Wednesday, August 30, 2023

It’s Cracked!

It’s Cracked — or Cracking

Tete Noir (Dark Head) Cabbage from Baker Creek Seeds.

Summer is moving along. The birds are quieter, the crickets cicadas are noisier, and the Garden is producing in waves.  It’s a busy time; harvesting, cleaning, preserving, eating (we like the last one best).  

One crop that has started giving is the brassicas — aka cabbage cauliflower, and broccoli.  I started my cabbage and broccoli a little late this season so they are coming on a tad late as well. Not the biggest crop I’ve had but definitely the nicest, thanks to sound advice from Susan Mulvihill from Susan’s In the Garden, who advised using fine mesh insect netting to foil the cabbage moths and more evil loopers.  She was right but now I need to preserve the bounty Susan’s advice help create. 

This stunning cabbage called Tete Noir (it’s truly beautiful) was started from Baker Creek Seeds   The cracking is not typical — totally the fault of the gardener for waiting too long to harvest this particular head — as well as an erratic watering schedule - natural and otherwise.  

I always make sauerkraut, something that I will go into in a later post. The process of making Kraut always makes me think of my mother. We stood together at the sink, peeling, and preserving for many years.  I miss her company, although nowadays I’m often accompanied by my daughter and husband.  

I also make my mother’s cabbage rolls to eat and to freeze. I will also get at this one later as well. But for today’s purposes, and because I have an abundance of red cabbage, I’m going to attempt something new — a canned coleslaw.  

My mother and grandmother often made a deliciously tart and sweet frozen slaw with red cabbage, carrots, and green pepper.  The sugary and vinegary slaw freezes beautifully.  Unfortunately, I currently have very little room in the freezer. A quick search of the web and a solution was found — canning the same recipe in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Problem solved.  I do halve the amount of sugar to try to lighten up the recipe a bit but I think our  frozen slaw recipe lends itself perfectly to water-bath canning. It’s a great way to preserve all that red cabbage I planted.

I shred all the cabbage I use with my food processor shredding blade,  changing blades to spread after first grinding the carrot and pepper with the chopping blade. If you’d rather use a knife, by all means, have at it!

Here are photos of my mother’s original recipe card.  The canned slaw recipe calls for a bit more watery brine so I’m not sure what the end result will be.  I offer a link from Cosmopolitan Cornbread  here  if you want to give it a try a long with me. If you do please share in the comments  so we can compare notes. I’d love to hear how it works for you.

We’ll wait six weeks before testing the final result and, while I take the slaw water-bathing plunge,  I highly recommend making and freezing my mother’s frozen  slaw for a more immediate gratification.  It’s delicious bright, flavorful, crunchy (trust me) and a delicious wintertime bite of summer you’ll be glad to pull out of the freezer in January. — if your freezer has room that is.


Frozen Slaw

Mix and let stand for 1/2 to 1 hour:
1 medium head red or white cabbage, shredded
1 grated carrot
1 grated green pepper
1-1/2 tsp salt

Heat until boiling the following:
1 cup white sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup monk fruit granular)
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp whole mustard seed (white or black)
Cool to lukewarm

Squeeze water from cabbage mixture. Replace with dressing.  Toss well. Serve or freeze in quart size freezer bags or containers.

When ready to use, thaw slaw for 1-2 hours and serve.  Mayonnaise may be added for a creamier presentation, if desired.

Now,  get out there and get your hands dirty!
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