Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sauerkraut Saturday - we made close to 170 lbs

Don't think we'll need to make sauerkraut again for a very long time - we put away 28 heads of cabbage (at about 5 lbs each) for regular sauerkraut, the kind that is just made with 3 tablespoons of salt per 5 lbs of shredded cabbage. That made about 15 gallons - which is sitting in the kitchen happily fermenting. We weighed the top of it down with gallon sized freezer bags filled with salty water (in case one of the bags breaks it won't mess up the salt brine that the cabbage is fermenting in). We also put away another 30 lbs of cabbage for German style "Delicatessen" sauerkraut. In between each 5lbs layer of shredded, salted cabbage, we added about 5 juniper berries, one grape leave, about 1 dozen green grapes, 1 cup shredded sour apple, 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds, and about 1 dozen peppercorns.

It was a little challenge finding juniper berries in the local grocery stores. In one of the stores, the lady I asked about juniper berries first asked me to repeat the word 3 times, then asked me what I needed them for. When I told her it was for making sauerkraut, she looked at me, in a pitying sort of way, and told me, honey - we don't do it that way here. (luckily there is Wegmans)

We also picked potatoes - Jeff used the single plow to dig up the rows, and the potatoes were literally just rolling out of the ground. We picked up 24 buckets of potatoes, which ended up being about 17 bushel. They are spread out on the middle bay of the upper barn to dry a little. We'll have to pick through them and sort out the damaged and cut ones, and then store the rest in crates in the bottom of the barn where it is cool and dark.

We used some of the left over cabbage to make "Freezer Slaw", about 12 quart sized bags, have to see how this turns out. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Canning Weekend Additional Count

We finished off the Labor Day canning marathon with another 20 quarts of spaghetti sauce and 16 quarts of the best applesauce ever!  (also squeezed in a 3.5 mile quick run at the park)

Record Breaking Canning Weekend

We are on the way to break our canning record for total jars - and varieties of food - canned in one weekend. Granted, we had a lot of help, as Anja & Duff and Zach & Rachel were around all weekend, and Jens and Grace stopped by on Saturday. 

We started off on Saturday morning picking tomatoes and then picking through (and cleaning) a pick-up load of apples, which we ran through our apple press.  It was a beautiful morning, not too hot and windy enough to keep flies away (had a lot of bees buzzing around us though).  We ended up with  about 40 gallons of apple cider. 

While the cider was being made, Rachel - and Toben -  worked on cleaning the tomatoes for the first batch of sauce for the weekend.

Jens and Grace stopped by and brought along half a bucket (5 gallon sized) of assorted hot peppers from their garden and a 50 pound bag of onions from Sams Club.  In the afternoon, Duff came up with his first batch of original salsa - which we called "Duff's Smokin Salsa" (it contained chipotle and ancho peppers and we roasted the onions before adding them).  Today (Sunday) we canned some of the cider,canned some peaches, started a batch of apple wine, made another batch of salsa (this one was a milder variety), made apple sauce and nectarine sauce (some we mixed 50:50), and canned all of this, and cooked enough tomatoes for another batch of sauce.

We used the burners on our kitchen stove, the side burner on the gas grill and the turkey fryer outside, as we just ran out of space in the kitchen during all this processing.  In the middle of all this, we all went to Chambersburg to watch Lars and the Big Spring Midget Football varsity team win their first game of the season.  Go Bulldogs!

Here is what we ended up with by Sunday night:
  • 20 gallons of apple wine (30 pounds of sugar added)
  • 38 quarts of canned apple cider
  • 10 gallons of cider in gallon jugs in refrigerator
  • 18 half pints of "Smokin Salsa"
  • 15 half pints of "Mild Salsa"
  • 20 quarts of Spaghetti Sauce
  • 31 pints of apple/nectarine sauce
  • 6 quarts of plain apple sauce
  • 7 quarts of peaches

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Zesty Salsa Batch #1 Recipe

Here is our first version of the "Zesty Salsa" - which makes about 14 pints:
  1. 20 cups skinned, chopped tomatoes (we left seeds in, but may want to seed them)
  2. 10 cups seeded and chopped sweet bell peppers (we used red and green ones)
  3. 10 cups chopped sweet onions
  4. 4 cups chopped jalapeno peppers
  5. 9 cloves garlic - minced
  6. 4 Tablespoons dried cilantro
  7. 6 Tablespoons salt
  8. 2.5 cups cider vinegar
  9. optional teaspoon or so hot pepper sauce (we did not use any for this batch)

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then fill hot salsa into pint jars - adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Our cup measures were generous - and this batch made 14 pints. The salsa is bursting with flavor - not very hot, but slightly tart from the vinegar, may want to add some sugar to the next batch to reduce the tartness somewhat. This is the kind of salsa that you would add to melted cheese, or to mashed avocados for a dip (avocado, sour cream and salsa) or add to your chili.