The pickle jar: fermenting and preserving

I wrote about making Sauerkraut in another discussion and rather than take it over with more chronicles of fermentexperimentation (or experifermentation, whichever) I thought I’d start a new one.
I have just filled 2 jars with shredded carrot garlic and chilli which I am hoping will lactoferment nicely over the next 3 or 4 days.


I am adding the Sauerkraut recipe here too.

You will need:

*cabbage, coarse salt, some peppercorns and caraway seeds if you like them. I used 3kg of cabbage which was 2 whole cabbages.

  • a big (ideally plastic) bowl, a flat ended rolling pin or something similar, a big jar, something you can use as a weight which fits inside the jar eg a saucer, some cling film. These need to be clean and not dusty etc but not sterilised.

Get some cabbage, the usual pale green tight smooth one. Slice it into quarters and take the core and any dodgy looking outer leaves away.
Weigh it: you will need 2% of its weight of salt. (So eg for 2kg of cabbage you need 40g of salt).
Keep an outer leaf to one side, it will come in handy later.

Shred the cabbage and put it in the plastic bowl scattering the salt as you go, once it is all done give it a good mix with your hands for about 5 minutes, it will start making juice and the salt will dissolve. Now get the rolling pin or similar and bash it vertically on the cabbage, turning it over and over from time to time. You are just trying to bruise it to get the juice flowing. Now add the peppercorns and or caraway seeds (coriander would work, so would allspice or juniper).
After say 10 minutes your cabbage will look slightly battered and have shrunk to about half or even a third of its original size. Take handfuls and pack the cabbage into jars, squashing it as you go - use the rolling pin - press it down well and add that leaf you kept, trimmed to fit on top of the cabbage like a little blanket - then pour the juice in, it should be a couple of cm above the cabbage leaf.
Stick a saucer or jamjar with marbles in it or suchlike as a weight on top then cling film it. You don’t want the cabbage coming into contact with air. Now leave it for a week, look at it after 5 days or so, maybe let some air out but don’t fiddle with it. It should be frothing and looking active, and that’s it! Transfer to something that goes in the fridge, drink the juice (delicious) et voilà. You can heat it up or not as you prefer.


That sounds a really interesting combo. What chillies did you use ?. A lot of my chillies haven’t done well this year except for the cayenne and jalapenos.

They were nameless pointy chillies about the size of my little finger, I didn’t grow any this year and bought them in grand frais.

I am also getting a ginger bug going only I’m on the second because the first refused to ferment (not organic ginger, tap water…).

Is there a cooking equivalent of green fingers? If so, I reckon you have it @vero

I tried making sauerkraut and mine just went to a manky, mouldy mess. :frowning_face: I decided it was safer to buy it raw in winter from our local Leclerc.


I am delighted. The carrots are hissing and fermenting away to the point where they have overflowed and the ginger bug made with organic ginger is bubbling, I’m so excited about it :slightly_smiling_face:

Here are the carrots and what’s left of the Sauerkraut

Edited to add the dark thing in the Sauerkraut is a caraway seed, not something dodgy.

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Ever turned your hand to alcohol, Vero?

Not yet, bar some dandelion wine I made as revenge on them and helping an aunt make elderflower champagne :slightly_smiling_face: are you a wine maker or a brewer @KarenLot ? All tips and hints gratefully received :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve been a brewer of wine and beer for about 35 years now. I currently have a 23 litre strawberry wine bubbling away and a 5 litre red grape wine courtesy of my neighbours vine that has fruited very early this year. Just bottled some elderberry wine.
All the wine grapes here are fruiting early, but some are in a terrible condition, looking more like dried raisins on the vine than grapes. It’s tragic to see them. All the sunflower fields have also been devastated by the drought. They’re all either dead or severely stunted. They won’t be worth harvesting.

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So sad the grapes turned to raisins and dead sunflowers. Your wine sounds marvellous though.

No, not me! If I tried to make any alcohol the place would probably explode!

Bur I was thinking that after your success with vegetables, if you turned to alcohol you shoild have no trouble turning out some fine stuff :slight_smile:

Speaking of which, does anyone know whicb Pflümli(s) are meant to be the best? I have decided my desserts are getting very dull and going to source some Swiss and German eaux de vie when I go there to pick some other stuff up. I can’t for the life of me remember which Pflümli was reckoned the best when I was a Serviertochter in Switzerland, they took it seriously there.

Sitrep: carrots are fabulous, very crunchy and garlicky with a nice kick from the fermentation and chillies. Ginger beer is fabulous I am super happy with it, the recipe called it ginger ale but it looks and tastes like ginger beer to me, I think the nomenclature must be down to some technicality.
The kombucha SCOBY may or may not be doing something, it is in its jar in its cupboard and I shall look at it in 10 days or so.

They are two quite different drinks. Ginger ale is golden in colour & stronger ginger flavour, I think it is more used as a mixer - Ginger Beer is white and sweeter and drunk on its own.

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Yes quite, commercially the difference is obvious at first sight.

Theoretically it would seem ginger ale is made pretty much with a homemade ginger-based sourdough process, and ginger beer with a SCOBY-like or possibly kefir-like organism - but the recipe I followed is making what definitely looks like ginger beer, not ginger ale, although it says it is ginger ale! Very curious.

Actually I’m happy since I prefer ginger beer to ginger ale but still, if you set out to make one thing it is provoking if it turns out to be another.

Incidentally both are drunk alone and as mixers, it is just a question of personal taste. Ginger beer shandy is lovely.

All this talk of ginger beer… and I’m transported back in time… hearing the gentle (?) pop as another bottle blows its top in Mum’s pantry… :wink: :rofl:


Here’s the ginger beer, made with a ginger bug, according to the (American) book’s recipe for ginger ale

Whatever you call it, it is fantastic :slightly_smiling_face:


It looks brilliant. How long does it take to make?

Can we have the recipe? :grinning:

Altogether it took 8 days.
First make the ginger bug: in a big jamjar put 2 tablespoons of chopped organic ginger root, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of spring or filtered water and stir it, then leave it in a corner of your kitchen (with a bit of cloth held by an elastic over the the jar). Repeat for 5 days - by maybe the 4th day it will be bubbly. Once it is good and bubbly strain it into a new jar and add half* to the following preparation:
In a big stainless steel pan put 4 litres of water, a cup of chopped ginger, a cup of sugar, the juice of 2 lemons (I used the zest as well) and heat it until the sugar dissolves. Let it get back to room temperature before you add the ginger bug. Stir it well.

Strain it into a big wide-ish necked carboy, cover with a hanky and an elastic and in 2 or 3 days it’ll start fizzing, that’s when you bottle it and stick it in the fridge. It is super refreshing and not overly sweet.

You keep the ginger bug in the fridge and feed it a teaspoon of chopped ginger and a teaspoon of sugar every week and reuse it to make more ginger beer. *You top what you keep up with water when you take half out to make ginger beer.

Edited to add you have now made a sort of ginger-based sourdough without the flour obviously.

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Here’s a pic of the big jar, about 4 litres

Once it is bubbling like that it is bottling time.