Self-Reliance Challenge: Fermenting

For February I challenged myself to learn how to can. I procrastinated and instead decided to tackle fermenting in March. So I made my first batch of pickles and sauerkraut. Spoiler alert! I’ve already taste-tested and they both turned out amazing!

Supplies for Fermenting

My husband, Mike, and I headed over to Canadian Tire to pick up canning supplies. I grab regular 500 ml jars for pickles and wide-mouth 750 ml jars for sauerkraut. Additionally, I picked up decorative 125 ml jelly or jam jars to weigh the sauerkraut down.

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500 ml Jars

750 ml Jars

250 ml Jars

How To Make Pickles

I used this recipe to make pickles. I grabbed 2 containers of mini cucumbers from Farm Boy and sliced them in half and then into quarters. I cut off the ends so they would fit perfectly into each jar. I put around 12 slices into each jar. I grabbed dill seed and followed the instructions in the recipe. I think the only thing I would change is a put 2 garlic cloves in each jar. However, I used a garlic crusher. If I had to do it over again I would probably just chop the garlic up as this batch was extremely garlicky (which I’m not complaining about) but it was definitely strong.

I was a little scared to pour the hot brine over the cucumbers but it worked. That was just something so new for me to try. While the recipe says wait 48 hours before eating, I kept the jars in the fridge for at least 3 weeks before taste testing!

Making Pickles
First Batch of Pickles

How To Make Sauerkraut

I used this video to make sauerkraut. I used 1 head of cabbage to make 3 jars. It was a lot of work to massage the cabbage and the salt in a bowl. I ended up using a potato masher to help me work the cabbage. I left the sauerkraut on the counter and opened the containers every 2 days to let some of the CO2 build up out. It was a messy deal so I would recommend always doing it over the sink. After 3 weeks the taste test was amazing so all three containers moved into my fridge and we’re almost done the first jar!

Making Sauerkraut
Cabbage Leaf On Top of Sauerkraut
Glass Jar On Top of Sauerkraut

I don’t know why fermenting has always intimidated me but it really was so easy to do. It also felt really good learning a new skill and knowing that we don’t always need to buy store-bought products now.

I think my next skill will be to learn how to make homemade vinegar as I used an entire 2L container of apple cider vinegar for the pickles.

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