Fermenting is another wonderful why of preserving food. It has been around for thousands of years. Fermented foods are good for your digestive system, they contain live probiotics. Lets look at Sauerkraut, it has two ingredients, cabbage and sea salt. No chemicals, no additives, not even vinegar…so simple. When it comes to fermenting food and being successful it is about the quality of water, quality of salt and, quality of produce. The water needs to be clean no chloride, chloramine or fluoride. If you have city water you probably have all three chemicals. The chemicals will interrupt the process, making the produce soft and slimy. You can use filtered water or bring your water to a boil and keep it at a rolling boil for one minute to purify. At altitudes above one mile ( 1.6 kilometers), you should increase the rolling boil time to three minutes and allow it to completely cool before using. Use high quality sea salt. DO NOT use processed table salt. They have anti-cake agents and iodine in them and they will discolor and make the produce slimy. They have been stripped of minerals too. Quality of produce should be the freshest and organic if possible. Ferment time can vary. It can be 3 to 5 days or even weeks. Check your sauerkraut every day or two. Open the jar and smell it, use a clean fork taste it. Make sure the produce is still under liquid. After a few days , it should get bubbly, after a few more days , it should start to smell and taste sour. You can eat it at any time , this depends on you and how you like our fermented foods. If you like it crunchier put it in the refrigerator to slow the process. Some people like to eat their Sauerkraut after about 8 days.
Many fermentation recipes rely only on vegetables, sea salt, a knife and jars. No special tools needed. But, I have found this great tool to make fermenting food a lot easier. I know the produce is under liquid with this device. It is called ” Kraut Source” Fermentation Made Simple. I bought three of them. Easy to use. They gave me a little “How To Use Book” and it has some recipes too. If you want to ferment food I highly recommend this tool. Go to http://www.krautsource.com.
You don’t have to know how to can to be a good preserver.
I love winter and the food that comes with the cold wet weather. My husband and I enjoy hardy soups, stews and chili. I like to make a big pot , but it usually is to much for just the two of us. So, did you know that you can preserve that great meal for another cold wet day? Yes, pop it in the freezer for later.
Soups, stews and chili are always better a few days after making them, so let them sit in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Always use wide mouth jars for freezing, and never feel to the top leave 1 inch head space, because food expanse when frozen. I like to put a small piece of clear plastic wrap on top to keep the ice from build up on top of the food.
If you use small mouth jars you run the risk of the jar cracking from expanding.
What do you do after making soup. I like putting it into jars for the refrigerator. It is a great way to store it, instead of trying to fit a big pot or big bowl in the refrigerator.
The jar on the left is Tortilla Soup, Butternut Squash Soup, Venison Stew, Venison Chili, and Vegetable with venison meat balls. Chicken soup in the pot in the background.
This is a happy and yet sad blog, I need to share with you that All In A Jar will be moving in March of this year. It is a happy time because my husband and I, will be starting a new chapter in our life’s moving up to the Gold Country. We are looking forward to having a garden, fruit trees and some chickens. I will continue to teach once we get settled in.
But yet sad, because I leave behind all the wonderful students that have come to my classes. I will try my best to keep blogging during this very busy part of my life. The class calendar goes to the end of February. Please come join me in the last of the classes here in Lafayette. You can always email me with questions. I will do my best to help and of course you can always come up to the Gold Country for a class.
I am considering having All In A Jar travel to students homes.
Please let me know if that would be something you would like.
Best wishes to all of you and Happy Canning.