cucumbers, onions, etc.

this year the cucumbers never stopped and would be going still if Ma hadn't taken the vines out yesterday. since we had a bucket's worth of them we made even more bread and butter pickles. i don't know how many quarts we've done of those, but perhaps 50... not counting all the cucumbers we've eaten and given away that's a huge amount from three plants.
the onions are in, i finally got out in the stiff breeze we had (otherwise the mosquitoes have been ferocious) and dug them all up (or at least as many as i could find). about a bucket full. most of them are between tiny and a few inches across, planted from a mix of seeds so there are at least four different kinds. they could have been thinned a lot more than i got around to doing, but even the small ones are good for a garnish and the red ones are always good for a bit of color. i'm drying/curing them in flats and then they'll be stored in the garage for the winter. it does get below freezing in there so perhaps i'll have to do something different, but there's also a really good chance we'll use most of them up before it gets that cold. yes, we can eat that many onions (and we've not started on the pickled beets yet).
squash are also in, Ma decided to take those vines out even if they were still flowering and starting small squash. i cooked up a bunch of the small squash along with some of the most reject onions that needed something done with them and a few red peppers too... turned out yummy. we ate one of the orange colored squash and i thought it was ok in flavor but i think squash taste better after they've aged a bit.
the tomatoes are almost done, the only remaining fruits on the plants are the cherry tomatoes the rest are all in the garage now finishing off. Ma said she's going to take those plants out today. which is good because i need a spot for the garlic... as usual the average per plant on the beefsteaks were about 25 - 30 pounds and the cherry tomatoes probably have been close to that too. it was a pretty good tomato year. the original plan was that Ma was going to be giving away the tomatoes this year, so why we have put up another 80 quarts of tomatoes i dunno, but we've gotten a lot of laughs out of it. 36 quarts are already gone (a friend was happy to trade us for them) and the rest are heading out too eventually... i hope...
the dry beans are coming in ok, still have a fair amount to finish up on the plants yet. the past few weeks have been mild weather with little rains so that has helped get things further along. the mild weather has also meant little breeze so those mosquitoes have been a challenge to ignore. some days i was able to cover up so that they couldn't get through the layers of clothes and other days i would just go out and pick until i got fed up with swatting mosquitoes more than i was picking beans. but the past several days were windy enough that i could get ahead on the picking. i have a good supply of pods picked now so that i can shell and sort on the days when the weather doesn't cooperate. which might even be this weekend if the forecast does actually turn out to be accurate...
carrots and fennel doing well still. the fennel is just blooming and i'm eating some of the tops before they bloom. very yummy. decided to leave the bottoms alone so they could bloom... not sure how long they'll be edible if left out.
brussels sprouts... the plants are huge and we're not even picking them and eating them as much as we both like them, it's just been too much other stuff going on so we've not gotten around to it. as the plants were extras from my brother we didn't really know what to do with them and apparently we still don't. my Ma was going to chop off the plants and take the whole stalk back to my brother's place so he can deal with them or eat them as it would be a good laugh, but he can't eat that many either...
ok, well that's enough of this ramble. time to have a bit of breakfast and then out to walk and whatever puttering i can get into for the day.
songbird
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On 10/2/2015 8:25 AM, songbird wrote:

and then the bats at night over the retention pond area. Neat to see them swooping about eating bugs. I still put on repellent because I seem to have developed an allergy to skeeter bites. Probably some more problems brought on by all the different meds the quacks have me on. i have a good supply of pods

for the taste so quit.

all. Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, chard, all taste good to me but not sprouts.

snoring on the couch in my office and it is so peaceful. Unfortunately I have a writing gig at the moment and it is due tomorrow so it's back to the workbench.
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George Shirley wrote:

i'm rarely out in the gardens in the early evening or the early morning when most of the mosquitoes are out, but with some heavy rains about a month ago that set up a surge of mosquitoes that would be out in the mid-day or all day which is unusual. for me to get bit at all is unusual too. luckily if i do get bit i don't swell up much if i catch the bite soon enough that they've not had much time to inject their anticoagulants... we've been laughing about it because i can be a few feet away from Ma and she won't be getting bit at all and they'll be dive-bombing me.
i've read all sorts of things about what attracts and detracts mosquitoes. can't say much as it seems even if i don't breath they'll still find me.
...

i use it for the same thing i'd use celery when cooking. like it with sausage, especially a good italian sausage and roasted red peppers and onions all fried up. yes, the taste is odd and if you don't like licorice or anise like flavors it's not going to appeal. i really do like black licorice so eating a flowering top right before the flowers open is rather intense and to me it's even better than the candy. the bees seem to like it too.

to me a sprout is just a strong cabbage and i like cabbage and sprouts so they're good, but as of yet they're still out there and not being harvested.

