The Sauerkraut Project: Phase Two

It has been a month since I filled my giant stoneware sauerkraut crock with shredded cabbage and salt, weighted it down and filled it with water.  The instructions said to wait a few days until I heard bubbling before moving the crock to a cooler place.  They also said not to lift the lid for at least two weeks.

I waited for several days, and never heard any bubbling.  I came and went, made coffee or toast or did the dishes or fed the cat.  Silence.  When I pressed my ear to the side of the crock, I imagined I could hear the ocean in there, but no bubbles.  The process inside of the crock was utterly mysterious.  For all I knew, Schrödinger’s cat could be in there.

You can’t hurry these things.  Fermentation follows its own idiosyncratic timeline.  So I left the crock in the kitchen and did not lift the lid.

Finally, just a few days ago, I decided enough was enough.  It had been nearly a month, after all.  So I lifted the lid to peek inside.

The water had turned a light, briny green.  A distinct odor of sauerkraut emerged, but with a raw edge to it.  Just from that single whiff, I could tell that the cabbage was fermenting, but was nowhere near done yet.

I gave the stone weights a good solid push, and bubbles floated up.  Bubbles!  Very quiet bubbles.  I replaced the lid, and refilled the water reservoir that forms an airlock around the top.

The very next day I walked in to the kitchen just in time to hear a very deep bloooop sound, like a submarine breaching, followed by the tiniest pop!

The lesson I take from all this: there is a time to be zen about things and a time to give matters a push in the right direction.

The sauerkraut is now bubbling.  Time to move it to a cooler location.

Stay tuned for Phase Three.

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4 thoughts on “The Sauerkraut Project: Phase Two

  1. Amber

    How fun! :) Way to skip the zen and take matters into your own hands. I can’t believe it’s actually bubbling. This is exciting to experience vicariously! (p.s. I’m picking up the ramen article tomorrow.)

  2. Marina@cowboycountryvegetarian

    How interesting! I’ve never used any crocks like this one (looks perfect for fermentation), but I usually have my kraut out for a week, and then take it to a cool place (if I still have something left – we eat it a lot). Back home, in Europe, my parents make their kraut in a wine barrel. I am going to buy one of those to try. Thanks for the post!


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