Sunday, December 28, 2014

Easy, homemade Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a food that I have grown to appreciate as an adult.  When I was younger, my parents would eat it and I thought it looked disgusting.  I was a kid and kids are weird that way....  

I've expanded my food preservation skills into making fermented pickles, pickled jalapeƱos, and pickled yellow peppers, so this year I decided I'd try sauerkraut as well.  After lots of googling, I opted for lacto-fermenting, because it took less time, less salt, and I happened to have plenty of whey in my homemade yogurt container.

You'll need:
I large, firm head of cabbage (or two smaller heads), finely chopped (a food processor with shredding capabilities would be really useful here)
2 Tablespoons of sea salt
1/2 cup of whey.  (If you don't have any sitting around, you can buy a large container of plain yogurt and strain it through cheesecloth and you should end up with enough whey)

You can also add one shredded carrot and/or one finely sliced onion if you want to, but for my first try I wanted to stick with the basic recipe.  

Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl (this is my big popcorn bowl)


Add salt


Add whey


Use your hands to "massage" the cabbage several times over the space of a half an hour or so, until the texture changes from crisp to wilted.  You can use a potato masher for this if you don't want to use your hands, but hands work better. (Ignore the giant bags of cereal in the background)


Place cabbage and liquid in a large jar.  Press the cabbage down firmly so it's packed tightly, and is below the level of the liquid.  You can add a little water if you need to to make sure the cabbage is covered, but it shouldn't be necessary.  I used a half gallon mason jar. 


Place a plastic bag in the jar and fill it with water, making sure that the bag spreads out inside the jar.  This acts as a weight to hold the cabbage below the level of the liquid.  


Place a lid on the jar.  I just used the ring, and let the water bag be open at the top, but you could tie the bag off, and put a solid lid on the jar too.  It doesn't make that much difference.  I just wanted to leave plenty of room for the sauerkraut to expand- and my very full bag of water did end up spilling down the sides of my jar a little.


Place the jar in a corner of your counter, away from major heat and direct sunlight.  

Now wait.


And wait....

My kitchen was a little on the cool side, so what was supposed to take three days took two weeks to get to where I was satisfied with the taste.  After the time was up, I divided the kraut into three pint jars and put it in the fridge. 


Now I just need some bratwursts.  


Update:  Got some hotdogs... They were good.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roasted Chili Peppers

Check out my tutorial for roasted chili peppers (I used Anaheim Peppers from my garden) at Feminist Mormon Housewives. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Greek Quinoa Salad

Here's another food post (and I'm annoyed that I repeated myself- apparently it is so crucial that you make the quinoa ahead of time so it can cool, that I had to say it twice).  I've got to learn to proof-read better.

Anyway, this is a tasty one, so you should go buy the ingredients and make it THIS SECOND.

Greek Quinoa Salad at Butter with a Side of Bread


Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 2014 Garden Update

This was my garden in May:


And here it is in July.  A lot happens in two months.


Peppers and melons.


Tomatoes.


Summer squash, cucumbers, ground cherry, kale and mini pumpkins.


Green beans.


This is the green bean bed that the birds got to and I didn't have enough seed to replant.  It has some beans, and I added two pumpkins plants and three sad clearance tomato plants.


Corn.


Winter squash.


Jerusalem artichokes and pole beans.


Artichokes.  These died a few times and I replanted.  Hopefully the two remaining plants survive and produce next year since they're not doing much this year.


Green onions (I grew roots on the ones I bought at the store and planted them.  I just keep cutting the tops off and they keep growing back.  I read that if I let one flower and go to seed, those seeds will come up next year).


Chicken Waterer.  Eventually this system will be hooked up to our automatic watering system.



Baby watermelon!


Banana pepper (for pickling!).


Anaheim pepper.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Another Food Post

Clearly I need to post about gardening stuff more often, because now I have two food posts in a row.  I've been a bit sidetracked.  My beans and corn never came up.  At least not more than a handful of plants.  I'm not sure if birds ate the seeds as they sprouted, or if my hand watering just didn't go deep enough and the seeds were too dry to germinate.  I replanted beans in one bed, and got a couple of pumpkin plants to fill in the other bean bed.  I also replanted the corn bed.  Then I bought soaker hoses so hopefully they'll water more deeply than my spraying-with-hose method.

In good news, the winer squash plants are growing like crazy, and I have several more jerusalem artichoke plants up.

The thing that has kept me the most busy for the last few days has been the cherries.  So far I've been juicing and dehydrating them, but I'm still planning on freezing some for smoothies and pureeing some for cherry fruit leather.  Hopefully I'll get a post up soon on the cherry harvest.

Back to the food: I'll be contributing semi-regularly to the blog Butter, with a side of Bread.  My most recent post is Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad. It's a really good light summer dinner, or a great dish to bring to a potluck or BBQ.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Guest post at Butter with a Side of Bread!

Check out my guest post at Butter with a Side of Bread today and learn how to make easy peach slurpees.

Peach Slurpees

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hardening off plants

Check out my Inner Pioneer post over at feminist Mormon housewives on how to harden off plants you grew from seed.  If you don't harden off seedlings, they'll die when you plant them outside.

Hardening off plants