February 16: Cabbage
With mid-winter upon us and farm fields covered in feet of snow, fresh local cabbage is still plentiful and delicious. Try this most basic of recipes: Slice a head of cabbage into wedges, one to two inches thick, removing the core. Melt butter in a pan with minced garlic and salt, and add the cabbage. Cook a few minutes at medium-high heat until the wedges start to brown on one side, then flip them over, cover, and steam at a low temperature until tender.
Find CISA’s list of winter outlets for local produce here.
German-style sweet and sour red cabbage is a real treat – a recipe from Red Fire Farm is here. Stuffed cabbage is another delicious standby.
The Kitchen Garden also offers a number of great cabbage recipes here, including recipes for creamy caraway coleslaw, asian-style slaw, and buckwheat cabbage gratin.
I can’t help but add a recipe for sauerkraut here – one of my favorite foods. The best season for kraut making is fall, when the fall cabbage harvest has just come in, but now is a great time for trying a small test batch if you haven’t made it before. Sauerkraut is as simple a recipe as there is – the only ingredients are cabbage and salt. Shred the cabbage by slicing it finely (after removing the core). For every pound of cabbage you shred, mix in 2 teaspoons of salt (or for every 5 lb, mix in 3 tablespoons).
Pack the salted cabbage in a jar or crock, let sit 20 minutes, and press firmly so juices cover the cabbage. If there is not enough juice to cover the cabbage, you can add brine made with just over 1 teaspoon salt per cup of water. Put a weight of some sort on top of the cabbage to hold it down beneath the juices, and cover the top of the jar or crock with a clean towel.
Store the cabbage at 60-70 degrees F for several weeks (checking every week or so to make sure the cabbage is still submerged, and to satisfy your curiosity). In a month or two the cabbage will have transformed into delicious sauerkraut, and can then be moved to a refrigerator or other cool spot to be enjoyed for months to come.