Jennifer Whitaker wrote:Whenever I have made kraut it always molds over on the top making me very nervous about the batch. Even though I weigh it down with a plate I always seem to have some that escapes to the top and above. What do we think about doing it in jars so that they can be filled all the way to the top and have no air so hopefully no mold?
Jennifer, I make raw sauerkraut in 64oz Ball jars and don't get any mold. I've gotten mold in the past and threw it all out only to hear other people say their great-grannies all the way to present just scrape it off and keep on going. You have to realize that cheese is covered with mold when they make it. Scrape it off and eat it.
So far, I just pack the raw thinly sliced cabbage in the jar and pound it in place with a long wooden piston. I then put a teeny bit of salt in right before pounding each layer. I'm just trying to be sure that I have 2TBS in the jar when it's done and I do it in layers to be sure that it's evenly distributed. Then, I put a wee bit of filtered water in the top to be sure it's all covered and don't bother with weights and stuff. I screw on the lid tightly and put in a dark place for a week or two and so far, no mold and great kraut.
I'm guessing your issues are definitely salination levels and possibly light? Are you putting everything in complete darkness?
Hey, I just want to mention that Mason and Ball jars have BPA in their canning lids. There's a company that makes BPA free, infinitely reusable lids and seals called Tattler at http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/. I use these with my existing jars and so far they're living up to their claims.
I have been working toward natural health and sustainability for a few years now. I am so thankful to have access to so much info! My family's health has been steadily improving. I recently started attempting to put into practice organic, sustainable type gardening and food forestry. Last year someone allowed me to share their very large garden spot. It was sooo great! Sooo much food! While figuring out what to do with all the abundance I attempted my first batch of sourkraut. Seems to have turned out great! What a treat to have one of my all time favourite foods, Ruben Sandwiches, with some of my own homemade sourkraut and home raised meat (I just used chicken). I'm still waiting to find out about how to get Sep Holtzer's Russian rye to try
I also have recently read about something called the gaps diet wich is supposed to help heal the digestive tract from the damage done by all the bad food choices and chemicals. One of the things she suggests is having fermented foods every day. Also, I recently aquired some milk Kefir grains and using that to culture my fresh, whole milk, everything from the kefir drink for my smoothies to my sour cream, butter, soft and hard cheese. I love Dom's Kefir site!
Now, after all that, my question, I am attempting to use alot of fermented foods (Kimchi is next) and cultured foods (I also make kombucha), but how concerned do I need to be about introducing harmful bacteria or molds, whatever, to my family and how do I be careful not to, and also how long will the fermented foods like the sourkraut last? .
Thanks to all who are helping us live healthier, happier, more sustainable lives!
This sounds like I wrote it! I've been a big fan of the Weston A. Price foundation and have been working from online recipes and sally fallon's book 'Nourishing Traditions'. So far, I've determined that the mold that may (or may not) grow on your pickles, etc. isn't anybody's concern. I'm going to go forward with the idea that it's been done for eons now and there isn't a huge red flag issue.
That being said, you definitely have to look into the advice given by people doing this for years! You can hot bath acidic foods and you have to pressure can non-acidic food the way I understand it. I like the RAW fermented stuff like Kraut. So far, I haven't run into any problems.
As for fermented foods, I've heard podcasts and read much information on the subject and it seems that every other country in the world has several fermented food a day even in extreme cases theres a South American culture that eats nearly ONLY fermented potatoes all day! The fermentation keeps them healthy and having a variety of foods doesn't seem necessary!
In this country, we seem to eat over-cooked and then frozen foods that are 30+ days old for every meal. They are missing vitamin C, which can't take heat, and even things that are traditionally fermented are cooked to death. So, making yourself healthy with fermented foods is ESSENTIAL.
Some good things to eat fermented that one would not think about: bread (sourdough), beer, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard... The 'Nourishing Traditions' is packed with these recipes. Pretty cool stuff.
In short, I just follow the directions and eat. Seems to be working for me. If something smelled bad, I would toss that batch
Guess I'd better get off the computer and go get chores done. The geese are hollering.
Jennifer Whitaker wrote:Thanks for the tips guys! I will try this again and see what happens...
I read an article about the BPA free plastics that may be BPA free but what replaces the BPA is even worse. Anybody hear about this?
I'd like to know what that article says. I'm now looking into the all-glass canning that was done prior to petroleum. I watched a movie on Netflix called "Plastic Planet" and it made me not want to even touch plastic. I've looked around my house and realize that over the years, I've eliminated nearly all plastics. Computers still freak me out.
I use a tightly sealed mason jar and release the pressure once in a while. (I know, there is a risk of the glass exploding. But it hasn't happened to me yet. )
Also -- in my limited experience, I have never had any mold or the white yeasty growth on any ferment that includes chill peppers -- they have a really nice clear brine.