• We have forgotten how to use and judge living foods.
• It really is not hard. You may read this, and it may feel unfamiliar.
But if you SEE, SMELL, you WILL KNOW!
• Trust your senses.
• Do 4 tests
• In this order … Appearance, Smell, Texture, and Taste. And of course, forego the taste, if the others do not pass the test.
• The nose always knows when it is time to give the Gift of Fermentation back to Mother Nature, and let her compost them down for plant food.
• The problem is when they spoil too soon. After a few weeks, or kraut after a few months. Good ferments, properly stored, should last many months / years if stored in a root cellar (we can only dream, living in Queensland), and FAR longer if stored in a fridge. We have had vegetable ferments for over 3 years and still crunchy.
All ferments eventually spoil
• Living foods die. It is the nature of life.
• There will never be a way to assure that they will never spoil, if they are still living. The ingredients are dead, but the fermentation process creates new microbial life.
• As such, they need to be fed to keep living. You don’t feed kraut. Eventually the good microbes run out of food, and die off. Nasty beasties gradually move in after that – they eat the leftovers. If this did not happen, your food would be dead food, not living food. Keeping an airtight lid on the jar, and keeping veggies submerged under the brine will help to slow down the deterioration processes, but will not stop it.
• Gifts of fermentation WILL eventually need to go to compost (although we always seem to eat ‘em before this happens), unless you sterilize the food (killing the good stuff).
• Some people preserve kraut by canning and heat-processing. This can be done; but the power of sauerkraut is its aliveness. Why would you kill it?
Gotta love bacteria.