your produce through pickling and canning is not
only fun and economical, it has health benefits,
your garden produce not only extends the life of your
garden, it’s fairly easy to do and rewards you with
increased health benefits.
Mosbacher, master food preserver program coordinator for
the UC Cooperative Extension in Placerville, Calif.,
says fermented foods help with the digestive system.
Some caution is needed, Mosbacher says, but if you
follow the recipes and the rules, you’ll be fine.
are some of Mosbacher’s tips:
When working to preserve foods, wear an apron to protect
the food from anything you might have on your clothes,
tie your hair back or wear a hat, and wear gloves.
Before using, inspect your jars for cracks, chips or
imperfections that might lead to breakage.
Use canning salt, also known as pickling salt, in your
fermenting recipes. Canning salt is the purest type of
If you want to use other salts, check the ingredient
list. Most salts, including kosher salt, contains an
anti-caking agent that can affect taste and
The key to successful and safe canning is processing the
food long enough to kill pathogens. That’s why it’s
important to follow the instructions to the letter.
Don’t use your grandmother’s recipes. Generations
ago the acidity of vinegar was much higher than it is
now (up to 15 percent).
As the spices are usually what makes the recipe special,
Mosbacher recommends using a current, standard recipe
that uses our standard 5 percent vinegar, and then use
the old recipe for the flavors.
Preserved foods can be kept for a long time but
Mosbacher recommends eating them within a year for the
best flavors and nutritional benefits.
best results use firm heads of fresh cabbage and start
the process 24 to 48 hours after harvest. You can use
store bought cabbage or cabbage that has been picked
with about 5 pounds of cabbage at a time. Remove and
save outer leaves. Rinse heads under cold running water
and drain. Cut heads in quarters and remove cores; shred
or slice cabbage to the thickness of a quarter.
cabbage in a suitable fermentation container and add 3
tablespoons of canning salt. Mix thoroughly with clean
hands and pack firmly until the salt draws juices from
shredding, salting and packing until all cabbage is in
the container. Be sure it is deep enough so that the rim
of the container is at least 4 to 5 inches above the
the juice does not cover the cabbage, add boiled and
cooled brine made with 1˝ tablespoons of salt per quart
the cabbage is packed down, cover it with leaves from
the cabbage head, then weight it down with marbles, a
heavy plate or whatever works for you. Cover with a
clean bath towel and place it in a dry and dark place.
first week, Mosbacher says, the fermenting cabbage will
smell like dirty gym socks, but the smell will dissipate
by the next week.
for the formation and movement of bubbles, indicating
the fermenting process is occurring. When the bubbles
stop moving, after about three weeks, the process is
can safely be kept in the refrigerator for several
months. For longer storage, process it in a boiling
water or steam canner, using either the hot pack or raw
hot pack, bring sauerkraut and liquid slowly to a boil
in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat
and fill jars rather firmly, leaving a half-inch of head
space. In the raw pack method, fill jars firmly with
sauerkraut and cover with juices, leaving a half inch of
hot pack pints for 10 minutes and quarts for 15; for raw
pack, process pints for 20 minutes and quarters for 25.
need 7 pounds of 2- to 2 1/2-inch diameter beets, 4 cups
of vinegar (5 percent), 1 1/2 teaspoons of canning salt,
2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, 2 cinnamon sticks, 12
whole cloves and four to six onions.
off beet tops, leaving an inch of stem and roots to
prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly and sort for
similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until
tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and discard liquid
and cool beets.
off roots and stems and slip off skins.
into quarter-inch slices; peel and thinly slice onions.
vinegar, salt, sugar and fresh water. Put spices in
cheesecloth ban and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a
beets and onions; simmer for 5 minutes.
jars with beets and onions, leaving a half-inch of head
space. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing half-inch of
head space. Adjust lids.
in boiling water or steam canner for 30 minutes.