Will I get botulism making my own ferments?
The short answer is no. The high acid anaerobic environment in your ferment creates an environment that is antagonistic to botulism and the beneficial bacteria that acidify your food & ferment is can out-compete the botulism bacteria.
Where should I ferment my kraut?
Vegetable ferments generally prefer slow fermentation & cooler temps and that’s why dry root cellars are often idea. A temperature of 65° to 75°F is ideal.
Whats this white film or scum on the top of the veggies?
Generally, its not mold, its just a kind of yeast called kahm. Its not harmful but might smell a bit funky – just skim it off. Yeast often happens if your ferment is not salty enough or fermenting in too warm a space. If you have mold growing just on top, generally you can skim it off. Other good places around the web - especially if you are getting mold or colors in your ferment, are here, here and here.
Do I have to refrigerate my sauerkraut?
Initially, when it is fermenting, no, but just like you would with yogurt or other live foods, refrigeration serves to slow down the fermentation process. So when it is ‘done’ and to your taste, put in the fridge. Below the brine it will keep just fine!
How long should I ferment it for?
Your kraut is finished when you like the taste – some folks wait months and like a robust & super tangy flavor and some people wait only a week for a fresher kraut.
How long will it keep for?
Indefinitely, as long as it is in the refrigerator and especially if the vegetables are fully under the brine.
Why does it bubble in the jar?
Good question! Your fermented veggies are all raw and have not been canned or pasteurized, therefore what you are seeing in the jar is the natural process of fermentation! It is the carbon dioxide bubbling up.