I have just put up my latest two jars of sauerkraut. I don’t always tell you about my sauerkraut jars, simply because I always do them the same way, more or less. This time, however, I have done two things differently, and one is a big experiment for me.
I’ll start with the big experiment: I have always made my sauerkraut with probiotics powder, and it has always worked for me – the only failure I have ever had was the batch where I forgot to put in the probiotics. I keep hearing about using sauerkraut juice or kimchi juice from previous batches, and I’m curious (I never end up with juice, really – so I wonder about that, too). A few weeks ago, at the Union Square Greenmarket, I found a stall that was selling kimchi juice as a tonic. I asked them how I would use it to start sauerkraut, and they suggested I use a couple of tablespoons to a jar of sauerkraut. So… tonight, I put up one jar using only 2 T of the kimchi juice.
Different thing number two, which goes for both jars: I am going to a fermented foods meet-up where we are supposed bring some garlicky fermented food. Garlic goes in most things I make, so… what is garlicky? Do I put more? I decided to add about 8 cloves of garlic for each of the two heads of cabbage. In addition, I sliced up about 3 fairly large jalapeno peppers and added them to the mix, simply because I have always liked my sauerkraut spicy, and spicier sounded like a good idea.
One interesting thing happened: when I went to open the probiotics capsule, I had a hard time with it, and then it slipped and fell into the water I was going to mix it into. Since that was my last capsule, I could not afford to lose it, so I ended up swishing it around in the water – the gelatin capsule finally gave up the powder, but was still solid enough for me to remove it from the water. That’s good to know – I mean, I don’t plan to extract the powder that way, but, I won’t have to worry any more if I drop the cap into the water.
The two jars are sitting there in bowls on my stove shelf (I don’t use my stove, so I have a large cutting board covering the burners, and, when I am fermenting, half of that goes to the ferments). Both jars have the “dome lids”, i.e., the two part lids, although the jar with the kimchi juice has a re-usable plastic disk for the dome lid.
My meet-up is on Wednesday, so that gives me 3 days to ferment. I am confident that the probiotics mix will be ready on time, but I am not sure about the kimchi juice ferment. I’ll just have to test it on Tuesday night and see how it is.