Very successful fermenting experiment

judsoncarroll4
judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

I tried making a natural kraut out of the stems of turnips, mustard and collard greens. I usually just throw them in the compost. It turned out fantastic and very different from cabbage sauerkraut!

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  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    Waste not, want not. A favourite saying of both my mum and granny.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 339 ✭✭✭

    Did you just shred and salt the stems? Would love to try this with the abundant excess kale leaves and radish tops I’ve got “sitting” out there during the cold months. Can you give more detail on your technique? Thanks!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    I just chopped them fine. Yes, Kale and radish work perfectly. Radish tops are also good cooked, btw. Just work in about 1 tablespoon of plain (non-iodized) salt per pint of chopped stems or leaves, just as you would in making cabbage sauerkraut, until a brine forms. Pack it all into a non-reactive vessel that can be sealed so gas can escape but air cannot get in. I used a quart jar with a rubber glove over the mouth, secured by a rubber band. That is the easiest, cheapest method I have found for making small batches of kraut. The glove will inflate as the kraut ferments. Try to fill the jar completely, packing it tightly, so there is no head space and the brine covers the top. It should be ready in about 14 days depending on temp. But, I always add a little plain, sour kombucha to get things going quickly.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,396 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting! I usually feed them to my worms.

    Talk about fermenting - I found a nice size scoby in my apple cider vinegar! I've never found one in a store bought bottle before.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    That rarely happens! I found one in some red wine vinegar and tossed into some fresh red wine to see what would happen. In a few months I had really nice wine vinegar!

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,396 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 I was thinking about trying to make apple cider vinegar with it. Wish apples weren't so expensive.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I suspect there are a lot of possibilities in fermentation. Unlike canning, fiddling with recipes shouldn't present any danger. Just be sure you use enough salt and end up with enough acidity.

    I've had good success with kimchi, poor success with sauerkraut. I need to experiment with more recipes!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    I'm planning on making some kimchi next month - have to order more pepper flakes!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Does anyone have a recipe for an basic cabbage-based sauerkraut recipe that ferments reliably? My efforts in the past have not done well.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    Sure. Just work about a tablespoon of plain salt into every pint or so of cabbage until a brine forms, pack it tightly into a vessel, seal it so that gas can escape but no air can get in and 99% that is all that is necessary. I add a little plain, sour kombucha to get it off to a quick ferment and ensure success. You can also use whey or brine from a previous batch.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good suggestion, Judson, thank you.

    The salt, cabbage, and container are just what I've always done. But adding a starter is a really good idea. I haven't found this to be necessary with kimchi based on Napa cabbage, carrots, and Daikon radishes, but maybe my regular cabbage doesn't have enough of the right organisms to do it on its own.

    I don't use kombucha, but I could easily add whey from sour cream and probably get the same effect. Or perhaps I could use some of the brine from a previously successful batch of kimchi.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    Whey would be neutral in flavor, just sour. Brine from kimchi would be interesting because it would add flavor. Let us know how it goes!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy I agree with Judson, using something as a starter is very helpful. Having said that I find it interesting that kimchi works for you but not basic sauerkraut. The amount of salt can be key, not enough and it can spoil, too much and it preserves it too well preventing the fermentation process. Temperature also plays a role, the warmer the temperature the faster the fermentation process and vice versa. So if it was cold, maybe you just didn't give it enough time. Also using either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt is a I find to be a better option than table salt. And it's a living food so sometimes it can just be feeling a little diva like.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,148 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To use whey as a starter for basic cabbage kraut could you just drain a store bought sour cream or yogurt or do you need a special kind?

    I've only tried straight salt and don't remember what kind. It failed badly. Possible too much. I had been told to put in a large bag and close. Covering with weight so it stayed submerged and not touch for I think 2 weeks.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I made sauerkraut recently and this time it came out perfectly. I added about 1/4 cup of brine from a recent batch of kimchi, and that was enough to get fermentation going promptly. There was not enough kimchi spice in it to appreciably change the flavor of the sauerkraut, but it quickly fermented to a nice acid mix.

    The only issue is that sauerkraut cabbage floats, whereas kimchi has less liquid and sits on the the bottom of the Mason jar. I plan to get one of those glass weights that fits exactly in a Mason jar and holds the fermenting solids under the brine solution. For now, I just keep scraping the sauerkraut down into the brine and inverting the jar occasionally to keep everything salted.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm actively seeking infomration on other fermentation recipies and methods to try. I have found a few online that intrigue me.

    The farmhouse cheese, fermented tomatoes, and fermented pickles all sound great, and are on my must-try-at-some-point list!

    Farmhouse cheese:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Vr4asX8fE

    Tomatoes:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc1jOc9fQGE

    Pickles:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI965hEdtBU