Canning season is finally finished

“Aack, what IS that? You’re KILLING me,” says Tom, coming down the stairs to the kitchen. I am scraping off the top layer of sauerkraut from the crock in which it had been fermenting.

So that three heads of cabbage that I chopped and salted in late September have yielded six quarts of sauerkraut. Personally, I thought it was a tad salty coming out of the crock, but the canning instructions said to add some fresh water to the warming pot, so actually the kraut is quite tasty. (You heat the kraut to boiling before you ladle it into the waiting canning jars. Then, it’s processed in the pressure canner for about 20 minutes at 10 pounds’ pressure.) It’s crunchy and somewhat briny and definitely has that cabbage stink that makes my husband gag.

Tom, in no uncertain terms, has stated it will not be eaten if it finds its way onto his plate. (He’s such an ingrate, isn’t he?) But me? I’m a convert! Bring on the stinky stuff!

But gone now, until next year, is the metallic click and tonk of the cooling jars of goodies. Away, downstairs on a high shelf, now sit the ceramic crock, the monster pressure canner, and the small boxes of the screw-down lids. Two of the three food mills, the big water bath canners, and the extra bowls and scrapers too have made the trip downstairs. And do I have enough food, do I think I was successful in putting up enough victuals to feed us? I…do.

I might have to find a way to disguise the sauerkraut, though.

5 responses to “Canning season is finally finished

  1. Congratulations. Good season.
    (I *like* sauerkraut! Stinky, fermenty stuff is yum.)

  2. I’ll agree with your husband…it’s got a certain smell that doesn’t say I’m delicious to eat.

    You can braise it with onions, a little paprika and garlic and that tastes good.My mother adds some smoked pork element to the cooking which I find overwhelming but it is the more trad approach. I’m not a sauerkraut fan but this dish is how the conversion process starts.

    See, now I’m thinking I might try to pickle some of my own in the autumn.

    Congratulations on your harvest!

  3. Hooray!

    I don’t know why, but my kraut is never stinky. It just quietly ferments on the kitchen counter, and no one ever knows it’s there.

    One recipe I like is from my Polish grandma, where you cook the bejesus out of the kraut. I know that kind of defeats the beneficial properties of the stuff, but it gets golden and mellow and lovely, and I just love it. It also has bacon, which could also explain the love. 😉

  4. CC: Thanks! room yet to improve next year, though… But we tried (“we” being other relatives and myself) last night and it was yum.

    Nada: I agree with you, really. I wouldn’t really say it had a harsh smell but Tom said it did. I came indoors after being outside for a bit and I certainly detected the cabbage funk.

    That said, the more traditional approach with pork (Liz mentioned it too) seems like a natural pairing, and then again if you braise anything in enough onions and garlic it could be edible, IMHO. But you should try to make some this fall! Very easy.

    Liz: I didn’t think it smelled at all, either; you really couldn’t smell a thing when it was fermenting unless you put your head on top of the crock. Alas. Bacon might just be the way to go to get him to come around…or not, as my other relatives seemed to do quite well with polishing it off!

    Kim actually suggested making cheese balls with the stuff, and I seem to remember someone doing that in my Minnesota days. Sounds really inedible but she swore they disappear at every family gathering.

  5. Robin (Bumblebee)

    Ah, disguising food. That’s a time-honored method of getting stuff into unwilling victims.

    Check out LOTS of good recipes there!

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

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