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Chard Kraut

I’m so excited!  My garden is producing marvelously this year.  After failing miserably for the last 4 years, this is so encouraging. The only food I’ve been able to harvest was potatoes last year.  It took 4 years of failure to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Problem #1, my garden was too close to the house on the sunny side.  It just got too hot.  No wonder my beets, radishes and spinach bolted before I got anything.  The beds were already located there when we moved here so I blame it on the former owners 🙂

Problem #2, the soil was depleted.  Before I realized it was too hot, I knew it was depleted and began adding compost.  The weeds grow beautifully there now.

Problem #3, we’re surrounded by conventional farms that spray herbicides that waft over to my land.  This makes me mad not only because it kills my garden but because my kids play on the same land that gets the same leftover herbicides.  Double boo!  Honestly if I had realized this when we were looking at the land, we probably would have reconsidered.

This year, the boys and I are working on an organic farm up the road from us and gleaning as much knowledge from them as possible.  I also moved my garden to the other side of my house and made it further away from the house.  I planted a hedge of lilacs on the side closest to the chemical loaded fields and there is a line of trees between the garden and the fields there as well.  It’s a fresh patch of garden loaded with nitrogen.

Instead of going big right away, I started small with just 6 pepper plants, 3 Brussels Sprouts, 9 strawberry plants (now expanded to 17 strawberries) and 6 rainbow chard plants.  I also planted a few rows of radishes.  Chard is the first bounty of my new garden and the harvest has just begun.  I can’t wait to see how much these beautiful plants produce for me through the season.  My CSA has been delivering a bunch of chard as well and I’m finding I have more than we can eat (and I’ve been using it for most every meal!).

So I made Chard Kraut.  Think sauerkraut using chard instead of cabbage.  You can eat this yummy ferment as a side as you would sauerkraut.  I like it on top of my eggs in the morning.

 

Chard Kraut

  • 2 lbs chard, chopped roughly
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 red chilies, chopped (optional)
  • 13 gms of salt
  • 2% brine (19 gms of salt per quart of water)
In a large nonreactive bowl, mix chard, garlic, onion and salt.  Let set for about 15 mins to release juices.  You can pound the chard with a kraut pounder or wooden spoon to help get it juicy.  Pack chard into your fermentation vessel, pressing it in and pushing out any air bubbles.  For a fermentation vessel, I highly recommend Pickl-It’s.  If there isn’t enough brine to cover the chard mixture, pour a bit of 2% brine over the top to bring the brine level up.  You want the vessel to be at least 75% full to about 2″ from the top.  Close the lid, fill the airlock and let set for about 5-7 days.  Once the bubble activity dies down, move to cold storage.

 


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