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Old 02-23-2018, 05:54 PM   #1
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Fermenting

I have finally discovered the art of fermentation and love it. I started out with sauerkraut, and it was amazing. So I bought a kit with lids and weights. I made some ketchup. On my second batch of kraut I was a little more daring and let it ferment for about a week before putting it into the fridge. The recipe said 3 days and from what I read that was not near long enough for the bacteria to do its thing. Again it turned out great. My first question is how long is too long? I understand that you need to use commonsense in regards smell and look of it. But I've read some recipes that say for 30 days. In theory how long could I go? Is there things that can only ferment for a certain amount of time? Are there things that I should not add? I wanted to do a salsa and the recipe called for jalapenos and cilantro. I don't like cilantro and typically I would add oregano...but it has antibacterial properties. Or at least the oil does so maybe substituting dried instead. I also wanted to sub habenero for the jalapeno cause I like them better. I am pretty open to trying other recipes to. I am just starting slow.

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Old 02-24-2018, 05:22 AM   #2
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Hi,
Ive been making sauerkraut for theist few years, so I can give you few tips on that ( not that Im an expert, just based on experience).

I personally like sauerkraut at all phases ( from its initial salty cabbage phase ( first few days) til its tangy fermented taste ( about a week later).

I usually let it go a week then place it in the fridge.

That being said, I usually give it a little taste ( especially after the 3rd or 4th day) to monitor it ( especially in the summer or warmer months).

Reason for this, is it seems to ferment quicker when its warmer ( and slower when its cooler).

Eventually it will peak ( as far as the taste goes), but it will then start to lose its texture, and be more mushy, than have its slight crunch. Im not a big fan of mushy sauerkraut, so after a week or so, in the fridge it goes .

Other thing, is make sure it is covered by liquid, or else it can go bad rather quickly. If after tasting it , i see the liquid level getting low, ill add some salted water to it ( 1 tsp to 1 cup of water) just to make sure that the liquid level is above the cabbage.

I know Im not giving any groundbreaking info here, just the few things Ive noticed through my experiences ,
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:24 AM   #3
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I've asked Korean and German coworkers about how you would know if your kimchi or sauerkraut has gone bad, respectively.

They both responded that while it's difficult to put any exact numbers on things, you know things have gone bad when they get fizzy.

I've had kimchi go bad, and even with its extreme smell and taste, you know what that fizzy thing means right away.

Hth.
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Old 02-24-2018, 09:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
I've asked Korean and German coworkers about how you would know if your kimchi or sauerkraut has gone bad, respectively.

They both responded that while it's difficult to put any exact numbers on things, you know things have gone bad when they get fizzy.

I've had kimchi go bad, and even with its extreme smell and taste, you know what that fizzy thing means right away.

Hth.
you're right about that, I forgot until you reminded me.
When eating it, it almost feels carbonated like soda.
I've had to toss it away a few times because of that.
Kinda unpredictable, just kinda happens over time.
My suggestion is to give it a little taste each day, and making sure everything is submerged.
You can split it into a couple of jars and experiment with them by pushing their fermenting time and comparing when the final jar is done.

Once again, just keep in mind that room temp ( and direct sun exposure) will make a difference.
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
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Here is a list of fermented foods we've made here.
Sauerkraut
Kimchi (see this recipe--fermenting from winter into spring, many months underground or in a cool fruit cellar)*
Yogurt (no salt)
Kefir (no salt)
cultured butter
cheeses
sour cream (no salt)
salsa

All of these have things in common. A warmer temperature of room temperature up to 120 degrees F to ferment for a certain amount of time. Salt is used to manage both flavor and the type of fermentation that is wanted. Then it is stored at 55 degrees F down to 34 degrees F to continue fermenting/aging and long term storage. The temperatures, timing, ingredients, salt, storage times vary on each recipe.

We eat fermented food every day in some way. Besides being tasty, it is good for your gut bacteria.
*On the Making of Kimchi | laura lemay
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:44 AM   #6
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I've been making sauerkraut for something like 25 years now. I generally let it go for about 3 weeks. At that stage it's still crunchy, with just the right amount of tangy flavor that I like. Just check on it every few days, but as long as it stays submerged beneath the brine, it should be fine. I've occasionally had to skim a little mold off the surface, but unless you let it go for an extended period of time with mold it doesn't hurt it.

It will be fine fermenting for 30 days, although at some point the texture begins to get a little mushy.

Just remember that fermentation is controlled spoilage, so in a sense, it's already spoiled. From my own experience, if sauerkraut truly goes bad, you will definitely know it.
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:56 AM   #7
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Just remember that fermentation is controlled spoilage, so in a sense, it's already spoiled.
What Steve says is true. When it is good it is at the perfect degree of rottenness.
A cheddar that is aged for 3 months, is good, but when it is aged for 10 years, it is indescribably perfectly rotten, and more sharp, and more expensive.

Like sour cream. When does sour cream go bad? It doesn't go bad until some renegade molds take up residence and you can tell by looking. When it is bad it has black, green, blue, red, white molds forming on the surface.

Use all your senses, taste, smell, sight to decide if your fermented product is 'going off'. If you HEAR them going off, it's probably your homemade rootbeer exploding.
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Old 02-24-2018, 12:30 PM   #8
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Speaking of senses, just the smell of fermented soybeans makes me sick to my stomach. I've never in my life been able to eat them for that reason.
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