Sauerkraut Making Time

Regular readers will know I enjoy making lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. They are easy to make, and a good way to preserve homegrown veggies from our garden. Sauerkraut is also one of those things where the finished product is truly greater than the sum of its parts. While I sometimes like to add other flavoring ingredients, in its simplest form sauerkraut just needs two ingredients: cabbage and salt. I guess the third thing it needs is time, and that can be a matter of days or weeks depending on the temperature and your own personal preferences.

Homemade Sauerkraut

Homemade Sauerkraut

This week I harvested enough cabbage to make a quart jar of sauerkraut. I already have a couple of jars of kohlrabi kraut (aka sauerrüben) in the frig, plus a jar of kimchi. That should be enough krauts to hold me until the fall cabbages and kohlrabies are ready to harvest, usually in October and November here.

It takes about two pounds (900g) of chopped or grated cabbage to make a quart jar of sauerkraut. I like to use a wide mouth jar, which makes it easier to get the cabbage in and the sauerkraut out of the jar. The jar just needs to be clean, not sterilized like you would for canning. Any pure salt will work, one that doesn’t have added things like iodine or anti-caking ingredients. I use either a sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. I’ve been using around 20g of salt for 900g of cabbage, which is slightly less than 4 tsp.

cutting up cabbage for sauerkraut

cutting up cabbage for sauerkraut

I use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the cabbage into fine shreds. After it’s all cut up, I mix the salt and cabbage together in a mixing bowl. Sometimes I use a potato masher to pound the cabbage and salt to get the juices going, but this time I used my hands to do the mixing, squeezing the cabbage and working in the salt until it started releasing its juices. It seemed to satisfy some primal urge, to prepare and preserve a vegetable I had grown myself using a technique our ancestors used hundreds, if not thousands of years ago.

I’ll leave the jar on our kitchen counter, with the lid loosely fastened so any fermenting gases can escape. I’ll start tasting the cabbage after about four days, and when it tastes pleasantly tart to me I’ll put in the refrigerator.

For more information about making sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented vegetables:

  1. Homemade Sauerkraut, Three Ways
  2. Homemade Sauerkraut
  3. Fermented Kohlrabi Two Ways

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Posted in Food, Homemade, Preserving | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Harvest Monday July 11, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s definitely been squash-y around here, with lots of summer squash setting on the plants. I’m also getting some nice cucumbers from the greenhouse plants. In the below photo there’s a Tasty Jade cuke, plus Romanesco, Striata d’Italia, Clarimore and Bossa Nova zucchini.

harvest of cucumber and zucchini

harvest of cucumber and zucchini

My wife used some of the zucchini to make zucchini boats, stuffed with some shredded beef taco meat I had made up from a leftover roast and then frozen. We had a hard time getting the zucchini done, even with par-boiling before baking, so that recipe needs a bit of work. It’s still a novel way to make squash disappear and we will likely make it again, perhaps with a different filling. If anyone has a good recipe I would love to hear about it! I also want to make Michelle’s Scarpaccia recipe, and I can see some Zucchini Hummus in my future as well as more spiralizing – if that’s even a word!

stuffed zucchini boats

stuffed zucchini boats

I’ve harvested all the main heads of the broccoli, and the plants are making a few side shoots. The broccoli is not really liking the hot weather we’ve been having, though the rain has perked it up a bit. The side shoots are nice, and I’ll probably leave the plants until I need the space for fall plantings.

broccoli side shoots

broccoli side shoots

The blueberries and blackberries are still coming in. We freeze what we don’t eat, spreading the berries out on a pan then putting them in a bag after they are frozen. That makes it easy to get out the amount we need, since they aren’t (usually) all frozen up in a big blob.

frozen blackberries

frozen blackberries

We have two varieties of blackberries planted, Apache and Natchez. The Apache has been planted for at least eight years, while we planted the Natchez back in 2014. This is the first really good harvest we’ve gotten from the fairly young planting of the Natchez. I’ve been a fan of Apache for some time, and I did a Spotlight on it back in 2013. But the Natchez  is quickly becoming another favorite here, with berries that are about as big as Apache and perhaps even more flavorful. They are a great combo together, and I’ve harvested about five gallons of them so far, with no end in sight just yet.

Natchez blackberries

Natchez blackberries

Also coming in are the Derby bush beans. My wife made a batch of one of my favorite things, Green Bean and Bulgur Salad with Walnuts. I found some cherry tomatoes and an onion to go with the beans for the salad. We had five straight days of rain last week, dumping over five inches of rain total on us, and many of the small tomatoes are splitting. Sun Gold is prone to that anyway, but the tomatoes were fine and we enjoyed them in the salad.

tomatoes and onion for green bean salad

tomatoes and onion for green bean salad

I pulled all of the Candy and Sierra Blanca onions, since they were flopping over and some had started flowering. I didn’t plant a whole lot of them, which is too bad because they seem to have done a lot better than they have the last couple of years. I’ll weigh them up after they have cured. None of them are storage types so we will use them up fairly quickly. I can always chop and freeze some if need be.

Candy and Sierra Blanca onions

Candy and Sierra Blanca onions

I also dug the rest of the potatoes. The Kennebec did the best, with the eight plants making almost eight pounds of spuds. We don’t eat a lot of potatoes, but it is nice to have some really fresh ones. We enjoyed a couple of the Kennebecs baked last week.

Kennebec potatoes

Kennebec potatoes

The first eggplant fruits have been setting on. That’s Millionaire and Fairy Tale in the below photo, along with some of the Derby bush beans. I grilled the eggplant for a side dish yesterday.

eggplant and beans

eggplant and beans

The smallest harvest of the week was the Speedy arugula I cut to go on a pizza. It was mighty big on flavor though, and it’s one of my favorite pizza toppings. I’ve got this growing in the greenhouse in one of my salad boxes.

Speedy arugula

Speedy arugula

The pizza also featured some of our Profuma di Genova basil and slow roasted tomatoes from the freezer, with a 100% whole wheat crust I had made earlier and frozen. I bake the crust for about four minutes before freezing, then after thawing and assembling the pizza it only takes about five minutes on a hot pizza stone and it is done. You’d never know the crust had been frozen either.

pizza with whole wheat crust

pizza with whole wheat crustpizz

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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Posted in Harvest Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments