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Posted: 12/8/2013 4:31:31 PM EDT
Yesterday my son and I put up 3 gallon jars of sauerkraut to ferment. I used 1 teaspoon of picking salt per pound of cabbage, and managed to get 6#in each jar with 1"of headroom remaining. I drilled holes in the metal life and am using grommets and vinyl tubing to make water locks.

My question is about how much brine should there be. I pounded down he cabbage pretty well, and it had definitely begun making brine, but there doesn't seem to be enough. There's not enough to submerge the cabbage, even if I push it  down with my pounder (tried that this morning). Did I use enough salt? Not enough pounding? Or am I just impatient? I am getting good CO2 production from one, but that seems to have paused, and the other 2 haven't kicked in yet.

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Link Posted: 12/8/2013 6:18:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2013 7:35:46 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Waldo:

Store bought cabbage? They might be dried out.

I ferment in buckets with a weighted plate on to to keep the kraut under the brine.
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That would explain it.  They were definitely dry - they has spent a while in my basement and had started to turn a bit nasty.  I cut out all of the brown parts, there was plenty left, but some was dried out.

I'm boiling some water (get rid of the chlorine and sterilize) and making some brine.  I'll add it to the jars to top off.  I'm also going to "inoculate" the 2 jars that haven't started fermenting with some brine from the one that has.

Any suggestions on weights?  They are necked containers.

I'll try to get some pics up today.
Link Posted: 12/11/2013 9:23:30 PM EDT
Your salt/cabbage is good, and the salt is what gets the water out of the cabbage. You mentioned metal, do not let metal contact the kraut. It's acidity can somehow interact with the metal, i have read.

I make mine 4-5 gallons at a time, and I usual have a couple inches of liquid at the top. I think it's usually about 20 or 25 pounds at this point. I've read that you can add a salt brine (redundant) to ensure coverage, but I use fresh garden cabbage, and have never needed to add brine. Your pounding is probably fine, I've never needed to beat mine too much.

I guess it doesn't sound like you have your kraut weighted.  I keep mine down with a plate weighted by a 1 gallon mason jar of water. Food safe buckets are cheap/free. Maybe find one quick and lose the jars.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 11:34:02 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By loon_138:
Your salt/cabbage is good, and the salt is what gets the water out of the cabbage. You mentioned metal, do not let metal contact the kraut. It's acidity can somehow interact with the metal, i have read.

I make mine 4-5 gallons at a time, and I usual have a couple inches of liquid at the top. I think it's usually about 20 or 25 pounds at this point. I've read that you can add a salt brine (redundant) to ensure coverage, but I use fresh garden cabbage, and have never needed to add brine. Your pounding is probably fine, I've never needed to beat mine too much.

I guess it doesn't sound like you have your kraut weighted.  I keep mine down with a plate weighted by a 1 gallon mason jar of water. Food safe buckets are cheap/free. Maybe find one quick and lose the jars.
View Quote


No metal contact.  I am thinking about getting multiple small weights and putting them in there.

I added brine and inoculated the ones that didn't seem like they were fermenting.  Still nothing.  I'm starting to think it's the lids I used for the airlocks.  I'm going to try to find some polypropylene lids; the problem is that gallon jars aren't standardized and the openings are all a little different in diameter.  I'd rather not pull the lids off to measure but it possibly can't be helped.  Maybe when I put the rocks, err, weights in.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 6:06:25 PM EDT
I'm not going down the Sauerkraut road again, I'll just bum it from Waldo from now on  Alot of wasted time, effort, bad memories and smells
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