Friday, June 29, 2012

Easy Sauerkraut In A Jar

It's canning time at our farm. . .

Some of the local grocery stores have been running cabbage on sale lately--for as little as 29 cents per pound! So, I've been taking advantage of it, and adding to our supply of homemade sauerkraut.

If you've never tasted homemade "kraut", then you're in for a treat. It's nothing like the bought canned variety. For years, John's told me over and over, "Don't feed me kraut. I may have German blood but I don't like kraut!"

Well, as some of you know, I rarely take "no" for an answer. So, I coaxed him one day into trying a kraut salad I'd made from one of Mom's old recipes.
"That's not kraut!"
"Yes, it is. Have some more."
"Nope. Nope. That can't be kraut! It doesn't taste like any I've ever had!"
He's been eating it ever since.

What's the difference?
Our kraut is milder--and sweeter--and can be adjusted to suit your taste. 
 It's quick and easy--and you can make one jar or 100 jars. The technique is the same.

All that said, here's my really, really simple way to make kraut. . .

Cabbage. . . .Clean Pint Jars. . . .

Shred Cabbage. . . .Pack TIGHT in pint jars. . . .

Add 1/2 tsp canning salt, 1/2 tsp sugar*, and 1 T white vinegar* to each jar. . . .Pour boiling water into jar within 1/2" of the top. . . . . Run a stainless steel knife down the sides to let as many air bubbles escape as possible. . . .
Wipe off rim of jar with a clean, damp cloth. . . .
*Note: sugar & vinegar can be adjusted to taste but maintain the same ratio
Double the recipe if using Quart Jars. 

Place heated lids on top of jar. . . .Add ring. . . .And, tighten down. . . .
(I use my old rusted rings--the vinegar may cause more rust.)

 Set jars in a pan and in a dark place for 7-14 days. . . . You'll see the cabbage turn from green to a whitish, yellow. . . .

Once the kraut looks ready, process it in a water bath for 20 minutes. . . . Leave rings on for 24 hours. . . Remove rings only. . . .Your kraut will be ready to eat in 2 weeks!

Wasn't that easy? 
John encourages you to try it. . . .Even thought he's still not convinced it's kraut!

I'll share Mom's recipe for Kraut Salad in the coming week. . .

Post Script: There seems to be some question as to whether this is pickled cabbage or fermented sauerkraut. According to the dictionary,  "Fermentation is the conversion of a carbohydrate such as sugar into acid." With this definition, this recipe IS the fermentation that occurs when you set the jars aside for the 7-14 days. The combination of the cabbage, sugar, vinegar, salt, and hot water causes the reaction--the same reaction you get in a crock, just on a smaller scale. I hope this clears up any questions. . . .and thanks for asking. . . .I always appreciate any comments or questions. . . .


I'm Sharing this Recipe with: *Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #34


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In The Pink--Crepe Myrtle

We're having a heat wave, like so many others this summer, but we also haven't seen rain in weeks. So, I was somewhat surprised this morning as I took my walk around the farm to find these beautiful pink crepe myrtles beside the outhouse (a garden house). They were blooming as if the weather was no problem for them.

Like The White Crepe Myrtle, these bushes were transplanted from Grandmother's--and Mom's-- yard a few years ago. 

Aren't they beautiful?

This Post in Memory of My Parents
Curtis and Irene Magers Duncan
who married this day, June 27, 1947.

Sharing with: * Garden Party @ Fishtail Cottage

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Building Our Shabby Shed. . .

Do you think outside-the-box?
I do.
And, it drives John nuts.
He's an inside-the-box thinker. If it's an old boat trailer bed, then it's to be used to haul a boat. Right? Not the way I see it.
So, when we ran across the old cypress trailer bed--and John was about to scrap it--I protested loudly!
"It's good wood! We'll do something with it!"
"But, we don't have a boat!"
I told you he was an inside-the-box person.

We set the trailer bed aside--for a time.

Then, low and behold! We uncovered five cypress rafters in a pile of old lumber in the barn one day! Now, I knew what to do with the trailer bed--build a cute shabby shed for our log cabin! We had plenty of old cypress, we had an old shed door, we had buckets of nails, we had old windows, and we had enough tin for the roof--yep, we could do it!

But, the inside-the-box person wasn't sure. Took a few days to convince him. . .
So, I told him we were going to BUILD A BOX! That did it!

We're not completely finished with the project. 
Still have to add trims and such. . .
but I couldn't wait any longer. . .I had to share. . 

See the skids of the trailer? We set them on concrete blocks that we found around the farm. Then down went the floor--recycled barn wood.  The four corners were set up next--we put the temporary braces on them to keep everything square--well, almost square. . .

The shed was boxed in with 2x4s at the top.  The window was framed in with 2x4s. Pressure treated posts were set in concrete for the open shed area. Next came those five cypress rafters.

1x4 scrap wood stringers were nailed across the rafters. Recycled corrugated tin was screwed down on top of the stringers for the roof.

