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Season total: 44 quarts

I canned a bunch of sauerkraut today. It’s a shame to have to can sauerkraut, because it’s a living fermented food. But there was no way I could eat it all before it went bad. It is outstandingly good sauerkraut — all organic from the abbey’s spring cabbage, made with with sea salt.

I’m done canning for this year. My total production was 44 quarts of food — tomatoes, green beans, pickles, sauerkraut, and homemade chili made from tomatoes and onions from the garden. Forty-four quarts is not exactly slouchy, but it’s also nowhere close to a what it would take for real self-sufficiency. Still, it’s a lot of payback from the garden. There’s food put away, plus more than four months of the year when I bought no produce (other than garlic) from the grocery store.

I learned a lot about sauerkraut this year. In the past, I made it with cabbage I’d bought up in the mountains. This year it was my own cabbage. It was in the crock the afternoon after I picked it. Not only was the kraut much tastier, the fermentation process was much cleaner. There was no sign of mold or scum. Freshness makes a huge difference.

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