Sauerkraut is simply shredded or chopped cabbage that has been salted and then allowed to ferment in its own juices. Many families with German ancestry may eat this crunchy food weekly or daily. If you've successfully fermented a crock of sauerkraut and want to keep it for a long time, you'll need to process it in canning jars.
Select your jar size. Consider using wide-mouth pint canning jars. A pint is about the right amount for four servings. You can use larger jars and store what you don't need for the first meal in the refrigerator. Sauerkraut keeps very well refrigerated after the jar is opened.
Open the crock by removing the muslin cloth and the weight. Carefully remove the excess brine. Then remove the plate that was compressing the sauerkraut.
Remove and discard the very top layer of sauerkraut. Also discard any material that is discolored.
Thoroughly wash and sterilize your canning jars, lids and rings.
Heat the sauerkraut until it's simmering but not boiling (185 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit).
Transfer the sauerkraut to the canning jars. Pack the sauerkraut firmly into the jars. Leave 1/2-inch head space.
You will get a lot of sauerkraut from one crock. A 15-gallon crock may produce 72 lb.of cabbage.
Wipe the top of the jar carefully. Add the lid and firmly tighten the ring.
Place the jars in the pressure cooker. Process for 10 minutes at 5 lb. of pressure for pints. Process for 15 minutes at 5 lb. of pressure for quarts.
Let the jars cool. When the lids pop down, they are sealed. Store the jars of sauerkraut in a cool, dark place for longest shelf life.
Homemade sauerkraut is great for presents. Make sure your recipients understand they are more likely to receive future gifts if they return the jar.
Be sure you read and follow the directions for your pressure cooker.