Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sauerkraut 2015 Part II - A Lesson in Fermentation

Recently I did a post on making sauerkraut, titled Sauerkraut 2015I obviously had high hopes for this super food and put a lot of work into it!  But let this be a lesson for you all, as it takes too much work to repeat this one!

This is NOT what you want your ferment to look like!

We made this stuff on a Saturday, covered it with a towel and put it in the basement.  It crossed my mine a time or two to go check on it, but I never did until a week had passed.  This was, as you can see, A MISTAKE!  When I finally got around to checking it, the picture above is what I saw, and it smelled just plain awful!  I didn't have much hope, but I started digging anyway.

After digging a little deeper...

You can see a small bucket off to the side of the crock that I have begun to fill with the rotten remains of what was supposed to turn into wonderful sauerkraut.  I eventually emptied about half of all the kraut out of the crock before I removed, as best I could, any remaining nasty brownish-green nastiness... I probably shouldn't have put it in the compost, but I did anyway (there are good and bad organisms for the garden too). 

Let's give it a shot and see what happens!

This last picture is what it looked like after I scrubbed the weights, wiped out the upper walls of the crock and dug out all the bad ferment.  We put it back in the basement and just yesterday tried some out, after 3 weeks of fermenting. 

I thought it tasted a little "off", but my wife and kids didn't notice anything wrong with it.  All I can do now it eat it and hope it is good to go... or I guess I could throw it all out and not risk it... hmm.  Well, almost 24hrs now and I feel fine.  We'll see how the kids and the wife feel later on and make a final decision! 

What happened?  Well all I can figure is that the fermentation process created CO2 bubbles, which, having trouble rising to the top, lifted the entire ferment out of the cabbage juice, causing it to spoil.  I could be wrong, but that's my best guess!  Next time I'll be sure to add some extra brine and keep a closer eye on it!

LESSON: Check your fermenting food often!  

Also, we've been diffusing some essential oils recently and I'm not sure if it negatively impacted the bacteria in the crock... but just to be safe, keep your fermenting foods away from your essential oils, as they can kill bacteria too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Apple Crates: An Update

The original?

Some History

Since I last posted about these Apple Crates here, I've been building one for myself and doing some research about where they came from.  Well the picture above is from Ebay and it a picture of the same crate I'm working on... with a few differences.  But it was that auction listing that brought me this picture as well:

So I looked these guys up and found them here.  It looks like they are still making crates, and they might even still sell the one I have been working on.  I've called and left a message, but no word as of yet...

My Progress:

Monday night around 11pm I wrapped up the first copy of this crate... it was a little more complicated than I had first thought!  I'm not in the process of making detailed drawings of this thing so I can determine if it is something I want to make more of and, if so, how I can do so the most efficiently.

Another view from Ebay

I'm also thinking about staining these things... but we'll have to wait and see.  Who knows, maybe I'll put some up for sale or give some out as gifts?  Maybe it will be enough to fund the purchase of a table saw so I don't have to borrow one anymore!  That'd be nice...