What to do to prevent sauerkraut from turning dark
There are as many housewives as there are recipes for sauerkraut. At the same time, many at least once in their lives have encountered the darkening of their favorite snack. This phenomenon not only negatively affects the appearance of the dish, but also makes the finished product unsuitable for consumption. What to do, to prevent sauerkraut from turning darktells Editorial “With Taste”.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons why sauerkraut may turn brown. Inappropriate storage temperature, direct contact with metal, too little or too much salt – these and other factors can completely ruin your culinary efforts. And to prevent this from happening, read the article below.
The benefits of sauerkraut
Sauerkraut has become a favorite dish of many, especially people of the post-Soviet space. Not so long ago, this appetizer could be found anywhere: in vinaigrettes, borscht and cabbage soup. It is stewed, eaten as a cold appetizer, combined with other pickles, and added to various salads. In general, a universal and very tasty dish.
And how great it is that sauerkraut is one of our most popular winter snacks. This is an affordable and very useful product that should be in every home. After all, just 200 g of sauerkraut covers half of the daily requirement for vitamin C. This is extremely important for our body, especially for the immune system. This salty product is rich vitamins A, B, K and PP, as well as essential microelements such as iodine, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, iron and calcium.
In addition, sauerkraut has a positive effect on the functioning of our pancreas. Cabbage brine contains acid that helps the body prevent gastritis and other gastrointestinal diseases. If you eat this dish half an hour before the main meal, the microflora of the stomach improves significantly. Nutritionists say that this valuable product lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, so it can often be seen in the diet of diabetics.
What to do to prevent sauerkraut from darkening: main mistakes
Despite the fact that preparing sauerkraut is not difficult, not every housewife can boast of a white and crispy snack. Let’s look at the main mistakes:
- High fermentation temperature. Try to cook the snack at a temperature no higher than 20 degrees.
- Make sure the salt is evenly distributed. It is best to take simple table salt (without additives).
- Cabbage darkens if cooked in a scratched metal pan. Therefore, ferment it in a glass or wooden container.
- Be careful with the amount of carrots you add. Its abundance is one of the reasons for rotting. And rotten snacks can be hazardous to health.
- When weathering, the top layers of the dish may darken – this is facilitated by active oxidation.
It happens that the cabbage does not darken, but mucus appears on it – this indicates that lactic bacteria are multiplying too quickly. This preparation can be used.
How much salt do you need
During fermentation, almost all vegetables release lactic acid. Thanks to this, cabbage is preserved, obtaining its sour taste. Salt is needed to enhance this effect and neutralize all pathogenic bacteria.
For proper fermentation, it is best to use regular coarsely ground table salt (without additional spices). If you use Himalayan or iodized, the chemical processes will change and the sauerkraut will definitely turn black.
And finally: if you take too little salt, the fermentation process will slow down. If there is too much of it, it will destroy all the beneficial bacteria. Therefore, to get a crispy, snow-white pickled product, the proportions should be as follows: for 1 kg of cabbage, take about 25 g of salt.
What should the fermentation temperature be?
After salting, the future appetizer begins to actively ferment. This process is divided into 3 full stages. And to prevent sauerkraut from darkening, each of them requires special conditions:
- The initial stage includes the first 2–3 days. The optimal temperature during this period should be about +24 degrees.
- The second stage is the next 5-7 days. The optimal temperature regime for it ranges between +20 degrees. It is then that cabbage concentrates the greatest amount of vitamin C.
- The last third stage is storage. To avoid causing mold, the storage temperature should be from 0 to -2 degrees.
The best varieties of cabbage for pickling and storage
To get a truly tasty dish, you need to remember several nuances. First of all, choose the right vegetables. Only the white cabbage variety is suitable for pickling for the winter. Take a light, mature head of cabbage, the leaves of which are quite dense, but at the same time thin. Immediately before cooking, the top layers must be removed.
The best additions to sauerkraut are grapes, cranberries, apples, beets, sweet red peppers and lingonberries. To prevent them from releasing juice, you need to marinate them separately and then simply mix them with the main ingredient. The most popular spices for fermented products are black pepper, cumin seeds, bay leaf, coriander and dill.
And, of course, don’t forget about the brine. It is this that can affect the cabbage and make it not so crispy or darkish. Constantly monitor the amount in the bank. As soon as there is less brine, add salted water to the jar. You can read about how to ferment cabbage with honey in the following material.