It’s been years since I packed some kraut.
Cabbage shredded, smashed with salt, and packed them into 40l German crocks. Lactobacilli all around us thrives at the temperature the relics of stoneware will be kept, as well as in the specific salinity achieved with the right amount of Himalayan pink. Cave men could do this stuff, probably did on accident. After all, their dwellings naturally maintain the first requirement.
For the hundreds of liters I fermented in 2011, coarse salt was used with great success, but this evening I decided to give fine a try. Picking up several bags at a steal led up to getting back to this passion. Cabbage picked from our garden pushed me over the ledge.
My initial thought was the finer stuff would dissolve more quickly and evenly, proving to be advantageous for the process. It didn’t take long to realize that, where the fish-tank pebble-sized material would brush off my hands between packing and chopping, this stuck to my hands like confectioner’s sugar.
Sauerkraut is all about time, and the salt always dissolved fully laying the stones on top of the batch. No extra water is necessary — the salt pulls so much from the cabbage, that by the time you cover it, all the sliced brassica is submerged, ensuring the necessary anaerobic environment. I theorize the coarser material actually assists in drawing out the liquid and kickstarting the transformation, by more vigorously breaking the cell walls of the leaves.
When I need a brine, the extra fine will be the ticket, but these two considerations have me leaning toward the original formula for next time. To be certain, we’ll know over the next 3, 7, 21 days, or so.