Saturday, June 20, 2015

Making Sauerkraut In A Quart Jar

A few weeks ago my son in law took a business trip.  When he returned, he surprised me with a gift.  He knows I make kefir and believe in probiotics and fermented foods for a lot of reasons.  I have mentioned making sauerkraut for a long time, but I didn't want to mess with making large quantities in a crock.  He found a fun way to make sauerkraut in a wide mouth quart jar.

It is called the Kraut Source.  With this contraption, you can make sauerkraut in a week.  What you need to do is get a pound and a half head of cabbage.  Shred it as fine as you want your sauerkraut to be.  I used a fine shredder.  It was about the size you would use for coleslaw.  Then put it in a bowl and sprinkled with a tablespoon of sea salt.  At this point you mix it with your hands by massaging the cabbage until liquid starts to form.  Then you tightly pack it into the wide mouth jar.   Pack it tight with no air bubbles.  The liquid will rise to the top.  There should be about an inch of liquid covering the cabbage.  Most cabbage gives off enough liquid, but if a little more is needed you can add more brine made with salt and filtered water.

At this point you just assemble the kraut source lid according to the directions that come with it and secure it with the wide mouth ring.  Water is put in the top reservoir.  This specially designed top allows the carbon dioxide to escape as the cabbage ferments, but it doesn't let air into the jar which is what causes spoilage.  I waited ten days for the fermentation process to occur, but a week would be fine.

This is the finished product.  I think it will be excellent for Reuben sandwiches or whatever else a person uses sauerkraut for.  The benefits of fermented foods are so good that I will probably just eat a small amount plain everyday.

There are also other videos on the kraut source page to see the actual process plus recipes for other things.

My next project will be to ferment veggies like carrots and cauliflower. I also want to try adding various herbs and spices to test out different flavors. I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Plain carrots waiting to ferment in a few days.

I didn't like the carrots.  There is something wrong with carrots that taste sour.  They actually went in compost pile.  I love making the sauerkraut and the Kraut Source is an awesome gadget.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Summer Day With Jack

Jack with a fresh new haircut and a lost front tooth

Yesterday our daughter needed us to watch our grandson Jack for the day.  Jack will be seven in a couple weeks.  He came with his eyes glued to his Samsung tablet.  I was trying to figure out how to limit his screen time, but I think his parents were way ahead of me.  Within a short time, he came to me asking for a charger.  His tablet needed charging.  I told him we only have Apple products and those chargers won't work on his tablet.  He accepted it well, and so our day began.

Today my husband posted this on Facebook.

This is exactly what we did.  We did a bunch of ordinary things with him.  First of all Jack and I did a little cleaning up and vacuuming.  Then we went around and looked at the birdhouses and talked about the bluebirds and the orioles that were coming in large numbers to eat the grape jelly we put out.  Next we checked the hanging baskets, and Jack picked a ripe cherry tomato and popped it in his mouth.  He told us that 7 times 8 is 56 and that any number divided by its self is one.  These were taught to him by his brother Sam.  So we asked him if he knew that any number times 0 equals 0.  He was going to see if his brother knew that.

After a while it was time to help papa.  We had two dehumidifiers that would frost up and another that didn't work at all.  They were all old and were not energy efficient.  They were just sitting in our storeroom.  It was Jack and papa's job to bring them out to the garage and take them apart so the part with the cooling freon could be taken to the recycler.

Jack needed help getting them up the steps from the basement, but after they got to the top, it was free sailing for him.

We found Jack some safety glasses and a carpenter apron.  Then they started taking apart the dehumidifiers.  They would take the screws out, and Jack would put them in his apron pocket to keep them from falling on the garage floor.

Despite the best efforts to keep the screws from falling on the floor, one escaped.  That is where the big magnet with a handle came in handy.  Jack really liked using that.  He found the missing screw and then proceeded to see what else it would stick to.

He discovered a contraption in our garage that he wasn't sure what it was.  Papa told him it was for crushing aluminum cans.  Jack came running into the house to ask me if we had any cans to crush.  We don't drink much soda, but I found a couple for him to crush.  I think this was better than an expensive toy.  He was sorry we didn't have more cans to crush.

After lunch and some snacks, it was almost time for mom to come.  Imagine how excited she was when he wanted to bring home a souvenir from the day.  It was a fan from inside one of the dehumidifiers.

He had big plans for the fan.  He did a few experiments during the afternoon.  One of them included a control knob and the crushed soda cans.  He would spin the fan by hand until the can flew off.

The next adventure of the day was driving to a nearby city to see his sister play softball.  I went along because I don't get to many games.  In fact, this was the first one this season.  Papa stayed home with great grandpa so I could go.  Jack gets a little bored with the games, but he really liked playing on the playground adjacent to the ball diamond.

Our granddaughter Melissa also gets a little bored with the games.  She likes being on the team, but she will never be a dedicated star athlete.  She isn't the least bit competitive.

Melissa would rather be performing in plays.  Here she is as the Wicked Witch in Snow White.  She really does look angry because Snow White was the fairest of them all.

I wasn't able to see Sam yesterday.  Sam, Melissa's and Jack's brother, was with his dad.  They had a very hard day.  One of Sam's teammates from his football team was tragically killed in a ATV accident.  The whole team went to the funeral home visitation.  This is the first death experience for many of the boys and being it was a friend made it very very difficult.  I am very proud of them for being able to do such a hard thing.  I'm not sure I could have gone through with it at age ten or eleven.

So as my husband's posting says, we tasted the tomatoes, we cried at death and we made an ordinary day into to something special to remember.  I think Jack enjoyed it too.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Bunn Coffeemaker

I love to drink coffee.  Not the strong fancy coffee, but the common ordinary coffee you make at home.  It is the first thing I do in the morning. As soon as I get up, I make a pot of coffee.   I used to buy less expensive Mr. Coffee type coffeemakers.  They would last a year or two, quit working and I would go get another.  Then 13 or 14 years ago, I received a Bunn coffeemaker for Christmas.  My sister had one at the time, and I loved it.  The best part is that you can make a pot of coffee in three minutes.  I used that coffeemaker everyday for all those years.  For the past few years it leaked onto the counter.  I didn't care.  It made coffee in three minutes, and I could easily wipe up the counter.

My old friend coffee pot.

Then recently I decided I should really buy a new one.  We shopped around and found a pretty good deal although they are somewhat expensive.  I don't like it as well as my old one because it is louder. When the water heats, it is very loud.   It does brew the coffee equally as well as the old one and I do like the new coffee pot design and best of all, it doesn't leak.

New machine that looks nearly the same.

Of course being the frugal person that I am, I decided to take the old coffee maker apart to see what was wrong.  I found a gasket that had deteriorated.  I put it in an envelope.  I was going to check at the hardware store to see if I could find a similar type gasket.  Then I got the bright idea to email the BUNN company to see where I could purchase this part.  Within two hours they emailed me back.  They said they would send me a repair kit with instructions at no cost to me.  I thought that was really good customer service, and I had nothing to lose.  Two days later the part arrived.  It took five minutes to install and to put the machine back together.  I set it up and it doesn't leak at all and makes wonderful coffee.  I wish I would have thought to email them years ago.  I can't return the new one because there is nothing wrong with it and I threw away the packaging.  I will keep the old coffeemaker.  I will put it in our camper and if we ever go camping, I will have my favorite coffee. 

I moral to this story is that it doesn't hurt to ask.  With email it makes the job even easier.  So next time you have a broken appliance, see if there is an easy fix.  I really am pleased with the BUNN corporation and their customer service.