- Author: Tami Reece
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Tami Reece UCCE Master Food Preserver
I am interested in fermenting. Is it hard to make kombucha or sauerkraut? Kim W. San Luis Obispo
Fermenting foods involves a few simple steps. It does not require any refrigeration, preserving methods or special equipment but does require a little chemistry. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage using salt whereas kombucha is fermented tea using sugar.
Sauerkraut is very fun to make. It is the process of mixing shredded cabbage and salt and packing it in a jar or crock and placing in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. It is important you store your sauerkraut at 70 to 75 degrees for fermenting. At 60 to 65 degrees the sauerkraut will take longer to ferment and below 60 it will not ferment at all. Above 75 degrees and your sauerkraut will become soft and mushy. Afterwards, you can preserve your sauerkraut using the boiling water method, but I usually place mine in the fridge. It will last several months but mine never seems to make it past a couple of weeks!
Kombucha contains many healthy bacteria known as probiotics due to the fermentation process. It consists of black or green tea and sugar in various forms such as cane sugar, fruit or honey. It is made by fermenting the tea and sugar with a SCOBY which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. SCOBIES can be found on-line, in local stores, from friends, or with a little patience you can grow your own from raw kombucha purchased at a store.
It is important to use a reputable recipe for both these processes. If you do not use the correct ratio of salt to cabbage you could end up with a non-fermented product or mold. With[DR1] kombucha, if you do not add enough sugar at the start or during the process, the SCOBY will not have anything to feed on and your tea will not ferment.
Join us to learn more at the UCCE Master Food Preservers' Fermentation Workshop on Saturday August 25 from 10:00 to 12:00 p.m. at 2156 Sierra Way in the auditorium next to the parking lot. Cost of the workshop is $10. If you are interested in attending, please make reservations at http://ucanr.edu/fermentation2018 .