Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
I'm moving this to its own space, because If there are "warning signs", I want to be able to find this quickly!

I started a batch of sauerkraut yesterday, but neglected to put any juniper berries or caraway seeds in it. So it will be plain, but good (I hope), in two months time.
Chris, the directions I found on the web had me use a cloth, a plate, and a weight on top. I'm supposed to boil the cloth every few days. Another suggestion was to fill a garbage bag with 10" of water to seal it up and provide the weight. What have you done for the batches you've made?

-- Jaq (js...), October 24th, 2005.


It's not too late to add the spices, Jaq. Also: It depends on how big the opening of the container is, but I have used ziploc bags filled with brine (just the salt water solution, in case of leaks). The idea is to press the cabbage down so that after the salt releases its fluid, the cabbage is totally immersed in the brine, and oxygen doesn't get in and cause the wrong kind of bacterial conversion party. So keep an eye out for scumminess and other weird things happening on the top. Mostly you can skim it off, I think -- I need to doublecheck the list of warning signs. Also, get a chopstick or something and give it a bit of a poke to allow the gases to bubble out every day or two.
-- Casuistry (chr.....), October 24th, 2005.

Jaq (Jaq), Monday, 24 October 2005 22:06 (eighteen years ago) link

This is in a tub about 14" in diameter. I think a boiled white cloth is not going to be much proof against bacterial weirdness. I'm going to convert to the plastic bag method tonight.

Any warning signs you remember will be most appreciated!

How long does it take for the salt to juice out the cabbage?

Jaq (Jaq), Monday, 24 October 2005 22:11 (eighteen years ago) link

Even if you did the boiled white cloth, you'd want to have enough brine and weight on top of it to hold it down. The other thing you can use, one which is far more fun, is a cabbage leaf (or, uh, in your case, several) -- the idea is if scum gets on there, you can just replace the leaf (or boil the cloth) to get rid of it.

Here's the tips: White scum on the top is fine, skim it off. If the kraut comes out slimy, it was either too warm or not salty enough, and bad bacteria processes happened: Toss it. Rot, mold, dark color, or pink color near the top: Toss the affected bits; allegedly the rest will be fine.

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 24 October 2005 23:30 (eighteen years ago) link

The initial release of water happens fairly quickly, as I recall. A day or two? I don't remember off the top of my head. Just keep checking in on it, and, uh, push the remaining cabbage down so often so as much as possible at least touches the brine briefly and picks up more salt. If you see what I mean.

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 24 October 2005 23:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Thanks for all that! So I have 3 heads of shredded cabbage, 6 tbsp. of coarse salt, a dinner plate (which fits the tub with about 1/2" clearance, and two garbage bags (the inner one filled with 2 gallons of water and some more salt, and the outer one as backup). Other tools - one plastic chopstick from IKEA.

Forgot the spices. I'll put those in tomorrow when I check on it. This is quite exciting, but I'm sure it will wear off in a few days. Unless there is MOLD!

Jaq (Jaq), Tuesday, 25 October 2005 03:25 (eighteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
The kraut progresses. I was keeping it in the garage, which is consistently in the mid 40s, so probably too cool. There was only the tiniest amount of juice, maybe 2 inches and the cabbage is about 7 inches deep, so I boiled up 8 cups of brine last night, cooled it and added approx. 6 cups to the container (just enough to top the cabbage). The brine-filled garbage bags seem to be working great to seal it and keep it weighted. I moved it down to the basement though, which is staying in the mid 60s.

I'm really tempted to get a vacuum sealer - I could package up kraut, apples, berry puree, tomato paste, jelled stock, etc etc.

Jaq (Jaq), Wednesday, 9 November 2005 15:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, 60s will be better I suspect. That I am told is the "sweet zone" where you get the greatest variety of flavor production.

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 10 November 2005 07:31 (eighteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
So... uh, shouldn't it be done by now?

I just started a batch today. Rah!

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 6 December 2005 17:50 (eighteen years ago) link

Hmmm. It's just sitting there, quietly in the basement. I've neglected it. Once I sealed it up with the plastic bag of brine (after making sure there was enough brine in the container to cover the cabbage) I sort of forgot about it.

