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John Kindziuk

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since Aug 04, 2013
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Recent posts by John Kindziuk

Kim,

Vegetables are classified as low-acid foods and should be processed at 240 F in a pressure canner, however, fermented sauerkraut or kimchi devwlops acidity during fermentation and can be classified as acidic low-acid food. What it means is that it can be safely processed in a water bath canner at 212 F. Bacterial spores which are usually killed at 240 F will not germinate in acidic environment and will not produce toxin. They will still be there, but in a dormant stage like seeds in a soil that wait for the right conditions to germinate.
As mentioned before, heat treatment will kill beneficial lactic bacteria, nutrients and most of vitamins that live sauerkraut/kimchi contains.
6 years ago
Hi Matt,

An original idea, but it should work. This procedure is known as back slopping and is done with bread and was often done with traditionally made salamis. With sauerkraut it will work as well. What yo do is introduce a quantity of a known and proven product, the product that has turned out well before. You don't need to use all of the original pickle/brine. This might be too acidic for new bacteria to ferment and survive. What I would do is save the original brine in a refrigerator and use only 20% of it. The rest will be cucumbers and freshly made brine. You will definitely get a jump start on fermentation and may even lower slightly the amount of salt.
6 years ago
Originally cabbage was always sliced and not shredded. Cabbage head was usually halved or quartered and the knife did the rest. When larger quantities of cabbage were processed a wooden mandoline slicer was used. Mandoline Slicer

You could fit the whole cabbage into the movable box and the diagonal knives were about 8 inches long. Such a device would not shred cabbage, it will slice it from left to right into long strips like spaghetti. This is how cabbage was sliced for centuries. As we invented plastics and cheaper ways of processing, a lot of clever devices like rotary drums appeared on the market. They looked cute and were cheap, but were too small to slice the cabbage. Cabbage was shredded, almost diced into little pieces. You could not pick up with tongs just a piece of original sauerkraut, it was like a spaghetti clinching together. Modern shredded sauerkraut can be picked up with a spoon.
6 years ago
Trying to use logic to answer you question.

1. Wash your vegetables extremely well.
2. At higher temperatures fermentation (and bacteria growth) is much faster. Add sufficient amount of salt as bacteria hate salt. Adding vinegar will inhibit bacteria as well, but I don't like adding acidity. I grew up in Europe and we are not so crazy about acidic foods as people here.
3. Keep your vegetables always submerged, I don't think those worms want to be underwater.
4. Try to use water channel crocks or air lock fermenting jars. Molds, most bacteria and definitely worms need oxygen (air) to survive. By cutting off air you will choke them to death.
6 years ago
Well, you can ferment almost anything, but the question is does it make sense? Fermentation is controlled spoilage of food. You let food to rot and you try to control the process. Foods which ferment well contain sugar as bacteria will break sugar either into lactic acid and carbon dioxide (sauerkraut) or yeasts will break sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide (wine). Potatoes, rice, grains. sauerkraut, beets, all those foods are loaded with sugar and will ferment well. Great Polish vodkas are made from rotten potatoes and believe me, you don't want to be around fermenting potatoes.
Meat ferments very well, however, better be good at it, as meat can spoil easy. It is no fun to throw away you salamis after playing with them for 2 months. Talking about meats, you don't ferment them with brine, you use salt and sodium nitrite and in some extreme cases salt only. All said, it makes a lot of sense to try to ferment different foods in one gallon containers. If experiment goes bad, you can always drink some of a freshly fermented wine. It is a pity that in the US we cannot distill alcohol which is allowed in most European countries. Check some of the equipment we were using in Poland. We made better stuff that was available in stores.
Distilling Column
6 years ago
Hi Nechda,

You are talking some serious stuff. I recommend visiting an interesting site http://www.meatsandsausages.com/ They were previously known by their Polish name wedlinydomowe.com This site has been rated on top of Google in many areas. Check their Hams & Meats section, a lot of first hand information.
6 years ago
If it is meat brine, discard it. It is not recommended to reuse it.

Sauerkraut juice is a great natural brine which is loaded with bacteria. Use it next time to jump start fermentation. reusing a part of product for making a new batch has been practiced for centuries. Bread, cheese, meat, sauerkraut, any naturally fermented product can be used whether it contains brine or not. This practice is called back slopping.
6 years ago
Hi Jennifer,
Yes, there is a new excellent website about canning meats. It is called https://www.foodpreservationmethods.com go to meat, poultry, fish and vegetables section. The site carries reliable material which is based on government regulations. There is plenty of information about canning in glass jars, metal cans and using can sealers.
6 years ago
Salt is not needed to preserve food by canning. In other food preservation methods, for example drying meats, salt is needed to inhibit growth of spoilage bacteria. Then, as meat keeps on drying, less moisture is available to bacteria and meat becomes more stable. Salt, however, does not evaporate and remains inside of the meat. This increases proportion of salt in relation to meat's weight and bacteria cannot grow.

Canning preserves food by destroying bacteria with heat or rendering them ineffective by applying moderate heat and introducing acidity. This is why canning jams, jellies or fruit is so easy as all those foods contain some acidity.
Meats and vegetables don't contain acidity and must be processed at 240 F. Although processing at boiling water temperature (212 F) will kill bacteria anyhow, nevertheless Clostridium botulinum bacterial spores can survive 212 F for 5 hours. That is why we have to use a pressure canner so the temperature will reach 240 F. The role of salt, however, is of no significance, because all bacteria and bacterial spores will be killed.
6 years ago
Hi Jane,
I use brine for other foods such as Kimchi or pickles, however sauerkraut I always do with salt. This is how my family and my friends always did. For curiosity, next time I will make sauerkraut both ways and will measure the strength (saltiness) of sauerkraut juice. The reading will not be perfect as the cabbage releases many different ingredients, but there will be some point of reference. From my experiments I found out that red cabbage releases plenty of juice, it is also sweeter than other types. The only problem with red cabbage is that it discolors other foods it is mixed with.
6 years ago