Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sauerkraut, you too can make saurkraut!!

After several tries, we have finally found the best way to make sauerkraut! Now 'kraut is something that not everyone likes, but many do. It took several New Year's dinners for me to even try it because the smell was just awful!! But now I guess I can say I really enjoy pork and sauerkraut as well as kielbasa sausage and sauerkraut. I have always enjoyed cabbage and really anything with cabbage in it...but it's the fact that it's sour...eww! However, my tastes have changed as I have gotten older. Well here's our recipe for sauerkraut.
Things you will need:
Kosher salt (only--do not use iodized salt of any form, i.e. table salt, it will ruin your batch)
Crock of 10-12 gallons with lid
Bag of water and plastic garbage bag
kitchenaid mixer with attachment (we use
the largest attachment for shredding cabbage)
stomper (or a wooden baseball bat will do as well)

Start off by taking the outside leaves off of your cabbage. Go ahead and take off all the darker green leaves as these do not shred up very well. Cut the cabbage into small enough pieces to put into your Kitchenaid mixer attachment. Make sure to cut out the hearts of the cabbage, they will not shred up very well also. Use a large bowl to catch the cabbage in once it is shredded.

Once you reach 5 lbs of cabbage collected, add 3 tablespoons of Kosher salt to your cabbage and pour into your crock. Immediately begin stomping your cabbage. You want to stomp your cabbage and you will have lots of bubbles and water form over the top of the cabbage.

Continue to stomp the cabbage while you continue to shred cabbage and keep adding 5 lbs. of cabbage + Kosher salt (3 Tablespoons) at a time.

Once you have cut up all your cabbage and stomped the cabbage and made a lot of water and bubbles you will want to seal off your cabbage. You will cover the cabbage with your plastic bag and add the bag of water on top. Add the lid to seal. Place the crock in an area where it can rest for 6 weeks. Make sure this is a place it can bubble
over, since it will most likely do as such. We place ours in the corn crib for the 6 weeks.
After 6 weeks, take off the lid, take out the water bag and plastic garbage bag and load the sauerkraut into quart sized ziploc bags. Freeze your sauerkraut in your freezer or deep freeze.

For 20-22 heads of cabbage, it yields about 9-10 gallons of cabbage, and we yielded about 30+ quarts of sauerkraut.

**This is a job for a family to do together! We usually have a couple of people cutting, someone running the Kitchenaid mixer and pouring the salt. We also have a couple people taking turns on stomping the cabbage. You will also need several people with very strong arms to carry your crock to a place to store! It is EXTREMELY heavy!!! **

Enjoy your sauerkraut!!!

Canning Green Beans

Well the time is amoung us! It's canning time at the Gantz home!! It seems once we start, veggies are ready in the garden in the matter of days apart! I have several posts to do from the last two weeks that we have done, but I could not find the time to write and can at the same you'll receive these posts separately but probably in the matter of today or tomorrow.

Kyle and I went out and picked green beans one day and we have a little over a half a row. This is a good year for green beans, as our first picking we yielded 2 Wal-mart bags full=one 8 quart kettle overflowing of snapped green beans! To can green beans, I would suggest getting a pressure cooker canner and using 10 pounds of pressure for the canner (follow directions in the caning book). For the canner, once the canner starts to steam/bobble starts to jiggle vigorously, then you start timing for 20 minutes. After a good 20 minutes of jiggle, turn off the burner and let set for 45 minutes or until pressure is released from canner. If you are using a water-bath canner, this will take you 3 hours! (So invest in a canner--I think this will be on my Christmas list this year!! or borrow from a family member--thanks Jamie! or friend).

To prep, clean your jars and rings in hot soapy water, rinse clean. If these are new cans, you are set, but each time you re-use a can you will have to purchase new lids, as they will not seal again once they have been used. The lids are generally between $1.00-$2.00 for a set of 12 depending on if you need small or wide-mouth lids.

Out of my overflowing 8 quart kettle of snapped green beans, it yielded 25 pints and 1 quart of green beans. I decided to go with pints, because I have a ton of pint jars and need to save my quarts for tomato soup, grape juice, etc.

For the green beans, you will need salt, green beans and water to can.

1. Cut off ends of green beans and snap into 1 inch pieces. These do not have to be precise, as we worked together as a family. My 3-year-old helped too!! (This is a great way to get your kids in the kitchen to help you prep for the canning!! They enjoy being apart of the project as well!! And the more you do together, the more fun you have and great memories are made!!). I generally stop up my sink on both sides, pour my snapped beans into one side and rinse them and pour them into the other side, repeat twice and you'll have clean beans!

