Take two: fermented vegetables

Well, it’s done for now!

My second attempt at making a probiotic fermented vegetable type of sauerkraut.

Click here to read about the first attempt, and step-by-step.

And here, so see how it failed, and my thoughts on why. 😦

With that as a learning experience, I made a few changes this time.

One of the changes was to treat the cabbage the way I did when making plain sauerkraut. Instead of mixing all the prepared vegetables together, then adding the brine, I worked salt into the chopped cabbage for about 2 minutes, first. I also increased the amount of salt. The recipe I had for the fermented vegetables was really low for a brine, so I added about a tablespoon this time, which is what was called for in the plain sauerkraut recipe (for 1 small to medium sized head of cabbage).

After working the salt into the cabbage, the rest of the ingredients were added, and I spent maybe another minute, working it all in with my hands.

Oh, one of the other changes I made helped with this job; I used a grater on the carrots this time, instead of slicing them with a knife. Much smaller, more flexible, pieces!

When looking up recipes, one of the things I kept reading is that massaging the salt in would cause the cabbage to release its liquid, and more brine would be added, only if needed to cover. That didn’t really happen when I did this before, and it didn’t happen this time, either. The original recipe I had said to add brine to the bowl, but I decided to pack the jars first, then add the brine. I had made brine in advance, using boiling water this time, and added the probiotic powder to it when it was just barely warm.

I also decided to really pack down the vegetable mixture in the jars, to see how many I would end up using. Last time, I used five 500ml jars. By the time I’d packed them down and covered the stops with cabbage leaves, they were not filled to the top at all.

This time, I packed it all into just two 500ml jars.

I immediately noticed something very different, this time.

There’s quite a bit of liquid in there! I have added no brine to the jars at this point.

It wasn’t covering the top, but as I tamped down more around the perimeter, I could see there was liquid just below the top.

The carrots have released some of their liquid, too! 😀

I still topped it up with the brine I’d prepared, but used less than a quarter cup between both jars.

I also topped the jars with blanched cabbage leaves, cut to fit, like last time. The brine was enough to completely cover those, without more being added. In fact, I had to watch not to make it overflow as I tamped the cabbage leaves in place.

I used coffee filters to cover them again, because that’s what I’ve got available, but this time I trimmed the excess paper away so we can more easily see and monitor the level of brine, as they ferment for 2-4 weeks. If the brine seems to be evaporating away, we will top it up with water that has been boiled first.

Last time, I had the 5 jars on a platter and, when checking them, noticed that brine had overflowed at some point – which is odd, considering how they ended up with virtually no brine at all – so for these, I made sure they were also on dishes to catch anything that might overflow as it ferments.

And now we wait!

I figure we’ll try one jar at 2 weeks, then the other at 4 weeks, to see what the extra time does to the flavour.

If nothing goes wrong, like last time! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

4 thoughts on “Take two: fermented vegetables

  1. Pingback: Fermented vegetables, take two: two week fermentation taste test | The Re-Farmer

  2. Pingback: Fermented vegetable sauerkraut, take two: four week taste test | The Re-Farmer

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