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Homemade sauerkraut staying green - not white?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I always wondered how sauerkraut became white? 

 

I am trying to make my sauerkraut for the first time: sliced cabbage massaged with salt, packed in a jar with some juniper and black pepper, and so far (only 24 hours) the cabbage is not changing color at all, I can still see some white and some light green, definitely not going toward the color of sauerkraut as know it. 

 

Is that normal, and do I just need to be patient? Will it change color or will it stay the same color? 

 

Just wondering... 

post #2 of 18

If you cabbage is really green, it may just stay green although it will eventually become a more dull, olive green, the same way that fermented pickles (cucumbers) lose their bright, green coloring.  Also, in terms of sauerkraut 24 hours is nothing.  Things haven't even really gotten going too much yet.  When I make kraut I don't even check my vessel for the first week (after I've ensured I have plenty of brine covering the cabbage.  Give it time.  Checking on it too often can be problematic as each time you do, you introduce more oxygen to it.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you Pete!

 

So I've just covered it with fabric... is that a mistake? The recipe I was following said I was supposed to let it breathe... do you think I should put the lid on? 

 

Also is that going to be a problem that a few of the smaller pieces are floating near the surface? 

post #4 of 18

. Sauerkraut takes many weeks to cure

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 18

You should fill a plastic bag with brine and weight the cabbage down.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks all. I don't have that much sauerkraut, 2 heads of cabbage only. I placed a glass jar on top of the cabbage and that seems to be enough weight to keep it down about 1" below the level. 

 

Now should I continue with just placing fabric? Or do you recommend sealing the jar shut? If sealed, do you need to open it once in a while? All the recipes I find seem to have contradictory directions in that regard. :o

post #7 of 18

This is what Sandor Katz--the author of what are the two best fermentation books out there has to say about making sour kraut:

 

http://www.wildfermentation.com/category/sauerkrautrecipes/

 

As long as you keep the fermenting kraut completely under the brine, according to him a cloth cover to keep insects and dust out of the crock is fine.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Awesome. Thanks @ChicagoTerry ! The following is great to know, that means I can already buy more cabbage and fill up the jar (it's currently only 1/2 full): 

 

Develop a rhythm. I try to start a new batch before the previous batch runs out. I remove the remaining kraut from the crock, repack it with fresh salted cabbage, then pour the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut. This gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.


Edited by French Fries - 11/12/14 at 7:53pm
post #9 of 18

If your kraut is submerged then you should be fine.  I used to ferment in a 5 gallon, plastic pail.  I would weigh the kraut down to stay below the brine and then just cover with  a towel.  Now I use a fermentation crock which is really nice but not absolutely necessary.

 

Don't worry about a few pieces of cabbage floating to the surface.  It's gonna happen.  When, and if, mold starts to form on the surface just skim it off.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Great, thanks for adding that info. It seems that the odd piece or two of cabbage floating is inevitable, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. If this turns out good I may ask for a fermenting crock for Xmas! 

 

Do you ferment anything besides cabbage? Just wondering... 

post #11 of 18

You may want to look into lactic fermentation of pickles - just water, salt and spices.

 

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 18

Hey FrenchFries.....I remove the cloth every morning and rinse, squeeze out excess water and re-place.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post
 

You may want to look into lactic fermentation of pickles - just water, salt and spices.

I think that may be my next foray... cornichons! Yay! 

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post
 

Hey FrenchFries.....I remove the cloth every morning and rinse, squeeze out excess water and re-place.

So... your cloth touches the brine??? My cloth is just sealing the top of the jar, so it stays dry. 

post #15 of 18

French Fries, here's a thread I started a couple of months ago about what people have been fermenting.  If you haven't checked out you should.  A lot of great ideas!!

 

 

So, What are You Fermenting???
started on 09/15/14 last post 11/19/14 at 10:04pm 114 replies 1627 views
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post
 

So... your cloth touches the brine??? My cloth is just sealing the top of the jar, so it stays dry. 


Yes the cloth touches the brine and I have a plate on top of it. I change it daily.

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
 

French Fries, here's a thread I started a couple of months ago about what people have been fermenting.  If you haven't checked out you should.  A lot of great ideas!!

 

Yes! I remember that thread. I will go and re-read it now. :D

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well it's definitely turning olive green by now. Still not white though. I wonder what they do to commercial sauerkraut to get it perfectly white?? :eek:

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