Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Fermenting Failure and Success

A few weeks ago I started off a couple of batches of  sauerkraut and judging by the smell of 'off' cabbage emanating from one of the bottles and the constant growth of mould, I think that bottle of cabbage will have to go! ASAP!


I had watched a myriad of tutorials on how to make sauerkraut and was a bit concerned about the amount of salt used in the process, so was pleased to find that a culture could be used to ferment the vegetables instead of salt.

So I bought some from that great company Green Living Australia and started on my new adventure. I had watched the video by Sandor Katz which I referred to in my previous post on fermenting and it looked so easy to make up a batch. However, as I was using a culture instead of salt I needed to cut up the vegies and then add a couple of cups of the mixture to filtered water in a blender before adding a very small amount of culture. That's when I didn't read the rest of the instructions about topping up with filtered water. I just put a few cabbage leaves over the mixture to push it down.

One of the methods mentioned on the Green Living website is to put the cabbage in a plastic container with an airlock in the lid. As I didn't want to make up a big batch I used a glass bottle and hubby put an airlock thingy in the lid.

However, when I tightened the lid I cracked it and should have replaced it then but thought I would see what happened.  Well, lots of mould growth is what happened and tomorrow the mixture will end up in the compost and I'll start again with a new batch and a lid without a crack if I can get hubby to make me another one.
A few days later I had a pretty good idea that it wasn't going to work out so I tried another method even though I was reluctant to use salt.

 I cut up a WHOLE sugarloaf cabbage on a vegetable mandolin and it all fitted into a smallish Moccona coffee bottle. I am not sure if I read the recipe I was using correctly but it said to add 3 tablespoons of salt! I balked a bit at reading that but added it anyway.

 Then to keep the mixture under the liquid I pushed the plastic lid insert from a larger bottle down into the bottle and it has worked well. I lift the lid to release the pressure every few days and I have only found one tiny blob of mould and it smells okay as well. I am a bit concerned about the amount of salt in that bottle but I did read in one article that you could wash the mixture under running water when it was fermented and then soak it in water for 20 minutes before adding it to a meal.
 So now ....tell me if you have had success with making sauerkraut and what worked for you. I would like to know that I wasn't alone in not making a successful batch. 



  1. Yikes NC, you could have your own weapons of mass destruction there. I admire your persistence, sauerkraut is not one of my favourites (and I'm german! :0

  2. Ha ha, Barb! I just got home from work and was checking to see if anyone had read my blog for a while when your comment just came through. I was beginning to wonder if I was 'talking' to myself here. LOL! Hubby said to just take the mould off that red fermenting cabbage again so I will see how it goes. I did eat sauerkraut when I was young and lived with German people and I probably hated it then as most of the food was foreign to a 'meat and three veg' person. However, lately I have had a desire to see if I could make some that had the same taste as I don't think the canned sauerkraut in the supermarkets is the same. It's a bit of trial and error!

    Thanks for your comment. I love having comments to read. It makes blogging worthwhile.

    1. It always gives me a little buzz to see comments too. Its like a slow-mo conversation!

  3. I have recently tried my hand at homemade sauerkraut and so far so good! I am laughing now because I came to your blog from D2E forums on blogging without really looking at the name. You are already in my blogroll because you came up in my internet search on making cabbage and I lost about an hour reading back. I do like your blog!
    Hope this batch goes a little better!

    1. Kathy, I can't believe you found my blog as the result of an internet search on using cabbage. Now, that's a worry! LOL! I am sure anyone who arrives here would be sorely disappointed although it might be encouraging for them to find out that they aren't alone in not getting perfect results the first time but to keep trying.


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