We had exterior Masonite left over from another project. Just enough to "box" it in. John sealed the edges with caulk and paint. The window was added with hinges at the top so we can open it out.

Then came the siding--old barn wood from the Simmons Plantation. I began adding a faux stone foundation, using concrete "stones" from a fireplace tear down. From a distance, you can't tell they're not real stones.

To finish--we'll add the battens (narrow strips where the boards are joined)--and other trims. Hopefully, we'll finish this week. Then I'll add lots of rustic, shabby touches. . .and maybe shutters? a picket fence?

Total cost? (Drum Roll)-- $35!
Talk about recycling. . .
All kidding aside, I have to give John the credit. . .
He did a fantastic job building this Box, don't you think?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Barn Charm--Magers Barn #3

The Magers Pig Barn, inherited by daughter Mamie Magers Griffin

On the same farm where the Magers hay barn sat--Granddaddy Built A Hay Barn--there was another barn, also built ca. 1930--much smaller--but in the same style. It was the barn Granddaddy built for his pigs.
Yes, pigs. 

The four story hay barn held cattle--this small three story replica housed pigs.

Now didn't they live "high on the hog?" 
. . . Pun intended. . .

To see more great barns, hop on over to:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Raggedy? Yes!--A Few Old Rag Dolls

Do you have an old raggedy doll at your house? Then you have an  "old friend."

"Lucy" ca 1932

I found a book that I love--Stitches In Time. . .A Primer For Recreating Early Rag Dolls. I can't say enough good things about it, so I thought I'd share a few words from the book with you. . .

"When rural mothers could not afford store bought dolls for their youngins, they fashioned them lovingly with scraps at hand while 'making do'." *

"I fondly remember the antiquing adventure when I "discovered" my first old doll. He was a happy boy, old black cloth with hand embroidered facial features and a smile that caught my eye. With his applied ears, floppy little body so huggable and farmy attire, I knew instantly that he was coming home with me. . ." *

Snapshot taken at Country Bumpkins Flea Market, Popular Bluff, Mo

Primitive rag dolls have a charm of their own. Every one I see I want to pick up and hold tight. The older and grubbier she is, the more I like her. The dress might be torn and tattered and her face might be dirty, but I know immediately when one is coming home with me. It's almost like people--some you're just drawn to. . .

Unusual heart shaped face ca 1940s?

They feel like old friends. . .

Black doll is very old. . .stuffed with straw

A Cambino Doll on right from New Orleans ca 1980. . .Black Doll left age unknown. . .

Topsy-Turvy Sock Doll ca 1940

"Handmade dolls were sewn from the humblest of materials, not fancy in nature like their store bought cousins." *

"They were charming, endearing and sometimes naive.
Those are the dolls that speak to us.. .

They tell of a story we can only imagine. . ." *

The dolls in this post are just a few 20th century rag dolls
who befriended me.
They do not appear in Shannon's book.

by Shannon McConnachie

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Farmer John's Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

Who knew?
There's an art to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--or so says John--who eats one every night before going to bed.

He started eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when he was a small child. His Mom made him the sandwiches each night. He says he eats it now for two reason: to remember his Mom and to make himself feel younger. I suspect he also likes them--

He won't allow me to make the sandwiches for him. 
He wants to make his own. 
He says there's a technique to it that he has perfected over the years. 

I thought I'd post his sandwich making, since I figure you may be much like me and thought making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was just a matter of throwing any kind of peanut butter and any kind of jelly on a couple of pieces of bread.
Not so. . .

First Rule: Always use Crunchy Peanut Butter. It doesn't have to be a name brand.
Even a store brand will do as long as it's crunchy and it's easy to spread. . .

Rule #2: Whole Wheat or Multigrain Bread is your best choice. Along with homemade jams, jellies, and butters. (John loves pumpkin and apple butters.)
And, don't cut the crusts off the bread! They help hold the peanut butter and jelly inside the sandwich. . .

Ok. Ready to make one?
Open out two slices of bread so they'll match up perfectly
when you put the sandwich together. . .

Don't do as most people and just glob (John's word) the peanut butter in the middle.
Nope. You gotta spread it around the edges. . .
top first. . .then counter clockwise. . .
(note how he turns the bread). . .
And then in the middle. . .
Make a little mound of peanut butter around the edges--to hold the jelly inside. . .

Now, spread a THIN layer of jam or jelly in the same manner around the second piece of bread. . .
(He's using freezer strawberry jam because it spreads thinner. . .
Don't guess you have to turn this one as you spread?)

Put the two pieces together. . .
The peanut butter half ALWAYS goes on top of the jelly. ..
and. . .There you have it!

Last Rule:  Never, ever cut the sandwich in half--because the jam will ooze out.

Just bite into it. . . and ENJOY. . .ahhhhh. . .

Now, did you know all that?
I sure didn't. . .
To me it still looks like an everyday  peanut butter and jelly sandwich. . .
I don't see the difference. . .
Oh, well. . .

Maybe that's why he won't let me make him one?

We're sharing this post with all the nice folks at:
Rural Thursday
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