Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Sauerkraut is Ready!

We've been putting up quite a few goodies lately.  Our sauerkraut was finally ready today and it tastes unbelievable.  Since we eat mostly raw, I just put the kraut in sterilized jars to store in the refrigerator.  I've read it should keep for months this way.  If we had canned it using a water bath, we would have first brought the kraut to a boil on the stove and then canned it.

We started out by ordering a 3 gallon crock online from Lehman's.  It's very heavy and so beautiful.  The inside is a pretty chocolate brown.

When we received the crock, we then harvested the last of our cabbages - 4 large and 3 small/medium.  Next, the cabbage was shredded super fast in our food processor in batches.  As each batch was finished, we put in in a large bowl and added 1 T. of celtic sea salt, stirring it all with a wooden spoon.

When all batches were finished, the salted cabbage was put in the crock.  The fun part was next--pressing the cabbage with a large (giant) wooden spoon until juices covered the cabbage.  We used unbleached cheesecloth for a cover, placed a salad plate on top and weighted everything down with two gallon baggies filled with water (making sure all the cabbage was covered with the juices.)  That was it!  Every 2-3 days, we changed out the cheesecloth and plate and rinsed the water filled bags.  We kept the top of the crock covered with a dishtowel throughout.

The whole process took around 4-5 weeks.  Today was the unveiling and tasting.  Unbelievable.  So crunchy, not too salty, with a bit of tang and actually a bit of sweetness from the fantastic cabbage straight from the garden.  I truly don't think this sauerkraut will last very long.  It gave us 6 quarts to put in the fridge, and we've been munching on the rest this afternoon (probably another quart). Yummy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From my Valentine!

Yes, he knows my love for roses!  He really "outdid" himself this year.  My daughter is taking photography classes and had a fun photo shoot with these beauties.  They really are a gift from God! This garden life is goooooood.

I'll be posting soon about the huge holes my valentine has been digging for our fruit trees this year.  I'll share the ups and downs and how we've dealt with living on rock.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What does shelving paper and OUCH have in common?

To prepare for our pretty jars of canned and dehydrated goodies this year, we decided to repaper our shelves in the pantry. And, of course, that meant it extended into the entire kitchen. Well, I managed to get myself into a pretzel papering one of the lower shelves, and pulled my lower back. Ouch! The pantry was completed, but some of the kitchen shelves still remain waiting for their new sunflower paper--just love those sunflowers.

This has been a great opportunity to really declutter and clean areas that hadn't been seen for quite some time. Is this spring cleaning in January?

Putting Up

This will be the first of many posts on "putting up" for the year ahead. Although we enjoy most of our food fresh and raw, we have noticed this year that we've missed canning. What used to be a yearly event, sort of dwindled to tomatoes only the past 3 years. We enjoy the treats throughout the year and also the joy we receive from having something on hand for quick gifts (to a house guest, delivery man, music teacher, etc.) So it was a unanimous decision (the girls and I) to once again take on the Joy of Canning! The pings of the cooling jars, the bright colors on the pantry shelves are blessing us once again.

When Greenling's located some local organic apples this year, we ordered a case. What we didn't eat fresh, we made into applesauce. My husband and youngest daughter especially enjoy this. Elizabeth likes it on her rice waffles.