I have pickled dill pickles and jalapeno rings and banana rings the past 2 seasons. I soak the cuke's and peppers in an ice water bath for a few hours before I put them in the jars. Once I put the boiling brine in the jars, I seal them up and set the jars upside down so that the heat from the brine will help melt the wax seal and give you a better chance of sealing up the jars. This works most everytime. I then put the jars straight into the fridge (so even in the slight chance that it didn't seal, they are still staying cold) My pickles and peppers have been extremely crispy doing this. If you boil the jars the standard way, your peppers/pickles will end up mushy. Now granted, you only want to do this method if you are putting them in the fridge, because if you keep them cold and eat them in a couple months time, you won't have any worries as far as bacteria. The only problem is, you run out of fridge space quickly when you make a bunch of jars and have to keep them all in there. My wife told me this year that I need a pickle fridge!
It's gonna freeze here this weekend, and I got a ton of banana peppers left. I think I'm gonna have to make a few jars of these
The brand of kraut I use is called "Bubbies". At my grocery store, it is in the cooler next to the Claussen pickles. It's the best store bought kraut I've ever run across.