The Making of the Kraut

| 9/22/2015 12:18:00 PM

Tags: Fall Harvest, Maine Farms, Sauerkraut, Gardens, Home Preserves, Apple Pies, Canning, Mitch Littlefield,

Mitch LittlefieldLife on the farm offers a plethora of experiences due the nature of the work and responsibilities. One must become adept at dealing with almost every possible situation that will, sooner or later, arise … and, as important, because of dictates due to financial constraints, a farm family must become as self-sustaining as possible. The farm family typically raises all of its meat … beef, pork, lamb, chicken (which also provides eggs), turkey and duck. The clever farmer also knows all the prime spots to hunt deer, partridge, rabbit and pheasant, as well as the best spots to catch trout, salmon, bass, white perch and alewives (a shad-like fish that spawn in coastal Maine streams and which are caught and then smoked). Also, we would often go salt-water fishing for mackerel, striped bass and blue fish, as well as dig for clams during the low tide. We not only raised and hunted this meat and fish, we also butchered, cut and wrapped all the meat for our freezers. Not much went to waste, I can tell you. We didn’t eat just steaks, although we ate steak … oh no ... there was liver, heart, tongue and tripe too.

Mmmmm … tripe. The lining of a cow's stomach … or perhaps you would prefer some Rocky Mountain oysters? Oh yes, we ate them too. Wanna come over for dinner?

If you do, you should be aware of the “golden rule” … you eat what is put on the table and be thankful for it. Settle down … it isn’t that bad.

Anyway, we would sometimes sell “half of a critter” at times to provide some income … which meant that when we butchered, we would also butcher enough to sell to a few regular customers.

Moving right along, the farmer also raises a huge garden … or more aptly put, several gardens.

There are the main vegetable gardens in which the typical veggies are raised … peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, peppers, beets/beet greens, carrots, squash (summer, butternut, buttercup, zucchini), tomato (several types for eating and canning/stewing), beans (bush beans, yellow eyes for baked beans, pole beans, lima), cucumbers, corn (three types … early maturity, later maturity, and a less starchy for freezing), potatoes (three types … red as they are early, russets for baking, and green mountains for wintering), parsnips, turnips, radishes, celery, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (red and white), and horseradish (to make horseradish sauce … an eye-watering experience, but, oh, so good) and more I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

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