Tag Archives: sauerkraut

Long Weekend

Like most of you, I had a long weekend. Old What’s Her Face had to work, so I wound up left to my own devices.

At one time, I talked about making sauerkraut again. She bought me some from the store. It isn’t the same concept, because I wanted to make it. It still made for a tasty supper with a Polska kielbasa. Might have to break down and make some anyway.

I worked on edits, and sent something to my crit group. They were all off this weekend, too. I never expected a rapid turn around, and I hope everyone had a good time. Since publication target is late winter, there is plenty of time.

That left me with my side project. I’ve gone over the first few chapters more than any others I’ve ever written. Right now, I’m pretty happy with them. I’m introducing main characters in two different locations, but they finally managed to come together before the weekend came to a close. We entered space, traveled across part of the galaxy, and committed an unintended murder. Now one of the characters has to run, and it’s reason enough for everyone to wind up on the same ship.

I’m going with five main characters since this is likely going to be a trilogy. Five, or thirty, main characters, depending on how you count the clones. It’s complicated. (You guys know how my imagination comes into play.)

As I get acquainted with the characters, some personalities are starting to develop. There have been a few crass remarks flung around. This might sound strange, but I always have an idea of who they are, but as they interact on the page it develops more than I roughed out.

I managed a pretty good bit of emasculating dialog. I kind of like how it came out. Former lovers are something I’ve never written before.

All told, I probably added about 7000 new words to it. Can’t keep calling it “It,” but I don’t have a title yet.

The Muse is torturing me with this future story for Lizzie and the hat. I like to plan ahead, but this one is about five down the line. Seems a bit excessive, but I can’t seem to stop her once she starts inspiring. It involves a twist on some Asian mythos. Things like the afterlife, spirits, and reincarnation. I already have a list of magical artifacts and creatures going. I dedicated some time to research because it’s so interesting. I already have a few humorous things in mind, so that’s positive.

Outside of that, I have Asian pears running out my ears. I’ve been eating them all weekend. They keep pretty well, so I may have to claim part of the vegetable crisper. For now, I’m leaving them on the tree. Works for now, but isn’t a long term solution.

That’s about it. It’s time for supper, and some more Asian pears. Hope all of you enjoyed your weekend, too.


Filed under Writing

And now for Something Completely Different

Old What’s Her Face* and I went to town today. We tried out a new beer pub, and it was pretty good. Good menu, and they prepared the food well. Large beer selection too. She doesn’t drink at all, so we never have to take turns when we drive somewhere.

We stopped off at a fresh produce store on the way back. I’m a firm believer in learning some old school ways of doing things. I’ve fished, hunted, grown my own food, and canned. Everyone ought to have a basic understanding of how all this works before the next major flood, storm, or junta shows up. Humans have been preserving the harvest this way since prehistoric times. Vegetables were pretty hard to come by in February, and pickling was one way of staying healthy through the winter.

Today, I’m pickling and it’s remarkably simple. We used a few modern tools for the sake of convenience, but I’ve done this with basic kitchen knives too. Today’s recipe is for sauerkraut. I always wanted to try kimchi or dill pickles, but never seem to find everything I need at the same time.

First you need a pickling crock.


This is my crock. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

 This one is kind of souped up, because it has a water valve built in the top. It let’s the carbon dioxide out, but doesn’t let the nasty yeasts inside. It isn’t necessary, but then you have to keep scraping a gross scum off the top. I don’t have that problem.


Fill the trough with water to make a one way valve

 Here are a few special tools. The crock came with two stones to keep the kraut below the liquid. I made my own kraut bat from a spalted tree root I found along the Boise River. It’s crooked, for the cool factor, but it also helps inside the curved crock.


Stones and kraut bat

Just add vegetables. This batch is five medium cabbage, four onions, and a half dozen apples.


Box ‘O Veg

The recipe is surprisingly simple. Put everything through the food mill and make coleslaw. Layer it in the crock, and spread a fistful of salt every couple of inches. Smash the crap out of it with the kraut bat.

The salt, and bat, pull juice out of the cabbage. All the vegetables are covered with the bacteria that creates fermentation. It’s what does all the work. You can pickle almost anything with just the vegetable and salt water. I’ve been told to never attempt green beans though. You need an extra step or they turn toxic.

Someday, I’ll find pickling cucumbers that are ripe alongside fresh dill. Until then I’ll stick with sauerkraut. I will generally eat more sauerkraut anyway. It can stay in the crock for a year as long as the water valve is kept full. I generally freeze some and clean everything up after a month or so. This is the healthy kind of fermentation too. It rivals and may even surpass all the yogurts that are so popular right now. Talk about pro-biotics. You may also can it, but this will kill all the beneficial beasties.

Here’s what it looked like about 2/3 of the way through. You can see the footprints from my kraut bat. These were good cabbages and I only had to add about a quart of water to make sure the veg stays underwater.


About 2/3 finished

Add some liquid to the trough around the top of the crock and put it away. As long as the water valve remains full, it will keep happily burping along. I’ll probably try it in about 30 days. Maybe a nice pork loin and some Belgian ale.

*Not my wife’s actual name


Filed under Uncategorized