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Gifts From The Garden, Issue #003 -- Sauerkraut recipes, great gardening ideas
August 03, 2013

August 2013 Issue 3

In this issue:
1) Lorraine waxes romantic after watching The Blue Apple Tree...
2) Then she makes sauerkraut (recipe)
3) And photographs some great ideas at a community garden

Waxing Romantic

Ahh...August! The tomatoes are starting to come on, the cabbages are huge and ready to harvest, and the garden is so abundant that it can start to feel a little intimidating! There are still bugs and weeds, but now the crops are so huge and productive that it’s time to start harvesting and preserving, too.

At this time of year I always start to romanticize about a time I never knew, when neighbors would come together to help each other with harvest... first one farm, then another. I see kitchens in my mind where laughing women are working together to can tomatoes or peaches, or brawny German men are stomping cabbage in a big vat as they make sauerkraut... and then the community shares the results of their common labor.

I just watched a simple, sweet movie called The Blue Apple Tree, which did not help to quell those romantic fantasies. I’m 58 and live in a big city, but I still dream of being a peasant farmer when I grow up!

Sauerkraut Recipe

Eventually I descended from my fantasies, and decided to get to work. I love to make sauerkraut, which is delicious beyond anything you can buy in the store, and WAY more healthful. Why? Because the good microbes that make real sauerkraut are the same good microbes in those expensive probiotic capsules that modern people spend $30 billion a year on, trying to heal their messed-up guts. Storebought sauerkraut has been sterilized, and has no more good microbes it. It might not even have been fermented, just been cooked and vinegared.

Sauerkraut is easy to make, and there are many different ways and recipes. The absolute simplest is to shred cabbage, salt it, put it in a plastic bucket (or better still, an old round crockpot liner) with a ceramic plate inside on top of the cabbage, and then weight the plate down with a gallon jug of water to keep the cabbage submerged in its own juices and away from the air. Keep it in a cool place and wait 3 days or so, then put it in jars in the fridge.

There are, however, some details that are helpful to know in order to avoid problems. For example, don’t use iodized salt, since iodine kills microbes. For a complete set of instructions, as well as three delicious recipes, visit the new Homemade Sauerkraut article. I especially recommend the curtido - it is so delicious that Tito and I eat it as a condiment at almost every meal.

A Visit to Rosedale Community Garden

Here are some great ideas in use this year at the Rosedale Community Garden here in Denver:

Include flowers as an "insectary" for beneficial insects:

Use an "olla", a buried, unglazed, pot-bellied pot that waters plants slowly, just as much as is needed, by capillary action:

Build a Monarch Waystation. Go to the Monarch Watch website and join the Monarch Waystation program, that helps build habitat for our rapidly declining populations of monarch butterflies:

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