Sauerkraut Survivor, Day 28: Opening the Pickl-It, Harsch, and Fido…

Yay! Today I get to open the jars that have been untouched for 3-4 weeks.

Okay, so I actually couldn’t resist and I opened them on Day 27 – can you blame me? I was itching to see in side that Harsch and test it along with the Pickl-It and Fido.

I experienced four things:

#1 – I was wrong.
#2 – Explosion!
#3 – More Mr. Slinky’s
#4 – the whiff and faint taste of mold

As well as opening those jars for the first time since Day 1 (Harsch and Fido) and Day 7 (Pickl-It), I also tested Jars 2, 3, and 13 one final time before refrigerating or disposing.

The pH’s across the board are consistently between 3 and 3.5.

Glucose tested consistently between 250 – 500 mgs per deciliter (dL).

Brine sample was reviewed using this AmScope microscope. Photos were taken on the microscope with this AmScope camera.

And the taste? I tasted Jars 2, 13, 14, 15, and 17. You can read my comments about the Harsch below, but the other jars all tasted the same: a wonderful mixture of sweet, salty, and tangy. Delicious!

The Jars & Brine Samples for Day 28

Jar 2 (Olive Oil), Day 28

Final photos before transferring to refrigerator (where I capped with a white lid),


LABs are looking great. Yeast detected. It is likely be the helpful yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which only grows in an anaerobic environment.I am having a microbiologist confirm this. I transferred to fridge.

Jar 3 (Water Baggy), Day 28

First photo shows the trapped cabbage that is decaying. Second photo shows the bottom which looks unspoiled. Third photo shows where I took the sample today – right in the bottom. I won’t be keeping this jar.



Although I took the sample right out of the bottom, I still detected spoilage organisms. LABs were immature.

Jar 13 (Pickle Pro generously donated by Homesteader’s Supply) , Day 28

This jar still looks great. Brine stayed nice and high and clear, and no spoilage spotted. I transferred to fridge.

At first glance, I thought I was seeing mold fibers. When I blinked, I realized this was a Slinky convention! LABs look great.

Jar 14 (Pickl-It purchased through the generosity of GNOWFGLINS), Day 28

Brine still looking great in this jar. Transferred to fridge.

LABs seem on the smaller side of things, but they are very active and well populated. Slinky spotted.

Jar 15 (Harsch purchased by the generous donations largely from Homesteader’s Supply along with with GAPS Diet Journey, Hybrid Rasta Mama, and Dishrag Diaries), Day 28

It was wonderful to finally crack the Harsch open! Everything appeared to be great – I couldn’t see any mold. I did catch a faint whiff of it, though, and I could even taste it when I took a sample. Not sure why, just letting you know. I need to remove all the floaters and take the weights out and taste what’s below.

LABs look nice and active and population is up there, but the size could be larger. I think this has a little more time to go. Slinky detected.

Jar 17 (Fido) , Day 28

This jar was the most fun to open. I wish I had expected what did happen so I could have captured it all. I teased you in the beginning when I said “explosion” – it was more like a pleasant volcanic eruption – it was awesome! My hand actually got wet when I opened the jar (no one got hurt). Check out how much the pressure has shifted the gasket before I opened it. And then check out the brine level changes before and after it is opened (not counting what spilled out of the jar!). Transferred to fridge.

Here is the video of the “aftermath” that I uploaded to You Tube:

LABs look nice and long and the brine is well populated. Lots of activity going on here. Slinky detected.

I am still working on – just what is this Slinky anyways? It seems to be what is called a “tightly coiled spiral bacteria.” Since we know bad bacteria can’t survive a pH this low, it can’t be harmful. I am curious to know exactly what kind it is, though. When I find out, I will let you know!

Don’t miss my next post when I share my final results – what jars am I keeping? What jars did I feed to my animals? What jars would I personally use? Which would I never recommend? Stay tuned!

Oh…I almost forgot.

