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Can you make salami with Sauerkraut Juice?

You know how much I love to experiment with food. In this series I’ll be experimenting with different ingredients to see if we can acidify (ferment) salami meat without the use of a commercially obtained starter culture.

This is very exciting as there are many hobbyist who want to make salami but have a hard time getting starter cultures. This is the first test of what will be about 5-6 different experiments using a variety of different ingredients.

Sauerkraut juice seems like an obvious choice for me. It’s full of Lactic acid producing bacteria (Lactobacillus). When sauerkraut is made in temperature of 66f – 73f, 3 stages of LAB’s are formed. Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus Planterum, and Pediococcus pentosaceus. These 3 bacteria are responsible for flavor development and acidification within the sauerkraut. The L. planterum is a bacteria that is also found in commercial salami starter cultures and so going into this project I was feeling really confident that we could achieve our desired results.

My target temperature for this ferment will be 67F and a 85% humidity. I chose these conditions as they are optimal for these bacteria. I will be adding dextrose as the food source and will be looking for a pH target of 4.9-4.7 within a 72 hour period. I’ll be testing the pH through the entire process. We recommend the Apera Instruments pH tester (PH60s-z) for fast and accurate results. This tool is essential if you are into salami making, cheese making, wine making, pepper sauce, kombucha, or gardening (I can go on and on). A must have in your arsenal. More about this later…..

Before I started I sanitized all of my equipment, my chambers, and my station so that any flora (good or bad) would not get in the way of our results. The sanitizer I used is called Iodophor and I highly suggest using it or something like it if you are into these types of projects.

The sauerkraut I used was a “Mexican” flavored sauerkraut that I made so I themed my salami “The Mexican Salami”. I used fresh ingredients in the sauerkraut, 2.5% salt, and fermented it at 67F for 3 weeks. If you buy sauerkraut at the store make sure that the bacteria inside are live and not killed through pasteurization.

This is considered a form of wild fermentation so the results may be slightly unpredictable but if you want to see what happens check out the video for the complete experiment or scroll to the very bottom of this post for the SPOILERS!! Enjoy

Want to know what happened. Well in a nutshell this experiment worked beautifully! When the meat was placed inside of a 66f chamber and allowed to ferment for approximately 60 hours we hit the pH of 4.89. This was exactly where we wanted to be. The meat had firmed up nicely and was starting to develop a mild fermented flavor. I can say that our first experiment was a success and naturally fermented sauerkraut juice can be used to ferment salami meat.

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4 thoughts on “Can you make salami with Sauerkraut Juice?”

  1. Eric, I just saw this video this morning and would like your thoughts on using a brine left over from a hot sauce ferment in the same way as you did with the fermented sauerkraut juice?

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