|This is what our cabbage looked like to start after being shredded up, mixed with sea salt, and weighed down. This apparatus was then left to sit at room temperature for about a month.|
|And this is what our final product of sauerkraut looks like after sitting at room temperature for one month.|
So the sauerkraut we started a month ago is finally finished. To review, I simply 1. shredded the cabbage, 2. mixed the shredded cabbage with sea salt to taste in a container with vertical or strait sides, 3. weighed down the cabbage so it was submerged under the liquid, and 4. waited several weeks for lactic acid fermentation to take place. The biological processes that took place to make this sauerkraut are fairly interesting. First, salt removed water from the cabbage through osmosis to form the liquid the fermentation would take place in. Salt also works as a preservative by excluding harmful bacteria by killing them off in a few days time. Leuconostic sp. and Lactobacillus sp. bacteria tolerate salty conditions and and acidify the salty cabbage juice by producing lactic acid. The increasingly acidic conditions also kill off harmful bacteria and encourage Leuconostic sp. and Lactobacillus sp. bacteria. The cabbage is also submerged under the cabbage juice to promote anerobic conditions (conditions without oxygen) which also kills off harmful bacteria and again encourages lactic acid production by Leuconostic and Lactobacillus. The remaining species of bacteria, especially Lactobacillus, at the completion of the sauerkraut are well known probiotics, which are bacteria that aid digestive health.
Here is a good website with additional information: www.wildfermentation.com/