Fermenting  (2011)  by Mary

Preserving the harvest is fun, at least if you are doing it on such a small scale as I!  So far, I've frozen, canned, and dehydrated a little, and now I want to try fermenting. I planned to do this earlier on, after reading how easy it is in my "Mary Jane's Farm" magazine, and to start by making sauerkraut. But, there was a hitch.

The cabbage I planted by seed during the winter came up and grew nicely, and both Nancy and I transplanted them into our kitchen gardens. Hers even survived a late spring freeze, and she and Todd later flushed all the bug goo out while trying to catch it in something before it went on the ground. Their diligence paid off and they had a few good cabbages to harvest for slaw. I knew that cabbage was difficult to grow, and my intentions were to plant it, and it would either grow or not. Well, not! I went out to harvest the biggest heads before we left for vacation on the farm, and each layer was full of what I called "bug tapioca", and they called "caviar".  It was SO disgusting, SO gross, that I put them all in the compost and thought that I may never eat cabbage again!

Last week, I decided not to let that failure ruin my plans, so I BOUGHT cabbage, and I just had fun making sauerkraut for the first time! I don't want to know how they grew such huge, beautiful heads of cabbage minus the tapioca/caviar, so I pretended they were completely chemical free. (Isn't that what we usually do?) 

Making sauerkraut:   

Shred cabbage, mix it with sea salt, and pack it into jars. How much easier could it be? The hard part will be waiting for it to ferment!

It is important to wash the cabbage with filtered water as chlorine also kills the good germs needed.  

Fermented or lactic acid vegetables not only taste good, but keep us healthy and rejuvenated. I want to experiment processing more vegetables by fermentation.

After the kraut is finished fermenting, I could can it like store bought, but that would kill good nutrients. I want to keep it "live" in the refrigerator where it will store for months.

Our favorite way to eat sauerkraut is in reuben sandwiches. I would love to know yours.

                               A fun woman's magazine.

All about fermenting. I didn't know you can ferment most all vegetables.

Shredding the cabbage in my food processor made the job easy and fast. I find I use it more and more.

Next, I mixed the cabbage with sea salt, let it sit for a few minutes, and then gently squeezed it to start releasing the juice from the cabbage.

As I packed the cabbage in the jars, more juice released until the cabbage was eventually covered.

After I finished packing the jars, I decided to add carrots to one of them, which meant emptying it and making more of a mess.  I'm always good at making messes. The bags of water seal the top.

Life at our house:
Larry took a couple of the pictures for me. He is always interested and an encourager. When I finished making the kraut, I told him I read that we may not like the odor and I needed to put the jars in some far off place - like on his tool bench. He said, "You might as well. You put everything else there you don't know what to do with!"

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