In the beginning I told you “I was wrong.” What was I wrong about? I was wrong when I mentioned sauerkraut is meant to be a condiment. You wouldn’t eat a bowl of it. I was wrong! You certainly can – just ask my daughter, who ate a whole ice cream bowl full of sauerkraut yesterday when we were taste testing. YUM!

THANK YOU!

Many of the supplies (including the cabbage) purchased for testing were mostly covered by the donations from Loving Our Guts, Pickle Me Too, Easy Natural Food, Common Sense Homesteading, Lisa M., Traditional Foods, Grocery Geek, Rachel C., The Urban Hearth, Hybrid Rasta Mama, Sarah M, Miriam R., and Leslie C. THANK YOU!

The Lacto-fermentation Air-Lock System was generously donated by the manufacturer, Cooking God’s Way.

The Pickle Pro was generously donated by the manufacturer, Homesteader’s Supply.

The Pickl-It was purchased through the generosity of GNOWFGLINS.

The Harsch crock was purchased by the generous donations largely from Homesteader’s Supply along with with GAPS Diet Journey, Hybrid Rasta Mama, and Dishrag Diaries.

If you would like to contribute funds to this experiment, I would be ever grateful. Please send PayPal funds to: naturalfamilea@gmail.com. If you have a blog I would be happy to link to it as a contributor. Thank you!

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Lea Harris founded Nourishing Treasures in 2006. A mom passionate about her family's health and well-being, Lea believes education is power. Encouraging others to take baby steps in the right direction of health for their families, Lea's goal is to raise awareness of what goes into our mouths and on our bodies, providing natural alternative information that promotes health and prevents disease by using traditional foods and nature's medicine.

Lea is a Certified Health Coach graduate from Beyond Organic University, and a Certified Aromatherapist graduate from Aromahead Institute.

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Sauerkraut Survivor, Day 28: Opening the Pickl-It, Harsch, and Fido… — 17 Comments

    • Jessica, it tasted GREAT! My daughter actually ate a whole bowl (about a cup’s worth). I need to get another batch running so we can not be without.

      It’s a wonderful mixture of sweet, salty, and tangy. Not vinegary at ALL.

      You really have got to try it. It’s delicious!

  1. Great job Leah!!

    It’s so much fun to read your posts –I’ll look forward to the next installment!

    Thanks for all your hard work!!!

  2. I am very interested in this, but it is all way over my head. After your final report, would you be willing to post a how-to using the information you gathered to be specific about what to use (possibly links for where to find) for newbies like me who need a step-by-step?

  3. First of all, thank you very much for providing some clear-cut information and pictures! I had been using Ball jars and white lids but I became suspicious about oxidation and started looking for information. Your posts were exactly what I needed!

    Anyway, on the Harsch crock, I wanted to point out the following link to you (don’t know if you read German at all). He adds a cloth (“Tuch” over the cabbage, before adding the stones to press the cabbage down. If you look at the last two images, he’s got hardly any cabbage pieces floating on top. I think this might be the way to not get any whiff of mold in the Harsch crock as it keeps the cabbage pretty much completely under the brine.
    http://dinihou.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/sauerkraut-selber-machen/

    He also seems to shred the cabbage in very long strips, which probably helps with submerging it and having fewer things float on top.

    • Thank you, Chris, for your encouraging words.

      That cloth does look like it would be helpful in the Harsch crock. I also realize that using a food processor does produce lots of little floaters and that likely didn’t help matters. I have since swapped to dicing the cabbage, so the pieces are larger enough to stay down. Shredding in longs strips is a great idea, too

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!

    • The yeast is the anaerobic Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

      Not sure yet about the slinky. It could be a number of things, including a particular blue-green algae (superfood) that is in our well water. I am not an expert. Someone who would know would be a graduate of microbial taxonomy – it takes years of study to master this. If I ever find out, I will certainly publish it :)

  4. Which maker would you recommend that will give you the least mold growth? I have a harsh crock and do not like it due to the mold. I have candida and mold issues so I have to be very careful. Thinking about an airlock system, but not sure which one. Thanks

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