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Sauerkraut in July?  RSS feed

 
Nicey Keenlyside
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Hello fellow Permies!

I am a small scale gardener in coastal BC who's late spring cabbage is now ready to be picked. While I will be using some fresh, and will also be freezing some, I wanted to make sauerkraut with the rest. I know how to make sauerkraut but have only ever done it in the fall where I can leave it to ferment on the porch outside in stoneware crocks. Is it possible to make sauerkraut in mid July? I have about 15 heads of beautiful Copenhagen variety which are ready to go. Any tips on krauting during the hot season would be VERY welcome and appreciated - is it even possible or will it just spoil?

Thank you!
-Nicey <3
 
John Elliott
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The rule of thumb for chemical reactions (and fermentation is a chemical reaction) is that an increase of 10C will double the reaction rate. So if it is 10 degrees warmer now than when you usually do your krauting, expect it to take half the time. And then you can refrigerate it to slow any further reaction to a crawl.

When I make sauerkraut in the warm months, it just takes a couple or three days to ferment to where I like it and then it's into the fridge.
 
Joanne McCartney
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Hi everyone. I'm new here. I just discovered the art of fermentation and I'm on Day 4 of some sliced up cabbage that is turning into sauerkraut. I purchased a 2 gallon crock and filled it almost up with about 9-1/2 lbs of cabbage and salt. I live in Northern California and it's pretty hot here in the summer. We don't have basements around here so my crock is in my pantry, on the floor beneath a shelf. It probably gets up close to 80 F during the late afternoon and the cabbage is tasting a little sour already. Producing lots of bubbles when pressed down. I love sauerkraut and have never had any that was homemaid, so this is an adventure for me.

Nice to meet you all.
 
Leila Rich
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I've made kraut over the summer and as John says, it's vital to keep a really close eye on it as it can ferment really fast!
I always keep my active ferments on a high-sided tray to catch spillovers, and I know it's downright dangerous not to in summer
I have found there's a slightly higher chance of ferments going 'off'; I assume because there's more bacteria around in a warm environment.
 
Joanne McCartney
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Is there anything I should be doing to try to prevent it from going "off"?
 
Joanne McCartney
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This is Day 5 and I took a few spoonfuls out to try. It's already sour but not real sour yet. Nice and crunchy and looks sort of yellow/white colored. I'm glad I added caraway seed because it really gives it a nice flavor. I have it in a crock with a plate on top that comes just about to the edges. And I have a glass cover from another dish over the top of the crock. It's not airtight, but the sauerkraut is submerged. I'm anxious to try it in a few more days.
 
Joanne McCartney
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So I started this sauerkraut on 7/15/14 and the flavor is just perfect now. But I don't have space in the frig to store it all because there is so much. If I leave it in the crock for a while will it develop undesirable flavors? It's still crunchy and pretty sour but I do like sour. I've been eating it but my husband and sister are both still waiting to see if it's going to kill me. Since I've hung on for several days now, I think they will soon give in. The probiotic effect is great. Maybe it's my imagination but I've been feeling great.
 
John Elliott
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If it is well submerged, no air getting down to the cabbage shreds, then it's unlikely to develop weird flavors. It may lose its crunch as the bacteria continue breaking down what there is there for them to eat. It may also start to carbonate, if there are any yeasts that have found their way in. Sauerkraut with a fizz to it is definitely different, I've only had it once, I bought it at a farmer's market in Ukraine.

If it tastes just right to you now, you really do need to cool it down to stop it from going anywhere. If you don't have space in the fridge, set it in a cooler with some ice around it. Even if it is not refrigerator temperature, at least it is not room temperature.
 
Joanne McCartney
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Thank you for your reply, John. It was pretty sour today, so I packed what I haven't eaten yet into 5+ Quart Mason jars and put it in the frig. It is really good sauerkraut! The caraway seeds added a nice flavor and it's still crunchy. I'm just excited that it worked. Now I can't wait to try some other vegetables. But I have to keep in mind frig space because even with a second one in the garage there isn't a lot of extra room. The sauerkraut took 9 days. I think that's because it's warm this time of year. I was expecting to eat more while it was fermenting.

I sliced up a couple cucumbers, peeled some garlic cloves and added some fresh dill to a brine yesterday that I put in an old pickle jar. I used a smaller jar that I filled with water that fit in the top to keep everything submerged. I hope it works as well as the sauerkraut did.

I love reading all the posts here. All of you make it seem so easy.
 
John Elliott
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Joanne McCartney wrote:
I sliced up a couple cucumbers, peeled some garlic cloves and added some fresh dill to a brine yesterday that I put in an old pickle jar. I used a smaller jar that I filled with water that fit in the top to keep everything submerged. I hope it works as well as the sauerkraut did.


What? No red pepper? Add some of that, and you will be entering the realm of kimchi. Here's another good ferment recipe:

 
Joanne McCartney
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John Elliott wrote:
Joanne McCartney wrote:
I sliced up a couple cucumbers, peeled some garlic cloves and added some fresh dill to a brine yesterday that I put in an old pickle jar. I used a smaller jar that I filled with water that fit in the top to keep everything submerged. I hope it works as well as the sauerkraut did.


What? No red pepper? Add some of that, and you will be entering the realm of kimchi. Here's another good ferment recipe:



Oh, I did add some red pepper flakes. No cabbage in this one though. That kimchi recipe looks good! Thank's for posting.
 
John Saltveit
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As SANDOR Katz says, if it is fermenting too fast like in summer, add more salt, as long as that's not a health issue for you. I am learning to make smaller sauerkrauts in the summer and limit vegies that can get slimy because it might ferment too quickly and get slimy anyway. I will need to limit Okra and dandelion flowers because they get slimy quickly. I have to ferment nopales/cactus pads now because that's when they're ready to harvest. If I make them smaller, I will finish them up more quickly and start a new one faster before they get slimy. You may have to scrape off the mold/Kalm yeast more quickly in the summer. In the winter, I don't get any mold or kalm yeast. Also add less starter or the old sauerkraut juice to get it going.
John S
PDX OR
 
Joanne McCartney
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The cucumber slices got way too soft after just a couple days. Maybe black tea would help next time. I don't have any grape leave or Oak leaves nearby that I'm sure haven't been sprayed. Has anyone here used tea bags?

I have a cauleflower, carrot, celery, red pepper mix in the crock now. Day 3, not much happening yet. BTW, I'm eating the sauerkraut that I have in several jars in the frig at a rapid pace. I've had a cold bowl for breakfast almost every day this week. Crunchy and sour and good! I'm glad I added the caraway seed when fermenting. It makes it even better when cold. I will do that again with future ferments. Maybe I'll add an apple for additional flavor nest time.
 
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