Kitchen Forkup: Fermented Foods

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Kirsten Mortensen Says:

Okay, I’ll go!!!

Yesterday evening I threw out a gigantic pile of sliced cabbage that was supposed to have turned into sauerkraut . . . not sure what happened but after 10 days it still wasn’t sour . . . not even particularly acidic. I may have over-salted . . .

I admire your effort here, Kirsten. Eating fermented foods is getting a lot of praise recently: lactic acid-fermentation like this breaks down the carbohydrates in the cabbage and is supposed help digestion as well as fight cancer. And sauerkraut is loaded with nutrients, calcium being one of them. (Ladies– take note. Eat pickled cabbage for strong bones!)

This happened to me once with quarts and quarts of sour pickles. I had to toss most of my cucumber harvest. Heartbreaking. Why? I didn’t rinse/pat them dry after the salting stage– the long, kosher-salted slices must sit in a large bowl with a plate or weight on top and “weep” out their liquid, and I failed to rinse and dry.

So you may be right about too much salt. Or too much liquid. What kind of salt did you use? Kosher or pickling salt is really required.

Was this “raw” pickled sauerkraut, or the old traditional cooked recipe? Did you add whey? Pound it? Was it supposed to sit for 2 weeks, 3 days, or was this a quick preparation that was ready in a few hours? I’d love to see the recipe.

Moisture, amount of oxygen, and temperature are all important factors in determining the outcome. For a great scientific explanation of how sauerkraut ferments, see:
(scroll down page)

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