:) hope you got it finished?
this is the crazy season here, but it is going ok. the project list is gradually being whittled down.
garden stuff i can work on right up until the ground freezes and some things i can't do until the plants have gone dormant for the season.
a nap would be nice, but it's time for bed here and tomorrow starts early.
songbird
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Could make a batch of miniature sauerkraut - perhaps whack them in half, salt, weight, and wait (or mix them in with actual shredded cabbage.) Don't know for sure, but I finally decided to make some home-made sauerkraut this year for the heck of it (I don't like most things in the cabbage family, but I do like sauerkraut, so I think something leaves in the fermentation that's what I don't like.) Got some test-batches going in mason-jars, should be done in time to assess if I really want to scale up when the late-fall cabbages come in (well, none of my own, but from farms - perhaps next year my own if this turns out OK.)
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On 10/3/2015 3:52 PM, Ecnerwal wrote:

didn't go bad and grow hair. Came out pretty good. Used a sterilized plastic bucket, bottled water, canning salt. Ended up with four quarts, enough to satisfy our kraut hunger for at least a year. Wife liked it better than I did, particularly when I bought some bratwurst to go with.
I think that sterilizing everything first and using non-iodized salt, keeping a close eye on the bucket (which had a cloth over it) and dipping out anything that looked odd did the job. Probably won't make anymore as I found that my kraut taste was gone and wife only eats it once in awhile. Good luck on your fermentation.
Oh yeah, I live in Harris Cty, TX, heat zone 8b.
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On Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 5:54:03 PM UTC-4, George Shirley wrote:

About a dozen years ago we made a batch of kraut with red cabbage. Tasted t he same, just looked more decorative. If you make a batch, avoid iron as it turns the red cabbage blue, sort of like the litmus paper in high school c hemistry class. The stainless steel knives and shredding blades didn't both er it, but when we put some in a cast iron skillet, it turned blue.
Paul
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On 10/5/2015 2:39 PM, Pavel314 wrote:

anything blue except M&M's.
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Keeping it clean and effectively air-locked seems to be the best route and traditional in many places where it's a staple, with fancy airlock crocks as opposed to the open-top cloth over arrangement that somehow became USA standard. I had just come off of processing 50 pounds of plums (after 20 years of "perhaps a plum, perhaps 2", the trees went big this year) so I was refreshed on the "a properly tightened (not over-tightened) canning jar lid vents gas pressure but does not let air back in" from all the canning, and carefully ignored all the bad advice to "burp" canning jar kraut (or the other "advice," mostly obviously paid, for buying airlock tops for canning jars). It's bubbled away without blowing up just as the plums in the canner did. Since it's a huge apple year as well, I also tried the "add 25% apples" step that is evidently traditional in some areas on several of the jars.
The only one with grot on it is a literal science experiment where the experimental variation was salt level, and the one at a dubiously high salt level has some white mold on top. That was also done with red cabbage, and you can see it getting pinker as the lactic acid forms, more swiftly in the one at 2% salt, slowly at 4% salt, and hardly at all at 8% salt where the mold is showing up. Those also involved student help in the experimental setup and sanitation might not be so good as a result.
If your cabbage is not dried out, you should not need any water at all - shredded cabbage mixed with 2% salt (by weight of cabbage or cabbage and other stuff - apples, carrots, etc.) should develop enough brine to cover (when it's packed down and weighted) in about 30 minutes. Some claimed that was more reliable with "farmers market" than "store-bought" due to store-bought being held for longer, but the red used for the science experiment was store-bought and made plenty of brine despite that.
If going with a larger batch in a plastic bucket I would use a lid and an airlock; from the home-brew store, not from overpriced pickle suppliers... ;-) But I need to wait a couple more weeks to see how I actually like the first small batch before I contemplate going there.
I did use non-iodized salt.
The advice for "airlock-type" kraut I'm more-or-less following went something like: Sterilize the crock (jar, whatever) and don't touch it for 2 months (at 60-70F). The lack of air (displaced by CO2 early in the process) is supposed to keep the problem of things growing on the surface from occurring. With the jars, of course, I can look - and other than the one, which probably did not produce so much CO2, or not at a fast rate, since it is at a salt level the lactobacillus don't consider friendly, there isn't any yuck going on there.
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On 10/8/2015 9:57 AM, Ecnerwal wrote:

on the top of the kraut. Watched the process daily and skimmed a little scum off as it worked. The cabbage was home grown and very "juicy" so no water was added. If water had been needed I was prepared to go with sterilized, ie. boiled, water rather than tap water, which here is somewhat iffy as to sterility.
Had thought about buying the stuff you recommend but we just don't eat enough kraut to justify the purchase. Probably won't make any more kraut for a few years. Grands and great grands won't even tough kraut so we don't make it often.
Every time I think fall is actually here Ma Nature messes things up. Got up to 71F this morning and here it is 1300 CST and the repeating thermometer says it is over 90F out there. Bah! Humbug! Doe season is open though.
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George Shirley wrote:

She's doing it here too ... private land antlerless only opens here on Saturday .
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George Shirley wrote: ...

i don't look at the forecast for one day and things change a lot. now we have some nights that will be down in the 30sF coming up so i'll have to get those peppers picked before then.
a few days ago must have been the early season for deer hunting starting because it was like a war zone with all the guns going off in the morning. been quiet since then so perhaps they got 'em all (joke! -- i know they haven't!)...
songbird
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On Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 10:57:15 AM UTC-4, Ecnerwal wrote:

For an airlock, I use a plastic bag filled with water and tied. It goes ins ide another plastic bag just in case of leaks. The bag is big enough to cov er the surface of the fermenting kraut and press around the edge of the cro ck to keep water out. It's flexible enough to let the fermentation gas esca pe and the weight of the water keeps the kraut pressed below the surface of the fluid in the crock so it doesn't go bad.
Paul
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On 10/9/2015 3:24 PM, Pavel314 wrote:

an inverted plate so I could see if any muck formed up around the edge. Worked fine so will do it again sometime.
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On Friday, October 9, 2015 at 6:13:31 PM UTC-4, George Shirley wrote:

cover the surface of the fermenting kraut and press around the edge of the crock to keep water out. It's flexible enough to let the fermentation gas escape and the weight of the water keeps the kraut pressed below the surfac e of the fluid in the crock so it doesn't go bad.

I'll try the inverted plate idea next time I make kraut.
Paul
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