How long does sauerkraut keep? Or, I’m not a scurvy dog!!
Apparently at least 4 years!! : ) That is the last time I made sauerkraut in any quantity out of green cabbage. I think I need better lighting in my basement… . But, bad lighting and plentiful cabbage years have given me a gift and an experiment of sorts. Now I’m not recommending anyone try this. I have a cool basement and a cast iron stomach. But, in Nourishing Traditions there is a little story from Les Aliments Fermentés Traditionnels about Captain Cook. Apparently on his second trip around the world, 60 barrels of sauerkraut were part of the provisions. The last barrel was opened after 27 months at sea, and was still perfectly preserved. Rich in Vitamin C, not one crew member had contracted scurvy, a common ailment of sailors back in the time.
We have been making kraut in smaller quantities out of red cabbage and eating as we go. This just got shoved into a dark cool corner of the cellar and forgotten. Made following the Nourishing Traditions recipe with whey from our raw milk, Celtic sea salt, and Danish Ballhead cabbage.
I have two gallons of this. I was curious to open it and see what the condition of the kraut was. It appeared very yellow compared to fresher kraut. When I had packed this kraut for cold storage, I had used a plastic sandwich bag to make a better seal with these recycled pickle jars.
The kraut smelled just like kraut, and where the brine had evaporated there was a small amount of white mold.
I pulled the mold and the dried-out kraut out with tongs, and then washed the tongs in soapy water before using again to test the ancient brew before me.
Would I live to milk another day? Or to post about how good or bad this was? It smelled so good, and I was hungry.
With Ruth Less as my witness, I ate it. The flavor was good, just like the jars of the same batch that had been consumed many moons ago. The only thing I didn’t care for was the texture. Is was soft, like it had been canned.
I still haven’t made any kraut this year, it will probably be the last on my list of preserving for the season. But, at least I know a bumper crop of cabbage could be kept this way for a long time, without refrigeration, canning or freezing.
No scurvy dogs here.