Saturday, October 31, 2015

Canning ~ Sauerkraut

On September 26, 2015 the Hubs started his second attempt at making home made sauerkraut.  There are some changes that we need to make to the recipe as far as how much salt to add.  The nice thing about cabbage is, it is cheap to do our experiments until we have it fined tuned.

The Hubs chopped up the cabbage real fine and added salt and mashed the two together until the sauerkraut was getting watery.

To hold down the cabbage so it would say immersed in its own liquid, the Hubs used a plate with a rock on top {the rock was inside of a zip lock bag}.

This is after 38 days this is the end result.  The Hubs used 2 heads of cabbage and a bit too much salt, but we will know for next time.

1 Quart, 2 Pints and one 1/2 Pint

This is the recipe we will use next time.  It is from a vintage Kerr canning book, {that my folks left behind for us}.

Use good, sound heads of mature cabbage.  1 pound of salt with 40 pounds of cabbage; or more realistically, 2 ounces ( 3 1/2 tablespoons) with 5 pounds cabbage.  One pound fills 1 pint glass jar.

Remove outside green and dirty leaves.  Quarter the head and shred the cabbage finely. Put 5 pounds cabbage and 2 ounces of salt into a large pan and mix with hands; we would use the wooden masher we have.   Pack gently into the crock {or whatever container you are using, we used a food grade plastic bucket} with a potato masher.  Repeat until crock is nearly full.  Cover with a cloth, plate and weight.  During the curing process, kraut requires daily attention.  Remove scum as it forms and wash and scald the cloth often to keep it free from scum and mold.  Fermentation will be complete in 10 to 12 days.

As soon as the kraut is thoroughly cured, pack into clean KERR Jars, adding enough of the kraut juice, or a weak brine made by dissolving 2 tablespoons salt into a quart of water, to fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar.  Put on cap, screwing the band tight.  Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

We lefts ours for 38 days, and then canned it today.  Hoping it turns out okay, we would like to use the sauerkraut we made today on Ruben sandwiches.

...the feast of the harvest, the fruits of thy labors... Exodus 23:16

M & S
Uptown Grange

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bumper Crop ~ Fall 2015!

OMGoodness! So far this fall garden is appearing to be a bumper crop! 

We thought for sure we were going to lose some of our long beans from the hail storm a few weeks ago, but they seem to be thriving. They are to a point where they are starting to climb up the trellis that Hubs made for them.

The radishes are going crazy, we’ve enjoyed a few from the garden already and they are huge we've grown radishes in the past but they have never been this large and they are very tasty.  We will be planting some more here within the next few weeks.  These can be grown most of the winter here in Arizona.

Of course we have to thank our girls as they helped us with their awesome fertilizer for being on the side yard for over 2 years!

The kale, swiss chard, beets and bush beans are coming up nicely, hoping for a crop of each by Thanksgiving.

Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and spinach are showing signs of coming up, they were planted two weeks ago.

We are so impressed with the seeds that we purchased online. If you think about it, the seeds cost less than they would if you were buying organic seeds in a big box hardware store or other big box store. The average price is $2.25 to $3.00 per package, they are organic GMO free seeds. EVERY seed that we plant has come up without fail, this is a bonus as normally if you buy seeds from one of the above type stores you are guessing if they will come up and how big your crop will be. You do have to pay for shipping but that cost is minimal {$5.00 at most}, also they are such an awesome company, each time we’ve bought seeds from them, they have thrown in a random seed packet for free! We will definitely be purchasing our seeds from them again and again. 

M & S 
Uptown Grange

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tidying Up ~ Day 1

I read a few short books {like under 50 pages} over the weekend on de-cluttering {de-collectioning}. One of the books did not make any sense to me at all, it talked more about organizing rather than de-collectioning, and how to hide stuff. The second book pertained much more to de-collectioning and organizing, still not exactly what I was looking for, but a much better help.

