Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Funner with a Friend!

I think the original saying was "many hands make light work".  The bottom line is - it is almost always more fun to do a tedious job with a friend! 

Just 2 plants!  (and a marigold for bugs!)
I had way too much yellow summer squash, I let it get ahead of me - in my own defense, the last two years I have had squash bugs by this time and the plants were winding down!  This summer after a major move of the vines to the other side of the garden near the herb garden, (so far, knock on wood) I have yet to see a squash bug (don't get me wrong, I still have bugs just not that one...yet) and the two silly plants that I put in are just producing like crazy.  I am really not complaining, it is a good problem to have...I just wasn't prepared for it!

Patsi at "A Working Pantry" (in the blog roll) had posted a recipe for 'Yellow Squash Pickles' on the 26th, this seemed like too much coincidence so I figured this was going to be the perfect thing to try.  My friend Anita had been telling me about her new food processor and kept volunteering herself and the appliance to help with harvesting and preserving, boy is she regretting that now!! (not really, we did have a good time!) We discussed it and decided that we would use the food processor and do our sauerkraut on the same day.  We began our morning with a cup of coffee and some planning and then we went to work!

First we did the slicing and dicing of yellow squash, onions and red bell pepper.  The squash and onions sit under ice for a couple of hours with salt on them.  They will be drained but not rinsed to put in jars.  While the squash were soaking, we started shredding the cabbage for our kraut.  (the full kraut recipe is here)

  May I take a moment here to mention how much easier this is with the food processor than with a knife!!!  It was kind of fun just running it through. The salt was added and it went into jars, was covered with water and a leaf folded into a plug and we were ready for lunch!  (of course you have to eat to keep your strength up!)  Sandwich, fresh sliced tomatoes, cookies and tea, resting our aching backs and feet and then we were right back at it!

Boiling the liquid and packing the jars, and then filling the jars sealing and water bathing, with two of us each doing something in the process it really didn't take much time and Anita had almost all the dishes done by the time the water bath was done!  That is a true friend in my mind!  :)

So here is the final tally - 23 pints of sauerkraut quietly, and nearly odorlessly, fermenting.

And 20 pints of yellow squash pickles, all the lids have sealed now.

Not bad for about 6 hours work and a couple of breaks!!

I am not sure that there are many things more satisfying on the homemaking front than jars of produce lined up ready to be stored for the winter season.  It doesn't really matter if you do it to be frugal (the price ranges from $0.68 for the regular stuff at Walmart to $20.00 for organic raw, our cost was roughly $.25 a jar) to be prepared (so as not to be the one standing in front of the empty store shelves when the storm is predicted), because you like knowing what is in your food (yup, water, salt and cabbage), or a combination of all three like I do - it is a good feeling.  And it truly was funner with a friend!  We are now thinking of adding a couple more friends for peach season!


  1. How lovely! And you are so right, tasks like this are a delight with a partner in crime! I so wish I could join you in your kitchen for the peach season - I'd be happy to wash dishes as well as stone fruit by the way! I know exactly what you mean about the satisfaction of jars preserved for the winter - makes one feel ready for anything - I find that includes more than the weather too so preserving stuff is as much a psychological investment as a culinary one! Enjoy! Your day of preserving with Anita sounds just perfect to me. E x

  2. Do you put your sauerkraut in a water bath, Kathy? I usually ferment them with salt on the bench although I don't make that much at once...only one bottle at a time. You do preserve on a large scale over there in the US I must say. Thankfully we can grow veggies etc. all the year round here.

    1. I don't water bath, although you can if you want it to last longer than 6 months or so. The key thing for me on that is that once you water bath and "can" it you lose the probiotic benefits. (Per Nourishing Traditions) Hubby and I probably don't need that much kraut, even for a whole winter, but the kids have put in orders for when we go to visit them!! When we lived in Southern California, I did very little canning and preserving, just jelly's and stuff as we were able to get the fresh stuff year round. I am noticing a little uptick in the price of food in general lately, maybe the inflation they've been predicting finally hitting us, may be even more kraut in our future! ;)