Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sauerkraut Divine

We had a great time making Sauerkraut with some friends this afternoon!  It is such a easy process and there is a lot of room for innovation as you can add a variety of spices or even other veggies.  As it was everyone's, excepting myself, first time we kept it simple today!  We tasted some kraut I made earlier in the month, sliced our cabbage, mixed and squeezed with a little salt and packed it into mason jars.  In 10 days or when we can't wait any longer we will eat it....  Many have plans to sample it in 8 days for Easter!

The kids got in on the action- slicing cabbage and finally mixing and squeezing it in a bowl!  My daughter and I used a mixture of red and green cabbage to make pink kraut. She is 6 and she was eager to try her hand at slicing the cabbage too.  After finding an appropriate sized knife and standing near by to watch that fingers kept clear I let her at it.  Her little sister joined me and helped me pack the mixture into the jars! She was quite proud of herself.
We had two other mother daughter teams!  These ladies arrived eager to learn how to make kraut and looking forward to our Kim Chee attempts later this month. We even had a husband participate- the whole family got in on the action!  This is why I love to work with real food- the whole family gets involved in its creation.
After only about a half hour of work we were all able to take home our sauerkraut jars to await the miricle of fermentation!

The jar on the right holds my seeded sauerkraut!  I will let you know how it all turns out in a couple of weeks!  The bowl holds the kraut I made for everyone to taste- it is very fine as I used my food processor to grate the cabbage for me!  Perfect for hot dogs.....

Please leave a comment and tell us about any fermentation project you have tried!  Both your successes and failures....

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring is Nearly in the Air!

This week it has really warmed up here in the Treasure Valley of Idaho.  My girls are itching to get down and dirty in the garden so we prepared the raised bed in the back yard and got started!  They have been busy looking over the transplants and seeds available at the local stores and picked a few things out.  For the instant gratification part they choose- peas, bare root strawberries, and cabbage starts.  They decided that the best part of gardening was pulling up the root veggies so they also picked out- carrots, watermelon radishes, and beets. They also felt it was important to encourage the insects and birds to visit the garden and choose nasturtiums, cosmos, zinnias and forge- me-nots.  They say that the sunflowers and morning glories probably seeded themselves so they will wait and see what happens with them this year!

They picked out lots more things than will fit in their tiny plot but we also have the community garden to expand in so I let them choose seeds at will.  We decided to make our own seed tapes and because we are doing a quasi-square foot garden we made seed blocks.  I marked the paper towel with little pen dots and the girls dotted on glue and added the seeds.  I think they turned out great and we won't need to thin anything!

After turning the soil and adding the bag of compost I let the girls plant our transplants with some help.  G who's 2 planted the peas in a nice row along the back of the bed under the trellis and C planted the strawberry starts.  W, who isn't mine but who stays with us most days during the week planted the cabbages.  He's afraid of worms so this was very comical for the girls and me!  Didn't they do a fantastic job?  The black fencing is to keep the dog from trampling what we have planted- a fence will go back up in a couple of weeks.

We had our second community garden meeting last night and I was able to get a better read on what everyone wants to grow this year.  We had a great group of new members who have some fantastic ideas for the future. Ideas that were tossed around include a permaculture area for dwarf fruit trees and berries, an herb garden, painting the tool shed, and building a greenhouse.  This year we are using a black plastic mulch system with drip irrigation.  We expect to have much less trouble with weeds and watering schedules as a result!

I know we are all getting excited about the growing season over here! What are your plans?