What to do with SauerRuben?

gardengal19November 29, 2010

- aka fermented turnips.

I posted this question at the cooking forum but, no one seems to know either. I think I should use this as I would sauerkraut.

Just wondering if anyone has made this and how do you use it?

Thanks for any info you may have.

-gloria

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kayskats

I haven't made this yet, but I'd use it in lieu of sauerkraut.

I tend to treat pickled products as a side dish (one of my daily veggies). When I make this, I'll probably try it on hot dogs ... as a side with pork... or cook smoked pork chops on a bed of the sauerreuben and sliced apples.

I'm just hoping that fermenting turnips don't smell up the house like cooking turnips. I love the taste ... hate the smell.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 6:37PM
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gardengal19

kayskats - thanks for the post

I have the grated turnips in a gallon size clear glass jar. It's been sitting on my kitchen counter since the first of the month. I put a ziploc baggie filled with water or brine (can't remember right now - because I do kraut too and I use brine in that baggie) anyway, in the beginning of the fermenting process - I had lifted the baggie to hand push the turnips until there was enough of its own juices. I have no idea what it may smell like now but, I'll find out soon.

I understand that fermented veggies should be used "as is" because heat can destroy some of its health benefits. But, I like my kraut with sauteed onions and bacon and a touch of brown sugar.

The 'Joy of Pickling' author said she liked 'sauerreuben' better than kraut
-so that's why I decided to try it.

Well, I just had to sample a whiff and taste right now -

  1. It doesn't have much of a smell at all. Even DH said it doesn't smell like that other stuff (kraut)
  2. It tastes very mild - a little salty because I have yet to rinse it off before eating.

This will be on my 'to do list' for next year . It it amazing!,
If you like kraut ---this is even better. I agree with the author on this one.
I will be sure to order some turnip seeds when I plan my garden this January.

-gloria

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:19AM
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tracydr(9b)

I don't know but plan on making a small batch this week. Can't find the little turnips so hope the bigger ones are ok.
Has anyone tried fermenting beets?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 10:54AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Did not know there was a name for fermented turnips.

I just started 6 quarts of SauerRuben, first try ever at fermenting this way. Cut up 4 large Eastham turnips and used part of the long stem. Forgot to weigh them but 4 turnips cut up small in 1/4 x 1/2" chunks filled 6 quarts. Three were softball sized and one was almost basketball sized.

For containers I used two ceramic cookie jars with lids and one 3 quart crock pot insert. I checked the volume with water first, they are 1, 2 and 3 quart containers. Just soaked the turnips in water, scrubbed and cut off the roots and some black spots, cut them up, packed them in, added 1 tablespoon pickling salt per quart, and poured water to cover. I had a little too much turnip so could not quite cover it, I'll take some pieces off the top for soup later. Covered with a coffee filter and a plate or the cookie jar lids.

I read that cruciferous vegetables attract lactobacillus plantarum bacteria while growing, thats why salt is enough and you don't need to add whey. I have also read that too much turnip can give you a goiter so can't eat it every day.

Tomorrow I might try fermenting kale, I have lots of it.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 11:00PM
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happyday(WI4a)

I found out what happens if you let any of the turnips be above the water. They get dark mold on them. Can I scoop out the moldy pieces and top up the water and let it continue to ferment?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 11:55AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

"I read that cruciferous vegetables attract lactobacillus plantarum bacteria while growing, thats why salt is enough and you don't need to add whey.

True, but inoculating fermentations significantly speeds up the process and you have some control over which strain of bacteria dominates the fermenting. I have never, ever had any mold using kefir whey as a starter in a closed system even if some of the ingredients were above water level. And I can use less salt. JMO...

I fell off the turnip truck many years ago & can't wait to try fermenting some. Will probably start with a very coarse grind in a quart jar. Maybe next weekend.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:17PM
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happyday(WI4a)

I have never, ever had any mold using kefir whey

Sounds good. Where do I get kefir whey? Just buy any kefir at the store and strain some liquid out? Isn't store bought kefir pasteurized?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 7:32PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> I have never, ever had any mold using kefir whey as a starter in a closed system...

Just want to make clear that all my fermenting now is done using an airlock of some kind or just a lid to trap the carbon dioxide gas that prevents mold.

I got my starter years ago at the link below, but there are many other sources on the internet now. You really want to get whole live grains in some milk rather than the powder form if possible. I've sent out coutless vials of it to my friends and it is easy to culture in the fridge.

