Harvest Creations: Yes, you can CAN coleslaw!

Is that just the prettiest cabbage you’ve ever seen?

It’s harvest time and that’s part of the reason that I’ve been silent here. There are other reasons, but that is the reason I may share.

Those who have been following my garden progress know about the great greenhouse catastrophe of 2013. Wherein many of my starts were lost to a big storm that blew through and knocked down the greenhouse. It blew seeds everywhere, as well as upending baby starts. The upshot? I have a ton of brassicas vegetables, but also a huge supply of cabbage.

So far I’ve made Chinese chicken salad, fresh coleslaw, stuffed cabbage, stir-fry….but, I was looking for a way to preserve this bounty into the winter time.

I found this recipe for canning coleslaw. So, I decided to try it. It was easy, it was fast. And I ate some yesterday, straight from the jar, although you can open the can, rinse and add a regular coleslaw dressing if you like. I’ll likely do a third batch, too, and share with friends.

Here’s the recipe with my take on the recipe. The plain text is the original recipe; the italics are my comments.

This is what the recipe looked like as followed. The following photo is my "addition" of extra cabbage (which fortunately my garden this year is giving me lots!)
This is what the recipe looked like as followed. The following photo is my “addition” of extra cabbage (which fortunately my garden this year is giving me lots!)

Basic Ingredients:
1 medium head cabbage (I was already doubling this recipe, but found that even with doubling it, I needed 3 heads of cabbage.)
1 large carrot (I had three large carrots. Basically one carrot to one head of cabbage.)
1 green pepper (I used two small green peppers.)
1 small onion (I used red onion and one very large one.)
1 teaspoon salt (3 tsp of salt since I ended up tripling the recipe, which is more like doubling it.)


1 cup of vinegar (My experiment batch taught me that even if you’re making a single batch, you need to double the syrup recipes. So you’ll need 2 cups of vinegar. With my recipe, I needed 6 cups.)
1/4 cup of water (Same mathematics applied. I needed to double for a single recipe, so for a single batch you’ll need 1/2 cup of water. I needed 1 1/2 cups for mine.)
2 cups of sugar (As a rule I always skimp on sugar in my canning. You just don’t need as much as all these freaking recipes pushed by the sugar industry would have you believe. I would cut down to 3/4 a cup for a single batch. Therefore for my batch, I only used  2 1/4 cups. However, I think I can get away with maybe even 1 1/2 cups next time.)
1 teaspoon of celery seed (that seemed perfect for my huge batch, if you decide to do a single batch, cut it down)
1 teaspoon mustard seed (Same as the celery seed, if you do a single batch, cut it down to like 1/4 tsp. for my huge batch this was perfect.)

I just basically eyeballed the ratio of cabbage to the rest of the ingredients.
I just basically eyeballed the ratio of cabbage to the rest of the ingredients.

Shred together vegetables. Add the salt.

Let stand 1 hour.

Drain water from vegetables. (This step is uber important. That way you know how much you can squeeze into containers. By the way, my batch made 7 pints.)

Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute, cool.

Add syrup to vegetables.

Pack into quart jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, (if using pints, process for 10 minutes) or put into freezer containers and freeze.

Leftovers may be frozen. This slaw may be drained before use and mayonnaise added, or used as is. (I liked it as is, but it was a lunch for me. I haven’t tried freezing this; my freezer space is at a premium, so I’m so thrilled to have found this recipe.)

Be sure to pack as much as you can in and work diligently to get all the air out.
Be sure to pack as much as you can in and work diligently to get all the air out.

So here’s the recipe, with my measurements:

Casz’s Canned Coleslaw:

3 heads of cabbage

3 large carrots

2 medium green peppers

1 large red onion

3 tsp of salt

Shred together vegetables. Add the salt. Let stand 1 hour. Drain water from vegetables.

Syrup:  6 cups of vinegar, 1 1/2 cup of water, 2 1/4 cups of sugar (feel free to use less), 1 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp of mustard seed

Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute, cool. Add syrup to vegetables.

Process in 7 pint jars and water bath process for 10 minutes.

Can’t wait to be eating a taste of summer this autumn and winter!



12 responses to “Harvest Creations: Yes, you can CAN coleslaw!”

  1. Darcey Kirkpatrick Avatar
    Darcey Kirkpatrick

    Thank you. Terrific!

  2. What about the whole ‘don’t can cabbage’ thing?
    I’m new to canning. Been at it about 2 years and want to push the boundaries a little but safety is my first priority.

    does the cabbage fermentation continue after canning?
    Will it blow the lid off after a year?
    Things I don’t know!!

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. We ate every jar of this batch. The fermentation did not continue and it was great to use in stir fries (I rinsed first so it wasn’t too vinegary in stirfry), or as a cold salad, or straight out of the jar. I also used to cook in the crock pot with some kielbasa. It was divine. I didn’t get very much cabbage this year, so no canning. I did not have any lids “blow off.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. I was told you can’t can rhubarb and I have done that, too. I think people don’t give themselves enough credit. When food is bad, you mostly know it (smell, taste, sight). Also, why could you can carrots or broccoli and not cabbage? If you try this, please let me know how you liked it.

  3. Melissa Avatar

    I’m going to disagree with the above post that states you know when food is bad by smell,taste,etc. botulism has no smell or taste and the food doesn’t look bad.

    1. This is true, Melissa. I’ve been fortunate to just have the other happen. Following food safety steps when you prep to can is of the utmost importance.

  4. I sure hope this is as good as it looks. I have a batch ready to can. How long before we can eat it?

    1. You can use right away.

  5. Marlene M Golly Avatar
    Marlene M Golly

    Do you have to rinse the cabbage or just drain the water off from the salt

    1. So sorry I missed this when you first asked. I did a quick rinse. Great question! I’ll clarify that in the post!

  6. Petrina Steacy Avatar
    Petrina Steacy

    Is sugar required for canning. I don’t like sweet coleslaw so I’d prefer to not include at all but not sure if it would still be safe

    1. Yes you can, but then your shelf life may be a little less. I had planned on doing an update of this recipe this season. So stay tuned.

      1. Wondering if this can be done without sugar?

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