I was lucky this year, or was it good planning, or good weather?
I was able to grow perfect cabbage for the first time in a long time.
I bought starter plants for our display booths, and once the shows were over, (the starters did not die for once, plants don’t travel well!!) I planted them in a 4’ x 4’ x 7” tall raised bed. In the same bed, I planted some broccoli starters and Copra onions. In order to keep any bunnies, cats, dogs, hens, groundhogs and/or deer out of the bed, a dog exercise pen (bought from Chewy.com) was placed around the bed, they fit perfectly. Straw was laid down between the plants to help keep any weeds from growing.
Cabbage moths have always been a problem in the past, so I was surprised that these cabbages were not found by the little pesky white moths. They found the cabbage that are growing in the greenhouse, but not these; the onions and the fencing may have something to do with that. The other day I saw one of our chickens running after a cabbage moth, so perhaps they are keeping the moth population down too.
We had a long rainy spring and even though it’s summer, it has been cooler than normal. Our peas, lettuce and cabbage have been loving the cooler temperatures, tomatoes and peppers, not so much. The broccoli was finished early and pulled to make room for some straggly looking tomato plants; not sure if they will have time to produce any tomatoes, our growing season is very short here.
We love to eat pork and sauerkraut, so this cabbage was always intended to become homemade sauerkraut. If you look up how to make sauerkraut you have to shred it, add salt to it, massage it until it forms a brine, pack it in a crock, keep a weight on it to keep the cabbage submerged in the brine and scrape off any scum that forms on top. Well, I don’t want to do it that way, the smell alone in the house of fermenting cabbage does not sound very pleasant. There are “new” ways to ferment cabbage now, right in glass mason jars, and you don’t have to scrape off scum because it doesn’t form using the new methods.
Self-venting airlock lids have made it so easy to ferment your produce. I bought, from Amazon, some self-venting silicone lids that look like the old Playtex baby bottle nipples. I’m excited to see how they work, the reviews said they work great, time will tell.
Three heads of organically grown cabbage was pulled up yesterday, shredded, salted and massaged/brined, packed into clean wide-mouth jars, and sealed with the new airlock lids. Fresh cabbage is very juicy and takes very little time to squeeze out the brine. It will take 3-6 weeks for the cabbage to finish fermenting, thus turning into sauerkraut. The jars will sit out on our kitchen counter during the fermentation process so we can keep an eye on them. It stays pretty cool in there now that we have central air!
I do not want to lose the probiotics the fermenting process creates so I will keep the jars in the refrigerator rather than processing in a water bath canner once the fermenting process is complete. It will keep for many months in the fridge, at least until New Years!
FYI, 3 heads of cabbage made 2 quarts and 1 pint of sauerkraut.