Putting that mother to use

Since having Mabel, I haven't made it to the farmer's market very regularly. It's just too hard to feed her through the night and still get up early enough to get there before everything is gone. But this weekend, despite the chilly, damp weather, was a farmer's market weekend. I went with $45 and came home with $2 and a jar of jalapeno jelly, jicama, sunchokes, collards, cabbage, fresh basil and cilantro, and the biggest darn squash you ever did see. Hi-C stayed home and caught up on some sorely missed sleep, which is why there are some atypical purchases--I was thinking I could taste the sunchokes and jicama, and if they're good then I can plant the rest of them and grow them myself.

I'd actually expected lots of cabbage {and cabbage-y cousins like kale and collards} and a wide variety of winter squash. I got there at 8:30, so maybe the squash were already picked over, but I only saw 2 vendors with them, and each only had one. One of them was this big'un labeled as a kabucha squash, but I'm not entirely sold on that being the correct i.d. That sucker was over 10 pounds, which isn't the wisest purchase when you've walked to the market.

The cabbage was quickly turned into a shredded, salted, hopefully soon-to-be mass of sauerkraut. There's a plate with bags of water on top of it in the crock to press the cabbage down and keep it all air tight as the cabbage starts to ferment. I haven't made sauerkraut before, but tried the homemade kind when I was down on the farm at the Permaculture class. I'm crossing my fingers it'll turn out good. There's so much in there I have a feeling I'll be canning a good bit of it, too.

In the photo there is also a little jar of vinegar mother. Don't worry, it has no association with the sauerkraut, I just didn't realize I'd left it on the counter. As soon as I find a glass gallon container I'll be putting that mother to use with leftover bottles of wine. This fermentation business might be a whole new hobby for me, who knows?

But between the crock of cabbage, the bottles of vanilla steeping in rum, and the carboys of beer, our kitchen is beginning to look less domestic and more like a science lab.

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