Brine levels and safety generally

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Brine levels and safety generally

Postby Dozza987 on Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:53 am

Hi All,

I'm really pretty new to fermenting - I've done about four different recipes of sauerkraut and a little bit of brine pickling, and have my first jar of kombucha on my shelf. HOWEVER, I keep getting hung up on how important it is that everything ALWAYS stays below the brine/safety issues generally and could use some advice/reassurance.

For example, I have some sauerkrauts on my shelf just now that used to be under loads of brine for several weeks but now that I've started eating out of them I've removed the cabbage leaf which was shoving it all down, and the brine seems to have kind of reabsorbed into the cabbage so that the top centimetre or so isn't under brine anymore. However, this sauerkraut had fermented under brine for about 3-4 weeks before that happened. Likewise, when you stick a sauerkraut in your fridge, it seems to soak up all the brine again. OR if you remove it into a smaller jar/buy live sauerkraut, it doesn't seem to be super juicy then either! So I guess I'm just not sure if it genuinely always has to be under a lot of liquid no matter what the whole time you are eating it, or if that is really only for the first stages of fermentation? I feel like if it's the former it feels a little impossible to achieve?

On a bigger and more philosophical note, am I safe to be more relaxed in general about this? I'm naturally pretty anxious about food poisoning , but I don't want to be, and I have read a lot of conflicting information when it comes to fermentation. Some people are like 'Never expose your kraut to air! Sterilise everything! Mould is deadly!' and then other people are like 'Whatever dude just stick a fork in there and see if it tastes good and you're good to go.' Who do I listen to?!? Are there any authorities on this/resources people recommend?

Thank you!
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Re: Brine levels and safety generally

Postby irie1029 on Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:40 pm

Hi Dozza..
Here is my thoughts.... Don't eat mold white, green, black, or brown. sometimes a white Kham yeast i remove yeast and consume the kraut. sometimes my water level falls below the veggies and I just add water to it.

My neighbor made 5 gallons of kraut once and it had a funky (you will know it when you smell it) like dirty socks and I tasted it and it was funky. A huge pitch of kraut. So I guess let your nose be your guide works.
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Re: Brine levels and safety generally

Postby Christopher Weeks on Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:19 am

My brine vanishes in the fridge too, and then the top gets crusty and gross if you leave it long enough. But I just pick that stuff off and eat what's beneath.

I can't provide any scientific reassurance, I'm just some guy. But I "sanitize" my jars by rinsing them in tap water before use. I most typically ferment in Fidos, which control the flow of air in, but I also ferment in open vats and crocks, and just keep the produce weighted under the brine. So I'm on the 'whatever dude' side of things and have *never* gotten sick, but that's just one guy's story, right?
Christopher Weeks
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