Water + Lye + Lard = Soap!

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Sometimes I come across recipes that peek my interest. I’ve been fascinated with the home life of people who lived in our area back in the 1800’s. From their clothing, to the homes, transportation, health remedies, train schedules and their cooking habits. Last week while doing some research I came across a hard soap recipe from June 11, 1881. It’s hard to imagine making soap instead of just going to the store and picking up a few bars of the many brands available. I remember hearing stories from my mom about her grandmother making soap and the grand children helping. Usually the soap would be made outdoors after rendering lard from pork skins. After rendering the lard the pork skins and cracklings would be removed from the lard. The lard was then strained and the soap making would begin.

Hard soap recipe found in the Jacksonville Republican Newspaper (Alabama) from June 1881

Hard soap recipe found in the Jacksonville Republican Newspaper (Alabama) from June 1881

Since this recipe contains a few products that I’m still unsure of where to buy, I decided to try an alternative recipe that uses only three ingredients: lard, water and lye.

*As with any recipe that uses lye, extreme caution is advised! Directions should be followed exactly! Order of adding ingredients matter.

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Fermenting – Homemade Kimchi

Let’s Make Kimchi!
Instead of spending $30 for a fermenting lid and air lock I decided to make one. All it took was a gallon jar that I found at the thrift store for $.50 and a borrowed air lock from my hubby. He even helped me out by drilling a hole in the jar lid for the air lock.  The air lock will keep the funky stuff from growing on the surface by preventing oxygen from getting in but will let the excess pressure escape.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Napa cabbage – sliced thin
  • 1 head purple cabbage – sliced thin
  • 2 cups green onions – chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – minced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large plastic bowl. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the salt can draw out some moisture. It may look like a lot of cabbage, but believe me it will be a lot smaller after it gets a beating later.  After 15 minutes, pound the ingredients with a wood mallet or a cabbage pounder if you have one. More moisture will be released from the cabbage.

Homemade Kimchi

Homemade Kimchi

Pack the mixture into a glass container. Add more water if needed so that the cabbage is under the water. Place a saucer or plate on top if the mixture wants to float. Seal the lid, add the air lock and let the fermenting begin. (Keep in a place that’s about 70-75F). If you do not have an air lock then you will need to remove the lid daily to let off the pressure or you’ll end up with a messy kitchen. When the kimchi gets to the texture and taste that you like, just transfer to another container and place in the refrigerator to age. Kimchi gets better with age too!


Genealogy Research – Samuel K. Borders

When doing genealogy research on my own family tree I sometimes come across information I feel like others may need to see also.  Maybe there is another family out there doing research that hasn’t found these little details that I have stumbled across.  This week I found an article in the Jacksonville Republican, a newspaper that was published during the 1800’s in Jacksonville, Alabama. This article covers the life span of one Samuel K. Borders who was born in Jackson county Georgia in 1822.  He went to the University of Georgia and graduated with honors at the age of 21.  He married Miss S. M. Williams of South Carolina and had six daughters and one son. The full transcript can be read here:  Jacksonville History – Samuel K Borders 1822-1881