberty to share your expertise. (Let me assure you, Forum folks, if you ask that something personal you tell us remains private and secret and unpublished, we do. Always.)

Now, getting to the recipe, Elaine has kindly copied the entire page with the complete sauerkraut information as it appeared in her 1958 edition of the “Kerr Home Canning Book.”

Our primary goal is to make good sauerkraut in jars, but the basic recipe gives us the how-to for preparing the cabbage and, for anybody who wants to make more than just a few jars, also lays out the steps for making bigger batches.


Use good, sound heads of mature cabbage, 1 pound of salt with 40 pounds of cabbage; 2 ounces (3 1/2 tablespoons) with 5 pounds of cabbage. One pound of cabbage fills 1 pint glass jar.

Remove outside green and dirty leaves. Quarter the head and shred the cabbage finely. Put 5 pounds cabbage and 2 ounces salt into a large pan and mix with the hands. Pack gently into the crock with a potato masher. Repeat until crock is nearly full. Cover with a cloth, plate and weight. During the curing process, kraut requires daily attention. Remove scum as it forms and wash and scald the cloth often to keep it free from scum and mold. Fermentation will be complete in 10 to 12 days.

As soon as kraut is thoroughly cured, pack into clean canning jars, adding enough of the kraut juice, or a weak brine made by dissolving 2 tablespoons salt to a quart of water, to fill jars to within 1/2 inch of top of jar. Put on cap, screwing the band tight. Process in water bath for 15 minutes.

Sauerkraut (made in jars)

Select, prepare and mix cabbage with salt as in the preceding recipe. Pack solidly into clean canning jars. Fill with cold water to within 1/2 inch of top of jar. Put on cap, screwing the band tight. This will ferment for 3 or 4 days. When fermentation ceases, wash outside of jars, tighten screw bands if loose, and store jars without processing. At this point, and in this more-informed, modern age, jars should now be refrigerated until used. Let season for 4 to 6 weeks.

The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don’t hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.

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