Sauerkraut FAIL. Can I use a starter?
I'm really eager to get more good bacteria into my diet, so I made it my mission to prepare sauerkraut. The receipt is easy enough: cabbage + salt.
However, my sauerkraut didn't product much liquid, so after a while I just added some water. I let it sit in the crock pot for longer, and eventually it grew fuzzy mold. I was expecting some mold, but not fuzzy mold! I considered it a failure, because I can't imagine eating that.
I bought some expensive raw probiotic organic sauerkraut (it's called "Powerkraut"). Can I finish half the jar and then keep stirring in new chopped cabbage for a never-ending supply?
The first time I failed at making sauerkraut, I think it was because I didn't sterilize the utensils, bowls, and crock that I used. I think some scum on the surface is normal; just skim it off. I have had more success with kimchi which I ferment in glass jars rather than a crock. I might try sauerkraut again in the crock but I will be very careful to sterilize everything with boiling water.
If you do not have enough liquid to cover you need to add "salt" water to cover by at least an inch. You also want to make sure the cabbage is all below the water line. A great book to use for info is Sandor Katz "Wild Fermentation". He also has a website. Google him to find it.
Thanks for the tip. What do you think of just adding more cabbage and water to the existing raw, probiotic one that I bought from the store?
Originally Posted by Classic
Sorry, I didn't answer your original question! Yes, you can use the storebought kraut as a starter. It should speed up the process slightly.
Thanks! It would just be a bummer to weigh the expensive stuff down with more cabbage and then get another dud
Originally Posted by yodiewan
I beat the crap out of my kraut until it rendered up enough liquid.
I also used two tablespoons of whey, as per "Nourishing Traditions".
Fermenting can be difficult. You have to make sure that you allow enough space for the air bubbles to escape as the cabbage ferments, but if you leave too much space, your sauerkraut project can become contaminated with unwanted bacteria. One thing that I have found that helps a lot with this is to use an airlock. You can buy them online, but they can be a little bit expensive. The cheapest I have found them are at Cultures for Health. If you don't want to buy them, you can go ahead and make them yourself. Here is how you do it while using your regular mason jar:
1/2" grommets (You can get them at the hardware store, but it is better if you can find food-safe silicon grommets.)
Airlock - you can find these very inexpensively at any homebrew supply store
Mason jar with metal lid
Drill and 1/2" drill bit
1) Drill a 1/2" hole in the top of your mason jar's metal lid
2) Insert grommet into hole
3) Insert airlock into grommet
Ta Da! That's everything! Now start fermenting!
I love Cultures for Health! The owner is super patient and will help you figure it out. They also have video's.
I think the main problem will have been not enough liquid. I do like Onalark - bash the cabbage and salt until juice really runs! And a plate over the top weighted with a jar of water.
I don't sterilise the crock - just wash it clean and dry it. And I put a plastic bag over the top, held on with an elastic band for the first few days - this allows the carbon gasses to build up and keep oxygen (and bugs) out while the fermentation begins - once it's clearly bubbling I replace the plastic with cheesecloth.
I also press down on the glass jar every time I pass the crock on the grounds that it keeps the cabbage submerged - plus I love the gurgling noise it makes!
I think the essential is to have at least an inch of liquid above the cabbage - if there isn't enough liquid after 24 hours, I add salt water to make it up. But I think it does taste better just cabbage water...