Going shopping today for some turnips.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dom's

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 11:21AM
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happyday(WI4a)

John, if you were nearby I could trade you turnips for kefir grains, I have too many turnips.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:07PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Just back from a dr appointment and found some really nice turnips @ 99 cents a lb. 6 of them weighed a total of 6 lbs. Am planning to ferment in quart jars. Maybe by this weekend.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 5:03PM
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happyday(WI4a)

What do you put in the jars to hold them down below the water level?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 6:44PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> What do you put in the jars to hold them down below the water level?

Sometimes nothing and sometimes nylon tulle bags filled with glass beads. Most of my ferments are more "watery" than normal and the jars can be tapped on the counter or even shaken a little to rotate the contents and let the trapped carbon dioxide bubbles rise to the surface and not push the contents (if fine-grated stuff) out of the jar. Just depends on what I'm fermenting.

Give me a day or two to get my act together & I'll try and post details of how will do the SauerRuben.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:27PM
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happyday(WI4a)

nylon tulle bags filled with glass beads.

Like the kind used in aquariums? That's a good idea!

Here's another one I just found recently when reading about making wine. You can clean the inside of a jar you can't get a brush into by putting a handful of bbs in there and swishing around with cleaner.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 7:58PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Decision time. The 6 lbs turnips yielded 4 lbs 13 oz when peeled. Maiden voyage for my Cuisinart food processor. 3 mm shredder blade. I might shred and then use the chopper blade. And also pondering whether or not to add a Granny Smith apple and/or an onion.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 3:16PM
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happyday(WI4a)

I love my food processor. Have sliced many many pounds of veggies through it. Best 60 bucks I ever spent at Walmart.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:12AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Hope that I'm not messing up this thread about "What to do with it"... with my making it for the first time??

Ended up using the grate blade after trying the shred blade and chop blades function.

Put the entire mess into a large zip loc bag and added 3 heaping tbs coarse kosher salt plus 4 tbs kefir whey & thoroughly kneaded it to mix and draw the water out of the turnips. Added just a little distilled water to the mix because am not using weights to keep the turnip mix below the brine and what with the small air space & jump start (kefir whey) don't have to.

Ended up with 2 quarts and almost 1 pint jar to ferment. Did not add onions or Granny Smith apples this time.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 2:18PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Ready for the basement (60 degrees) for at least a week.

Had really nice bubbling at less than two days. Used more kefir whey to start the fermenting than usual.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 11:12AM
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happyday(WI4a)

Just threw out my first try at SauerRuben after 3.5 weeks. The top was a slimy cap with mold, where the turnips had been able to get above the salt water. The bottom, under the water, was a wonderful clean batch of fermented turnips that smelled prettty good but I didn't want to take a chance with the mold cap on top.

Next batch I think I will use quart jars, a better weight, keep them absolutely below water, like more than an inch of water to cover, and may use the rubber glove cap to absolutely stop water evaporating and mold getting in. Will have to be talcum-less gloves or rinse the ones I have, since talcum can contain asbestos.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 4:35PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

"...and may use the rubber glove cap to absolutely stop water evaporating and mold getting in. Will have to be talcum-less gloves or rinse the ones I have, since talcum can contain asbestos."

This is the brand I use:

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 6:48PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Was at Walmart today looking for acidophiles lactobacillus for use in fermenting. Found a bottle of 30 caps for 5 dollars, then on an end cap found smaller bottles of 10 caps for .88 cents. Could get 3 of these bottles for half the price of the big bottle. There were many vitamins there with only 10 caps for .88 cents, maybe for travelers. Got two of the small bottles of acidophiles lactobacillus, same 1000 units per tablet.

I should be able to put a tablet in with the fermenting turnips along with the salt, and it will be the right kind of bacteria, right?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 12:43AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

> "...and it will be the right kind of bacteria, right?

I personally wouldn't waste a large jar of turnips finding out, but I think you have truck loads so really wouldn't matter much I guess.

With the fresh kefir grains I know am going to get a very fast start with a good blend of different yeasts and bacterias that have given me pleasant results over the years.

I can get a slightly faster start using unfiltered sourdough hooch.

One can dehydrate both of the above and use as starter, but it can take days longer to get the fermentation bubbling than if use fresh.

I want to ferment with as little salt as possible & kahm yeast mold tastes horrible so I want to lower the pH of the fermentation and get a carbon dioxide barrier as quickly as possible

Experiment. Compare one starter vs another vs no starter at all. Add different ingredients such as sour apples and/or onions to krauts etc. I've found that cantaloupe speeds up a ferment and tastes good. Fermenting ripe tomatoes in anything is horrible!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kefir info

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 12:08PM
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happyday(WI4a)

John what is the white cake in the first picture on the lower left? Looks like some plaster of paris set up in the bottom of the jar then was taken out?

