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Making Sauerkraut, A Tutorial

Originally posted April 2013.  This time of year yields great cabbage sales.  Buy as many as you can afford and make kraut. 

I finally made sauerkraut that I like  love!  I’ve made sauerkraut a couple of times and it either ended up moldly or was way to gross to eat.  I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t like it….hey, I’m from Texas we don’t eat sauerkraut there.  Recently I scored a great deal on cabbage (.19 a lb! I bought 15 heads), and told myself that I would try to make sauerkraut just one last time.  And boy am I glad I did!

sauerkraut

I tried two different methods.  The open crock method and the airtight crock method.  There wasn’t a noticeable difference between the two.  I found that the airtight crock produced sauerkraut that has a slightly sharper bite, or more tang if ya will.  But not so much that it was a big difference.

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I found that the airtight method was easier.  Sure the cabbage is prepared the same way, but when using the airtight method I used a plastic bag filled with water as the weight to weigh the cabbage down so that it would be fully submerged under the brine.  The open crock left me with a swaying tower of books on the counter for 5 days.  Perhaps it’s just the way I went about weighing the cabbage down, but I think I will be using the airtight method from now on.

sauerkraut2

Day 5 ready for the fridge

Making Sauerkraut, A Tutorial

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • sea salt
  • large non-reactive bowl (glass, plastic, wood, ceramic)
  • large non reactive vessel or crock
  • gallon zip top bag

Instructions

  1. Wash cabbage and carrot, remove outer cabbage leaves and set aside, discard the cabbage heart.
  2. Thinly slice or shred cabbage and place in a large non reactive bowl.
  3. Cut carrot in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half lengthwise, dice carrot into small bite size pieces, add carrot to the cabbage.
  4. Salt the cabbage and carrot mixture generously.
  5. Toss the cabbage/carrot mixture to evenly distribute salt, as you toss squeeze the cabbage gently to release the cabbage juice (this will create a brine).
  6. Taste your cabbage, it should taste salty but not repulsive. Add more salt if necessary.
  7. Place the cabbage/carrot mixture in a large non-reactive vessel or crock and place the whole cabbage leaves over the cabbage/carrot mixture, press down firmly.
  8. Put the gallon zip top bag inside the crock and then fill the bag with water and seal the bag (this should weigh down the cabbage to fully submerge it under the brine. Seal jar/crock.
  9. Check your cabbage every 24 hours. After the first 24 hours your cabbage mixture should be fully submerged under the brine, if not mix 1 tablespoon of sea salt into 2 cups of water and pour over cabbage mixture until fully submerged. 'Burp' your crock or vessel daily (simply open the lid and immediately close) to let off any gasses during the fermentation process.
  10. Leave on the counter for 4-7 days to ferment then store in a cool place such as a refrigerator or cellar.
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Enjoy!

The airtight crock I use:

The crock I used for the ‘open’ method:

Linked to: Simple Living WednesdaysMama MomentsMake It Yourself MondayHomestead Barn Hop,Modest Monday, The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Cloth Diaper Tips {you can’t live without}

We started our cloth diaper journey almost 8 years ago with the birth of our first child.  And since then we’ve had at least one (but sometimes two or even three) child in diapers at all times.  What have I learned from the past 8 years of cloth diapering 5 children?

1. Cloth Diapers save you money!  Or I should say they can.  Buy good quality diapers, take care of them, and stick with them.  Don’t get caught up in a cloth diaper obsession always wanting the latest print or design.  Yes, they’re cute, but in the end your baby will be pooping and peeing in them.  Buy quality (I use these), and use them, and use them, and use them until they can’t be used anymore.

2. Don’t use standard laundry detergents on your diapers but rather a cloth diaper approved detergent.   This will help ensure your diapers last longer and don’t cause any irritable rashes than can occur when using standard laundry detergent.