2. Pack green beans into a clean jar.

3. Pour salt over the beans (1/4 tsp. per jar of salt for pints, 1/2 tsp. per jar of salt for quarts)

4. Boil water on the stove, once boiling, pour water over beans, leaving one inch of head room at the top (meaning I usually stop at the bottom of the neck of the jar, if my beans are a little taller I just make sure they are covered, but do leave some space at the top). Be sure to use a canning funnel (it fits into your cans and will prevent spills and burns). Use your sink to pour the boiling water into the cans.

5. Put lids on top and put rings on tight.

6. Fill canner with amount of cans canner can hold according to directions. (If you are using a pressure cooker canner, be sure to put in 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to keep calcium levels down.)

7. Follow directions above depending on which canner you are using!

8. When cans are done, use pot holders and jar lifter (below) to pull cans out of canner.

9. Let cool and let the cans set on your counter before storing for 24 hours. You should instantly start to hear seals pop. You will be able to tell if your cans have sealed, by feeling if there is a bubble in the top of your can lids. If there is a bubble, you will have to recan them. If it is flat, they have sealed. I had two that did not seal, so I just set them in my refrigerator to use soon.

How fun is it to do something as a family!! What a blessing it is to can the veggies that God has given us! I am so grateful for the learning from my grandparents and Kyle's family on how to do this and the blessings it brings to my family! As I am doing each vegetable, I am amazed at how amazing God's creation is. How different each individual vegetable is by color, by taste, by appearance!! How could anyone not believe in God?? That is beyond me!! What an amazing God we serve!!

Happy Canning!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Swing

Today I put the swing away, and I am realizing once again I have an older infant. Where once a sleepy little one that was tucked all around with blankets (so he wouldn't slide) was found is now a busting out of the seat and more interested in other things little boy! Where did my newborn go? Where did his need to be held scurry away to? He is now jumping in his jumper, quickily finding little bits of things on the floor (as I am hurridly using the sweeper more often again) and playing with the toys he can now grasp. Every mother I meet has always said, "Hold them when they're little because it goes by so fast." And here we are 6 months later and time has flown. I get a little sad when they move stages in their clothing (he is wearing 9 months--big boy!!) and even in different sizes of diapers...those newborns are so teeny!! And they quickly move on to size one, two, three... And now I am seeing he is starting to be a big boy. No more swing is the first sign of being a big boy. The space in our room is more open, but do I dare say, more empty. This is only the beginning of goodbyes and only the beginnng of more independence for my little man. I can't believe I would ever be so weepy to clear our room or put away a toy, but to me it's only the beginning of my son growing up. I see where my daughter is now, and I know it's only a matter of time. Children grow O so quickly. Love them everyday and enjoy each moment! Today it's the swing, what will tomorrow bring!?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Why do plans bind us so, and when they are broken why does it bother us? I am a planner, to the core. I love lists, I love order, I love checking off my lists, I love to-do's, circling ads for garage sales, finding deals in my CVS ad and making a list and order in how I shop there...O how my list can continue. The last two weeks my order, my things I want done, my fun things are not getting done because I am or my child or my husband is sick. I have come to realize that in all things, God has provided a greater good for me and to not go to something or not have my list completed is because He is providing me a detour and I need to not be flustered when this happens. Last week for example, Kyle came home and I didn't have plans or didn't have anything on my to-do list so he took us up to Indian Lake where we walked around the water, played in the play area and enjoyed ice cream at Dairy Queen. I was so thrilled for this spur-of-the-moment, end-of-the-day, memory-making family event. And since I didn't have plans for us, Kyle felt he could take us! (Why don't I do this more often) I didn't plan it, I didn't have it on my list, I didn't make invitations or even plan a meal. It was carefree and time with my family! What a blessing from the Lord! I know I will always have great memories of that day. Maybe I need to be better about being more carefree--I used to be. I used to go anywhere on a whim or do anything if I was dared (within in the realms of legality and conviction). Where did I loose this child-like wonder and joy! They have been lost to my lists. And though I don't think I could give them up, I am finding I would rather enjoy these last minute plans better--and I need to be more easy going as I once was...afterall I am a mother of two wonderful children and doing various things and activities that are not necessarily planned will be good for them and myself. All this to say, I know God has a purpose for my life and it is nothing that I can plan or have control of. How thankful I am that He is control of my life, my future, my all! Lord, help me to enjoy the moments away from my to-do's and make them memorable!