Lacto-Fermentation, Take Two: Fail!

I'm thinking that a presser made of wood is probably the wrong medium to use for fermenting a crock of sauerkraut. Or maybe I just need to do some further research (instructions? who needs instructions?). I took the weight off the presser, the presser floated up to the top - and within a few scant days, the wood molded. The sauerkraut below may have been okay regardless, and by golly it did smell like good sauerkraut as I was cleaning it out of the crock and throwing it away, but better safe than sorry. Dang it.

I'm hoping the third time's the charm. Thankfully, cabbage isn't too expensive. I've tossed the wood presser, as mold is almost impossible to fully eradicate once it has established a foothold in wood. Next time I'll use a smooth-glazed plate instead. Onwards and upwards!


  1. Wow - bummer. The plate method has been working well for me on my batch, plus you can sterilize it with boiling water or in the dishwasher -- no mold, no yeast so far. The good news is that prolly your mold is not dangerous, just icky. C. botulinum can't grow in the salt, and that is the scary botulism thing. However, I'm a public health geek, and even though I saw plans for a wood presser, I thought, naw, it will mold. And so it does, apparently.

    The other thing is that it molded *after* you took it out of the brine, and it was exposed to air and airborne yeasties/moldies - big clue that it probably wasn't the sauerkraut, and there probably wasn't any mold in the sauerkraut.

    I would have tossed it to though, just to be on the safe side. The user forums at the Wild Fermentation site are rich with information from makers, check them out. Anyway, try again, fresh kraut is a joy.

  2. Ok, I got out my Ball Blue Book. Here's what it says: Wash, quarter, shred cabbage and weigh.

    Mix 1/2 pound canning salt to 20 pounds cabbage. Firmly pack into crock. Cover with white cloth, dinner plate or glass pie plate. Weigh down with Ball jar filled with water. Remove scum each day. Cured and ready to can in 2-4 weeks. (Depends on temperature - takes less time if warmer.) Should be yellow-white with no white spots when done.

    Pack into hot Ball jars, add boiling brine to cover with 1/2 inch head space. If you need more brine, mix 2 T salt to 1 Qt. boiling water. Process 30 mins in boiling water bath.

    Hope this helps. :)

  3. One correction to the Ball recipe: Does not say to boil brine, so I wouldn't. Oops. Good luck.

  4. @Chance, @S_Vandemore: thanks for the suggestions and the encouragement. I'll definitely try again. Some call it determination, others (oh-so-many others) call it stubbornness...

  5. Some people just can't handle the truth. ;) j/k

    I say the next batch will be a winner.

  6. Over at Freedomgardens.org there is a lacto-fermentation group, maybe they can help you out. :)

  7. You have more determination that I do...I think you are ready for Jedi training!

    (Sorry...we've been watching Star Wars all weekend)


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