Down in the garden Grandma has a knife in hand and large buckets to fill; spring cabbage is ready for harvest. Pulling back the large outer leaves, she cuts the large firm heads. My job is to load them into the buckets as she chops them but the fresh spring air and warm sparkling sunshine keep distracting me.
Back in the big farm kitchen the cabbage heads are washed before the hard cores are cut out. One by one the cabbages are shredded into fine pieces and sprinkled with plenty of fine salt. Worked and wrenched the salty shreds fill bowl after bowl all around the room. Time for the big brown crock to make it's way to the garage....we're making sauerkraut.
In the coolness of the garage, Grandma fills the large crock with the salty wet cabbage shredded the day before..the wooden 'plate' is set in it's place to weight the cabbage under it's juices. It takes forever for cabbage to become kraut! Yet, as we daily 'churn the kraut' our minds wander to the various things she will make with this tasty treat: kraut and hot dogs, even my favorite sauerkraut pizza!
Day after day we wait for the kraut to be just right..then packing and canning and setting on the scary basement shelves...just another blessing of this spring's bounty.
Living in the humid south rarely affords me the laborious task of kraut making. My batches are few and far between since our cabbage season is short and our humidity is high. This year brought a longer cold season, offering the opportunity for hearty cole crops-- well, that and those buried soaker hose test beds.
For those of you asking, no, he doesn't eat sauerkraut either.
Better grow tomatoes in those beds next!