27 September 2007

Napkins and sauerkraut

The swapped napkins are starting to be received all over the world so I'll take this opportunity to remind everyone that the deadline for posting is next Monday. Also, when you receive your parcel, would you take a photo of what you receive and send it to me? I want to make up a post with as many of the napkins as I can manage. Thanks everyone.

This is a photo of the sauerkraut I made from our home grown cabbages. It's delicious. I put it in jars this morning and will store it in the fridge. The stone crock next to the sauerkraut is the container I made the sauerkraut in. I also use it to make ginger beer. After each job, I fill the crock with warm water and vinegar to take away any smell. The crock is simply the botton bit of a spring water container. If you find one of these at a garage sale, grab it. They're very handy in the kitchen.



  1. Now Rhonda do I spy a little vision of your new kitchen? I love the green bench and white cupboard look (hehe... I have no idea whether you were replacing this in your kitchen, but well I like it anyway) Great idea for the water spring container, will look out for one for myself. Bella

  2. Hi Bella! That's the old kitchen,love. We're still awaiting news on whether insurance will pay for the new kitchen or just some cupboards and the bench tops. Are you in Australia?

  3. Yes I thought I'd mentioned it before, I'm currently in Brissy! so not as far as some of your readers (you seem to have attracted a lot of readers from overseas). When I last drove up to the North Coast I saw the turn off to Landsborough and said to myself, Rhonda lives somewhere down that road :)

  4. Not sure how to say this, (and how does it relate to napkins and sauerkraut?!) but, here goes!!!

    "Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people
    ungenerous and selfish. This is true of avarice; but it is not so
    of economy. The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the
    permanent power of being useful and generous. He who thoughtlessly
    gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay,
    deserves no praise,--he obeys a sudden impulse, more like instinct
    than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because
    the good he does maybe doubtful, while the injury he does his family
    and creditors is certain. True economy is a careful treasurer in the
    service of benevolence; and where they are united respectability,
    prosperity and peace will follow."

    Now, Rhonda Jean, I know you did not write this -- but -- this morning it was my good fortune to see that you had a link to the online version of "American Frugal Housewife", a book that I have read before from the library and remembered, because it has many philosophies about economy that my family tried to instill in us all as children...

    These written words have proven so true in the moment -- and in moments before -- frugality in practice has offered me the chance to help other people out in a generous way. It feels good, though having given up a lot, which I will miss. And because of the practice of frugality (with some shortcomings, admittedly), we will recover from giving away our savings to someone in need... We are presently in a place in time where we will earn more down the road -- and do know how to live with little in the meantime. Plus, having a great big dose of creativity and a large garden instead of yard helps!

    Thank you for this helpful link today. It was a godsend.


  5. wildside, being frugal does allow us to be generous but benevolence doesn't always go hand in hand with frugality. I really admire what you've done. I hope the person who received your gift will be changed by it, and that you will reap the benefits of your generosity for many eyars to come.

  6. Hi Rhonda, I was thinking of trying to make some sauerkraut and I noticed in your picture that the cabbage is no longer in the brine that they start with. Is it usual to drain the finished sauerkraut before storing?
    Regards, Kate
    PS I'm from Brisbane too!

  7. Rhonda Jean, mere muddled notes to follow:

    Just finished skimming through "American Frugal Housewife" after reading that early paragraph quoted -- and must admit, as I thought the first time I read it, it is a bit too much on the depressing side. I am too much a simpleton and grasshopper to want to follow her mean methods! I follow my own, hopefully add in a bit of fun, friendliness and generosity, and I do just fine to date. Not to say I always have or always will or don't have some concerns about the way the world is going.

    It's far easier to get by in this day and age than then tho'... The book good reminder of the way things were back then. (And surprisingly, certain things [like frivolous spending way beyond one's means -- to keep up with the "Jones" !] remain that way to a great extent!)

    (This is Wildside again, in case you couldn't guess...)

  8. And just to clariy (re-reading my original comment and wincing), I should say "some of our savings" instead of "our savings" -- in case you think me a saint for giving it all away. Not quite the case, but enough of a dent for me to miss! And yes, we will have to give up some things BUT it will make a huge difference in someone else's life to help get them back on track after medical and financial difficulties.

    OK, I'm a nut case! At least this AM. I'll go away and get my head on straight. Often times, this blog is serving as my (anti!LOL)social hour and gives me comfort that other people are also trying to live the way I'm attempting to. We are never alone, tho' sometimes it might feel that way.

    Hope you have a very good day!!!


  9. Rhonda-

    I know that kraut can't be made in a metal container, but is it ok to make it in a big plastic bucket, like the kind bakeries and delis get stuff in?

  10. Hi Kate (from Brisbane : ) ) I drained of some of the brine because Hanno suffers from high blood pressure so I wanted to get rid of some of the salt. Most people keep the brine. Also, knowing Hanno, this sauerkraut will only last a week. When he was a little boy in Hamburg, they used to sell sauerkraut from wooden casks. Instead of buying lollies, Hanno would buy a little paper cone full of sauerkraut. Cute eh?

    Wildside, The American Frugal Housewife is VERY frugal but it's a good record of how things used to be. It was the same here then too. Some or all of your savings, it makes no difference as what you've done is changed someone's life, and that, my friend, is a fine thing.

    Jenn, yes, a plastic bucket would be excellent for sauerkraut. Can you let me know when you'll be away so I can prepare something for you. Thanks. : )

  11. I took your advice the other day, I had stopped by the local second hand store after picking up the kids from school and they had put out a bunch of good stone ware. Picked up a nice fat bottomed crock that I'm going to try making sauerkraut in. I do have a question for you though, can I use kosher salt when making it? How thick are the individual layer you put down, and how much salt.
    Thanks Rhonda.

  12. good for you, patric. I've never seen kosher salt in australia but I believe it is salt with no additives, so that would do just fine. The ratio is a level tablespoon of salt to each pound of cabbage.

    Put in about half a shredded cabbage, add half a tablespoon of salt and rub it into the cabbage. Repeat this until you've used all the cabbage and salt.

    I used a cloth to cover the cabbage with a plate on top but I wouldn't do that again. I found the weight of the plastic bags full of water was enough to hold the cabbage down under the brine. Cover the crock opening with plastic wrap and a tea towel.

    My sauerkraut took a month to ferment. Good luck. It is really delicious, and slightly crunchy, which Hanno says is how authentic sauerkraut should be.

  13. I haven't been reading your blog long but I love it. I have seen some references to sauerkraut but no recipes. Do you have one that I may have missed? We love it! Thanks

  14. Brilliant idea to find / use a spring water container as a sauerkraut crock. Does a great job without spending the big dollars for the hand-thrown crocks available.


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