Thursday, September 1, 2011

Of Cabbages and Kings Oliphants

"OK then, the sauerkraut experiment was a success!" she said modestly. Time to can.

The first step is to remove the topmost, slightly scummy layer of kraut, and discard with haste. By the way, can you see the little oliphant in the background? He seems to be rolling his eyes at my endeavor. He's a kitchen pal that makes me smile.

I found him in a thrift shop years ago, collecting dust among a bunch of old ceramic plant pots. He was quite disgusted, since in his former life, he had been a cherished teapot. Sadly, he had lost his lid and handle, but that was no reason to banish him to the Land of Misfit Pots. Twenty-five cents later, he came home with me. Don't you love the curly tail and the wrinkled bottom? I do.

Ollie has been repurposed as a garlic holder/aerator. I use garlic the way a kindergartener uses glitter--with abandon. It's good to have it within reaching distance rather than to have to hunt for it behind the pickles in my too-small refrigerator.

"Oh, the indignity of it!" he seems to be saying. But I know he's secretly pleased. Now back to the cabbage.

Sauerkraut must be brought to a simmer before canning. Then it is added to hot, sterilized jars, which I later processed in my pressure canner. I have no pictures of this, but trust me, I did it. I have no interest in poisoning anyone.

So, fifteen minutes later at five pounds of pressure for quart jars, voila!

Stoneware crock is now doing service as a sourdough starter container. Our next culinary adventure. So stay tuned...


Chelsey said...

I love garlic and elephants too... I'll have to find myself a garlic holder just like him. lol...

amy said...

this is marvelous. and i love oliphant. a multi-purpose friend.

mountain mama said...

love the .25 bargain! he certainly has character. that kraut sure sounds delish!!

monix said...

Your elephant is so lovely I would make him an honorary pig and put him in my collection! We don't eat sauerkraut here but I love sourdough and enjoy making it. I will be looking out for a crock like yours, it looks much nicer than my pickle jar.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

sourdough starter makes my brain explode. it's so ALIVE!

That oliphant is so wonderful. Cranky on the outside, but a big ole softy if you ignore that. My kinda elephant.
P.S. I HATE sauerkraut.

Leslie said...

from sauerkraut to sour dough. you are a wonder! (and you said "scummy." i thought that word was anathema to you...)

Cheryl said...

Glad the sauerkraut worked out so well. I love the use you make of the elephant. I use loads of garlic too. I'll be keeping my eyes open for a preloved teapot. Especially one with attitude.

Jodi said...

You ladies are so much fun to chat with. I'll be posting the sourdough recipe and its results in an upcoming post, if anyone's interested. Thanks for the Ollie love :0)

Emily said...

I bet it's delicious! I've never had saurkraut before but it looks fascinating.

Does the oliphant have a name?

Jodi said...

Emily, saurkraut is good and good for you, 'cause it's a probiotic. Elephant's name - Sir Oliphant, Ollie to his friends.

Nancy said...

I do believe that was the best 25 cents you ever spent. And I'm in awe of your mad pressure-canning skills. The reason I don't can is that it reminds me too much of high school chemistry, and I know if I don't get things to the right temperature and pressure people will die.

Jodi said...

Nancy, yes, but it's that joie de vivre of having people's lives in your hands that kinda makes you want to get it right ;)

Nancy said...

Chemistry AND French? You're killing me girl!

Jodi said...

Nancy, I married a Frenchie ;)

Misty said...

i love canning. and i've never tasted sourkraut, tho i've often wrinkled my nose at it. and oliphant--isn't that--well, made from an elephant's tusk or something? but i love ollie. i love his color. that would make me smile even if i were smelling 'kraut. :)

Jodi said...

Misty, elephant tusk? Heavens, no! Oliphant is an archaic spelling of elephant. Tolkien used it in Return of the King, and wrote a poem about them:

Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake.
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass.
Tree's crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth,
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years,
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphant am I,
If you ever meet me,
You wouln't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true.
But ole' Oliphant am I,
And I never lie.

~J.R.R. Tolkien

Deidra said...

Girlfriend, you are brave to can sauerkraut! And that oliphant? Sweet! Yes. I do love the curly tail. :)

Julia said...

Glad to see your 'kraut turned out well. I'm curious about the heating / canning method you used as heat sterilises thus killing all the good probiotics (bactiria) in sauerkraut. Only traditional raw sauerkraut still has probiotics. I've always used the Nourishing Traditions method of salt/whey, leave it for a few days (no scum) then bung it all in pre-sterlised jars and store at the back of the pantry where it's cold. Looking forward to your experiments in sourdough!

Jodi said...

Julia - thanks for the info. I'm more curious now about the method you mentioned. I researched many recipes. All of them recommended canning - water bath method. I use a pressure cooker because it's quicker. Good point about the probiotics. I've made kimchee without canning. But I think I would be nervous not to can large batches of anything.

Janie Fox said...

I love the oliphant! Junk makes me smile. especially when found for a song! And then of course there's Timothy Olyphant...swoon.

Bethany Ann said...

if you lived near me, i would sneak over to your house. if i had energy, i would "help" you with your many adventures. if i had none, i would watch and sip tea.

Anonymous said...

this post is so so cute jodi. i love it. really i do..and that elephant! imagine going from rosie tea to smelly garlic, hahah !! :))))


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