At least I think that it has been a success. I tried the batch of sauerkraut today and it was quite tasty. I was a bit nervous about trying it because the brining water turned cloudy and mold did grow on top of the brine; but everything that I have read said this was normal, so I bit the bullet and have lived to tell about it.
I felt like such a wimp being so nervous about trying something that people have been eating for centuries. It amazes me how ingrained it is in our culture only to eat things that look as perfect as possible. Even though I am aware of our society’s collective perfectionist bent, it doesn’t really help me overcome my own inner voice. The last time I tried fermenting vegetables, I ended up throwing them out, even though many people told me that they would be fine. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell that little voice in my head to shut up.
No matter how well I can rationalize with that voice, there is part of me that believes that the industrial food industry can keep me safe, and if I try to do it myself, I may make a fatal mistake. It is amazing that I can more easily put my trust in faceless corporations that are creating so much havoc in our food culture.
My German great-grandmother probably made sauerkraut and all sorts of other things with the confidence that her mother and grand-mothers all did it as well. But that link to me has been broken. My mother certainly didn’t make pickles or preserves of any type, and so I never learned what could be safely made and eaten. This loss of traditional foods saddens me, because what the corporations have substituted it with is so markedly inferior.
More on my thoughts and experiments with food preservation:
- Can I Really Eat This?
- Keeping Food Fresh
- Homemade Vegetable Stock in a Jar
- Can I Really Eat This? – Take Two