This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

How to Tell if Your Sauerkraut is Finished

December 18th, 2009

I blogged over at Not Dabbling yesterday about how to tell if that sauerkraut you started a while ago is finished. There were a few questions from readers about how to know. I thought perhaps some of you would have the same question, so I figured I’d share the information here as well.
After 2-4 weeks, depending on the temp, you should notice that your kraut is no longer bubbling, or is bubbling much less than it was. I usually notice that the brine starts going down instead of spilling over after 3-4 weeks. The warmer it is, the quicker your sauerkraut will finish fermenting (at 70-80 it will take 2-3 weeks at 60 it will take 4-6 weeks). Mine was finished a week or two ago, and I started mine on October 28, it took about 4 weeks to finish fermenting. You will also notice that your sauerkraut become kind of clear, or loses it’s whiteness.
Another way to decide if your sauerkraut is finished is by smell. If you don’t have a good sense of what sauerkraut smells like, buy some and smell it. Warm it a bit on the stove and the smell will become more pronounced. It smells pleasantly sour almost vinegary. You don’t want it to smell “off” or moldy.
Don’t be alarmed if some mold or scum forms on top of your kraut while it’s fermenting. Just skim it off and add some more brine. If your brine level gets low and some of the top layer of cabbage gets moldy, simply skim off that cabbage and add more brine (1 or 1.5 T. of salt for 1 quart of water for extra brine).
When your sauerkraut is finished, simply take out the jar/bag that you’re using to weigh it down, top off with brine, throw a lid on it and put it in the fridge or in your cool root cellar. Use 1 or 1.5 T. of salt for 1 quart of water for extra brine (if using kosher use more, if fine salt use less).
You can can it if you’re worried about the coolness of your root cellar or don’t have room in the fridge (to can process in a waterbath canner for 15 minutes). If you can it you kill all the good bacteria though, so it won’t be a good source of probiotics. I like my sauerkraut cooked, so I occasionally can it. Sometimes, however I just lid the jar and put it in the basement.

Do you have any great tips to know when you’re fermented products are finished?

A Little Fun

August 13th, 2009

Who said canning wasn’t fun? Last year I introduced a friend of mine the joy of pickled beets. He now loves them and always helps us pollish off jar after jar of them. I decided while canning some this year I’d make some just for him. Since he’s a fan of the The Office, I figured I’m make his with a special label.

Do you share your harvests with friends & family?

Time for Pickles

July 11th, 2009

When Mr Chiots went to the library yesterday, The Joy of Pickling, Revised Edition: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Marketwas in for me.
It came in just in time, because when I was out looking around the garden yesterday evening I spotted these.
I’m planning on making refrigerator pickles because I like them really crispy. I’ll probably be making them on Sunday or early next week when I have some time.

Are you already preserving from your garden harvest?

We’re Back!

September 17th, 2008

We’re back on-line after a few days sans electricity. Mr Chiots and I had a great time. When you live your life working in front of a computer all day, it’s a welcome reprieve to have to take a few days off. Since we had a generator to keep our fridge & freezer cool we didn’t have much to worry about. We felt like we were on vacation! So what happened around here over the last couple days? Here goes Sunday.

We lost our power on Sunday evening. What were we doing at the time? Canning of course. We were canning pears we got from my mom’s (more photos of that later). So we had to finish canning by candlelight, not as easy as it sounds (not that it sounds easy).

Mr Chiots came out and helped me since he could no longer work in the office. It’s a bit harder to peel pears but we managed to get the batch finished. It was a romantic evening of canning by candlelight together, not necessarily romantic, but we had fun.

Seven quarts of delicious pears were labeled: Lights Out Pears 9.14.08. Every time we open a jar we’ll have a good laugh about the event.

Sometimes you can find beauty in anything.

More adventures to come tomorrow.

A Peck of Pickled Peppers?

August 21st, 2008

I was at a local farm buying peaches 2 weeks ago and they had banana peppers for 6 for $1. Since Mr Chiots and a friend LOVE hot peppers on their pizza, I decided to buy some and try my hand a pickling them. I looked up a few recipes and finally settled on a combination of 2.

So do they pass the test? Yes, Mr Chiots had some on pizza the other day and loved them. So I guess next year I’ll be growing banana peppers (good thing I saved some seeds) and pickling them for a years’ worth of pizza toppings.

Here’s the Recipe I used:

1 1/2 lb of banana peppers
6 cups vinegar
2 cups water
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon non-iodized salt (kosher or pickling salt)

Cut peppers into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine vinegar, water, garlic & salt in a large sauce pot. Bring mixture to a boil: reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, remove garlic. Pack peppers into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Ladle hot pickling liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Remove air bubbles (by running knife around jar edges). Adjust 2 piece caps, process 10-minutes in boiling water canner.

If you don’t want to process your peppers you can just keep them in the fridge. Since I was only doing half a batch this is what I did, they’ll be eaten up quickly around here.

Anyone out there have a pickled hot pepper recipe they love?


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.