3. Avoid using diaper rash creams with cloth diapers.  If your baby ends up with a diaper rash or heat rash from those hot summer days we’ve found that Redmond’s Clay Baby Powder works wonders and is cloth diaper safe!

4. Launder your diapers every 2-3 days to prevent bacteria growth.  Make sure to follow a laundering cycle that rinses, hot wash, then rinse again.

5. Line drying or drying on a rack will lengthen the life of your cloth diapers.

What are your cloth diaper tips and tricks?

How-to-Can-Beans-Traditional-Cooking-School-by-GNOWFGLINS

Canning Beans {the nourishing way}

How-to-Can-Beans-Traditional-Cooking-School-by-GNOWFGLINS

Canned foods are often considered inferior to their fresh counterparts. While that may be true in some cases, it isn’t true for all foods. Beans are one of those exceptions. Not only are beans frugal, they are easy to can and allow you to stock your pantry for those need-to-get-dinner-on-the-table-now nights.

Canned beans are easily found on grocery store shelves, but by canning your own you can go further. And not just 1 — but 2 — steps further!

First, you’ll ensure your canned beans are nourishing and easy to digest by soaking them overnight before canning. And second, you’ll save money….

 

Join me over at GNOWFGLINS to read the rest….

 

Linked to: The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Simple Meals Friday!

SimpleMealsFridayLink-up

Welcome to Simple Meals Friday!

There is nothing like having a collection of simple meals to throw together in a slow cooker in the morning or in a skillet as a quick, last-minute dinner. What are your favorite to prepare slow cooker meals, skillet meals, freezer meals, soups, salads, drinks and desserts?

We want to know the foods to turn to when you are short of time. It’s great to learn from and be inspired by others. When you share your recipe on this link-up it will show up on all 3 of the host’s sites. If you don’t have a blog, no problem, you can also share your recipes in the comments.

 

Meet Your Hosts

  1. Katie Mae of Nourishing Simplicity
  2. Katie of Simple Foody
  3. Sarah of Simple Life Abundant Life

Please Read and Follow these Simple Meals Friday Rules

  • Keep the foods “nourishing”, such as homemade chicken stocks, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (lard, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, tallow), unrefined sugars, flours and salts and meats.
  • Please don’t include recipes using processed oils such as soy and canola oil, msg laden bouillon and other highly processed foods. If I notice a recipe using these ingredients it will be deleted. Try to incorporate traditional methods of preparing foods like, sprouting, soaking, sourdough and lacto-fermentation.
  • Link back to this blog hop, it is a common linking courtesy. It helps to build a stronger blogging community. That way we can all learn and share with each other.

We enjoyed reading all your submissions. The hosts will pick a favorite post to feature on next week’s Simple Meals Friday. If you want to be featured please be sure to link back to this blog hop. Our favorites will be featured on facebook and pintrest!

Featured Simple Meals

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shreded Chicken with Asain Ginger Sauce from Avocado Pesto

Are you ready to link-up?



Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce

Make Your Own: Spaghetti Sauce

Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce

Tomato season is in full swing and that means salsa and spaghetti sauce canning marathons.  While this recipe can be frozen, I prefer to can it.  I  don’t peel my tomatoes, but chop them well in a food processor.  I can never tell that the skins were left on.  You can chop the onions and bell peppers chunky or finely depending on how your family likes sauce.

 

Spaghetti Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 5 quarts

Ingredients

  • 10lbs. fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 6oz. cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sucanat or rapadura
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons real salt
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat combine all ingredients except for the tomato paste
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 1 hour.
  3. Add tomato paste, stir and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Can or freeze for later use.

Notes

I often can this recipe for later use in the winter. If canning be sure to not change the vinegar and lemon juice amounts as it increases the acidity to make this recipe safe for canning.

