I went to New York City for a few days with my mom and sister on a celebratory girls trip. It was a first time there for my mom and sister, and my second visit. New York feels like a potential second home to me. However, much like some of my other favorite cities, the cost of living seems so outrageous compared to the midwest, that it just seems more sensible to live here and then go on visits as often as possible.
While I was gone, my urn of sauerkraut was happily bubbling away. What? You made sauerkraut, you say? Well, not yet. Sauerkraut is cabbage that has fermented in a brine. Much like a pickle. I guess it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the cabbage to fully ferment to its fully gasous self. Being a good irish girl like I am, I came rather late to the sauerkraut game, but my german husband (and this highly german town that I live in) loves the stuff. And I like it too. It seemed natural to try to preserve it myself.
I secured 3 cabbages (15 pounds) at the farmers market the previous weekend. (on a side note, my new market bag worked fabuously - it was like having 3 ginormous... well, for lack of a better analogy, testicles popping out of this bag). Sliced them thin, and sprinked them with salt. 3 tablespoons of salt per 5 pounds of cabbage. Let it wilt from the salt. Pack the cabbage into the urn tightly. Hopefully, the liquid from the cabbage will cover the cabbage, but if it does not (and I have yet to have the water extruded actually cover it), you can make a simple brine to supplement it.
At first my sauerkraut bubbled like crazy and almost immediately started eminating that "Dear god, what has died in our kitchen" (to quote my husband). I shuffled the enormous crock of kraut down to the basement for fear that the hot weather was encouraging too fast of fermentation.
Then, after a week down in the basement, I think it was too cold. The fermentation seemed to cease.
Thank you to the Harvest forum at Gardenweb - a group of experts on such preservation who advised me to bring it back up into warmer environment.
It's been going for 2 weeks now. The kraut is not bubbling as much as I think it should, but it is definitely starting to smell and taste sour.
I'll update later...