May 14, 2018

Ate the kraut. Didn't get sick.



In my last post I described how I was making sauerkraut for the first time. I used a recipe in which the kraut was massaged with sea salt, then packed into a jar to ferment for two weeks. I've made lots of fermented foods over the years — I used to pickle an eight gallon crock full of green tomatoes every fall — and I've made my share of cucumber pickles. I also made quick fermented vegetables with a Japanese pickle press, and also stuff like cashew cheeses, but for some reason I've never fermented cabbage into sauerkraut. Sauerkraut has never been a favorite food of mine, but when I watched a video of it being made, I was suddenly obsessed with making my own. Go figure.


After the first week, I checked the kraut, and the liquid which had previously been overflowing to the point where I had to keep a saucer under the jar, was no longer covering the fermenting cabbage. I pushed down on the weight, and the liquid rose once again, so I knew I needed a heavier weight. I just want to mention here I have a 'small' problem with rocks. I collect them wherever I go, and there are numerous rocks inside and outside my house, so finding a heavier one wasn't an issue. In fact, family members have even brought me back rocks as gifts when they go on vacation, which is how I acquired the beauty atop my jar. Once I placed it on top, the liquid rose over the cabbage again. Problem solved.



After two weeks were up, I declared the kraut finished, and the weights were removed. The cabbage had gone from green to a much paler krauty color, but it had absorbed too much of the brine, and was unfortunately no longer submerged. After searching the Internet once again for additional kraut wisdom, and finding what I needed to know, I dissolved a teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of water and poured it over. It filled the jar exactly.



The moment of truth had arrived. You know, anytime I leave food fermenting on the counter for two weeks, I fear tasting it. My husband was out of town so I couldn't risk his life instead of mine — there was no choice but to dig in. It's good! I've been eating a small amount every day, and I like it! It's kind of plain, and I'm thinking of possibly enlivening it with some ginger, or caraway seed, or something.

And, yes, I have another cabbage waiting in the wings for the next batch. Making my own sauerkraut was easy and satisfying, and a lot cheaper than buying artisanal jars at the co-op. I may have to invest in another big canning jar for the next batch!

p.s. My husband has since tasted and approved the sauerkraut, though he says he it could be more sour.

Want to see the video I watched before I made my sauerkraut? Part 1: The kraut is fermenting 

My second batch is now fermenting, and here are some changes I made:

1. I added two thin onion slices, shredded, and about an inch of fresh ginger, grated.

2. Massaging the kraut can be tiring to the hands, but I found I could massage more efficiently, and comfortably, by using my fists.

3. Pressing on the cabbage with a flat, heavy, clean stone is even better and faster!

8 comments:

  1. Yay for successfully making sauerkraut! time to make some Reuben sandwiches. :-) Wouldn't the kraut be more sour if you just let it sit longer?

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    1. Yes, it would. It might even continue to sour in the refrigerator. I like it like it is, and besides, I'm not sure my attention span would allow me to ferment it for more than two weeks!

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  2. Hooray, kraut for the win! It certainly looks legit and delicious to me.

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    1. It's definitely real sauerkraut, and tastes good. I'm going to make it again so I can have a constant supply. Unless my enthusiasm peters out.

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  3. The good news is that you ever get bored, it couldn't be easier to switch up the favor. I love making ruby kraut with red cabbage, thinly sliced red onion, and shredded beets, for instance.

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    1. My second batch had the addition of two thin slices of onion, shredded, and about an inch of fresh ginger, grated. I like the idea of making ruby kraut. I think I'll add some shredded beet to the next fermentation. I may need to buy another jar to keep up with my need to ferment!

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  4. I'm really glad it turned out well, and you didn't get sick! I made some pickled garlic once, and it turned blue, but I decided to try it anyway, and live to tell the tale. You've convinced me to try and make some of my own.

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    Replies
    1. Blue? Very brave of you to eat it. :D

      You should definitely make sauerkraut. Just be sure everything is ultra clean — wash jars and utensils in hot water — and hopefully all will go well.

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