New to fermenting. Making kraut

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New to fermenting. Making kraut

Postby Brad Bee on Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:50 pm

I posted this in the new member section and am reposting it here to get more views and answers. Thanks.

I was given a pint of homemade sauerkraut last year and decided then that I would have to start making my own. It was incredible. I started my first batch of sauerkraut last week on 6/20. My first batch I put into half gallon jars and used easy fermenter lids, with weights below. I started one jar last Tuesday and two more Thursday night.

I have read quite a bit online, but I've found some confliciting information. (imagine that :D ) In my first jar I used 3T of pickling salt per 5 lbs of cabbage. Again, I got that "recipe" off the Internet.

All has seemed to be going okay with my jar fermenting, except I packed the jars too full and brine is being pushed out of the jars. I have a plastic bowl under each jar. Should I save the brine that I collect in the bowls? Is it safe to drink that after it sits in the bowl all day? I have a sneaking suspicion that at some point in time, I'm going to wish that I had the "excess" brine back in the jar.

I couldn't wait any longer, so I opened the first jar and tasted a sample of the kraut. It was REALLY tangy (like straight lemon juice) and pretty salty. Very crunchy. It obviously isn't finished sauerkraut yet and I'm wondering if the overly tart "sharp" tangy taste will mellow any and also if the saltiness is going to get more or less?

I have lots of questions, but I'll wait until I get approved to post before asking more. This is getting pretty lengthy for an introductory post. :D

I'm also a beekeeper, hence the Bee after my first name.
Brad Bee
 
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Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: New to fermenting. Making kraut

Postby apshaitwister on Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:39 pm

I've made the pack-my-jars-too-full mistake many times. I get so excited about the size of the batch, I forget that it needs room to grow!

First off, I wouldn't drink the brine that overflows from the jars. Think about it - you've created a sealed, controlled environment for your kraut to work it's magic in. No new bacteria/yeasts/etc. are getting in there unless you let them. The same is not true for the brine in the bowls - you don't really know WHAT is going on in there at this point. When your kraut is bubbling up and overflowing, you're really only in the beginning stages of fermentation. Your brine is still pretty much just salty bacteria water - you'll have to wait a little longer for it to become the tangy probiotic nectar every fermenter loves.

Also, you won't need that "excess" back in the jar. Your ferment will settle down and as all the gases are released, there will be more room for the cabbage again. As long as the weights are doing their job and keeping the cabbage under the surface of the brine, your kraut will be fine.

Sounds like your ferment wasn't done, good call. I find with every batch I've made, unless I reeeeeally oversalted it, all of the flavors meld and mellow over time. I've made some really sharp smelling krauts that have turned out quite nice once given a week to settle in the fridge.

Anyway, I hope your ferment turned out well!
apshaitwister
 
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