We had summer in May and June has been on the chilly side a few times and cool weather brings out the country cooking in me! I had a head of cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used so I pulled out my wok and set to work.
The last two years we’ve had an abundance of cabbage which I have canned and frozen. We shared with our daughters and other family and some of our neighbors. I was starting to run short on sauerkraut so I contacted my neighbor, Linda Smith, about the moon signs to work the cabbage and we got to it.
We brought in four large heads (very large) and Eddie started cutting thin strips from the washed and drained heads. First he quarters the heads and then uses one of our LEM butcher knives to slice off thin strips into a large pan. I mention LEM knives because we think they’re awesome (http://www.lemproducts.com/category ) because they keep a sharp edge longer than most we have and they have all sizes you could possibly need.
Next we bring out my big crock and mallet that Eddie made for me years ago.
As you mash the cabbage, liquid will start oozing out of the cabbage and this will make the brine needed to sour the cabbage. You WILL NOT add any water to this mixture, only cabbage and table salt. You MUST salt each layer as you go through the process.
My first peek at the concoction is about 5-7 days from the covering. We check to make sure it’s bubbling/fermenting and we do our first taste test. The cabbage will taste slightly salty and may be just a bit tart. If we get that taste we know everything is good but if we don’t we may be in trouble! We check again in two days, sour is good, smelly is bad!!!! If it’s bad, we throw it out to the chickens. If it’s sour, we’re whistling Dixie!! Don’t be surprised if you get a little darkened leaves on top or even a brown bubbling “stuff”, it’s part of the fermentation. We let it ferment, checking daily now and when it get’s to the sour point of making your face crinkle you’re ready to stop the process and pack it in jars. I used to use quart jars but the last three years we’ve used pints. Finish it off by packing the kraut in the jars, cleans off the tops of the jars, put on new lids and rings and pressure can the jars for 15 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure, remove from the canner and wait for the jars to seal. Man, I can taste that kraut & smoked sausage, pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread now!!!
While I wait for the freshly swept, mopped and waxed floor in the living room to dry I’ll take time to write about our 2016 garden. We thought we were very late getting it started but in fact this is the second year in a row that spring has come early to our farm and this neck of the woods. We had three, maybe four, heavy frosts/freezes in May but did get the old and new garden spot plowed, worked and tilled (three or four times).
We started planting the last week of May and it’s all worked out really well. We’ve had lots of rain but with a couple of days of dry weather and the wind we could get in to till and pull weeds.
Last year hubby said we would cut back and only plant about half of what we normally plant and I smiled!! 😉 He says this every year!! Not only do we have most of the old garden plot full, we also have the new plot which is attached to the old full. I’m going to be very busy come the middle of July!!
We’re currently bringing in black raspberries and freezing them. Soon there will be transparent apples to make applesauce and apple butter with.
Don’t you just love growing your own food????
This year is going to be a little different in the garden. We still have so much left in the freezer and cellar so we’ve decided to cut back. I didn’t start up the greenhouse this year and instead have just planted a few of the things that we’ll eat as it comes in. I’ve planted some tomato, cucumber, cabbage, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon for the garden and have several of my herbs in cups.
Two varieties of cabbage and squash
Four varieties of tomato
I haven’t started my periennial flowers yet but think I have plenty of time for that. I also like to put some directly in the ground. It will be late May before we can safely put anything in the garden. My rhubarb is up and doing better than it did last year but it’s new and will take a couple years to get established. I started it these huge tractor tires and I need to work some manure into the dirt soon.
I also started some garlic in a tire last year and I haven’t pulled any of it yet. The stems are greening up and hopefully they’ll do as well as the rhubarb is. I was very afraid the moles and voles would eat up both but it doesn’t look like it so far.
I read on someone’s blog and on Pinterest that if you buy celery in the store and cut the root end off and place it in a cup of dirt that it would grow!! Believe me it works and I can’t wait until this gets big enough to eat.
One plant is one month old and the other is about two weeks old. I use a lot of celery when I cook and a lot of onions.
I have a very special friend that heard my plea for a purple and green shamrock and she came through for me. Here’s the plant she gave me along with some that I found at Food Lion around St. Patricks Day.
Gardening time is just around the corner and I still have to clean up the yard and clear out the flower beds. There I go again wishing my life away!! Happy gardening everyone.
I went to the garden yesterday morning and harvested this pan full of beautiful veggies. I’m afraid we are going to have to start watering the garden this week from our pond. The sun is bearing down and all of the garden is wilted by the end of the day. We got a really late start planting this year because of the rain keeping the garden too wet to plow and then to plant. Then the deer started eating the green beans again this year but we’re trying different things to deter them. I save all of the thin bars of soap from the shower and hubby shaved them and scattered them through the beans. That has stopped them for a few days but I read on another post that black trash bags tie to the fence was a good deterrent so I bout a cheap box and have the garden surrounded with them. When the wind blows the bags blow up and out and I’m assuming that’s what scares them. We will have a wonderful dinner from what I’ve already gathered along with some venison biscuits to top off the meal. The following is the favorite at our house to prepare the squash:
Wash and slice one or two yellow squash or zucchini. I slice them about a 1/4″ inch thick. I dip them in a mixture of one egg, 1/2 c. milk, salt & pepper, to taste. Then I dip them in seasoned flour until coated really well. I then place them in a iron skillet that has one stick of butter that is melted and sizzling but not brown. It takes about two minutes on one side, turn them over and fry the other side until golden brown. Take out of skillet and place on paper towel and eat up. They’re really crispy on the outside and sweet and firm on the inside. Hubby even loves them cold!!