||Eat more cabbage. It is one of the healthiest vegetables one can consume. There has been considerable research on its cancer-fighting capabilities. It is full of everyday vitamins and antioxidants. It is a powerhouse (not to mention one of the lowest-calorie foods out there). Cabbage is round in shape with layers of superimposed leaves. Since they are protected from the sun, the inner layers appear lighter in color.
||Wrap tightly in plastic and store the unwashed cabbage in the coldest part of the fridge. For a thorough cleaning: strip leaves from cabbage head (discard any discolored outter leaves) and submerge the leaves cold, salted water. Let the leaves soak for 20 minutes. If you gently lift the leaves from the basin the dirt will stay at the bottom of the sink and your produce will be spotless.
||If you have leftovers (such as rice salad or sauteed mixed veggies) roll them in a cabbage leaf and bake in oven on medium heat until hot. This is an easy version of stuffed cabbage that helps you clean your fridge!
What else is in your bag? Back to this week's harvest guide!
Au Gratin Cabbage
- 2 cups cabbage (shredded)
- ½ cup carrots (shredded)
- 1 onion (diced)
Saute until crisp-tender in frypan with a little olive oil (5-6 minutes). Transfer to greased 1-quart baking dish.
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons cheese
Combine in a small bowl. Pour over vegetables. Garnish with 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.
Heat in a soup pot over medium-low heat:
Add and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned, 5 – 10 minutes:
- 3 large onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
Stir in and bring to a boil:
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- 2 small potatoes, diced
Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are mostly cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in:
- 4 cups shredded green cabbage
Simmer until cabbage is wilted, about 15 minutes, adding a little water to cover if necessary. Stir in:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Sprinkle each serving with: Blue cheese
- 3 lbs potatoes
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 1/4 cups milk, hot
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
- 1 (1-pound) piece ham or bacon, cooked the day before
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30 minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop them before mashing. Mash thoroughly to remove all the lumps. Add 1 stick butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring constantly. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it. Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain cabbage thoroughly, chop, and return to pan.
Put ham in large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes until tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces.
Add cabbage, scallions, and ham to potatoes, and stir in gently.
Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation in top with a wooden spoon, and put one tablespoon butter in each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.
by Sandor Katz
Timeframe: 1-4 weeks (or more)
- Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greater
- Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
- One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock)
- Cloth cover (like a pillowcase or towel)
Ingredients (for 1 gallon):
- 5 pounds cabbage
- 3 tablespoons sea salt (Tom notes: Celtic sea salt is by far the healthiest to use for this or any purpose, due to its trace mineral profile – see http://www.celticseasalt.com/)
1. Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love to mix green and red cabbage to end up with bright pink kraut. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it.
2. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage. I never measure the salt; I just shake some on after I chop up each cabbage. I use more salt in summer, less in winter.
3. Add other vegetables. Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables I’ve added include onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, small whole heads of cabbage, turnips, beets, and burdock roots. You can also add fruits (apples, whole or sliced, are classic), and herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries are classic, but anything you like will work). Experiment.
4. Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement [e.g., potato masher, meat mallet]. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
5. Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.
6. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
7. Leave the crock to ferment. I generally store the crock in an unobtrusive corner of the kitchen where I won’t forget about it, but where it won’t be in anybody’s way. You could also store it in a cool basement if you want a slower fermentation that will preserve for longer.
8. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold appears on the surface. Many books refer to this mold as “scum,” but I prefer to think of it as a bloom. Skim what you can off of the surface; it will break up and you will probably not be able to remove all of it. Don’t worry about this. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine. Rinse off the plate and the weight. Taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. In the cool temperatures of a cellar in winter, kraut can keep improving for months and months. In the summer or in a heated room, its life cycle is more rapid. Eventually it becomes soft and the flavor turns less pleasant.
9. Enjoy. I generally scoop out a bowl- or jarful at a time and keep it in the fridge. I start when the kraut is young and enjoy its evolving flavor over the course of a few weeks. Try the sauerkraut juice that will be left in the bowl after the kraut is eaten. Sauerkraut juice is a rare delicacy and unparalleled digestive tonic. Each time you scoop some kraut out of the crock, you have to repack it carefully. Make sure the kraut is packed tight in the crock, the surface is level, and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below brine just add salted water as necessary. Some people preserve kraut by canning and heat-processing it. This can be done; but so much of the power of sauerkraut is its aliveness that I wonder: Why kill it?
10. Develop a rhythm. I try to start a new batch before the previous batch runs out. I remove the remaining kraut from the crock, repack it with fresh salted cabbage, then pour the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut. This gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.