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I saw some cabbage at the Farmer's Market last week, so I'm ready to try to make my first batch of homemade sauerkraut. I intend to follow the instructions from The Joy of Pickling, which I really like.

Any tips or suggestions? I'll try to do a sauerkraut log w/ pictures like Klink's sausage diary.

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That's wonderful, guajolote. Thank you.

Every day, in every way, we must all strive to be more and more like Klink.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Don't have the book so can't comment on the recommended procedure.

Have always made sauerkraut in a big glazed earthenware crock. Whichever fermenting vessel you use, be sure to sterilize it before putting in the cabbage. We "seal" the vessel with a layer of plastic wrap topped with a heavy-duty garbage bag filled with about a gallon of water, which effectively blocks airborne contamination while letting the gas escape.

The type and amount of salt you use can be a determining factor. Coarse kosher salt works for me. The amount should be based on the weight, not the volume, of the cabbage.

Use only mature, new crop cabbages; mature because they're higher in sugar, new crop because they're higher in sugar and give a crisper kraut. Savoy-type cabbages work but the resulting kraut isn't as crisp as that made from smooth-leaved varieties.

Temperature is another success factor. The ideal is in the 65-70°F range. Extended periods above 75° can lead to spoilage. Lower temperatures slow down the fermentation.

The results are well worth the effort and occasional disgusting failure. Fresh sauerkraut is sweeter, less acidic and crunchier than the commercial stuff -- good enough to eat straight from the crock or jar. Be sure to use some in a choucroute: you will be amazed.

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Be careful, guaj.

Botulism.

Too many food sanitation courses? :smile:

Botulism grows at a pH of 4.6 or higher. Fermented Sauerkraut has a pH of 3.5. That's a difference of over 10 times, so I'm not worried.

Edited by guajolote (log)
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Only thing I'll add is when you're finished and ready to eat...my wife's side is Estonian, who eat it with a good deal of barley and a ham hock cooked over course of an hour or so with the finished kraut. Mutes, or rather balances the sourness (agree that natural lactic acid from the lacto-ferment beats whatever the hell acid they add in the jar - acetic acid?), and gives a hearty textural component.

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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this is so inspirational--it sounds like you're well on your way.

i'm originally from nova scotia, where the pasteurized 250 ml/500 ml "milk" containers of Tancook Island sauerkraut are sold. absolutely the best: cold, so salty/tart, tangy, crunchy... mmm... :smile:

Tancook Island sauerkraut link (historical, not commercial):

tancook island sauerkraut

do you mind continuing this thread as a sort of 'journal", so we can see how it goes?

good luck!

gus

Edited by gus_tatory (log)

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Whichever fermenting vessel you use, be sure to sterilize it before putting in the cabbage.

Do NOT pour boiling or very hot water in the crock to sterilize it. I did that many years ago and broke a very fine old crock.

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Be careful, guaj.

Botulism.

Too many food sanitation courses? :smile:

Botulism grows at a pH of 4.6 or higher. Fermented Sauerkraut has a pH of 3.5. That's a difference of over 10 times, so I'm not worried.

Damn.

I got that one wrong on the State test.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Whichever fermenting vessel you use, be sure to sterilize it before putting in the cabbage.

Do NOT pour boiling or very hot water in the crock to sterilize it. I did that many years ago and broke a very fine old crock.

Weak bleach solution? That's what I used to do when homebrewing.

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Whichever fermenting vessel you use, be sure to sterilize it before putting in the cabbage.

Do NOT pour boiling or very hot water in the crock to sterilize it. I did that many years ago and broke a very fine old crock.

Weak bleach solution? That's what I used to do when homebrewing.

That'll do ya. Just be sure to rinse well. Sodium metabisulfite is another, slightly less effective possibility.

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O.K., I'll throw my 2 cents in. As a former brewer, and quality control (bottling line) tech for a regional brewery, the issue of microbiological control was a part of my daily regimen.

Even on a homebrew level, I never liked bleach - residue was hard to get rid of, and chlorine/hypochlorite is particularly noxious as an off-character. My sanitizer of choice, and one used industry-wide, is Iodophor, 1 tbsp/gallon of water, at least one minute contact time. There is an argument on the need for rinsing afterwards - often, what's in your rinse water is worse than any bugs previously in your container, and rinsing may itself contaminate - but I did, as I wanted to make sure no residue of any kind remained. I regularly ran micro cultures, and my beer was clean.

