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After canning, kraut isn't submerged in brine

Posted by gunnarius (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 10:12

I canned 14 quarts of crock-fermented kraut yesterday (in pints and half-pints) and am annoyed by what I ended up with: kraut that isn't submerged in brine. I made sure not to overload the jars with kraut, I made sure they all had lots of brine over the cabbage level, I got rid of as much air as I possibly could, I had proper headspace. But now the brine only comes up about half way in most jars, so there's tons of kraut that's not in brine.
Since I'm pretty sure I didn't leave that much air in every jar (I could imagine it happening in a few, but not dozens), I guess the cabbage soaked it up during processing. It didn't leak out of the jars. I tasted and smelled the processing water and it was neither acidic nor salty.
I haven't opened a jar yet, but will at lunchtime today.

Anyone else ever experience this? Is the kraut that's not under brine going to be OK since it's in a vacuum? Or do I need to get busy eating it and giving it away to ravenous kraut eaters right away?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: After canning, kraut isn't submerged in brine

Did you use the hot pack or the raw pack instructions and how long did you process it?

Raw pack tends to do that. Hot pack works better. But the odds are you did over-pack the jars even though you don't think so. It is very easy to do and a common problem. It needs enough liquid vs. solids to be able to 'slosh' around a bit in the jars for best results. To accomplish that I find I usually need to make up an extra batch of fresh brine.

So assuming you BWB processed it for the 10 mins. called for it is safe to eat and will store okay. That above the liquid may darken some but will still be safe.


RE: After canning, kraut isn't submerged in brine

I took the kraut straight from the crock and put it in the hot, sterile jars, then into the BWB for 15 min. (As called for in the book I was using.) I did have extra brine ready and used it to top off all the jars, then I'd bang them, prod them, poke them and squish them to get out any air that could be in there. Then I'd top them off again. Then more de-air-ification, and more brine. In the pint jars I had at least 3/4 of an inch of brine above the uncompressed kraut, then 1/2" head space.
Thanks for the vote on the side of edibility.

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