When we last left this saga, I had finally unstuck the lid from Ivory’s Picklemeister. It was a great feeling.
I was so psyched to get the kraut started. I layered it in the crock with salt, added the inoculant from Ivory’s pickles and enough water to cover, put the lids on, the glass pusher lid that had given me so much trouble, and the special airlock lid.
Then I waited. It began to bubble a bit after a few days. It started to smell EXACTLY like sauerkraut, which, for some reason, surprised me!
Everything was going so well. I did, however have a little bit of brown develop on a few bits at the top. Once when Ivory was over she showed me how to clean those out and told me I needed a higher liquid level and added more water to seal everything off from air.
It kept on getting more and more kraut-y. I tasted it and although it wasn’t as soft as I had expected, I deemed it ready to refrigerate.
What happened next I really don’t know. You’d think refrigeration was the safe segment of any food preservation foray, but it wasn’t to be.
I had put it way in the back of the fridge, and sort of forgot about it. You’d think I would be more concerned about my precious cabbage, but I guess I’m fickle that way about some things.
I started to smell something real bad whenever I’d open the fridge door. Kept looking for it, didn’t find anything, and eventually gave up. I decided offensive odors were an inevitable part of a big family and went on with My So-Smelly Life.
One fine day I decided to delve a little deeper. Squeamish person warning. Look away.
Sweet Alexander Fleming.
Suffering spores of stench.
I can’t believe I did this, but I thought I could salvage it. I know, I know, but you hear everyone say that stuff like this happens, and it’s okay underneath! Wild fermentation is wild, people!
I actually spooned this stuff off, and a brown yucky layer of cabbage, until I got to normal looking cabbage underneath. I cleaned off the inside of the jar. I smelled it and it wasn’t actually too bad. Almost ok. But for me, almost isn’t good enough.
We all know what had to happen next. Cue slow dirge.
I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m going to run out of spots to bury my mistakes one day. Archeologists will scratch their heads, then make up things.
“And here, ladies and gentlemen, are the petrified remains of a ceremonial kraut burial pit, a rare but fascinating aspect of turn of 21st century suburban society.”
I’ve learned my lesson.
However, I have eleven pounds of jalapeno peppers I want to make into fermented hot sauce.
Nothing could go wrong with that.