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What Is a Krautrock?
Remembrances of my youth...
The other day as I wrote about the old flat iron I ran into down in the basement of my old home place an idea ran across my mind for another hub. Besides that flat iron that my mother used before she got an electric one I found something else that brought back memories of an earlier simpler life style that has since gone the way of many of the old time ways of doing things. It was a large river rock, smooth all over and rounded resembling a small loaf of bread. Mom saw that I was rolling it around in my hands and ask if I remember what that rock was called. I guess I was too startled by the question and as she retrieved the large stone from my hands she began to tell me all about this super smooth stone and what she had used it for specifically over the years.
a special stone called a kraut rock
This was our Kraut Rock, and it held a special place in our early lives and had a specific use during the warm summer months. Mother looked around and found a large earthen pot or urn and ask if I would reach and bring it down carefully so I did. And as we sat mother’s eyes brightened as she began to refresh my memory and hers concerning that old urn and the use of this special stone called a kraut rock.
Did your mom or grandmother can or preserve vegetables?
we didn't follow the Farmer’s Almanac completely
As I had mentioned earlier, our little house was situated on an acre of land so we naturally had space for a garden and I remember that I said the larger the better—since I was the one responsible for mowing all the area that was accessible and not being used for anything else, like a garden or such. When I was younger we used to have a large garden space and would grow potatoes, corn, beans, onions, turnips, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and oh yes, cabbage. Mom said the more cabbage the better so we would have at least a full row and sometimes part of another one. Mom and dad showed us kids how to make a straight rows for everything and how deep to plant the various vegetables. Some were seeds and some were’ slips’ or small plants or ‘sets’ ready to be re-planted. We would check the calendar and plant during the right times not always going by the Farmer’s Almanac completely.
I got the stalk...
All the different kinds of vegetables had their own season or length of time until maturity. That way everything was not maturing at the same time and each had their specific way of handling which brings us to the cabbage. Dad would go down the row and would ‘thump’ the cabbage heads and listen to see if it was time to harvest and if it needed a few more days he would move on to the next head in the row and if it sounded good, he would reach under and cut the stalk handing the ready heads to mom. They would remove the outer leafs and mom would wash the cabbage and set it on the table. She would generally work on two to three heads at a time cutting down through the head and around the stalk which she handed to me to eat with salt on it. Then with a large knife would chop up the cabbage into smaller pieces then with an old tin can that she used to cut out biscuits she would chop, chop, chop the cabbage into even smaller pieces and when chopped enough she would dump it all into the large earthen crock or urn. Adding sufficient salt and placing a round wooden lid which just fit inside the urn and then placed the ‘kraut rock’ on top the hold the lid down securely.
It was a miracle...
As the other cabbage heads matured mom would do the same thing with them and after chopping the cabbage up finely, would remove the lid and add to the cabbage that ‘was working.’ Dad had to tell me just what ‘workin’ meant and I was amazed to find that the cabbage would ferment in that old urn and turn into the best tasting kraut you ever eat. That old kraut rock held the lid down and the fermenting juices would rise through the holes and around the sides. It was a miracle I thought, how cabbage would turn into kraut. What we didn’t eat that summer mom would can so we had it even during the cold months when cabbage wouldn’t grow.
I didn’t learn all about gardening that first year, but I did learn how kraut was made.