Friday, June 8, 2012

Turtleman and Sauerkraut

We rode with Ben yesterday and cut some more wheat - (we - me, Lola Kate, and Call of the Wildman, aka Turtleman - see below)
Black wheat dust

Jack has been picking out his own clothes lately.  Today he wanted to be Turtleman, so he found the camo pants and black shirt that I had to cut the sleeves out of.  He was pretty upset it had writing on it.  We thought it was pretty funny he looked like a redneck, but his shirt said I <3 NYC.
Who's Turtleman? Shame on you! Click here


Lola Kate loves to drive, she pretty much pitched a fit until Ben
took her so she could drive, which is not easy while you are combining

But she loves it

Today we were charged with putting up cabbage from mom and dad's garden.  Jack loves to "help" and we wanted to hurry up and get finished, so I set up his own cooking station in the garage where we were chopping cabbage.  I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was pretty good -
 I just filled a muffin tin with different ingredients - flour, salt, sugar, dry beans, chocolate chips (which he ate straight up out of the tin), peanuts, rice, etc. 
Gave him a mixing bowl with a little water and let him go to town -

He loved it!

This is the second time I have ever helped to make sauerkraut.  I am going to share the way we make it - just a heads up, there is probably an easier way to do this, but this is how we do it -
Step 1 :) Grow your cabbage

Okay, the last time we did this, we used a cabbage cutter (kind of like an old-fashioned mandolin).  We decided that was for the birds, so we used the food processor, which takes no-time...
Nice shirt, mom
 We do this step in the garage because it is a little messy, or maybe we make it a little messy -

Chop and process
After everything is chopped, it's time to add a little salt.  I read the Ball Blue Book today and it said to use 3 tablespoons of salt for every 5 pounds of cabbage.  We had twenty pounds, so I divided it into two big pots and mixed.  
add salt, mix, and let set

You need to let it set for about 15-30 minutes so that the cabbage wilts a little bit, this will keep it from brusing when you pack it down in the churn. 

This is my mamaw Pruett's old butter churn

Add all the cabbage to the churn, packing it down as you go. 
It should have a little foamy water coming to the top...

War Eagle! :)

Mom promises me she read somewhere that you are supposed to use
a wooden spoon  to pack it down???

So I did

 Ok, here is where I feel like the directions get a little weird... after everything is packed down, take about 5 or 6 clean cabbage leaves and pack them down on top of the chopped cabbage.  The top couple of layers are going to turn brown and look pretty yuck when this stuff is through in a few weeks, so don't be scared...

 Then place a small saucer on top of the cabbage leaves.  The saucer should be small enough that as the cabbage ferments and settles down, that it will fit down into the top of the churn.

 Then - I know, weird- take a rock (I think there is a specific type, but I can't remember), scrub it clean (we saved this rock from the last time we did kraut), and use it to weigh down your plate.  I think I remember us wrapping up the rock last time, but we skipped that step this time - whew!

Cover the whole top with cheesecloth or similar/"breathable" material and tie down with string or a rubber band.  Store this in a cool, dark place for 28 days (blue book says 3-6 weeks depending on how you want the kraut to taste).  You need to put this somewhere it can make a mess, we keep it in the kitchen at the barn.... as it ferments, it can bubble up and over the sides of the churn.  You probably want to change out the cloth occasionally, too.  I will share the rest when our cabbage is ready to pack in jars and process.

Got home in time to see the win by the Braves... getting ready to see them at Turner Field next week!

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