How to Cold Pack Sauerkraut

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Things You'll Need

  • Canning kettle

  • Sauerkraut

  • Canning jars, pint or quart

  • Jar rings and lids

  • Tongs

  • Spoon

  • Paper towels

  • Thermometer

  • Towel

  • Jar lifter

Sauerkraut is made by fermenting shredded cabbage.

Sauerkraut is a low calorie food made by fermenting shredded cabbage in its own juice. The University of Wisconsin's website states sauerkraut is a high-sodium food because of the salt needed to regulate the fermentation process. Kraut can be warmed up and eaten alone as a side dish or it can be used when making appetizers, dips, soups and other dishes. You can buy sauerkraut pre-made at the grocery store or use your own recipe to make your own. If making your own, you will need to preserve it. One method to do so is cold packing.


Step 1

Fill a canning kettle to the half-way point with water and place it on a burner set to medium heat. A canning kettle is a large pot with a removable rack and lid.

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Step 2

Sterilize the empty canning jars, lids and screw bands. Place pre-washed jars into the canner upside down. Hot water should completely cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel. Place the lids and screw bands into the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the lids and screw bands from the water and place on the clean towel until you are ready to use them.


Step 3

Fill sterilized pint- or quart-sized canning jars with sauerkraut and its juices; leave a half inch space between the kraut and the lid. The solid sauerkraut must be completely covered with juice.

Step 4

Dry the lips of the jars, place the lids on the jars and twist the screw bands onto the containers.


Step 5

Check the temperature of the water in the canner; it should be 140° according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website. If it has not yet reached the desired temperature allow it to heat longer. If it's too hot, add a little bit of water to bring the temperature down. Once the water reaches at 140°, proceed to Step 6.


Step 6

Place the kraut filled jars into the rack of the canner and place the rack into the boiling water. The water should completely cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water if needed or remove excess water if necessary.

Step 7

Cover the pot with the lid and turn the heat up to high. The water in the canner should begin to boil rapidly.


Step 8

Boil 20 minutes for pint-sized jars and 25 minutes for quart-sized jars. You will need to check the water level to ensure the jars are covered with water. Add boiling water to the canner as needed.

Step 9

Turn the heat off and remove the lid from the canner after the recommended cooking time has passed. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends waiting five minutes before removing the jars of kraut from the canner.


Step 10

Lay a towel on the counter. Lift the jars from the canner with a jar lifter and set them on the towel to cool for at least 12 hours.

Step 11

Remove the screw bands from the jars and push down on the center of the lid with your finger. If it pops up when you remove your finger, it is not sealed. Check the lid for nicks in the seal or place a different sterilized lid on the jar, screw the band back on and repeat Steps 4 through 10. If the lid is sealed, replace the screw band.


Raw packing and cold packing are often used interchangeably to refer to canning unheated food.


Do not test any seals until the jars have cooled.



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