Ferment is not sour. It doesn't seem to be progressing.

Ferment not sour enough

Hi Kirsten,

I am new to the ferment world. As someone who loves to cook, enjoys quality food and always trying to become healthier, fermenting has become like a wonderful new friend.

My second batch of kraut is now over three months old and is still not at a sour or tenderness level that I am satisfied with.  According to pH strips, the acidity level is somewhere between 4-5, the brine is cloudy and I am no longer seeing any bubbles when I press the contents. 

Will the kraut ferment any more? Did I use too much salt? Is the batch at risk of developing any adverse characteristics if I continue to leave at room temperature?

From reading up on some of your previous responses, I am surmising that I need to cut the cabbage more finely and/or massage, perhaps even beat it more in the future?

Any insights you can offer would be appreciated! 




Hi Tim,

Welcome to wonderful world of yummy ferments.

There are a lot of possibilities here. First let me say three months is a long time for such a small batch. It definitely won’t ferment any more. There is no need to leave it out. If left out it will eventually have no more “food” for the bacteria and they will die off. This won’t be bad, as in make you sick, it just won’t be probiotic or as tasty. My guess is the lack of pizzazz and sour is likely from the cabbage itself. Depending on the cultivar and time of year cabbages can have very little sugar and starch to break down. It is the sugar that turns into that lovely sour. There is a winter cabbage that has been bred from cold storage and can last for months because it is bred not to break down—which is exactly what we are asking it to do with fermentation.

Cutting finely and massaging are always good. No need to beat it up—you may end up with a mushy kraut.

I would say just try again. In a month or two the juicy summer cabbages will be at the markets and you will likely get a wonderful kraut. Last, if you are someone that likes extra sour you can do what some Asian ferments do which is add a little sugar that will be fermented into more acid. 

Hope that helps!