Sauerkraut question...

drgeekgrlJune 22, 2008

After watching all the sauerkraut threads last year, I finally started my first batch this year.

For the first week, everything was going great - bubbles were forming, that sauerkraut-y smell was starting.

It has been two full weeks since I started the kraut. Now, nothing is going on. There are still bubbles in the jar, but no bubbles are rising. It looks to me like the fermentation has either stopped, or slowed so much that it is no longer ever going to ferment. I tasted some, it just tastes like slightly sour salty cabbage.

I'd like to know if my sauerkraut will ever finish this fermentation process, or if I need to chuck it *sob* and start again. Or maybe it's doing just what it is supposed to be doing, and since it's my first time, I'm just clueless.

There are two factors that may have influenced my kraut.

1. The first 3 or so days after I started it, it was upstairs, which meant it was fairly warm. I assumed that was what kick started the fermentation, so I took it downstairs to the basement to be in a cooler spot to slow the fermentation.

2. About a week into it, the fermentation had bubbled up so much of the brine out of the jar, I added some more brine to the jar, using the same ratio as the Blue Ball recipe.

So is this kraut salvageable? Thank you so much!

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

You may need it in that warmer place. Losing brine, and the adding new is not a good sign.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 12:25AM
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rob430(Z6/NJ)

I started kraut 1 1 1/2 wks ago and it was kinda warm. Well there are no bubbles going on. Does that mean it's done and I have to take it out and put it in the fridge or just leave it alone? With instructions that kraut takes 3-4 wks, how can it ferment that long?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 6:24PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

How does it smell? And if it smells fine, how does it taste? That's the first indicator.

Carol

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 7:25PM
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rob430(Z6/NJ)

It smells sour, I'm afraid to taste. I didn't realize making sauerkraut can be risky or is it not? If a person doesn't know and the instructions all over are either not thorough or confusing. Kimchi seems easier to make as it does not have to ferment as long and it has the chili pepper in it. If the temperature is over 75 deg, can this sauerkraut have gone bad? We had temps over 75 last week.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 9:38PM
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kframe19(z7, Virginia)

It could simply be that the warm temperatures accelerated the process and your batch of kraut is done.

Before you taste anything, how does it look?

Is the liquid cloudy? It should be yellowish in color. Red, pink, brown, etc., are strong indications that something has gone bad.

How does it smell? If it smells sharp, crisp, a bit yeasty, and sour, chances are that it's fine. If it has an off, putrid, or "non sauerkraut" smell, trust your nose.

Scald a fork and fish some out.

Rub it between your fingers.

How does it feel?

Does it feel slimy, gooey, or very soft? That's a strong indication that things have gone south.

If, however, it feels clean and crisp, not unlike fresh, but wet, cabbage, and it sort of squeaks when you rub it together, that's a very good sigh.

Finally, and ONLY if it passes all those other tests, taste a very small piece.

If it tastes like kraut, it's kraut.

If, however, it tastes wrong, spit it out and rinse very thoroughly with Listerine.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 10:00PM
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valereee(6a SW Ohio)

kframe, what's the possible problem? Mold? Something that will make you sick but not kill you if you ingest a bit?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 11:01AM
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kframe19(z7, Virginia)

Primarily mold and bacteria that crowded out the bacteria that make sauerkraut sour (lactobacillus).

It's very doubtful that there's anything in it that would make you good and sick and you wouldn't notice it either by taste or smell, but there's always that possibility.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 11:36AM
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