We are a christian homeschooling family of 4, living the farm life in north central Alabama. rWe are trying to live as simply and purposely as possible. Follow along as we pilgrim along this wonderful life!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Canning Sauerkraut

I've been spending a lot of time canning and putting by things for winter use. One of the things I try to make sure we have on hand is sauerkraut. I've been doing it this way for about 2 years now and have only had one jar go bad.

This is raw, yet it will keep for a year or even longer if you store it properly.

First, round up your supplies and get to cutting!

 You will need cabbage, sea salt or pickling salt, a sharp knife or food processor, cutting board and a large bowl.
Remove outer leaves and wash cabbage.
I usually cut my cabbage into small strips by hand because I like the finished product better this way. You can do it however you would like. It is easier in the processor, but I have a smaller mess when I do it by hand~~~ go figure!
You need a good estimate of how much your cabbage weighs. I usually weigh it in the store then, after I remove the core, I take a little off the weight. I need a kitchen scale badly! I have a tough time weighing out lye for soap too! I do small batches at a time usually. For 5 pounds of cabbage, I will add 3 Tablespoons of sea salt.
When you get your cabbage cut up in your large bowl, you sprinkle over your salt.
I mix the salt in good, then let it sit for about 10 minutes. The cabbage will start releasing its juices. After that, mix the cabbage really well with your hands by squeezing it and working it. It will release more juice and reduce down to about 1/2 the size when you started. At this point, it is ready for the jars!
Reduced down
 Pack tightly in jars, but not too tight. It's not rocket science, but I have added too less before and too much at times. I got these just right!
Fill each jar, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace.
 After you finish filling your jars, put on a lid and ringer. You can use used lids for this and it works just fine. I save a lot of my lids just for making sauerkraut.

 I place the jars in a plastic wash pan and sit out of the way. Or you could place on a towel on a surface that can't be damaged by liquids. They will leak out for about 3 days. They are fermenting! You will see bubbling in the jar, and that is a good indicator that it is doing it's job! After 3 days, the bubbling will lessen, but it may continue to leak some. At that point, I rinse each jar very carefully under water to get most of the juice out from under the lids, which keep it from opening good when you go to use a jar. Do not take off the lid because it is sealed! You will have to refrigerate if you remove the ringer.
After 3 days, they are ready to eat or use in your favorite recipe! It does taste better when it sits longer to me though. This is by far the easiest way to put by sauerkraut. It is in it's raw state, which means it has all those probiotics and enzymes that are great for you and your digestion. If I cook this in a dish, for instance kraut and sausage, I add the kraut at the very end and heat minimally.
I have only had one jar go bad and like with any home canned product, you need to check each jar well before using. Look to make sure you don't see any mold or discoloration. This will usually happen at the top of the jar. After opening, how does it smell?  Honestly, this sauerkraut has an odd smell. Different from store bought kraut. After refrigerating, it smells much better.
Well, this is it! The easiest sauerkraut on the planet and the most nutritious!
Happy canning,


Monday, August 5, 2013

August beginnings

Can you believe August is here already? This has been one odd summer for us here in the south. We've had some hot days and the humidity seems to be lower than usual for this time of year. It's not unusual to go outside and break out into a sweat just by breathing. It's been almost pleasant much of the time, but I have been inside more than usual.

I have been canning a lot! Tomatoes, relishes, jams....... the yummy list just seems to go on and on, and I'm not done yet! Green Beans should be coming in this week so I will work on finishing up the three boxes of tomatoes I have yet to finish! And I need to finish up the apples too!

We've had 2 litters of rabbits born so far this summer. I can't believe I haven't posted about them yet! It's been a great experience so far. I do believe rabbits is one of the easiest animals to add to your homestead and to take care of. They are really cute too. I try not to notice the "cuteness" since it will make it harder to do the butchering that will inevitably take place in just a few short weeks. I haven't tasted rabbit since I was very young, so I will be posting on the rabbit tasting and some recipes I have tagged to try.

We also got our very first milk cow! She is Jersey/Guernsey mix and has the trademark "heart" on her forehead. She is beautiful! She is a little on the "wild" side and we have been taming her up some, but it's going to take more work. She will definitely need to be in a head catch to milk her, but hopefully after some time and building up of trust, we won't have a need for that. I believe she will be calving around the first of April, but we will see. What a wonderful time of the year to have a new calf!

Missy, our doe, sure is getting big! We are hoping she is pregnant. It will have to happen in the next 4-6 weeks though if she is. It only takes 5 months for a goat to have her baby, and since we got her at the end of April, this seems like the logical time frame for her to give birth. Mr. Darcy, our buck is getting big. He is so cute. He is the friendliest goat I believe I have ever had! Missy can be quite standoffish, but he is all out, all the time!

Well, I wanted to post all these cute pictures I've been snapping up, but I'm having some technical difficulties, so I will save for later!

God bless you in your life adventures!