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Homemade Sauerkraut...Can I still eat this?


B.A.R.
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So the first week in September my neighbor brought me two of the biggest cabbages I had ever seen....15#s each. I thought to myself, let's make sauerkraut!

So I found a recipe online, bought a 5 gallon bucket, whipped it up, and placed the bucket in the basement. And totally forgot about it.

The recipe stated to ferment for 6 weeks, then refrigerate. I went a good 8 weeks past that. The top of the kraut has dried, but 1" under that is still in the liquid. All of the kraut is a shade of brown. I was just going to throw it out, but it smells so damn good I don't want to.

Is there any really serious downside to eating this?

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I am no expert on this, and that's an understatement, but if it smells good it probably is good. Also, any sauerkraut in my view needs to be very thoroughly cooked (in the German manner, with onion and some kind of pork fat) for purely aesthetic reasons, so if any kind of bacteria managed to grow in the very inhospitable sauerkraut environment, the cooking would kill it anyway.

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It would smell bad and be slimy if it were spoiled. The dark color is probably due to oxidation, since it wasn't covered with liquid. Still, I agree with The Hersch--soak in several changes of cold water, then cook it for a long time, with some bacon, onions, white wine, caraway seeds and juniper berries.

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cook it for a long time, with some bacon, onions, white wine, caraway seeds and juniper berries.

Juniper berries make the difference between indifferent sauerkraut and marvelous sauerkraut. I should have mentioned that in my earlier remarks. I actually prefer sauerkraut without caraway, but of course if you like it you should put it in. Caraway gets a little overbearing to me. For wine, I almost always use dry vermouth, as it works well and I always have an opened bottle in the refrigerator. If you're looking to buy some juniper berries, you can't do better than Penzey's.
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