Managing Your Kraut

For those who attended my DIY Sauerkraut Workshop at Rooting DC 2020 on Feb 29, I want to update you on the status of the krauts we started.  For those of you who were unable to attend, hopefully you will also find this helpful.  You can access my workshop handout here.

The picture above was taken Feb 20, three weeks after our class; it shows three of the four batches started that day.  The fourth batch found a new home.  From left to right: 1. Shredded cabbage and shredded purple daikon, with golden turnip as a weight. 2. Shredded cabbage and shredded apple, with beet as a weight.  3. Chopped cabbage and chopped watermelon radish, with beet as a weight.  Isn’t the color diffused from the beet beautiful?!

I had to burp #1 and #3 that morning, as they were bulging, and add water to #2 because the brine was barely covering the vegetables. I said I like my ferments to go 4 weeks, but I delved into jar #1 that night because I was out of kraut.  It’s delicious!  I chose this over the batch I had started the week before the workshop (shown on the right, along with a batch of beet kvass), because there were lot more bubbles in the older batch.  Even though it had been fermenting longer, it wasn’t as “done,” the main reason being the cabbage was chopped versus shredded.  All this to say, there is no set time for fermenting.  It depends on the vegetable themselves; how you chop, slice, dice, or grate them; how much salt you use; ambient temperature; how crunchy or soft you like your kraut; and your gut health.

I gave jar #2 to a friend who also was out of kraut.  She reported back, “The kraut is DELICIOUS!!”

Now one week later (4 weeks into the making), the one remaining jar (#3 above) looked like this.  Look carefully at how much less brine there is.  This is typical.  As the fermentation slows down there are less gas bubbles and the brine settles down.

I tried the kraut. It too is absolutely delicious.  Good work, helpers!  You did an awesome job!

As mentioned in my two previous BLOG posts, fermented foods are super foods.  They are a powerful aid to digestion and a protection against disease.  The Vit C in cabbage increases 10-fold when made into kraut.  Sadly, these powerhouse foods have been replaced by white sugar and an infinite array of highly refined, denatured foods, that disrupt our digestion, use stored mineral supplies within the body to metabolize and deplete our immune system.

Now is a great time to prioritize boosting the immune system, and lacto-fermented foods are a great means to do so.  And having more time at home not being able to go out, is the perfect opportunity to get those ferments started!

So, if you haven’t begun your ferments, wait no longer.  And if you are still feeling nervous or uncertain, or just have questions, contact me.  Also, the last page of the handout lists good commercial brands if you want to start enjoying the benefits of these wonderful foods before yours are ready.

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