Jaq (Jaq), Tuesday, 6 December 2005 18:14 (eighteen years ago) link

I do feel guilty for getting any perverse amusement out of it (Rock Hardy), Tuesday, 6 December 2005 18:39 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, uh. Give it a taste, see if it's been too long, etc. If it's been in 60s then it should be done right about now, I think.

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 6 December 2005 20:52 (eighteen years ago) link

I will do this, immediately after work. Possibly with photos, especially if there are triffids.

What happens if it's been too long?

Jaq (Jaq), Tuesday, 6 December 2005 20:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Triffids everywhere. Also it tastes funky. At some point (after the little bubbles stop rising) you want to stop the biological processes.

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 6 December 2005 21:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Okay, no triffids. Also no camera batteries charged (damn!). It's not slimy either, but all of it has a very very slight pinkish cast. The flavor is very mild, but the smell is definitely of sauerkraut. I baked another porkpie on Sunday that we are cutting for dinner tonight, so I'll try some alongside. I've got a few days of sicktime saved up.

Jaq (Jaq), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 01:11 (eighteen years ago) link

That was really good! Very crunchy, just salty enough. I g00gled "sauerkraut salmonella" and found that kimchi and sauerkraut both kill the bad salmonella bacteria. So if we get sick, it will be from something else.

Jaq (Jaq), Wednesday, 7 December 2005 03:15 (eighteen years ago) link

Pinkishness is caused by yeast. Either too much salt, or the salting was uneven, or you didn't cover or weight it enough. My source recommends scraping off the pink stuff, but if it's all pink, well, give it a try, see if you die.

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 9 December 2005 04:14 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, we're not dead yet. And it caused no noticable side-effects. It might have just been the kitchen lighting that made it look pinkish.

Have you got some yummy suggestions for it? I was going to go the Germanic route this weekend, frying it up with sausages and serving with mashed potatoes.

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 9 December 2005 15:32 (eighteen years ago) link

Goes good on a sammich. Goes good with pierogies. Doesn't go good with ice cream, sadly.

I find it's more like I have to come up with excuses not to have just a little on the side.

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 9 December 2005 17:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Doesn't go with red wine either we found.

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 9 December 2005 17:24 (eighteen years ago) link

Not with pink kraut, no, you want more of a blush.

Casuistry (Chris P), Friday, 9 December 2005 18:10 (eighteen years ago) link

four years pass...

I am making sauerkraut! There was a recipe in the paper last weekend, shred the cabbage, add salt (probably added too much, for one small head),and knead for 10 minutes. Put it in a glass jar, filled to the top, and covered with plastic wrap with a rubber band. And put in a bowl for overflow, luckily. It's warm in the apartment, so it should be "ready" in a week. I guess cooler temps and longer fermentation tastes better, will try that in the fall.

The swan at dawn is now gone (doo dah), Saturday, 17 July 2010 16:08 (thirteen years ago) link

four years pass...

Holy crap, the last and first time I made sauerkraut was 2005.

I got a 5 litre crock and Sandor Katz's The Art of Fermentation - just packed 3 heads of cabbage in the crock with sea salt and caraway seeds.

Jaq, Saturday, 10 January 2015 23:44 (nine years ago) link

i got that for my mom for xmas! great book!

kola superdeep borehole (harbl), Saturday, 10 January 2015 23:47 (nine years ago) link

It's very fun - I got some airlock mason jar lids so I can try smaller batches of stuff. And me and anky were talking about brewing cider!

Jaq, Sunday, 11 January 2015 00:52 (nine years ago) link

I need to get my kraut game on again soon, maybe try branching out from cabbage this time...

Vote in the ILM EOY Poll! (seandalai), Sunday, 11 January 2015 13:12 (nine years ago) link

I'm thinking carrots for the next thing I try. I thought I was going to have to pour brine over the cabbage today, it seemed awfully dry yesterday. But this morning there's juice almost over the weights. I'll top it off tonight if they aren't covered by half an inch.

