Due to the "Stay-at-Home" order by the State of Illiniois, we are currently operating with extended order processing times. We will continue to ship orders 1-2 times per week as long as UPS and USPS are operating. Read more about these delays on our blog post here as well as how our operations reduce risk here.
Sauerkraut has always been my "problem" ferment. I have tried many different methods and recipes, but I can never seem to get it to come out right! I have a hard time getting the salt ratio correct since you aren't making a brine with water, but using the natural cabbage juices with the salt to create the liquid. I will often add too much salt, and end up with salty cabbage instead of sauerkraut! And then the next time I don't put in enough salt and it molds!
As I've mentioned in the past, we tend to follow a more "relaxed" method of fermentation like our ancestors did. We don't use testing strips or weigh our ingredients for precise outcomes. We do a lot of experimenting, combining ingredients we have on hand or are in season to see what works best for us and what new flavors we can discover! Of course, this method means sometimes we get "fermenting failures", but that's just part of the process!
I recently had a breakthrough with my sauerkraut ferments thanks to a recipe that Dawn Dunkin shared with us. She used both ginger and turmeric in her sauerkraut when she made a video using our crock to ferment! You can check out the video we shared last year on the blog here - https://www.stonecreektrading.com/blogs/news/sauerkraut-making-video
Since then I've been experimenting with using ginger more in my sauerkraut. Based on my experiments over the last year, adding ginger to my sauerkraut has completely changed the process for me! Every time I add ginger in, I get perfect sauerkraut!
I don't have a specific recipe for you, but here are the ingredients I used for this last batch of sauerkraut -
1 large & 1 small head of cabbage shredded on our Small Cabbage Shredder
3 large carrots shredded on a cheese grater
~1.5" piece of ginger finely chopped
~1" piece of turmeric finely chopped
We have already eaten half of the sauerkraut that we finished a couple weeks ago! It goes with everything - from scrambled eggs in the morning to my favorite nachos with sauerkraut!
So if you struggle with sauerkraut like I used to, give it a try! Or is there another fermenting recipe that you struggle with?
Sorry for the radio silence here during the holidays! As a small business, we try to do it all, but the truth is we have to make priorities. During the busy Holiday season, our top priority is to get orders out the door quickly. I’m happy to say that despite one of our busiest years yet, we stayed on top of our 1-2 day processing time and had zero late shipments!
In addition to being a small business owner I’m also a mom, which means the holidays are also a time filled with school parties and chorus concerts, tree trimming and cookie making. So instead of posting on social media during the busy season, I spent time making memories with our daughters. I hope that all of you had a chance to do the same!
Now that I’ve finally caught up on my sleep, I’m feeling refreshed and ready conquer the new year! Today I took a break from the boring accounting I’m trying to wrap up to organize one of our “packing stations”.
Having a clean and efficient work space means packing goes smoother, which means I have more time to devote to everything else!
Can you believe it's already been a year since the Can It & Ferment Recipe Book came out? This book has become my go-to resource for preserving our garden, which is why it is the only fermenting book we sell on our website! It's also the reason why we are collaborating with the author, Stephanie Thurow of Minnesota From Scratch for a wonderful anniversary giveaway!
In 2016, Stephanie filled out the contact us form on our website and asked if we would like to contribute to the canning and fermenting recipe book she was writing. Since that email, I have met Stephanie in person only twice, but our relationship online has grown into a wonderful friendship!
Having a fermenting book author as a friend has many great perks, including last week when I needed some help making kimchi for the first time! Thanks to her advice, our first batch was a huge success and is already half eaten.
Another advantage of our friendship, is that I get signed copies of all her latest projects! This month, the publishers of Harris Farmer's Almanac came out with an edited version of Can It & Ferment It as a condensed magazine - Canning & Fermenting. I haven't been able to find a copy anywhere locally, so Stephanie was kind enough to send me this signed copy.