How did you cut the hole in the lid for the plug? Did you use a hole saw? If you ask at your local brew shop, they might have the little black rubber o-rings that are used to seal an airlock in a bucket lid, they cost 50 cents here and you can just drill a small hole for them.

Nope, no truckloads of turnips, I just pulled the last ones so this next batch may be my last try for the year.

I'm making a small batch of tomato wine, it doesn't smell but will take your advice on not fermenting tomatoes with anything else!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 12:35PM
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happyday(WI4a)

John, I see that you also used Vetrap bandaging to hold the gloves on. Great stuff that. Cheap to buy at any tack or pet supply, sticks to itself but not skin or hair, stays in place for days.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 11:19AM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

happyday,

> "John what is the white cake in the first picture on the lower left? Looks like some plaster of paris set up in the bottom of the jar then was taken out?"

Yes, plaster of paris it is. Just another of the many things I've tried to weight down the contents of a fermentation. Also tried circular cutouts from a plastic food-grade cutting board, ceramic tiles, glass beads in nylon netting etc. My Dremmel Tool with proper attachment can do about anything.

> "John, I see that you also used Vetrap bandaging to hold the gloves on. Great stuff that. Cheap to buy at any tack or pet supply, sticks to itself but not skin or hair, stays in place for days."

Sports wrap. Possibly the same thing. Stretches, sticks to itself and is reuseable. Took the place of multiple rubberbands and or string. About $3 for 2" x 80".

Small vial of kefir headed your way. Throw it out if you don't want to use it. Maybe put it in a half-pint jar of powdered milk and refrigerate? Half full should do it & fill it up in two or three weeks to feed again. Or perhaps dehydrate it for use next year.

John

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 8:27AM
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happyday(WI4a)

John, thank you, but please don't spend any more on postage. I might not be able to use it. I never buy milk, I only have powdered milk for baking, so I might not even be able to feed it, but thank you for your generosity.

I made 4 more batches of SauerRuben last night. For the first try, used two old blue Ball half-gallon canning jars. Each got one acidophiles tablet, a half-teaspoon of sugar to start it, some water and a couple cups of the pickling juice from pickled sweet pepper, which I love, and enough cut up turnips to fill. Covered with a loose Ball white plastic reusable cap, which by the way is not waterproof on the old blue jars, at least not these two.

Put in the fridge as fridge pickles. If it ferments, the gasses should escape the loose cap. The top layer is not pressed below the liquid surface, so I expect the refrigeration and pickle juice will prevent mold. I have a jar of cucumber slices in pickle juice that has been in the fridge a year and no mold ever formed.

The second batch, put one acidophiles per plastic quart jar along with some water and a tablespoon of (iodized, I forgot) salt, turnips to fill and water to cover. Also went into the fridge. All the caps are loose in case of fermentation gas, I'll have to be careful taking them out.

Will stick with fridge pickles for now till I think of the best way to keep the veg pressed down below the surface of the water. It will be interesting to see if any mold formed on the water/salt turnips but not on the water/pickle juice turnips. Very likely the pickle juice contains preservatives that will kill the acidophiles. It may also be that the acidophiles cannot survive in high salt conditions, and would die in salt fermentation anyway.

I have two turnips left. When I've eaten some more pickled peppers, and have more juice to spare, will make a final batch of turnips and pickle juice without sugar, maybe some extra salt. Will be able to taste and compare and choose the best recipe for me.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 1:54PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Just checked the 3 jars of fermenting sauerruben in the basement after 13 days of 60 degree temps and darkness. They look and smell wonderful! (the gloves are differentially permeable & some of the aroma escapes) Tomorrow will do a pH test and plan to roll something similar to kraut dogs in tortilla wraps instead of hot dog buns. Today am going to cook some vegetarian Italian sausages to take the place of traditional hot dogs.

Not sure yet what will add to the wraps besides the sauerruben and sausages. Chopped sweet onion for sure.

Can't wait!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 2:14PM
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John__ShowMe__USA(5/6)

Opened one of the quart jars SauerRuben today and tested it. pH was 3.61 and I thought surprisingly sweet tasting. Three weeks since started it.

Decided to make a 'burrito' with some of it:

Might be a little spicy what with the sausage & the caramelized onion relish. Maybe should have used a regular flour tortilla wrap too.

Will have for meal tonight. What else to do with it? Will add to my almost daily garden salads for sure. And will probably can a couple of pints just to see if turns out as well as sauerkraut.

