Canning Cabbage

By Charlotte King

Canning Cabbage is a fun way to preserve your cabbage haul and add variety to your meals. Canning is an excellent way of preserving your produce by processing it at a high temperature, thus killing any microorganisms and bacteria and sealing the canning jars shut so that they can last in your pantry for a long time.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has canning guidelines for many fruits, vegetables, and meats. However, there are none present for canning cabbage. The reason is, the cabbage discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned. Because of this, almost all the cabbage canning recipes out there pickle the cabbages before canning.

The canning process is straightforward. All you need to do is shred your cabbage, pickle it with some form of brine, add the pickled cabbage to the canning jars and then process them in the canner!

Supplies for Canning

Canning Cabbage


You will need about four medium-sized heads of lettuce for canning, yielding 5 quarts of canned cabbage. When you buy cabbage, look for a cabbage head that seems heavy for its size with bright, fresh leaves that are crisp. Make sure the cabbage heads are free of any bruises and cuts. To prepare the cabbage for canning, cut it into quarters and run each cabbage under some running water to get rid of any dirt that may have lodged into it. Using a paring knife, cut out the core from each quarter. The next step is to shred the cabbage. For this, you can use a mandoline, a grater, or even a sharp chef’s knife according to your preference.

Canning Jars

This canning recipe yields about 5 quarts or 10 pints of canned cabbage. Make sure the canning jars you use are heavy-duty to withstand the canning process. Wash and prepare your jars for canning using some hot soapy water, and once cleaned, leave them in the oven or dishwasher to keep warm until you are ready to use them. You can also wash the canning jar rings the same way. To sterilize the canning lids, add them to a bowl of hot water and let them sit until you are ready to use them.

Canning Liquid


You can use a simple canning liquid made using salt, sugar, and vinegar to can your cabbages, similar to sauerkraut. Or you can add a little more spices to add flavor to the canned cabbages. Here are the two recipes you can use:

Simple Canning Liquid

You will need to place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. This boiling water will act as our canning liquid. You can add the other ingredients (salt, vinegar, sugar) required for canning cabbage this way directly to the jars.

Spiced Canning Liquid


  • 8 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ canning salt
  • ½ cup mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup each of cloves, mace, and peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


In a large saucepan, add the vinegar and sugar. Once the sugar has started to dissolve, add the mustard and mace. In a muslin cloth, tie the other spices and drop them into the saucepan. Heat the canning liquid for 5 minutes until it comes to a boil, then turn off the heat. Your canning liquid is ready!

How to Can Cabbage

You can prep your cabbage using with canning liquid of choice. Both canned cabbages yield very different but delicious results. Below you will find separate steps that you need to follow for preparing your jars using either the simple or spiced canning liquid, followed by the common canning process.

Method #1:  Packing Cabbage With Simple Canning Liquid

  1. Start by adding one teaspoon of sugar, canning salt, and vinegar to each of your quart-sized canning jars. If you use pint jars, you will need ½ teaspoon of each.
  2. Next, start adding your shredded cabbage into your jars, packing them in as tightly as possible. Use a ladle or spoon to push the cabbage inside. Remember to keep about an inch of headspace.
  3. Once your jars are all filled with cabbage, pour your hot water into each jar. Once again taking care that the headspace is maintained. Use a debubbler to get rid of any air pockets. You may need to add some more cabbage or hot water at this point.
  4. When all the jars are ready, take a damp paper towel and clean the jars’ rims before using a magnetic lid lifter to place the lid onto the jars.
  5. As the final step, close the rings on the jars and twist them until they are only “finger-tip” tight.

Method #2: Packing Cabbage With Spiced Canning Liquid

Bunch of Cabbage
  1. Add your shredded cabbage and sprinkle the canning salt over it in a large bowl. Toss the cabbage lightly so that it is covered by the salt completely. Let the cabbage sit for 3 – 4 hours to absorb the salt.
  2. Next, drain the cabbage and rinse it with clean water before spreading it out on paper towels to absorb the excess moisture.
  3. When the cabbage is relatively dry, add it to your canning jars, packing it tightly. Next, pour the canning liquid you prepared earlier into the jars. Note that it is vital that the canning liquid is hot when you add it to your jars. If required, warm up the liquid on the stovetop before adding it to the jars. Remember to maintain that 1-inch headspace.
  4. Use a debubbler to remove any air bubbles and top off your jars if required.
  5. When all the jars are prepared, clean their rims with a damp paper towel before placing the lids on them. Twist on the rings until they are “finger-tip” tight and you are ready to process the jars!

Processing the Cabbage

Purple Cabbage
  • As cabbage is a low acid vegetable, to can it safely, it needs to be processed in the pressure canner. You can also use a pressure cooker to process your cans. Just make sure your pressure cooker has the ability to can food safely and follow the instructions mentioned in the booklet.
  • For a pressure canner, get it ready by adding a few inches of water to the canner and placing a rack in it.
  • Next, add your prepared cabbage jars to the canner, ensuring that none of them touch each other.
  • Close the lid to your canner and add the weight when a steady stream of steam rises from the vent. Once the steam starts to rise, you need to place the weight on or close the vent depending on the canner you are using.
  • Process the jars at 11 PSI for about 20 minutes. Remember, you will need to adjust the pressure according to your elevation.
    • For Dial Gauge Canners: 0 ft – 2000 ft  11 PSI
      •       2001 ft – 4000 ft 12 PSI
      •       4001 ft – 6000 ft 13 PSI
      •       6001 ft – 8000 ft 14 PSI
  • For weighted gauge canner: 0 ft – 1000 ft 10 PSI
    •         > 1000 15 PSI
  • Once the processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure in the pressure canner go down naturally. When the pressure has gone down completely, open the lid to the canner.
  • Remove the jars from the canner using a pair of jar tongs and let them sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
  • When the jars have all cooled, remove their rings and wipe them off with a damp cloth.
  • Check the seal on all the jars by tapping them with a spoon or simply with your knuckle. If the lid remains stationary, the seal is good; otherwise, you may have to reprocess the unsealed jars.

Properly sealed jars can be labeled with the canning date and stored in your pantry for 12- 18 months.


Green and Purple Cabbage

So there you have it! A simple way to introduce some new variety into your diet that is delicious and healthy! This canning recipe is very simple and will surely come in handy when looking for new ways to preserve your fresh produce for longer.

If you have liked this canning guide, we have a plethora of canning guides that you will love as well. Check them out here!

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