I started off in the hall bathroom cabinet. This is the bathroom that the hubs, my 16 year old and any guests typically use {I hope our guests never looked under the cabinet…YIKES, it was very scary}. There were cleaning products, dog shampoo, raw vinegar, Epsom salt, pedicure stuff and a ton of random bottles of empty shampoo, just sort of thrown in there. I already had a plastic shelf unit in there so it was relatively easy to get organized. I turned the shelf around and was able to make it look more orderly. I threw out what was empty, old or no longer needed. I also went through the draws and was able to completely empty one of the drawers and organize the drawer with stuff in it. To organize the drawers I used clear cosmetic bags that I had saved and had an individual bag for: random dental stuff and then another bag for shaving stuff. This really cleaned the drawer out nicely, just hoping that it stays this way.

Hallway/Guest Bathroom
Next it was on to the master bath. It’s not really as grand as a master bath, it has a shower, a toilet and a sink, and it is about 5’ x 6’. The cabinet in there is really extra small and there is also a shelf/stand type thing that we put behind the toilet for more storage. Under the sink again I already had shelves to try to keep the organization in shape, again that failed. I had so many bottles of old lotions, body soaps and make-up. I really purged a lot in this cabinet. I was able to take some stuff that was on the shelf/stand behind the toilet and move it into this cabinet under the sink. The sink in the master bath is also very tiny and easily cluttered so I tried to remove as much as I could from it “appear cleaner”. This really helped by removing stuff from the shelf and counter top. We still have some work to do in this bathroom, but at least a good portion of the eyesore has been “hidden”.

I next moved onto my dresser. I was determined to purge as many clothes as possible and re-design the way I lay out the clothes in them. We have antique dressers so they aren’t the easiest to open and close as it is and I was hoping that re-designing them would help with this. I was only able to purge a few pairs of pajama bottoms and a few shirts, but it still felt great. I folded the clothes and stacked them and then turned the stack sideways so that I could visually see all of my bottoms and tops. It looks so much better and it definitely easier finding and getting clothes this way too, I no longer have to dig through stacks to find the shirt or bottoms I am looking for, I just find the color and bottoms I want and grab. I did this to 4 of my drawers in our room and was able to completely eliminate usage of one drawer {the hubs now has an extra drawer}. I still have to work on the “lingerie” drawer, but I have to decide how I want to lay that one out.

Just one of my drawers, too many to post the all.
I was feeling very accomplished and motivated by the time I was finished with each bathroom and my dresser that I moved onto my portion of the master closet. Again this is maybe 4’ x 6’, the hubs “remolded” it and at least we now have two rows of clothes rods rather than just the one and a shelf like when we first moved in. Of course my clothes take up ¾ of the closet. I was able to find about a foot worth of clothes that I either no longer wear or were to big/small for me. I do try to go through my closet at least once a year and do this. My BFF likes to go through the clothes I am removing and she has friends that she shares them with as well. It’s a win win!

And finally, I went through my nail polish, by this time the sun was going down and I wasn’t as ambitious as I was earlier in the day, so I figured this was a good thing to finish off with for the day. It was time to go through the nail polish; I was going through a craze where I would find these bright funky colors for cheap. Well since then, I’ve started doing my own gel nails and I am trying to match the gel polish to lacquer polish when I buy it, so I was able to taper it down and put my gel polish and matching nail polish along with my LED lamp in there so they now have a more permanent home. I removed about ¾ of a shoe box full of nail polish. My oldest son’s girlfriend said she would like to go through it and she has two sisters, so I am hoping by the time they are finished it all has a new home, she will also go through the hair products that I found that I no longer need. Again, it is a win win!

By the end of the day I felt good about getting stuff organized and de-collectioned. I know that I have A LOT {understatement} more to do, but this was a good start.

All in all it took me about 5 hours to complete. I didn’t say good bye to anything or tell it thank you, I’m more of the personality where I just cut ties…but I feel a bit more at ease and know that I really need to go through my whole house. I also need to get the hubs and the teenager involved in this as well.

M & S
Uptown Grange