Tried the second batch of kraut and it turned out okay. I left it in for four weeks this time and unfortunately there was some mold situation during the last week. Apparently you can scratch it off or remove that layer and, sure enough, the kraut was totally fine. However, the thing stank up the whole apartment and it looked and smelled gnarly.
I’m not sure what the problem was; a lot of the liquid evaporated very quickly for some reason and adding some water probably caused the problem.
It’s still too salty for my taste, so I’ll reduce the amount again for the next batch.
After I could not control myself anymore and ended up eating my first batch after about two weeks I made another one with some adjustments this weekend. First of all, I used two heads of cabbage instead of one. I was surprised how little yield one head gives you (not even a fourth of the jar), so I thought two would be just fine. I used one red and one white cabbage, to get a nice color.
I also used a lot less salt. The original recipe called for one tablespoon per pound (I think), which roughly ended up being four tablespoons for one cabbage, and it turned out to be way too salty for my taste. So this time I used five tablespoons for two heads of cabbage, which still pulled out plenty of liquid. I also left out the mustard seeds, mostly because I wanted to see what the kraut would taste like without any additional spices and the mustard turned the first batch surprisingly spicy.
Let’s hope I can keep my hands off of this batch for four weeks this time.
A status update on the “mead” — I tossed it yesterday. I had left it more or less alone for a couple of days and took a peek yesterday evening and it smelled really disgusting and tasted bad, too. Not sure what happened, but it was definitely not alcoholic in the slightest and never started visibly fermenting. Or it fermented really quickly and had gone over into the vinegar stage by the time I tasted it…
Oh well, I guess there will be another round.
I tried the honey water for the mead today and while it does taste okay, very sweet and definitely infused with flavor from the apple bits, there is, as far as I can tell, no fermentation happening (although it can apparently be very slow and inconspicuous). I’ll leave it for another couple of days, but I have the suspicion that this project didn’t really work out.
To continue the experiments, I thought I’d try making mead, which is apparently one of the easiest things to make and while I, as usual, don’t like mead (it’s way to sweet for my taste and gives you one hell of a headache) I’m still interested in the process and want to try making it. All you do is mix ca. 4 parts of water and 1 part honey and let it sit. If the honey is raw, it will apparently have yeasts in it. If it’s pasteurized (which is what I happened to have in the house) you need to get the wild yeast that’s flying around to land on the mix and let it do the work.
Which takes a lot longer and involves a ton of stirring.
Which is what I’m doing right at this moment.
I also put some fruit bits in it, because, as far as I know, there are also yeasts on the surfaces of fruits with edible skins, so that might also help with getting the fermentation started. However, because of the small batch, the surface area is pretty big relative to the volume involved, so this might work out just fine.
For full disclosure’s sake, I’m making a very small batch, because I don’t have a big container and I have no idea what the fuck I would do with a gallon or more of a beverage I don’t even like.