This year I have vowed to fill my pantry with produce from my garden, this includes sauerkraut. Most recipes I have found revolve around natural fermented kraut – which I’m all for. But, in this case I really wanted to find something that left very little room for error. By this I mean, natural fermentation can breed various strains of yeast and bacteria if given a chance. The results can easily go from good to rancid and moldy. Not only that, fermented kraut is typically stored in the fridge and I want mine to be shelf stable.
With that said, I must note that the USDA does not recommend canning cabbage. In the case of pickling cabbage however, this will increase the acidity creating a shelf safe product when canned. For a safe pickle a 5% vinegar brine is recommended for vegetables that contain a lot of water. A good concentration guideline is 2/3 vinegar to 1/3 water. This recipe has only been used and tested in my home kitchen. This recipe has not been approved by any state or local health department but I do pH tests to ensure its safety for personal use.
After figuring out where to start with my brine I proceeded to formulate a recipe that would taste great. With hints of caraway and a tang of naturally fermented apple cider vinegar – it is spot on!
- 1 head of cabbage.
- 2 Tablespoons canning salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole caraway seed
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water*
Slice or shred cabbage thinly. Place cabbage in a large bowl with the salt, mix and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small sauce pot over medium heat. Fill sterilized pint jars with salted cabbage and press in firmly. Pour remaining liquid from the cabbage bowl into the brine pot. Ladle brine into each jar leaving 3/4 inch head space. Place boiled lids and rings on the jars, process in hot water bath for 20-30 minutes (35-45 for quarts). Remove and allow to cool, label and store on pantry shelf. Makes approximately 3-4 pints.
*The amount of water in the brine is reduced as I use the natural liquid drawn out of the cabbage by the salt.