Sunday, July 16, 2017

Beans 'n' Kraut

Not a recipe though--I can't even imagine what that would taste like. But it's what's been cookin' in my kitchen the past two days.

Friday was beans. 25 quarts, to be exact. These are bush beans--Tenderettes, my favorite. I am not a fan of the half-runner beans that are the runaway faves in this area; I don't like stringing them, and I don't like their flavor. Different strokes!

Beans, beans, beans


Saturday was sauerkraut day. This year I bought a food processor to cut up the cabbage, and it sure made the job easier. We've always used a kraut cutter, sometimes called a mandolin for some reason, but last year it was just too hard so I looked for a better way. The job went a lot smoother and easier with the processor.

Some of our yield.

It takes both of us to make kraut. We had 10 heads of cabbage, 5 early flat Dutch and 5 stonehead. We had to toss one head of early flat Dutch as it had split was was a mess of bugs and dirt and who knows what. So with 9 heads, we got 17 quarts of kraut. It was actually a pleasant job this year--we took breaks for wine and beer! More than one way to make canning fun.

Here's the recipe I use to make kraut. I've used this recipe since 1978 or so, and it always comes out well. It is from my Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cookbook, 1973 edition. It's pretty simple:

Shred 5 pounds of cabbage. Mix in 2 1/2 tablespoons of pickling salt. Let that set for about 30 minutes-1 hour. Then pack in jars, packing firmly, and leaving 1" of head space. The juice comes out of the cabbage as you pack and should cover it by the time the jar is full. Then wipe the jar rims and put the lids and rings on tightly. Let work for about 6 weeks--put them on a tray of some sort because the brine might spill over. If you need to, you can add brine while they're working by mixing 1 1/2 TBSP salt in a quart of water and adding to the jars that need it. Then clean the jar rims again, put on new lids, and set them in a water bath canner that is filled with cold water making sure there is 2" of water covering the jars. Bring the water slowly to a boil, and boil for 30 minutes. Tighten rims if necessary when the jars are removed from the canner.

Today I am tackling the red cabbage in my first attempt to make and can the Russian soupl called Borscht (the recipe is in the same cookbook). Wish me luck!


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