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Sauerkraut Question

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    Sauerkraut Question

    My first attempt at fermenting sauerkraut, back in the spring, came out great. After fermenting for 3 weeks at cool room temperature in my kitchen, it has been kept I the fridge for the last couple of months, where it has continues to slowly deepen in flavor/sourness.

    Here's my question: The jar of kraut now has no appreciable liquid/brine/juice in it. The kraut smells and tastes fine (delicious even). There is no mold or other indication of spoilage of any kind. So, do I leave is as is? Or should I make up some 3% brine and pour it over the kraut to cover?

    I tried searching the Google machine but couldn't find any reference to needing to maintain the brine level once you refrigerate it. We aren't consuming it often or much, but I don't want it to spoil. I still have about 2/3 of a quart or more.

    All suggestions welcome. Thanks in advance.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by Dewesq55; July 8, 2021, 04:05 PM. Reason: Forgot the pic!

    I’ve eaten my homemade kraut past 3 months. It was kept in fridge as well, I may have even gone 6-9 months. I did what you described, smelled fine, had great flavor and texture. And I did not add any additional liquid.

    I actually have a few jars in the fridge that are probably coming on a year this fall. I’ll have to open them up and see how they are.

    But that’s my experience with Kraut. Not sure if that really helps


      If it's under brine it will definitely keep longer but I think that's more to do with acidity from the fermentation that salinity so it would have to ferment again for the brine to become that acidic. Have you tried eating a little and smashing it down? Sometimes you can get it to be submerged from pressing on it. Personally I'd eat it if it looked OK but I'd definitely feel better if it was submerged.


        Does anyone have a good recipe for homemade kraut? What temperature does it need to be kept at while fermenting? Also can you add peppers to the recipe? The last time I tried it molded pretty bad had to throw it out.


        • barelfly
          barelfly commented
          Editing a comment
          I can send the recipe i have to you, but will be a few days. Really, like Dewesq mentions, temp is key. The warmer, the faster it ferments. Colder slower. I usually only ferment in the fall-spring.

          I’m sure you could try the peppers, I haven’t tried adding anything in but red pepper flakes.

        • rickgregory
          rickgregory commented
          Editing a comment
          Aside from what they said, keep it under the brine. Always. There are weights to do this, sometimes people fill a ziplock bag with water and set it on top. Mold usually happens when the cabbage is exposed out of the brine.

          Also, while warmer = faster is accurate, I'd not start a ferment at 90F. When people say 'leave it on the counter at room temp' they usually mean at 72F or so.

        • gilbertpilz
          gilbertpilz commented
          Editing a comment
          I've read that 65-72 is the ideal temperature range. I live in Florida where that isn't going to happen. I'm not going to cool my house to 70 just to make sauerkraut.

          So this gave me an idea. What if you could make something like an anti-crockpot? A refrigerated crock that lets you set the temperature and an airtight lid with one of those doohickies that let the gas out without letting air in? That would let people like me make sauerkraut *and* make recipes more repeatable.

        Here is a text version of the video's recipe:


        Ratio: 2% salt from total weight of cabbage
        • Green Cabbage
        • 2% kosher salt

        1. Cut cabbage in half, and then in quarters.
        2. Slice out core.
        3. Slice thinly as possible
        4. Weigh on scale, the multiply the total weight of cabbage by .02 to determine the salt needed.
        5. Bruise cabbage so it releases a lot of liquid. This is about a 2-5 minute process. (this is nothing more than hand "kneading" the cabbage/salt mix in a bowl to force the release of moisture. He really hand squeezes, folds, squeeze some more for 2-5 minutes).
        6. When transferring into a tight container, include the liquid. Firmly press down so that the liquid covers the top of the product. (He tamps the liquid into his mason jar with a wooden dowel, but tool to press the kraut firmly down, really packed so that the kraut is below the liquid in the jar).
        7. Cover with crumpled plastic wrap with a weight inside.
        8. Use airlock to let air out. If not, burp daily. Do not screw way too tight or it will explode. (Burping - release the lid daily if you do not have a vacuum seal/release type jar lid).
        9. Check product after two weeks.
        10. Reserve in fridge, and use as needed.
        The comments in parentheses are mine for clarity. Disclaimer: I have not tried this recipe.


        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          Good job, GolfGeezer . I followed this recipe, but also grabbed useful tidbits from The Pioneer Woman and TheKitchn.com. 1) After slicing the cabbage and sprinkling on the salt, I just quickly mixed it then let it sit for 15 mins to jump start the release of liquid before kneading it. 2) I put a clean jelly jar filled with clean pebbles on top inside the mason jar as a weight. 3) I covered with a few layers of cheese cloth secured with a rubber band, not a lid or plastic wrap

        Unfinished kraut that is still fermenting definitely does need to be submerged under brine -- the salt brine is the preservative at this point. Finished kraut is preserved by the salt and lactic acid within its structure. Finished kraut should be moist but it does not need to be swimming in or covered by brine.

        I have quarts of kraut that are 2 years old that we're eating on this summer. As long as the kraut looks normal and smells fine, it is safe. I have a hard and fast rule about always using a clean utensil to remove kraut from its jar -- no double-dipping with a dirty or licked spoon!

        This is a good beginner's resource for making kraut and other fermented foods -- https://www.makesauerkraut.com/how-to-make-sauerkraut/


        • barelfly
          barelfly commented
          Editing a comment
          Love that you have kraut over 2 years old! This will save the two jars in the fridge! I was wondering if I was past the time, but I’ll have to open the jars and see how they are doing.

          I also have Kim chi that is over a year old in the fridge, I need to eat these things!

        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, IowaGirl ! This was my exact question. I suspected this to be the answer, but wanted to check with someone more experienced.

        • IowaGirl
          IowaGirl commented
          Editing a comment
          Two year old kraut tastes more mellow and less acidic than kraut that's only a few months old. I gather it's related to how the microbial population changes as time passes, but I'm clueless beyond knowing this factoid. If you don't care for the milder flavor of older kraut, toss it and make more so you can enjoy younger kraut with a more tart flavor. It's so easy and cheap to make.

        Thanks for all the replies and information. Being it’s a 112 degrees here now, I’m going to have to wait awhile



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