Would you like your own a signed copy of her book or magazine? You're in luck, because we've teamed up with Stephanie for a great giveaway! Last week she gave away our 5L Artisan Leaves Fermenting Crock on her very popular Instagram account. This week it's our turn to host a giveaway!
We've got two great prizes for you today, perfect to get you started fermenting. The first prize is a signed copy of the Can It & Ferment It Recipe Book along with a $25 Stone Creek Trading store credit to purchase whatever fermenting supplies you need our store! The second prize is a signed copy of the new Canning & Fermenting Magazine and a $15 Stone Creek Trading store credit.
We know everyone doesn't have social media, so we wanted to make this giveaway easy to enter. All you have to do is enter your email address in the Rafflecopter widget below and use it to comment on this blog post, no social media required! You can also get extra entries by liking our Facebook pages.
This giveaway ends tomorrow, July 26 at midnight, so be sure to enter right now before you forget! Winners will be announced and contacted via email on Friday, July 27 and have 48 hours to respond before an alternate winner is drawn.
Good luck and happy fermenting!
Today I'm sharing a family favorite recipe that we always make this time of year! This is a great recipe to make in early summer when strawberries in the garden are ripening, and stores have them on sale. It was a staple Sunday afternoon treat during the summer months at Kryz's grandparents house in Poland. Baked by his grandma Lilka, he remembers it being served with a pot of fresh brewed Earl Gray tea!
Server - 12-16 people
Prep time - ~30 minutes
Cooking time - ~50 minutes
4 cups flour
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 tbs brown sugar
4 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, separated
6 tbs sour cream
2 tbs half & half or milk
2 lbs fresh strawberries
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350º. Line (2) 9"x9" pans (round or square) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until it is fully incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of white sugar and baking powder and continue cutting/mixing the mixture. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Add the yolks, sour cream, and half & half to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly. Knead the dough into a round ball and it place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Split the dough in two, and press the dough evenly into the baking pans covered with parchment paper. Pierce the whole surface of the dough with fork, so it looks dimpled. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350º, until cake begins to brown slightly.
While the bottom of the cake is baking, prepare the strawberries and meringue. Wash, trim, and quarter strawberries. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and set aside. Begin beating egg whites with salt, then keep beating while adding 1 cup of sugar little bit at a time. Beat egg whites until they are medium stiff to form meringue.
The cake bottom should be ready by now. Remove from oven & increase oven temperature to 375º. Spread the strawberries on top of cake, and cover with a layer of meringue. Bake for another 30 minutes at 375º, or until top begins to brown slightly.
Let it cool before serving. Serve with tea or coffee, or on a hot summer day, with iced tea! Enjoy!
Spring is in the air! The sun was out all weekend and the temperatures were above freezing!! Which has me thinking about all sorts of fun spring projects - around the house and in the garden. As we start to shake off the winter chill I've started thinking about all the fun products we have this year to help you celebrate spring!
Our newest spring product is our beautiful Polish Wood Painted Eggs. These traditional hand painted eggs are the perfect way to add a unique personal touch to your Easter Celebration!
If you live in the Chicago area, I'm sure you've seen lamb shaped butter at Easter time as well. You can't have a Polish Easter meal without your lamb shaped butter! But if you don't live near a store that sells it, or you want to make some yourself, check out all of our traditional Polish butter molds. We have so many fun designs I can't decide which is my favorite!
Of course for me, springtime always means flowers! Which means I want to update my whole house with the beautiful traditional Polish folk art patterns. These fun, bright florals just say spring to me! We have so many different products featuring these folk art designs that it's hard to decide which one to get.
If your spring is anything like ours here in the Midwest, then maybe the best choice for a Polish Folk Art product is an umbrella! Our beautiful clear bubble Lowicz Folk Art Umbrella makes those cold, wet, gray days a little bit brighter.
Now the hard part is deciding just which ones to buy! Or why not order one of each and say goodbye Winter and hello Spring!
