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Making sauerkraut

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  • Making sauerkraut

    I'm thinking of making some sauerkraut.

    Which are the best jars to use, mason or fido? (These are the only 2 types I can get here).

    If I use a mason jar, should I screw the lid on while it ferments, or, put a 'weight' on top to keep the cabbage down, but leaving the top somewhat open to the air?

    Will it go moldy if opened to the air like this? Alternatively though, if I screw the lid on, will the jar explode?

    Theres is a lot of conflicting advice on the internet.
    SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
    “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha

  • #2
    Try getting large plastic tubs (5-10kg yoghurt or tahini tubs are best). Then layer your cabbage (torn or sliced, maybe even whole leaves), sprinkling salt between each layer and compressing it down. Put something heavy (a bowl, another tub of 'kraut...) on top of it and leave until the cabbage's natural juices cover the leaves. Eventually the juice will reach the top. Then seal the tub and abandon the cabbage for however long it takes to ferment an amazing 'kraut.
    Perfection is entirely individual. Any philosophy or pursuit that encourages individuality has merit in that it frees people. Any that encourages shackles only has merit in that it shows you how wrong and desperate the human mind can get in its pursuit of truth.

    I get blunter and more narcissistic by the day.
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    • #3
      This link

      The 3 Biggest Fermenting Mistakes You’re Already Making | Food Renegade

      has some good info for making sauerkraut, as has this one

      No Whey? No way! - Pickle Me Too

      and here is how to make a great fermentation jar cheaply.

      Homemade fermentation jar for use making kimch, saurkraut & kombucha

      For large amounts of sauerkraut, I use a harsch crock - not cheap, but so effective

      Harsch Fermenting Crock | Harsch Culturing Crock

      And I have followed the instructions in the third link to make smaller fermenting jars for ginger pickled carrots, pickled garlic etc etc.

      I used just a ceramic crock the first few times and didn't ever get mould on top, but had no succcess with small pickled cucumbers in it.

      Finally, this is perhaps the most useful and informative site I have found so far

      Wild Fermentation | Fermentation makes foods more nutritious, as well as delicious! :: Wild Fermentation


      • #4
        Plenty of links to research there Breadsauce. Thanks! I'm quite excited to make some kraut.
        SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
        “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha


        • #5
          Thank you Breadsauce!


          • #7
            I just went to a fermentation class! Turns out making sauerkraut doesn't really require a class though... :/ Here were the take away points:

            1. Don't use plastic - glass or stone crocks
            2. After slicing up veggies place them in a bowl and really work the salt in. She had us actually rubbing the cabbage between our hands to start breaking up the cabbage.
            3. Place veggies in container and press it down as best you can (we were using small mason jars so we just used wooden spoons) and place large leaf of cabbage over the top of the veggies. Fill container with water so NO veggies are in contact with air (this is what leads to nasty stuff happening during the fermentation).
            4. Use some sort of weight on top of that cabbage leaf to keep things submerged - I filled up a spice jar with a few rocks
            5. Cover everything with a light cloth and taste daily until you get the level of acidity you enjoy
            6. Place in fridge once you get to acidity you like to drastically slow down fermentation


            • #8
              Good points and links from everyone. I would like to add that I have had more success making kimchi than sauerkraut. Part of it is that I use small jars that I seal whereas when I tried to make sauerkraut, I used my big crock (got mold on the top). I saw a video interview with Michael Pollan and he says that the garlic, chili and ginger used in kimchi all help combat any potential bad bacteria so that might have something to do with it as well.


              • #9
                After several failed attempts at making kraut, I finally figured out that keeping the cabbage submerged under liquid is the key. Others have said this, but it is critical. Whatever method you try, this is the one thing you must do. Good luck!