The Cabbage Experiment - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at - 300817

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

Apr. 10, 2013 11:02 pm 
Updated: Apr. 12, 2013 10:08 am
Ok, so I just now "named" my experiment, but as I've been asked a few times to report to you all as things progress, I had to think of a "name" for this endeavor.  I've also been asked to immortalise this wandering into unknown territory with the camera, but frankly, I really don't think that any photos I could have taken would be of any interest... AND may put you off sauerkraut for the rest of your lives!  Maybe even my own...

I'm approaching week 5 of the fermenting process...  Seems every "recipe" I've looked at claims different fermenting time, suggested temperatures vary, and any other assorted differences.  Isn't that the usual way?  Face it, some recipes have as many variations as there are cooks! 

Recently a friend suggested that sitting just inside two windows might not be a proper place for the "crock," so I moved it into a walk in closet, which remains cooler, and of course is dark.  Then, I read that the warmer the temp. the faster the fermentation process would complete.  Thus, just before I sat to write this, I skimmed off a bunch of scum, and moved it back to the original spot. 

Surprisingly, thus far I've not been driven from my home because of the odor... that is, except when there's gunk that needs to be removed.  Then it smells... I'm not sure how to describe it... "dirty" combined with a hint of pungency.  Yumm - NOT!  Once the crud is disposed of, the smell dissipates until the next time, which currently is about every 3rd day.

Last week I fixed a pork shoulder roast, and would have liked some kraut to go with it, but alas, mine is not ready to nosh, and I've neglected to buy any at the market.    I can almost taste it, kraut with a sprinkle of caraway seed, and good splash of beer, topped with slices of cooked pork roast then slowly reheated....  Just a few short years ago, I would have laughed at you had you predicted that I might salivate over such a concoction!!  WHO KNEW?

Now, one of my cookbooks under "canning" says 3-4 weeks to ferment, yet another book I've looked at says 3-4 months!  Perhaps it all boils down to "conditions" at the time?  I'm lost, but still plodding along and hoping for the best.  Afterall, they say homemade is MUCH better than store bought.

Once I deem it "edible," I do plan on canning it in a waterbath, in hopes of killing off any bacteria that I may have missed during the fermenting stage. 

Last week or so, I did a quick taste test, only to find crunchy cabbage in my mouth tasting mostly of salt...  Go figure, the brine it ferments in is salt water...  I guess that if it still tastes like ka-ka after a couple of months, I might just pull the plug, but then what am I out if I let it go for 4 months?  All I'll need to do is skim off the gunk every few days, and add brine as needed to keep a suitable depth between the top of the cabbage, and the top of the brine.  (I've read that this protects the cabbage from - well, whatever)

So, if you've read this and have any tips or suggestions from experience, don't be bashful... I'll accept any advice for "THE CABBAGE EXPERIMENT." 

So friends, be happy, be healthy, be CRAZY... and if you dare, attempt to make ANYTHING!  What's the worst that can happen?  It will meet Mr Trashcan!

Apr. 11, 2013 3:40 am
hey Stevie sounds like you are on your way to good eats, but i have never made this, my mom made it every year, i remember that smell i though a cat had used the bath room in the't know how she made it tho i sure hope yours turns out well later friend...judy
Apr. 11, 2013 8:44 am
While I would never take the time to do this, I am glad you are and look forward to reading about your end product. Good luck!
Apr. 11, 2013 8:59 am
If you are still in doubt next month, I will ask the purveyor of pickled goods when he returns to the Farmers Market. I am sure he would offer a tip or two.
Apr. 11, 2013 11:34 am
Judy, time alone will tell, but now my sitting room has that musty smell. Good that the weather is nice, and I can open windows lol! Be well!
Apr. 11, 2013 11:35 am
Paula, thanks for the "well wishes!" I've said it before, will say it again... "I'm game for just about anything, at this point!" Be well!
Apr. 11, 2013 11:37 am
BigShotsMom, thanks for the offer, and I'll keep it in mind for down the road... In a month, I might be eating the stuff!? Be well!
Apr. 11, 2013 12:52 pm
Glad for the report! Lucky you that your windows can be open. I have a fire going here.
Apr. 12, 2013 10:08 am
Cat, just looked at the crock again... little change from last time. JEALOUS - I've never had a working fireplace in Arizona! Be well!
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Stevie crazycook

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Lansing, Michigan, USA
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Feb. 2008

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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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