Making Sauerkraut in a desert

Hi has anyone had issues with making sauerkraut in a desert? I've just moved from London, UK where I made delicious fermented sauerkraut, to Phoenix, AZ and I have been having trouble with the recipe that I used in London. It either winds up salty and not fermented or it goes bad. Does anyone have any tips or trick on how to make sauerkraut in a desert?

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12 Comments

Ken L. November 27, 2017
It's not about the temperature that you place the fermenting vessel in or the amount of salt, etc., etc. It's about climate. The high heat, low humidity, thin air are hostile to the kinds of bacteria needed for making sauerkraut. It's the same where I live, Reno, NV. The necessary kinds of bacteria don't exist here. I'm looking into trying one of the starters that are supposed to make available the right kinds of bacteria. I's sure like to hear from someone who has had the same kind of experience that you and I are having. So far all I get is people trying to tell me that all you need is salt.
 
Cav November 27, 2017
Ah. Not a dessert question.
 
Ken L. November 24, 2017
I wonder whether adding yeast would work.
 
Ken L. November 24, 2017
Aha! I think I have it figured out why I can't make sauerkraut, sower sough bread, compost or dill pickles. I have suspected that it is hot, dry, thin air that is hostile to the kind of bacteria needed for these fermentations. I live in Reno, Nevada at an elevation of 5000 ft., where we frequently see relative humidity In the single digits and temperatures in the triple digits for days on end. I don't know what we can do. I think it's hopeless for fermentation. Is there a source for the kind of bacteria needed? Has anybody tried the yogurt trick?
 
Maedl May 15, 2014
This post may help: http://www.nourishingtreasures.com/index.php/2012/05/15/the-science-behind-sauerkraut-fermentation/

It sounds as if you are having problems with the fermentation stage. I have a vague recollection that some people introduce the lactobacillus by adding a small amount of yogurt or another food that contains the microorganism. I spend a lot of time in sauerkraut country (Germany), so I think that is where I picked up the idea.
 
Maedl May 15, 2014
Ah, I found a bit more:
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/compare-salt-whey-starter-culture-ferment-vegetables-fruits-condiments
 
Debbie May 15, 2014
These are great articles and very helpful! Thank you!
 
Heather S. May 16, 2014
I've never heard about adding a bit of yogurt or other lactobacillus rich foods to the cabbage. I've been beginning to suspect that it had something to do with the bacteria, thank you for the help. Looks like I have some experimenting to do.
 
Debbie May 14, 2014
I can't believe this post came up! I just posted something on Facebook that sounds very much like your posting! The difference is where we both came from...you from the UK, and I from Arkansas, USA...BUT...both are humid places...I am wondering if humidity has anything to do with it all! I have lived here in Phoenix for eleven years...I have obtained cabbage fresh from the field, no chemicals, along with store-purchased cabbage; I have used tap water, distilled water, and filtered water; I use only salt, no vinegar...I have had many batches sour or barely ferment and end up not very tasty at all, compared to what I did in Arkansas. I always thanked God for the wonderful sauerkraut that really was no trouble at all, but did not realize just how blessed I was in that endeavor until I moved here! If anything comes up on Facebook, I will post it here! Welcome to Phoenix! Sauerkraut and heat can be a bit troublesome, but other than that, Phoenix is a wonderful place to live!

 
Ken L. November 27, 2017
Here's my opinion that has resulted from my experience of trying to ferment dill pickles, ferment sauerkraut, make sourdough bread and do composting in Reno, Nevada with no success. I have tried over and over following numerous recipes and instructions to the letter. I think it's the climate. Here in Reno, single digit humidity, triple digit temperatures and high thin air are common and hostile to the kinds of bacteria that are necessary for those endeavors. Here and in Phoenix, those bacteria simply don't exist. It's not about the temperature where you place your fermenting container, how much salt you use, etc., etc., it just isn't going to ferment because the necessary bacteria aren't there.
 
ChefJune April 1, 2014
I don't have any great advice, but you might contact a chef or cooking teacher in Phoenix and ask them. Barbara Fenzl owns a wonderful cooking school in Phoenix, "Les Gourmettes." you could look her up.
 
SKK April 1, 2014
Temperature between London and Phoenix, big difference. Air conditioning all over Arizona, another difference that subtracts humidity. Water quality huge difference. Just keep experimenting.
 
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