Sauerkraut, Day 3

UPDATE: We have since changed our fermentation methods to anaerobic using a Harsch style crock and Fido jars. To read more about the whys and hows of anaerobic fermentation, check out Pickle Me Too’s post Pickl-It Jars, Are They Worth It?

Miss something? Go back to Day 1 or Day 2.

Day 3 is pretty boring. Check your kraut. Make sure the water level is right. If it’s too high, pour some water out of the pint mason jar. Too low, either push down on the jar or add a little brine (1 c water to 1 T salt).

Give it a good sniff. Smells like cabbage, huh? Give the friendlies a couple days to really get to work. It will start smelling sour pretty soon and lose that cabbagy aroma. Since I keep the house around 60 degrees F, my sauerkraut can take weeks to ferment. Which is good. The slower it ferments, the longer the kraut will stay good. In the warmer months, it may only take a few days. Let your nose and your salivary glands be your guides. When the kraut stings your nose just a little (in a good way) and your salivary glands give a little tingle, it’s time to taste.

Taste just a little bit. It’s hard to know whether it’s done or not if you don’t have much experience with homemade kraut. When in doubt, give it another day or two and see if it gets better. It’s easy to fret over whether or not your kraut is done. Resist that urge! There are just too many variables to set a certain time limit on your kraut.

Sauerkraut is a pretty forgiving ferment. If it tastes good, eat it. If it gives you terrible gas, let it ferment longer.

Next: Day 4

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3 comments to Sauerkraut, Day 3

  • Monica

    I made my own pickles following a similar message to the one you described above. I let them sit on the counter all last week. Refrigerated them on Sunday and then ate some on Monday and today. They smell and taste great yet I have a terrible stomach ache and did a google search and botulism came up. I am so freaked out. I used Caldwell’s starter. Made sure everything was clean, etc…I know my pickles were most likely not contaminated but how do you know you are safe to eat what you have fermented?

    • Joy

      I seriously doubt you have botulism from lacto-fermented pickles. Botulism typically occurs when low acid foods have been canned incorrectly. This post from Pickl-it addresses the botulism issue.

      Fermented foods are generally safer than fresh! It’s possible that you are having a reaction to something else, or that the dose of probiotics you got wasn’t something you reacted well to.

      Botulism is a paralytic disease, stomach cramps alone are unlikely to be your only symptom. Of course, seeing a doctor is a good idea whenever you have any bad physical symptoms!

  • Monica

    A similar message, I meant, similar recipe

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