Canned Sauerkraut- Makes about 18 pints
25 lbs cabbage
8oz canning salt
Remove outer leaves and any undesirable portions from firm mature heads of cabbage; wash and drain. Cut into halves or quarters; remove core. Use a shredder or sharp knife to cut cabbage into thin shreds about the thickness of a dime. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix 3 tablespoons salt with 5 lbs. shredded cabbage. Let salted cabbage stand for several minutes to wilt slightly; this allows packing without excessive breaking or bruising of the shreds.
Pack salted cabbage firmly and evenly into a large, clean pickling container. Using a wooden spoon, tapper or hands, press down firmly until the juice comes to the surface. Repeat shredding, salting and packing of cabbage until the container is filled to within 3 to 4 inches of the top. If juice does not cover cabbage, add brine: 1 1/2 tablespoons salt to 1 quart water; bring brine to a boil; cool.
Cover cabbage with muslin or cheesecloth and tuck edges down against the inside of the container. Weigh down cabbage under brine. Formation of gas bubbles indicates fermentation is taking place. Remove and discard scum formation each day. A room temperature of 70° to 75° is best for fermenting cabbage. Fermentation is usually complete in 3 to 6 weeks.
To can- Bring sauerkraut to a simmer. Do not boil. Pack into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth, place lids onto jars, and screw on rings. Place filled jars in a hot water bath. Return water to a simmer, adding more water if needed to cover the jars by at least 1/2 inch. Bring water to a boil. Cook at a steady boil to process the jars until fully sealed, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars rest 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a clean, dry towel placed on kitchen counter or table. Check that the lids have sealed, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.