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Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

Posted by coloradocrock none (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 6, 13 at 15:42

Hi, everyone. I'm a first-time kraut maker that after two weeks found a whole lot more liquid in my 7.5l Gartopf crock than I started with. I tasted the brine after skimming the surface (a bit of what looked like light foam bubbles) and it doesn't taste very concentrated. I removed about 3-4 inches of the diluted brine, and it tastes more concentrated, but still not what I'd expect. I stopped right there.

Gotta say that during the two weeks, I had a LOT of water level fluctuation in the outside trough and had to add a bunch of water on more than one occasion. I wondered where it all went--didn't think it could have just been evaporation. Haven't heard/read issues with the crocks pulling water in.

Any thoughts? Is the kraut safe to eat (if it even tastes like kraut instead of soggy cabbage) considering that the fermenting process and balance has likely been altered by what appears to be the additional water?

Many thanks in advance for any input.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

I know water slowly evaporates from the sealing trough and has to be replaced. In my atmosphere with my humidity that is about every 4 days or so that I have to top it off. I think CO air tends to be much drier than here so you may have to refill the trough even more often.

But unless there is a hole or a crack somewhere in the trough slot I don't see how water could get down into the crock from it. It would have to be sucked up and over the rim somehow and i don't think that would be possible.

I assume you know that as the kraut ferments more and more water is drawn out of the cabbage into the crock so it is natural for the water level in the crock to rise over time.

As for safe to eat, if it looks good and smells good and isn't slimy and assuming that you started with enough salt for the amount of cabbage then it should be safe to eat anytime after the first week.

Hope this helps.

Dave


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

If your cabbage was young and high-moisture you will see a lot of additional "water" or liquid drawn from the vegetable, but the salt (assuming it's a reliable formula) should be more than sufficient.

I'm with Dave. If it looks good, smells good and a bit tastes good, then I wouldn't worry about it.

Carol


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

Hi, Dave and Carol--Thanks for your input. Beyond the safety issue, I'm interested to see if the additional water didn't dilute the brine to the point that the resulting product has no real taste. I'll dig into this tonight after work. And maybe the lesson for next time is to keep the trough water level lower so as not to encourage seepage into the crock.


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

I note you mentioned this is your first time doing this, correct?

If so then 2 points. First, the brine normally dilutes - always. But the brine isn't the main source of the "taste" anyway. The "taste" is in the kraut itself. The brine, after 2 weeks, will just taste like a lightly salty water with a very slight hint of kraut flavor. So assuming you began with the proper ratio of salt to cabbage, then the kraut itself will taste fine.

And maybe the lesson for next time is to keep the trough water level lower so as not to encourage seepage into the crock.

Second point, assuming your Gartopf crock is/was properly made then the inside rim is substantially higher than the outside rim - approx. 1/2" outside vs. 1 3/8" inside rim as best as I can measure mine. So once the lid it set in place and the trough is then filled to the top of the outside rim it is physically impossible for the water to go over the inside rim into the crock. Physical laws of water displacement apply.

The only way a small bit of water might get in is if you fill the trough and then set the lid in place after the trough is filled. You aren't supposed to do that. Lid first, then water. But even then the vast majority of the water displacement will be over the outside rim, NOT the inside rim.

So assuming properly constructed crock and assuming proper salt to cabbage ratio and assuming proper trough filling the odds are 99% that and extra water now inside the crock is from the cabbage.

Either that or someone else added water when you weren't looking. :-)

Dave


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

deleted duplicate

This post was edited by digdirt on Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 12:03


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

Yes, I'm a newbie.

Don't know if it's normal, but the liquid level in the crock upon opening was almost at the very top--way more than I started with, and as I mentioned, it tasted very diluted compared to the the brine at and below the weighting stones.

Gotta love handmade stoneware. The trough on my Gartopf only shows a 1/4" difference between the outer wall (2") and the inner one (2 1/4"). The slots for air are 1/2" tall.

The great news, after all of my concerns (my wife was a CSU ag extension service writer and has shared far too many botulism canning horror stories with me) is that my first batch came out great. Really great.

I'll keep future trough levels down and look forward to years of great tasting, healthy fermented foods!


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

difference between the outer wall (2") and the inner one (2 1/4"). The slots for air are 1/2" tall.

WOW sounds like Gartopf needs to regulate their tolerances a great deal since they are getting that much variance. The big differences on mine are apparently a lucky blessing I didn't even know I had. :)

Anyway I'm glad to hear the kraut turned out well.

Dave


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

In the photos in the small pamphlet that came with the crock, the height differential appears to be much greater than 1/4". Maybe that explains why mine was relatively inexpensive new....


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

Maybe your crock was a second, which may explain some of the problem.

Carol


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

But if it was a "second," it should have been indicated as such. It doesn't do Gartopf any branding favors without such a notice. Unless they don't see the trough height differential as a problem. All's I know is that in addition to the large amount of fluid in the crock, the water level in the trough dropped below the air notch twice. That's a lot of water movement!


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

What is the significance of container ?
I have done it in glass container. s that OK ?!


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

coloradocrock- I haven't got anything to say about the actual fermenting. I was just thinking that you might want to fill up the water trough while the crock is empty to see if the water in the trough is actually making it into the crock.

Rodney


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

That's a good suggestion Rodney. There could be a hairline crack in the trough that is leaking.

I have done it in glass container. s that OK ?!

Sure although it is recommended you cover the jar to keep it from being exposed to light, especially sunlight. That is one big advantage to the crocks - they are dark brown. Plus they come with weights to keep the food submerged and a built in water seal.

Dave


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RE: Water seepage into kraut crock? What happened?

Hi. No hairline cracks in the trough. I may try to get in touch with Gartopf to see about their manufacturing tolerances on the crocks.

But more importantly, armed with a whole lot more information and some experience, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming batch #2.


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