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I am in the process of fermenting my first batch of sauerkraut. Since I shredded the cabbage too fine, it was floating on the top of the brine. I tried to mitigate this by covering the whole thing with cabbage leaves and an extra weight. After the first several days the leaves were fairly moldy so I removed them and the extra weight. There is still bits of shredded cabbage floating on the surface and today there was a pronounced "bloom" over the entire surface of the kraut. It was lighter in color than the mold on the leaves but still very scummy. I still have most of the cabbage under brine and I skimmed the bloom off. I used a lacto starter from Cultures-for-Health and followed the directions carefully. The kraut is 12 days on the counter and I want to move it to the fridge but I'm just uneasy about the whole thing. Not sure if it looks/smells right. I have a deep seated fear of botulism. Any input would be greatly appreciated. This is cabbage from my garden so I have a lot invested here!
Oh I missed this post Grrlscout! Looks wonderful and I love ginger. Recipe? :-)
I am just getting started with fermenting food. I am using as my guide the bood Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
She used Whey when lacto-fermenting. I have just been fermenting raw milk into kefir so far. but have been thinking about making some kefir cheese so I can have the whey for making some fermented veggies.
Treasa, I was given some kefir grains and I really loving it for smoothies. I'm not seeing whey yet but I don't think it's a necessary ingredient to lactofermenting and I don't understand how it is beneficial to the process.
The whey comes when you make soft cheese from the kefir.
I copied the below from a website I use
This method is the one most used in Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” – and the one I started out with. It is the easiest, or at least seems the most comfortable, to start out with for the super beginner. The whey helps “jump-start” your ferment, since it already has the “good guys” in it. If using whey in your ferments you can reduce the amount of salt used.
You must make sure you have “good tasting” whey, or your ferments will not taste so good. And those that are dairy intolerant may not be able to use the “whey method”.
Thanks Treasa, good to know.
Got my first batch going. I think I'm going to do something different next time. I did this in two batches 2 hours apart because I did not know how much 'drup' there would be so the first half cabbage head filled the 1/2 gal jar, then started to really collapse. Next time I will do it all at once in a large bowl and wait to pack in a jar after some weeping has gone on. I may also try to shred smaller, but I kind of like the bigger pieces so if it turns out okay, I will decide when making it up next. The middle 'dark' area is a small branch of dried leaves off of my bay tree and some black peppercorns. The Sauerkraut guy suggested those :-)
Seems to be bubbling along nicely, I push down every once in a while and I did have to add a bit of salt water because the liquid had only just come up to the top of the cabbage. I am using one of my small jam jars for weight and some purple syran wrap to try and keep most of the cabbage covered as possible. I did go ahead and order the glass weights Ncole posted the link on. I can probably get them in time to continue this batch. I was told about 3 weeks, but I will test after a week and then 2 weeks :-)
Neat Catherine! Mine was definitely done after 13 days. I used my slicer/shredder attachment on my BOsch to shred the cabbage. It was hard to submerge, but easier to eat. Next time I will try the mandolin. Can't wait to hear how it turns out!! Keep us posted!
Thanks Nicole. Still looking okay here. I may post another picture in a week :-) I'm looking forward to getting weights - I think that will make this and other pickling projects go a little smoother. I have a mandolin - might try that - my food processor is a small one I use only for certain things.
Here is an updated picture of the sauerkraut - day 10, it does not look all the different - not as much 'yellowing' as I've seen in other pictures, but we had some last night with polish kielbasa and it was wonderful. It has mostly stopped bubbling and I got the glass weights and replaced the jam jar with them. (FYI - I emailed the weight guy about the size explaining to him that I thought they needed to be closer to 3 inches in diameter to really fit a widemouth mason jar - he agreed and is looking for a manufacturer to make them - in the picture here I had to use 4 weights to kind of cover the surface of the kraut.) Today I also decided to cut one huge lemon from the FM and start some preserved lemon in a small pint jar - I will post a picture separately of that in a couple of days. I think I probably did everything different from the general suggestions, but we sure like the taste of the result :-) i.e., I cut the cabbage fairly big, kept pushing the weight down to release gas, had to move the jar around frequently as it mostly lived on the stove and had to move to cook and used to big a jar for this first batch (next time I will divide up between 2 quart jars). Hope this helps any other newbie fermentors - I want to do pickles next :-)
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks for this fun thread.
Are you all bruising your cabbage shreds before adding brine?
Hi Mark, not sure if what I did would be bruising - I layered with the salt and keep pushing down every once in a while for several hours until it looked like all the liquid had been released and then added a bit more salt water to bring it up over the cabbage. The next time I am going to let the cabbage weep with the salt before putting in the jars.