( I apologize in advance. I had trouble coming up with something to write about this week)
I just finished starting my cabbage seedlings on the silly presumption that there is going to be a spring this year. I start my own cabbage plants because I make a lot of sauerkraut and I have a specific variety of cabbage I like to use to make sauerkraut. (In a week or so I’ll start some tomato plants so I can have different varieties from what they sell in the stores. Sometimes I make spaghetti sauce and salsa out of the tomatoes, but usually I amuse myself by watching the tomato plants shrivel and turn a moldy yellow from blight. Isn‘t gardening fun?) Making sauerkraut is a lot of work, but I think mine tastes better than what you buy in the stores, although everyone who makes their own anything thinks it tastes better. The reason is after you put that much work into anything your mind tells you it better taste better than what you could buy. It could taste like fermented skunkweed to everyone else, but you still think it tastes better. But my sauerkraut really does taste better.
I’ve been making sauerkraut for years. If we get rain and I actually get cabbages, I make it in a big plastic vat and let it ferment for weeks before putting it in Mason jars and canning it. As I’ve written before, sauerkraut is one of those foods people either love or hate. Some people say when they even smell it they have to run out of the building or they’ll throw up–sort of like the way I feel about politicians. My two oldest kids wouldn’t eat sauerkraut when they were younger, but they eat it now. My oldest daughter says she’s always liked it, but I can remember making Reuben sandwiches for her without sauerkraut or Thousand Island dressing—she was actually having a corned-beef on rye with Swiss cheese, but I didn’t tell her.
When I was in school I remember reading about the early seafaring explorers who had a big problem with scurvy, which is caused by a lack of vitamin C. Captain Cook, who was probably the most far-ranging of the explorers, took tons of sauerkraut with him in barrels and never had a problem with scurvy, because sauerkraut is high in vitamin C. Of course every time he opened a barrel all the crew who didn’t like it puked and leapt off the ship, and then he’d have to turn around and head back to port to pick up more crew. It’s funny that he got as far around the world as he did.