I was in the hair salon today and the subject of making sauerkraut came up because of all the cabbage coming out of the gardens at this time of year. They were talking about their mamas holding true to the folk wisdom of not making sauerkraut if anyone was on their period. When asked, they said the result was that the sauerkraut would turn black — every time. In the next breath, they were talking about the importance of “the bowels”. I felt like I was being exposed to a new language just like a young child learning to read and write. I had no idea what they were talking about.
I immediately headed over to the Maynardville Library to check out a Farmer’s Almanac. They did not have a recent version — funds are tight and no one had donated one yet this year (Farmer’s Almanac online). But Chantel, the librarian, thought to look in the Foxfire Series of books and we did find something that talked about the importance of the phases of the moon and the zodiac and parts of the body (getting closer!). These books documented folk wisdom from elders but did not offer an explanation of what they were saying — at least nothing that made sense to me.
In my research, here is some folk wisdom I found regarding the making of sauerkraut:
For many hundreds of years, folk wisdom has instructed us to make sauerkraut only during the time when the moon is new and up until the first quarter. That’s because when you do so, there is plenty of juice in the crock and the top layer of sauerkraut will not dry out.
This would be July 26, 2014 through August 1, 2014. (see next bullet)
2. Moon Phases. Here is a moon phase calendar from the Farmers’ Almanac. Click on the moon photo on the date you are interested in and it will display the type of moon phase. For example, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, is a Waxing Crescent, 25% full. July 15, 2014 is a Waning Gibbous, 85% of full. Waxing apparently means “getting more full”. Waning apparently means receding or “getting less full”
Interestingly, there are 12 full moons in 2014 with beautiful names like: Full Wolf Moon, Full Snow Moon, Full Worm Moon, Full Pink Moon, Full Flower Moon, Full Strawberry Moon, Full Buck Moon, Full Sturgeon Moon, Full Harvest Moon (September), Full Hunter’s Moon, Full Beaver Moon, and Full Cold Moon.
3. Not When the Signs Are in the Bowels or the Feet. It turns out, according to research done by Nick Bowers, a pub owner in Chattanooga, that all body parts have astrological signs. He makes sauerkraut for his Ruben Sandwiches, in-house, and follows the astrological signs unfailingly.
4. Moon’s Astrological Place in the Zodiac. The Farmers’ Almanac online has the answer (body parts and the zodiac). In July 2014, the bowel days (Virgo “virgin”) are July 2 and July 3, and the feet days (Pisces “fishes”) are July 15 and July 16.
So… it looks like July 26, 2014 through August 1, 2014 are the best days to make sauerkraut this year.
Life is an Adventure!