Jaq, Sunday, 11 January 2015 16:33 (nine years ago) link

cool jaq! good luck! art of fermentation is just an incredible book. i am a total sandor katz fanboy, i had a chance to meet him at the boston fermentation festival this fall. he's an amazing person.

on saturday i packed a few finished crocks of sauerkraut into jars. it was 10 lbs worth of cabbage, probably the biggest batch i've ever made. i am continually in awe of how varied a given batch can turn out. this summer i made a batch and it fermented for 2 weeks, and my summer krauts often have this delicious effervescence and crispy and tart. this current batch i just made fermented in the crocks for maybe 7 weeks? and it's a milky, murky hue and is very sour and slightly more tender than the quick summer kraut.

marcos, Monday, 12 January 2015 15:16 (nine years ago) link

caraway seeds are my favorite spice to add. i'll throw in some juniper berries too, sometimes some cumin seeds. i think i put in some coriander seeds in this current batch

marcos, Monday, 12 January 2015 15:17 (nine years ago) link

i'm gonna have to eat this kraut everyday to finish it up by spring. it came out to about 4 quarts of kraut total, something like that. 2 quart jars and one of those big spring-top jars that looks like 2 quarts. i love all kinds of fermented foods year-round but i do find that in winter i tend to really crave them, they provide brightness and intensity and fire when i really need it, i do attribute a lot of my more positive outlook this winter to eating a lot of fermented foods and getting into the rhythm of making them with fall harvests.

marcos, Monday, 12 January 2015 15:22 (nine years ago) link

i enjoyed listening to this podcast recently:

lxy, Monday, 12 January 2015 16:22 (nine years ago) link

Awesome, thanks for that link!

Jaq, Monday, 12 January 2015 19:32 (nine years ago) link

yea great podcast. sandor katz is such a great speaker. the momofuku guy less so. i keep noticing him say something that needs explanation and then katz explains what the other guy is talking about so much more clearly.

marcos, Wednesday, 14 January 2015 22:10 (nine years ago) link

(i also have kind of an inherent distrust of momofuku and david chang despite them doing so cool things with food)

marcos, Wednesday, 14 January 2015 22:10 (nine years ago) link

jaq, when will the kraut be ready and can i invite myself over when it is? <3

lxy, Wednesday, 14 January 2015 22:42 (nine years ago) link

It is making little blurpy noises in the kitchen now! (the crock has a water sealed lid) - should be ready in 4-6 weeks!

Jaq, Wednesday, 14 January 2015 23:27 (nine years ago) link

yay! also (off topic) we have raspberry canes if you want some, jaq. next weekend?

lxy, Monday, 19 January 2015 15:42 (nine years ago) link

Oh! Yes! And I have some new bitters for you to try - Power Pink Sour: cranberry, hibiscus/sorrel/flor de Jamaica/pink grapefruit!

Jaq, Monday, 19 January 2015 15:47 (nine years ago) link

oh boy, those are some of my favorite flavors, so i accept the offer! <3

lxy, Tuesday, 20 January 2015 17:31 (nine years ago) link

Opened the lid on the crock for the first time today - 21 days is tasty and crunchy, but I think in 3 more weeks it will be even more delicious

Jaq, Sunday, 1 February 2015 05:45 (nine years ago) link

it is so good already! thank you for sharing. raspberries are on their way as we speak!

lxy, Sunday, 1 February 2015 19:14 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

Packed the finished kraut into jars just now - so tasty! I got three quarts and one pint and two bowls worth from those 3 heads of cabbage. Carrots or kimchee will be next.

Jaq, Sunday, 22 March 2015 20:42 (eight years ago) link

cool! last batch i made (mentioned upthread) turned out kind of weird -- one smaller crock was a little *too* ripe and had kind of a funky taste, the larger crock turned out very crispy and tasty and had a brighter sourness with less funk. both had quite a bit of kahm yeast on the surface that was very persistent over the 7 or so weeks of fermentation. i think the yeast and other surface molds penetrated deeper in the smaller crock, resulting in more unpleasant funkiness.

marcos, Monday, 23 March 2015 16:02 (eight years ago) link

I was surprised to not have any mold form on this batch! The other thing I read was that the smaller the batch, the quicker it ferments - which I guess makes sense.

Jaq, Monday, 23 March 2015 16:22 (eight years ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.