How to ferment cabbage without spoiling the product: common mistakes
The art of sauerkraut and cucumbers in my husband’s family was passed down from generation to generation through the female line. Only the mother-in-law has two sons and not a single granddaughter. Who do you think she decided to pass on to inherit the basics of cooking? Of course, for me! I won’t say that I have already mastered all the techniques, but how to ferment cabbage That’s right – I learned it.
It turns out that many housewives ferment cucumbers and cabbage for the winter. This was a revelation for me, because I grew up in an apartment. My parents rarely prepared preserves: it was more often brought by my grandmother from the village. So, only when my mother-in-law decided to teach me how to ferment foods, I realized that there was no way around this without rules.
How to ferment cabbage and cucumbers correctly
If it seems to you that fermenting cabbage is a simple matter, then you have either already got your hands on it, or you have been lucky up to this point. After all, quite often the product comes out without the famous rich taste and crispy texture. Simply put, spoiled. But what is the reason for this? Let’s find out!
Why does sauerkraut turn out soft?
- it is prepared from early varieties;
- you used slightly frozen cabbage;
- if the cabbage received too much fertilizer;
- due to the rapid fermentation process;
- due to insufficient salt;
- in case you have not released the air from the can.
In fact, soft cabbage is not a completely spoiled product. It has a normal color, good taste and a pleasant smell. Other than the texture, it’s virtually indistinguishable from crunchy sauerkraut. It can also be safely eaten.
Mucus in sauerkraut
However, if the sauerkraut turns out slippery, that’s another matter. The reason for this is the unreleased air from the can. It provokes the growth of yeast in the container, which produces mucus. Over time, more and more mucus appears, which subsequently leads to spoilage of the dish.
To prevent spoilage of the cabbage, release the air from the jar in a timely manner and ensure that it is always filled with brine to the very top.
Why is sauerkraut bitter?
It’s a matter of fermentation temperature. If the process takes place below 18–20°C, bitterness will appear in the cabbage. It can also come from salt if it contains magnesium.
Why is sauerkraut sour?
At the beginning of fermentation, ordinary microorganisms are formed in cabbage, as well as some butyric acid bacteria. With the correct fermentation process, the latter will not develop. However, if the weather is very warm, butyric acid bacteria develop rapidly and the cabbage may develop an unpleasant, pungent odor and sour taste. You shouldn’t eat this kind of cabbage.
Why do cucumbers turn out empty after pickling?
If the product is not stored correctly, microorganisms that form gases may appear in it. Because of them, there may be swelling and emptiness inside the cucumbers. Therefore, before pickling cucumbers, prick them with a needle.
Why do cucumbers turn out soft?
This is one of the most common problems. You’ve probably once seen a white film on top of the brine. It can be formed by bacteria, yeast and molds. And it is because of them that cucumbers turn out soft. Mold can appear due to poorly peeled vegetables and containers with lids.
To prevent mold from forming, isolate cucumbers from contact with air. Make sure that they are always in brine, inspect the cucumbers more often and remove mold on the surface.
Add mustard powder or mustard oil, ascorbic acid, leaves of grapes, currants, oak, horseradish and dill to the pickling mixture. They will act as a preservative.
Do you pickle cucumbers and cabbage for the winter? What recipe do you use? Share your favorites with us in the comments!