so of course the new jar of fermenting sauerkraut would leak out of the airlock: i packed in the cabbage so tightly it hardly fit inside the jar and i didn't use any weights to push it all down. but i've decided to treat this jar the same way you'd treated a crying spoiled child: just leave it alone, let it overflow. there's no air gap inside the jar, so there's no danger of spoiling, as long as i don't open the jar. even with a weight, there's no guarantee it still won't overflow, like when i kept switching out the apple weights. most of the heavy fermentation takes place within the first few days, once it gets beyond that, any overflow will hopefully stop.
out of curiosity, i tried the sauerkraut i made from the first jar. the one thing i noticed immediately was how dry it was. that's not surprising, given how much liquids i poured out the first few days it was fermenting. i now see this was a mistake. any cabbage juice removed would not then magically appear. i began noticing this a few days after the initial ferment, when i could see rather large air pockets in the sauerkraut. i thought this was normal, figured the air pockets were just pockets of active carbon dioxide production. but since yesterday there really hasn't been any fermentation activity.
as for the taste, very crispy, moderate sourness level, the caraway seeds adds a minty foreign complexity to the cabbage. maybe it could use a bit more salt, but it's not too bad, at least with this level of sodium you could still pass it off as somewhat healthy. it could also use a more bit sourness, but with the lack of cabbage juice, i don't believe there would've been anymore fermentation. the lesson i learned here is to maybe not open the second jar of sauerkraut, to allow it to completely sealed and submerged in its juices for a proper ferment. i may also wait longer, 7-8 days is okay, but if i want more fermentation and a stronger flavor, i should be prepared to wait weeks.
so much for univision: what clear reception i received a few days ago is now all gone. was it a fluke? a freak of weather pattern that allowed me to get 27.1 when i normally don't? fortunately i ordered some new antennas on tuesday from a monoprice sale. a set top antenna with a 60 mile range ($12.89), and a standard paper thin 35 mile range antenna ($5.89). i will have more antennas than i know what to do with them. at least one will go to my 2nd aunt, and another i'll give to my sister. maybe the 60 mile range will do the trick, but i'm doubtful. it's my first antenna that's not a flat paper-style.
i went to market basket in the afternoon to pick up $20 worth of groceries: hot dogs, kielbasa, clementines, bananas. i moved paul's bicycle - which had been sitting outside underneath a tarp since spring - back into the basement. it was an eyesore, took up bike parking space i could've been using, and he never rode that bike, both tires deflated from disuse. finally, i picked up a wooden display case my neighbor margot tossed out. she seems to have a non-stop cache of unwanted books and home/kitchen decor/tools.
today marks the winter solstice, the official start of winter, though some would argue winter probably began weeks ago. i set up a 2 seconds/frame timelapse in my parents' backyard, hoping to capture a glorious sunset that never come. chickadees fed at the globe feeder while i saw a downy woodpecker eating from the suet feeder.
my parents brought home some of their homemade chinese sauerkraut on the same day i bought back some of mine. their's have thick meaty strands, while mine is all chopped up into smaller pieces. after tasting mine, my father said it was too dry and could be a bit more sour.
out of curiosity, i did a search for fermentation crocks on craig's list, and came up with a few hits. there was a stoughton seller getting rid of a 30L german fermentation crock for $150. only used twice, it originally cost $265 plus another $74 for shipping. i sent the seller an e-mail, asking if he'd sell it for $100.
after dinner i received a call from brookhaven, new york. it was the crock seller. he had an unidentifiable accent that made him hard to understand on the phone. i thought he was calling because he agreed to my price, but later i figured out he was actually complaining that it was too low. i was waiting for him to set a new price (figuring he wanted to negotiate) but he never did.
then he asked me a strange question: are you chinese? that took me by surprise. what did that have anything to do with it? i said nothing in my e-mail, and you can't anything from the way i talk. after a brief pause, i answered yes, but from taiwan. the conversation turned a little awkward, before he broke out in mandarin. turns out he's from northeast china (dongbei), and chinese sauerkraut is a staple of dongbei cuisine.
he was like a salesman, trying to me sell on the benefits on his $150 crock. unfortunately i already saw his cards. in his posting he said he was moving, and people who are moving are desperate to sell at any price, because whatever he doesn't sell, he's just going to throw away. then there was the size of his fermentation crock. typically these things are 5L, sits on a kitchen counter. at 30L, it's borderline industrial, and would probably need two people just to move it empty (40 lbs) and impossible to move once filled with liquids. you'd have to be pretty devoted to fermentation to get something like that. if i wanted to play hardball, i could lower the price even more, since my father thinks he won't be able to find anyone interested in buying it.
i told the seller i'd have to discuss it with my father. now it's a waiting game. maybe he'll get lucky, find a buyer. but if he doesn't, i expect a call within the next few days, asking me if i'm still interested. a part of me wants to bargain even more, maybe ask for the chinese dongbei compatriot price which is i'll take the crock off your hands for free, because otherwise you're just going to have to throw it away, and that'd be a waste of a good crock.