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Scott Kustes
11-27-2007, 06:40 AM
So I started culturing vegetables. I'm on my second batch of sauerkraut. The first batch wasn't so hot, but the second one is really good and so much different than store-bought kraut made with vinegar rather than fermentation. Here's my question though...I've been using the Body Ecology culture to make it, but that's going to get expensive if I have to use that. Can I either transfer some of the liquid from one batch to the next one to start the culture or is there another way to get a culture started without having to buy it?

Robert Allison
11-27-2007, 07:27 AM
IIRC, BED suggests that you not try to "recycle" their cultured vegetable starter. But since that is a very common practice in making kefir and kombucha, I'm not sure why it wouldn't work.

For cultured vegetables, you don't necessarily need a starter. I have made sauerkraut & other cultured vegetables without one and they turned out great. But I can't imagine that transferring some of the liquid from one batch to another could hurt anything, so give it a try.

Garrett Smith
11-27-2007, 07:48 AM
Scott,
Here's a dirty little secret. No starter culture is necessary at all to make cultured veggies. That tidbit is mentioned in one sentence in the BED book.

Just wash the dishes/utensils you will be using well with hot water beforehand. One tip--don't use any old jars/containers that were used for making kefir to then make cultured veggies in. That's the only time I've had a batch go bad (it's easy to tell when cultured veggies go bad).

Other than that, I believe that the "culture starters" are capitalizing on capltalism, and the fact that people don't want to believe that vegetables can culture themselves without any "added bacteria".

FYI, with cabbage, take off the outer layers of leaves, wash them well, then use them as the "packing" at the top of your jar. Don't wash the rest of the cabbage (the inner layers). There's plenty of good bacteria in the inner layers to do the job--that's why cabbage is included in so many cultured veggie recipes.

I also blend my garlic and onions into the "brine" liquid. That should kill off any bad bugs right there.

Robert, email me if you are still interested in any articles for the magazine...glad to see you back!

Paul Findley
11-27-2007, 10:23 PM
Hi,

I did up some cabbage a while ago, it was ok, but shredded seemed too fine, as it digested into mush.

I never did try larger pieces. What are some other good vegetable candidates for culturing for some variety?

Thanks,
Paul

sarena kopciel
11-28-2007, 04:33 AM
Hi,

I did up some cabbage a while ago, it was ok, but shredded seemed too fine, as it digested into mush.

I never did try larger pieces. What are some other good vegetable candidates for culturing for some variety?

Thanks,
Paul

In stores I have seen onion, carrots, beets and even cauliflower but hey. I am def not an expert! I think shredding is too fine though with cabbage--use the slice blade with processor or just do it by hand! Yummy! Oh and post your recipe when you are done pls.

Scott Kustes
11-28-2007, 05:12 AM
Good word Garrett. I figured the culture starter wasn't needed as I doubt home-cooking Koreans are running out to find the perfect culture for their kimchi. Anyway, I'll use up the rest of what I have...I actually was purchasing the kefir culture and decided to get some vegetable culture too. This last time I turned an 8lb Chinese cabbage (yes, it was probably the world's largest cabbage) and an onion into sauerkraut. I don't know if it really qualifies as kraut with an onion in there, but it's delicious nonetheless and it's getting more potent everyday. The dog likes it too.

Greg Davis
11-28-2007, 12:04 PM
Scott: save the culture starter for a cultured recipe that does not include cabbage (cabbage can do it naturally, but most other things cant) !. ie. culture some other type veggie, dairy, or young coconut

Garrett Smith
11-28-2007, 12:34 PM
Paul, I'll use just about any vegetable as long as cabbage is in there somewhere.

Recently I did a mix that included a bag of "Southern Greens" and "The Chard of Many Colors" from TJ's. I liked it.

I'll second Sarena's suggestion on the cabbage--use the "slicer" blade, shredding it is a bit much.

Scott, cabbage and onions and garlic is a nice simple combo...last time I put in a few too many onions though...

Robert Allison
11-29-2007, 11:13 AM
Robert, email me if you are still interested in any articles for the magazine...glad to see you back!

Thanks Garrett,

I am definitely still interested in publishing some of your articles...things have been pretty crazy here for the past couple of months, but should be slowing down somewhat here in the next few weeks. I'll be in touch...