In Poland, making sauerkraut was a traditional process that was handed down through the generations. Children watched their parents and grandparents making sauerkraut each year, and as they grew older they began to help with the process. Through this method, families would demonstrate the nuisance and art of fermenting gradually over the years.
Unfortunately, much of that knowledge has been lost as people moved away from fermenting in the last generation. Now so many of us have to learn how to ferment on our own, without someone to show us how to do it!
That's why we were excited when Dawn Dunkin from Dawn Dunkin Wellness reached out to us to share a video she recently made using her 5L Artisan Fermenting Crock! Even though it's a quick video, it helps to see an overview of just how simple it is to ferment sauerkraut!
If you've been looking around the website lately, you might be wondering - "Why are so many products out of stock right now?" Which is soon followed with - "When will products be available again?" So today we are diving a little deeper into why we often have items out of stock!
I know I say it all the time, but having products out of stock is just another way that Stone Creek Trading is not your typical online retail company. We are very careful to make sure we do not sell items that we do not currently have in our possession. In the 5 years we have been in business and thousands of orders placed, I think there have been 3 times when we couldn't fulfill as ordered. We know how frustrating it can be as a consumer to order a product and then have to wait for weeks because the item is actually out of stock! So we decided when we first started this company that we wouldn't do that.
We also don't restock products like other online stores. All of the items we sell come from small companies in Poland. To keep our costs low, we gather all the items from many different companies together and ship them in one container. We ship about 4 containers per year, which means we only restock the website about 4 times per year when the new container arrives. So if an item sells out shortly after a new container has arrived, it may take a few months before we can get any more. Over the years we have gotten much better at anticipating demand and ordering more product before we sell out, but it's not an exact science!
In addition to only restocking a few times per year, we work exclusively with small businesses. While we put in orders to our producers early, sometimes a business only has 1-2 employees and has trouble meeting our full order in time to make it on the next shipment. We've had items arrive 1 week after the container left, which means we have to wait another 3-4 months before we will get them on the next shipment to us here in the US! I know it's frustrating for customers when items are out of stock for that long, but trust me, it's even more frustrating for us!
We've been out of stock of some items since the beginning of January. It's pretty typical for this to happen at this time as we recover from the holiday rush. We purchase more and more product every year, but we still can't keep up with demand during November and December! We always sell out, it's just a matter of how long into January and February we make it!
The exciting news is that we just loaded up a container in Poland! As you can see we make sure to use every single space to get as many products as we can in a container. This means we will be in stock longer and we can keep the cost of shipping per item down. The shipment has left our facility in Poland and is on it's way to the port in Gdansk where it will be loaded onto the ship which will take it across the ocean to New York. In New York, the container will have to clear customs before it can be transferred to train to make it's way to the Chicago Rail Yard. Once in Chicago, a truck will pick up the container and bring it us here in Frankfort, IL!
With all those transfers it typically takes about 4-6 weeks to get from our facility in Poland to our facility here in the US. Unfortunately, there are many oppurtunities for delay along the way, which is one of the reasons we can't give an exact date for when we will be restocking. Our shipment tracking information is estimating arrival in the 3rd week of March, but there aren't any guarantees. Let's hope for smooth sailing and easy customs clearance!
If you are anxiously waiting for a specific item, your best option is to input your email on the product page. This will get you signed up to be notified when a product comes back in stock. We will send you an email as soon as we have unloaded the container! You can also keep an eye on our Facebook or Instagram, as I typically share a photo during unloading.
Hopefully if you've made it all the way to the end of this blog post you now have a better understanding of our unique stocking process! Now go sign up to be notified when your favorite products come back in stock!
* This blog post is part of a new series - Behind the Business. We want to give our customers more insight into the decisions we make everyday that contribute to how our business runs. We try to always keep the customers best interest in mind when making these decisions, and we want you to know why we at Stone Creek Trading aren't your "normal" online business. We are proud that we don't follow the "business rules" and choose to do things a little differently!