Next time will add some chopped onion & maybe a Granny Smith apple to the fermentation like I do when fermenting kraut.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 4:25PM
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gardengalrn(5KS)

I love all of the fermented veggies but so far have only ventured to make one batch of kraut, which was amazing and I can never look at a jar or can of commercial stuff the same. When we lived near Fort Campbell, KY, there were quite a few ethnic/asian groceries and food establishments. My favorite was a Korean place, where I was introduced to the delicious side dishes of "spices." Small bowls of fermented and pickled radish, turnip, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers were placed on the table with every meal. Some stuff I had no idea what it was, LOL. Some had added pepper-heat (Kimchee) and some was plain. They use it to add some flavor and zing to all rice dishes and other foods. I became addicted:) Some of our friends who have been stationed or visited Korea said that when you step off the plane, it is the first thing you smell since most households keep fermented foods and do so by burying crocks in the back yard. That is what I've been told, anyway. Lori

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:19AM
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happyday(WI4a)

What do the families use for crocks? Buckets, or are stoneware crocks more affordable there?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:07PM
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olga_6b

People do vegeteble ferments for centruies using, barrels, pots, buckets, etc. You don't need any special crock. I, for example, mostly use 6 -8 QT enameled pot, with the regular plate and weight on the top. I am doing it this way for 30+ years. Learned it from my parents. You just want to be sure there is enough juice/brine to have your vegetables sealed from air on the top. You don't need any special equipment. Every kitchen has all what is needed to make good fermented cabage, cucumber, turnip, tomatoes, etc.

Olga

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:33PM
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happyday(WI4a)

Olga what do you use for a weight?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:23PM
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olga_6b

I use glass container with tight seal (I have what is called "glass lock", but there are many different ones, filled with salt). It is very sanitaty and no unwanted leachables. I just put it on the inverted plate which is positioned on the top of vegetables. It is good if plate covers most of the surface. Liquid will come above the plate level. I cover the whole set up with pot, foil, plastic wrap or just clean kitchen towel to prevent from dust getting into your fermentation.
Olga

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 5:53PM
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DaveCorner

This is a little late but as fermenting is a passion of mine I thought I'd put my two cents in.

1) Regarding whey: it's completely irrelevant when fermenting cruciferous vegetables. The bacteria in whey are milk lovers not cabbage eaters. They probably won't even survive the high salinity of the brine, and if they did they wouldn't do much. The naturally occurring bacteria that are already on the vegetables will dominate and the population dynamics will unfold regardless of whether whey is included. The whole idea of adding whey to just about any ferment was started by a popular cookbook author who has a lot of imagination but lacks a firm grasp of the fermentation process. Whey probably won't hurt your ferment but it can't help either.

Other techniques for jump-starting the ferment include adding a vegetable starter from a reputable company or "backslopping" by using the brine from a previous vegetable ferment. Backslopping is a bad idea and you must not do it; unlike whey the bacteria in the brine are able to survive the salinity but they are also likely to interfere in the normal population dynamics of the ferment because the starter is high in bacteria species that should not be plentiful until later in the process. It is also highly acidic. These two factors will shorten the ferment at the cost of flavor and quality.

Commercial starters are a viable option but are only really necessary if you need to avoid or reduce sodium intake, in which case you can have a low- or no-salt brine and let the starter give your ferment a jump on the "malbiotics" that might otherwise take advantage of the low-salt environment. If the starter is able to produce an acidic environment quickly enough then that will ward off the malbiotics as efficiently as the salt. But if you do not have a reason to avoid salt then you might as let the ferment unfold in the traditional manner via wild fermentation (which just means no starter). The traditional process produces great flavor and is much simpler.

2) The contributor who wrote about "no mold in a closed system using whey" is attributing whey for the success that one would normally expect from a closed system with or without whey. During the initial week of fermentation (assuming you didn't sidestep this phase by backslopping) the bacteria produce lots of gases which force the oxygen-containing air out of the closed system. After things quiet down, the air cannot get back in because the system is closed. Molds cannot grow in this environment and most yeasts can't either. They need oxygen. If you do not have a closed system then you need to keep your vegetables completely submerged or they will go moldy wherever they are in contact with air.

If you do get mold, just scrape it off and fix your submersion issue. Do not discard a whole batch of fermented veggies just because of a bit of mold. The mold is harmless; the worst that can happen is, if left unchecked, it could detract from the flavor of your ferment. (Some fermenting traditions even include stirring the mold into the brine to kill it!)

Humans have been fermenting veggies for at least two thousand years and it is an extremely safe and forgiving process. It is not like canning, which if done incorrectly can be deadly.

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog on sauerkraut

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:56PM
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