About a year ago I stumbled upon an article about fermenting peppers for hot sauce. For whatever reason the subject instantly fascinated me. So for the last year I’ve been reading a ton about fermenting, and today I finally made my first attempt. Sauerkraut seems to be a spot most experienced fermenters advise newbies to start.
Day 8. I was a little worried around day 5 or so, as the brine seemed to be receding. But since then the cabbage seems to have settled some and there is a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch of brine on top. No mold or yeast. I’m pretty stoked that it seems to be doing what its supposed to. Shooting for a 2 week ferment. So hopefully next Tuesday its Ruebens.
I dont really have a weight in there. I used a lid from a big yogurt container with the lip cut off to cover the cabbage, and then used a smaller yogurt container to press down on it. I was contemplating putting something in the smaller yogurt container, but when i put the lid on the jar it pressed the yogurt container and lid down enough that it submerged the cabbage, so i just rolled with it.
Ive seen online some people use those decorative glass pebbles and that seems like a decent idea. It would allow you to customize the amount of weight/space for each jar. I might try that next time.
Yeah one of the guys who posts a ton at that hot sauce forum uses the cabbage leaves to top all his ferments. He doesnt put anything on top of the cabbage leaves, just adds a packet or two of Culturelle probiotics to really kickstart the ferment. His theory (as far as i understandi it) is that if he gets the ferment kicked into high gear as fast as possible, the C02 that is released pushes the oxygen out thru the airlock before the mold can set in on the cabbage. And once the oxygen is gone, mold cant grow.
Of course he lost two jars of fermenting mash just as i was gearing up for this attempt. He claims its the first time he’s ever lost jars to mold, and he says he’s done like 40 batches. It kind of freaked me out, so i didnt put thecabbage leaves on top. So far, it seems to be doing ok.
Had a bit of a scare a couple of days ago. Woke up Sunday morning and the cabbage had expanded above the brine level. So I had no choice to open it up and push the cabbage back down. Today is day 14 and it seems to have survived me opening it. The brine is murkier than it was pre- push down. But so far so good.
I just realized I never posted what I put in this ferment.
About 800 g cabbage
About 200 g shredded carrot
1 apple, diced
1T caraway seeds
2 T salt
5 cloves garlic
Anyway I ended up stopping around day 17. The kraut was much crunchie than I expected. It was also VERY garlicky. Next time ill cut back.
I used half of the kraut in a recipe I found. First I sliced about 2 lb of kielbasa and browned it in a frying pan. Then I simmered the kraut, a chopped onion and half a cup of brown sugar in the same pan for about 45 min. Then I chopped 5 medium red taters and added them, popped the whole thing in the over for about 30 min. Everything caramelized perfectly. And I thought it was delicious. The Mrs doesnt like kraut so she gave it a meh.