You may remember that we've been making our own sauerkraut for the past few weeks. Following a recipe in the October Martha Stewart Living, we've been fermenting a cabbage-fennel-apple sauerkraut, duly opening the jars every five days to release the pressure.
It's been 30 days, and we finally sampled the sauerkraut this weekend.
What was the verdict?
Well, here's the thing. It turns out neither of us is a huge fan of sauerkraut, even when it's been rotting in our own home lovingly made by our own hands. This sauerkraut tastes...strong. The sharp, bracing, fermented taste is intense. It doesn't taste bad. In fact, we might even say we liked it, or at least we could like it if we had to. It's just so pungent and so...sauerkrauty.
As it happens, Zach's mom B was in town when we sampled the sauerkraut. As we mentioned before, B has made several batches of sauerkraut this year, and she's a big fan of the stuff. When she tried ours, she declared it to be very good. So at least we're confident that ours came out how it was supposed to.
There's a bigger issue than the taste, though. We had a kind of major issue with mold. Per the recipe, we stuffed the top of each jar of sauerkraut with a large, folded-over cabbage leaf (presumably to help keep the kraut submerged in the brine). The leaves in each of our jars were, to varying degrees, covered in mold. We fished out the leaves and scraped out any remaining mold, figuring, what the heck? A little mold never killed anybody. But it was definitely off-putting and a tad bit concerning. Zach's mom B said the mold was definitely not typical.
We're sure the problem was that we didn't have enough brine in the jars. But as we said a few weeks back, we didn't get nearly enough brine out of the cabbage when we massaged it. (According to some helpful comments on that post, we probably were being too gentle with massaging our cabbage. And we may not have had a fresh enough head of cabbage to begin with.)
Anyway, as they say in the land of sauerkraut, Man lernt nie aus. You live and learn. Next time we'll be sure to beat the heck out of the cabbage. Next time we'll make sure there's enough brine.
But will there be a next time? If we don't like this sauerkraut straight out of the jar, will we like it in a recipe?
We need ideas! What should we do with this sauerkraut? Got any great kraut recipes? Let us know!