Homemade sauerkraut staying green - not white?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by french fries, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    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... 
     
  2. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  3. french fries

    french fries

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    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? 
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

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    . Sauerkraut takes many weeks to cure
     
  5. maryb

    maryb

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

    french fries

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    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. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif
     
  7. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    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.
     
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

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    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... 
     
  11. teamfat

    teamfat

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

     
  12. chefross

    chefross

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

    french fries

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

    french fries

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

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    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!!
     
  16. chefross

    chefross

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

    french fries

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

    french fries

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    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?? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif