Saturday, February 8, 2014

Food in jars, in the hands of the next generation

Canning jars.  They're addictive.

The boys have been swaggering about the house drinking their water out of canning jars (quart-sized).  They've been using pint-sized jars for ice cream bowls.

The latest member of the Miser Mom family to catch onto the jar-craze is my step-daughter, who is currently in grad school somewhere out in the midwest.  I sent her canning-jar-bling for her birthday, and by way of thanks she keeps sending snow, ice, and cold weather in our direction.  But aside from that, she's a good kid.

She has started taking her lunch to school in canning jars.  She carries her own yogurt (she says the black spots are chia seeds) . . .
. . . she brings vegetables, like these tomatoes . . . . 
. . . and she also made her own sauerkraut.  

 In fact, when she wrote to me about this last bit, here's how she described it: "Just thought I'd keep you up on my latest (without actually canning) canning jar adventures...this is me in the process of making my first ever batch of homemade raw sauerkraut. Which, for those who are not aware, has WAY better and more probiotics than yogurt anddddd is trash free!"   [I added her recipe below].

The CJB (Canning Jar Bling) that I gave her for her birthday was a roll of electrician's tape, a push pin, and a ziploc bag sealer.  This "Salad in a Jar" web site describes how you can uses this trio of objects to vacuum seal a canning jar -- not well enough to preserve food over the winter, but definitely well enough to dramatically extend the life of the food, in particular salad.

And here's the result: note all the salad and smoothies that are ready to go to grad school!  (The little black square on top of each can is the electrician's tape covering the push-pin hole.)
 Isn't that pretty?  Now she can make up all this salad at the beginning of the week, take one jar with her each day, and the last few jars will still be crisp and fresh at the end of the week.

Speaking of "crisp and fresh", now I'm heading out to go for a run in the ice and snow my step-daughter sent my way.  Ah, fun!

Make your own Minnesota Grad Student Sauerkraut:
It's actually just about 1.5 lbs of shredded cabbage (red, green, and some carrots) with 1T salt.  You put the cabbage and salt in a large mixing bowl and massage it until the cabbage starts to get soft (like coleslaw cabbage).  Then you pack it into a large mason jar (you want to get as much air out as possible.  Then--put some kind of weight on top of the cabbage so that the cabbage stays below the level of the liquid it releases and leave it on the counter for about 3-5 days or until you like you it tastes.

When you like it, you just move it to the refrigerator and it stays indefinitely (at least a month and by then you've probably eaten it).  <-- This is a link to a more detailed description/confirmation that even if you sauerkraut begins to bubble or grow a little mold it's fine/even good!