Our Juletid GEN focused on examining the difference between wild fermentation and cultured fermentation.
We’ve been brewing kombucha as part of our ongoing Kulturkollektionen project http://biologigaragen.org/kulturkollektionen/ for quite some time now and when we found a Christmas sauerkraut recipe that calls for kombucha to kickstart the fermentation process, we were excited to look into what happens when cabbage meets SCOBY http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCOBY.
Each group that participated made two different batches of sauerkraut, one using the kombucha culture and one using no starter culture that will rely on the presence of wild lactic acid producing bacteria to ferment. We were also experimenting in culinary terms as some of the attendees were foodies and wanted to branch out from the base recipe—in the end we produced spicy kraut, Indian-style kraut, garlicy kraut and more. When all was said and done, the kraut was sealed up in vacuum storage bags and sent home with the participants.
We expect that the kraut made with kombucha will ferment a bit faster than the wild fermentations. We hope to have our final results back after Christmas Eve, when participants will serve up Science in the form of an easy and (hopefully) delicious food fermentaion alongside their traditional jule dinners!
In the event that you want to run this experiment at home, here is the base recipe we used in brief:
- 1 head red cabbage
- 6 cups raw cranberries (this is sadly next to impossible to find in Denmark)
- 3 mandarins, zest and juice
- 1 lemon, zest
- juice of ½ lemon
- 2 inch knob of ginger, shredded
- 1-2 cups dehydrated cane juice or coconut palm sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 4 sticks of cinnamon
- 2 T unrefined sea salt
- Enough kombucha to cover top layer of sauerkraut in fermentation vessel