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Sweet Relish {for canning}

Sweet Relish {for canning}

Sweet Relish {for canning}

 Once we’ve canned a year’s supply of pickles for our family, relish is always next on the to do list when it comes to cucumbers.  And sweet relish is the first to get canned.  The kids love it with hot dogs, hamburgers, and sometimes I even catch them eating it with a spoon right out of the jar.

Sweet Relish

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 16 half pints

Ingredients

  • 6lbs. pickling cucumbers
  • 2 onions
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 6 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped dill, fresh
  • 3 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 3 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Instructions

  1. Finely chop the cucumbers, onions, and peppers. I used a food processor by pulsing the vegetables a few times until it resembles a relish like consistency.
  2. Place the chopped vegetables into a large bowl, cover with salt, and mix gently so that all the vegetables are salted. Let sit for 90 minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse the vegetables in a fine mesh colander, drain well, pressing the vegetable mixture down to get out as much of the water as possible.
  4. In a large pot bring to a boil the vinegar, sugar, garlic, herbs and spices. Once boiling, add the vegetable mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle mixture into sterilized half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Carefully wipe the rim of each jar and seal with a lid and ring. Process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
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This recipe was shared on: The Art of Home-Making Mondays

Simple Meals Friday!

SimpleMealsFridayLink-up

Welcome to Simple Meals Friday!

There is nothing like having a collection of simple meals to throw together in a slow cooker in the morning or in a skillet as a quick, last-minute dinner. What are your favorite to prepare slow cooker meals, skillet meals, freezer meals, soups, salads, drinks and desserts?

We want to know the foods to turn to when you are short of time. It’s great to learn from and be inspired by others. When you share your recipe on this link-up it will show up on all 3 of the host’s sites. If you don’t have a blog, no problem, you can also share your recipes in the comments.

 

Meet Your Hosts

  1. Katie Mae of Nourishing Simplicity
  2. Katie of Simple Foody
  3. Sarah of Simple Life Abundant Life

Please Read and Follow these Simple Meals Friday Rules

  • Keep the foods “nourishing”, such as homemade chicken stocks, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (lard, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, tallow), unrefined sugars, flours and salts and meats.
  • Please don’t include recipes using processed oils such as soy and canola oil, msg laden bouillon and other highly processed foods. If I notice a recipe using these ingredients it will be deleted. Try to incorporate traditional methods of preparing foods like, sprouting, soaking, sourdough and lacto-fermentation.
  • Link back to this blog hop, it is a common linking courtesy. It helps to build a stronger blogging community. That way we can all learn and share with each other.

We enjoyed reading all your submissions. The hosts will pick a favorite post to feature on next week’s Simple Meals Friday. If you want to be featured please be sure to link back to this blog hop. Our favorites will be featured on facebook and pintrest!

Featured Simple Meals

IMG_7563

1. Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup from Axiom at Home

Spicy-Chicken-Sausage-Rice-Recipe-GF

2. One Pot Spicy Chicken Sausage Rice from Avocado Pesto

simple-chicken-tenders

3. Gluten and Dairy Free Ranch Tenders from Worth Cooking

Are you ready to link-up?



Preserving Kale for the freezer www.simplefoody.org

Preserving Kale {for the freezer}

Preserving Kale for the freezer www.simplefoody.org

Kale grows well in most areas, and up north can be grown for 6-8 months out of the year.  We’ve planted a lot of kale this year.  We’ve enjoyed eating it fresh all spring, summer, and now fall.  Since we can’t keep up with eating our kale fresh, I’ve been slowly putting some away in the freezer for winter.  Kale can be canned or frozen, I much prefer to freeze it.  It’s a quick and easy way to fill the freezer for winter.

 

Preserving Kale {for the freezer}

Ingredients

  • Fresh kale leaves

Instructions

  1. Wash kale extremely well, checking front and back of leaves to ensure there are no bugs or eggs on the leaves.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch kale for 1 minute.
  3. Once kale is cool enough to handle cut off end stems and chop as desired for recipes.
  4. Flash freeze on a cookie sheet.
  5. Once frozen transfer to freezer bags and seal. Don't forget to label and date the bag.
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This recipe was shared on: The Art of Home-Making Mondays

Simple Meals Friday!


