Monday, October 19, 2009
Sweet and Sour
Even without a plan for the weekend I was right and we filled our days up.We were all work and no play,this led us to a conversation about that,these mice need some play time too and must not always be the busy Ant. A few stolen hours to be the Grasshopper will do us good but that will be next weekend.
Saturday was busy but not with homesteading,we babysat our young neighbor while his younger sibling was rushed to the ER for some stitches. She'll be fine,these things happen when one is young. I must say I did adore our boys as young ones but, whew I had forgotten how busy they are at 4.We made it through,never underestimate the power of a large bin of Lego's and never be tempted to get rid of any you have,you may need them someday before your Grand-babies come along.
Sunday we decided to go ahead and start the Sauerkraut.This is a new item for canning for both of us.At first we were going to try the method of putting the cabbage into canning jars to ferment,you then process the jars later,but I was not to sure about this idea.I don't know why but it worried me.I was also wondering if we would have to use new lids once the kraut was ready to process.Since we could not find the answer to the lid question we opted to make it in a large container and transfer to jars later.
Oops, we had no crock or large glass anything.We did some double checking and ended up wanting a food grade bucket,the modern equivalent to a crock. Since we needed dog food we went to our local market to start our search.We lucked out,the nice man that works in the bulk section was just finishing filling the honey machine thingy.He handed Chance two buckets right on the spot. And HOLY COW! there was still honey in both buckets,score! Once home we scraped the honey out and ended up with 2 pints,one of blackberry and one of clover honey. We felt safe about the honey,the buckets still had their lids on all the way home so nothing could fall into the honey.
Earlier in the morning we had went to a local farm store and bought a 12 pound head of cabbage,we also had 2 smaller heads weighing 2 pounds each already here.Chance thinly sliced the cabbage heads and I salted. We placed the cabbage in a large bowl and once we reached 5 pounds I tossed the cabbage with 3 tablespoons of Canning Salt. I had to keep emptying the bowl into the bucket so we could keep going.Once we had all of the cabbage into the bucket we jammed it all down as tight as we could get.Our Ball book said the brine,which is the water the salt draws from the cabbage,should cover the top of the sliced cabbage.This actually took Chance's stronger arms to do.We then placed a cloth over the cabbage then, a plate with Chance's 30 pound Kettleball wrapped in a plastic bag as the weight. Now we wait for 4-6 weeks before we process it. The bucket-o-kraut to be is living on a section of our kitchen counter so I can keep my nose on it.I am certain if something goes wrong we will smell it first.
Today as I went to put something away in the pantry/studio I remember I had intended to share something with all of you.Years ago a friend of ours told me she and her parents always pulled their tomato plants that still had fruit coming before it frosted.How they did it was to pull the plants up by their roots and then they hung the plants with their fruits still on the vine upside down in their garage.The tomatoes then can finish ripening and you have fresh tomatoes for a few more weeks. This year we are trying it and so far it is working.I read someplace that it is not sunlight but warmth the tomatoes need to ripen so maybe this is how this works.
Still no eggs.
As of today I am starting to stash away odd ends and pieces of bread to make the Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing with. I know, no one has gone trick or treating yet and here I am planning out my Thanksgiving dinner. It takes a lot of bread to make enough stuffing for a 22 pound bird.And when the stores charge $3 a bag ( I'd need 4.) for dried out bread no one wanted I say no thanks I'll save my own unwanted bits of bread and make my own. To do this I put the bread pieces into a freezer container until I have enough to fill a cookie sheet.Then I cut the bread into strips like they do at the stores and place them on a cookie sheet.Put the cookie sheet into the oven that is preheated to around 200-250 degrees.Keep an eye on the bread,give it a stir once in awhile.You don't want toast or burning,just dried out.Store in an air tight container until you have enough to use.You can even turn the dried out bread into bread crumbs by giving the bread a whirl in the blender or a food processor.
Tip of the day: "Never eat anything bigger than your head"** - B. Kilban
** until you turn it into Sauerkraut.**