Pickled Beans and Sauerkraut are important enough in our family that my mother, Margaret Dobson, and her twin sister saw fit to include recipes for each in the book they wrote about our family history. I've provided both recipes for the sake of comparison.
Note the final warning, "Do not make pickled beans when the signs are in the bowels or secrets." During my mother and father's generation, the enlightened and educated more or less abandoned planting and canning by the signs (see Farmer's Almanac
if you are unfamiliar with the concept of signs of the Zodiac and their effects on farming and food preparation: www.farmersalmanac.com/zodiac-astrology-astronomy).
One year Mother decided to ignore the signs and pickled her green beans when the signs were in the bowels or secrets. The result was a rotted mess. None of us accepted that the signs had anything to do with the failure, but, just in case, she never again defied the signs.
The following are from: The Family Stories of Mamie Cleo TIppens and Her Children
, written and edited by Marjorie Bobo and Margaret Dobson:
How to Make Pickled Beans by Marjorie Tippens Bobo
Wash, string and break beans. Put in a container and cook until well done (not soft). The secret to making good pickled beans is getting the beans tender before you put them in your churn. Set off stove to cool.
Put a cloth bag or a pillow case inside your churn (stone crock) to hold the beans. Put beans in your churn a few quarts at a time salting as you put them in. Use two (2) level teaspoons of plain (not iodized) salt to the quart. The water that you cook the beans in should be added to the beans alternately with the beans and salt. When all the beans are in the churn twist the top of the bag and press down to get all the air out. Then tie the top of bag. This will make it easy to keep your beans below the level of the water. Put a white cloth over the top of the bag of beans and press down around the bag.
Weight down the bag of beans well. (You may use three (3) or four (4) saucers turned bottom side up on top of the beans. Then place cups turned the same way on top of the saucers.) See that the beans are well covered with water. If additional water is needed during the time the beans are pickling, use salted tap water. Tie a cloth tightly over the top of the churn. Do not let the cloth that is tied over the churn touch the cloth over the beans. If you do, it will act as a wick to remove the water from the churn.
Place the churn in a warm shady place. The beans should be pickled in one (1) week. Test to see if they are as sour as you want them to be. When the beans get as sour as you prefer, put the cold beans in glass jars. Put in a pressure cooker. Bring to five (5) pounds to pressure for seven (7) minutes. This should seal the beans.
Do not make pickled beans when the signs are in the bowels or secrets.
How to Make Kraut by Margaret Tippens Dobson
Select fresh cut cabbage. Chop up your cabbage with a kraut chopper. (You can do this in a food processor. Don't get it too fine.)
Put a cloth bag or a pillow case in the churn (stone crock) to hold the kraut. Put cabbage in your churn two or three quarts at a time using two level teaspoons of salt to the quart. Keep water over the cabbage as you fill the churn. When all the cabbage is in the churn, twist the top of the bag and press down to get all the air out. Then tie the top of the bag. This will make it easy to keep the cabbage below the level of the water. Be sure that the water does not get low on the cabbage. If it should get low add plain salted tap water. Place a white cloth over the top of the bag of cabbage and press down around the bag.
Weight the bag down so the cabbage won't rise above the water. (You can weight it down with three (3) or four (4) saucers turned upside down. Then put three (3) or four (4) cups upside down over the saucers.)
Tie a cloth tightly over the churn. Do not let the cloth that is over the top of the churn touch the cloth over the cabbage. If you do it will act as a wick to remove the water from the churn.
Place the churn in a shady warm place. The kraut should be sour in one week. Test to see. If it is not as sour as you prefer, let it stay in the churn until it is.
Do not make kraut when the signs are in the bowels or secrets.