SimpleMealsFridayLink-up

Welcome to Simple Meals Friday!

There is nothing like having a collection of simple meals to throw together in a slow cooker in the morning or in a skillet as a quick, last-minute dinner. What are your favorite to prepare slow cooker meals, skillet meals, freezer meals, soups, salads, drinks and desserts?

We want to know the foods to turn to when you are short of time. It’s great to learn from and be inspired by others. When you share your recipe on this link-up it will show up on all 3 of the host’s sites. If you don’t have a blog, no problem, you can also share your recipes in the comments.

Meet Your Hosts

  1. Katie Mae of Nourishing Simplicity
  2. Katie of Simple Foody
  3. Sarah of Simple Life Abundant Life

Please Read and Follow these Simple Meals Friday Rules

  • Keep the foods “nourishing”, such as homemade chicken stocks, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (lard, coconut oil, butter, olive oil, tallow), unrefined sugars, flours and salts and meats.
  • Please don’t include recipes using processed oils such as soy and canola oil, msg laden bouillon and other highly processed foods. If I notice a recipe using these ingredients it will be deleted. Try to incorporate traditional methods of preparing foods like, sprouting, soaking, sourdough and lacto-fermentation.
  • Link back to this blog hop, it is a common linking courtesy. It helps to build a stronger blogging community. That way we can all learn and share with each other.

We enjoyed reading all your submissions. The hosts will pick a favorite post to feature on next week’s Simple Meals Friday. If you want to be featured please be sure to link back to this blog hop. Our favorites will be featured on facebook and pintrest!

Featured Simple Meals

potato-and-beef-skillet-21

1. Meat and Potato Skillet from Worth Cooking

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2. Elderberry Infused Herbal Honey from Strangers and Pilgrims

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Vegan Red Lentil and Apple Soup from Avocado Pesto

Are you ready to link-up?



Solomon 3 weeks

Introducing Baby Solomon

Solomon 3 weeks

 

Baby Solomon made his arrival July 4th, weighing in at 10lbs. 3 oz. and 21 inches long.  We were counting down the days to my due date July 11th.  We knew my husband would be gone before then and wanted to have the baby before he left.  Being that we home birth, there isn’t much you can do to induce early.   I had been having contractions on and off for months, and we knew baby day could be any day now.

My labors are generally pretty fast 3-6 hours and I had been dilated at 4 cm for weeks.  My midwives agreed that if I didn’t have the baby by Thursday that they would come over Friday (the 4th) and break my water, hoping that contractions would start on their own.

We ran last minute errands Friday morning, then came home to eat lunch and wait.  The first midwife arrived around 3 and after an exam we decided to go ahead and break my bag of waters to see what would happen.  I hadn’t had any contractions that day, so I was kinda scared….last thing I wanted was to end up in the hospital connected to a pitocin drip.  But having my husband there for the birth was pretty important to him and me as he had missed the birth of our second child.

After the midwife broke my water we moved to the living room, she then proceeded to inform me that it will probably take hours for contractions to start and that I should take a nap.  Not 2 minutes after she said that contractions started.  Within 30 minutes I was in transition and the baby was born an hour later.

Solomon 3 weeks (1)

Short labors generally aren’t easy (my easiest labor was my longest at 9 hours).  They’re fast, emotional, and painful.  There were many choruses of “I can’t do this” followed by “Yes I can!”.  Then followed by “I don’t want too anymore….[insert sobbing here]”.   I don’t remember much other than pushing took forever, and the clicking of the rocking chair my husband was sitting in and rocking.

I’m so thankful that everything went well, and that my husband was able to witness the birth.  He left 3 short days later, not to return until baby was 7 weeks old.  Praise GOD from whom all blessings flow….

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