But many brewers/cellarman swear by the no-rinse need. If you do rinse, Iodophor rinses well, although it will stain porous surfaces (like the 55 gallon plastic drums, cut in half, holding fermenter accessories). But I have found it to be the easiest and cleanest to use, and is effective as hell (we used to test micro counts by both petri culture and by bioluminescence - ppm "bugs" measured by their enzymatic reaction to a light-inducing reagent...)

If you plan on doing a lot where you'll need the sanitizer, you can buy the gallon jugs at any farm supply store - if you are in a rural area, otherwise, homebrew stores sell in smaller quantities.

A bit off your thread, perhaps, and sorry for the length, but I am really not a fan of bleach at all (though many are, with great results), and wanted to provide an option.

Edit: guajolote, forgot you were in Chicago. Brew & Grow, street escapes me, has it. They're in the white pages.

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I follow this recipe. (Warning! PDF file) You top the bucket with clear plastic freezer bags of water, so you can see through them to your sauerkraut beneath.

I like using red cabbage. It's self-indicating. When it's sour enough, the color bleeds and runs into the juice, coloring the cabbage a gorgeous magenta.

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My Grandmother always made it.

But never with crop from 'BEVOR' September or October harvest.

Don't ask me why.

I buy mine at "Morses Sauerkraut" in Waldoboro Maine. Six to eight pound at the time. It's not even available bevor October.

Peter
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I buy mine at "Morses Sauerkraut" in Waldoboro Maine. Six to eight pound at the time. It's not even available bevor October.

Morse's is about a mile up the road from me. I'm pretty sure it's available year round under the new owners - who are doing a dynamite job with the place after many years and several owners who ran into problems.

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My father used to undertake "doing things the old way" projects from time to time. I remember when he decided to make sauerkraut, although there wasn't a single sauerkraut eater in his history. He started it in an enormous crock in the kitchen. It was moved to the porch. Then the garage. Like many cheeses, its odor was 10 times its taste... and growing. :biggrin:

eGullet member #80.

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I'll try to do a sauerkraut log w/ pictures like Klink's sausage diary.

Please do! Really. Threads like these are really instructional and fun. And, of course, the thread originator has all the mess and stress.

We get to read along, look at the pretty pictures and chip in our two cents worth.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I buy mine at "Morses Sauerkraut" in Waldoboro Maine. Six to eight pound at the time. It's not even available bevor October.

Morse's is about a mile up the road from me. I'm pretty sure it's available year round under the new owners - who are doing a dynamite job with the place after many years and several owners who ran into problems.

Thanks Nickn, did not know about new owners. I guess last batch bought there lasted me longer than expected, I still have a pint left, plus don't eat much of that kind of 'hardy' food during the heat of the last two days here in Maine.

Peter
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  • 2 weeks later...

2 5 lb. cabbages

fbb155db.jpg

Shredded 1 cabbage after removing outer leaves and core. Added 4.5 Tbs. Kosher salt (use 3 Tbs pickling salt)and stirred:

fbb155d9.jpg

Shredded other cabbage, added 4.5 Tbs kosher salt, and stirred:

fbb155d8.jpg

Pressed cabbage down with potato masher and covered with outer leaves:

fbb155d5.jpg

Placed three gallon ziploc bags filled with brine (1.5 tsp kosher salt in 1 gallon of water) to weigh down cabbage.

fbb155d2.jpg

I covered the bucket with a towel and moved it to the coolest place in the house, right under the air conditioner. After about an hour all of the shredded cabbage was submerged.

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Several experts have PMed me and said that this is by far the most exciting project ever undertaken in the history of egullet. Because of all this adulation, I'll prepare another report on my cabbage fermentation.

Scientific info: The internal temperature of the cabbage bucket is 64 degrees Fahrenheit (perfect). There is not yet any scum on the top of the bucket. I wish I had a way of measuring pH, maybe a trip to American Science and Surplus is in order

Sensory info: When the water bags are removed there is a slight fermentation smell. The cabbage tastes a little sour.

I peeled back the upper leaves for this photo:

fbac9858.jpg

I'll take a picture of the scum when it forms. I know you can hardly wait.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Oh my god, someone else cares :shock:

I care, too! I am curious as to a) where you have it fermenting (indoors, outdoors, locked in a shed somewhere?) and b) can you smell it a mile away? I'd love to see new pics to see how much green is left in the leaves.

Thanks for keeping us updated!

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Oh my god, someone else cares :shock:

I care, too! I am curious as to a) where you have it fermenting (indoors, outdoors, locked in a shed somewhere?) and b) can you smell it a mile away? I'd love to see new pics to see how much green is left in the leaves.

Thanks for keeping us updated!

It's right next to my window unit air conditioner. You can't really smell it unless you take the bags of brine out.

More tomorrow.

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