Sauerkraut: The Reckoning

So I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I started some sauerkraut.  Well, it’s been long enough for it to start fermenting, and it sure smells like sauerkraut, so that can only mean one thing: taste test time!

As it’s fermenting in its food grade bucket, the sauerkraut stays covered by a cloth to prevent dust and whatnot from getting in there.  That means that after I hauled it up from the basement yesterday, it looked like this:

“What’s with the weird shape of your bucket?” you might ask. You need to weight the sauerkraut down with something to keep it under the surface of the brine.  Actual sauerkraut crocks have a fancy lid that fits down in it, like so:

Alas, I am cheap and we had a food grade bucket on hand, so we made do with an old plate and a growler full of water.

You can’t really see the plate there, but it’s under the surface of the brine.  Actually, the first plate I tried was too big since the bucket is slightly tapered, so I had to rescue a different one from under a houseplant and give it a thorough scrubbing…but I digress.

The beauty of sauerkraut is that you can take a bowlful out and then weight the rest back down and let it keep fermenting.  This allows you to taste it throughout the fermentation and determine when it is at optimal deliciousness, and that is just what I did.

The verdict?  It’s pretty tasty but still needs some fermentation time to become full on finished sauerkraut.  It still had a fair amount of crunch and some of the cabbage spice.  That did not, however, stop me from downing the entire bowl last night after I got home.

I have to say, the whole thing has been remarkably easy–who knew cabbage and salt was all you needed!?  I will continue sampling this kraut over the next few weeks, but next time I think I will make sure to have some bratwurst on hand!  If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, I got the recipe from the Wild Fermentation website.

Have you tried making sauerkraut?  How did yours turn out?

2012 Urban Farm Handbook Challenge

UFHChallenge

So I am not the best blogger, or really the best gardener. I do, however, LOVE food, especially really great vegetables. So with that in mind, I am getting on my workboots and getting out in the dirt! I’ve decided to participate in the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge this year to keep me motivated and on track, both for blogging and for gardening.

Month 1 is February, which yes, ends tomorrow. Luckily, before I even found out about the challenge, I was working on it! The challenge for this month is soil building and we have some things in the works.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed to have some really fertile soil. However, composting and providing nutrients to the plants you’re growing is still really important. Currently we have a sort of haphazard compost pile that is really more just a spot for us to pile chicken droppings. I think we can probably do better. I am liking the idea of building a couple of compost bins that we can put over by the chicken coop and throw yard waste into.

Also, on Wednesday we’re picking up some red worms so that we can start worm composting most of our kitchen scraps. We have the set of trays to put them in and we certainly go through enough stuff in the kitchen! I am super excited about that. Our city does residential food scrap composting, but I think between giving scraps to the chickens and the worms, we should be minimizing our output.

Speaking of the chickens, we had quite the scare this week! On Sunday night one of our hens, Lady Cluckerpants, didn’t come back to the coop. I spent an hour searching for her and when she didn’t come home yesterday morning, either, I thought she was gone for good. Amazingly, one of our neighbors found her on the other side of our hill, lost and thirsty. She took her to one of our other neighbor’s houses since she knew they had layers. Our neighbors knew we were missing one and now Lady Cluckerpants is home safe with the rest of the flock. I am so grateful to everyone involved!

And finally, the sauerkraut I posted about the other week is coming out awesome! We had a bowl of it a couple of days ago and it is tasting delicious. Yum!