Cabbages are Pretty

This post is really just an excuse to photograph cabbages.

Now that that’s out of the way:

I made sauerkraut using the recipe from Food In Jars and it’s finally ready.

When my schedule is rolling along correctly, I like to do a batch of preserving every week, the day after the farmers market.  Ideally, every scrap of unsold produce – those last few tomatoes, extra zucchini, that one little cabbage that no one wanted-  gets turned into something.  (I know, sorry chickens, there’s plenty of grass for you girls).  This keeps the pantry stocked and also makes sure that the garden stays completely picked so that it keeps producing at maximum capacity.  I can all kinds of things, make jams, dehydrate some stuff in the oven, infuse the occasional liqueur.  I’ve been trying to incorporate more ferments into the mix since they’re so easy and require so few supplies. These cabbages I have in my garden right now are a variety called Deadon, and the seeds are available from Johnny’s Seeds here.  I love the shades of deep purple to the palest green on their leaves; they’re really quite stunning. The general idea of this recipe is that you cut up cabbage, put it in a jar with salt and fennel seeds, and then wait. …. and wait some more….When you think the sauerkraut is, well, sauerkraut, taste it.  If it tastes lackluster, just let it sit for awhile longer.  It’ll get to a point that you’ll taste it and it’ll be super tangy and wonderful and you’ll want to keep taking more tastes and then eat the whole jar …. and that means it’s done. I think it’s pretty crazy that I can cut up some vegetables and put them on a shelf in a jar with some salt and then come back later and they’re not only edible, they’re delicious! There’s something about fermenting….  I really don’t know anything about the chemistry of it, or why it works (I should probably read up on that, though…)  I do know that when I ferment stuff it makes me feel like I have magic superpowers over produce.  You should try it.

Kimchi, And A Lot Of Hard Work

The farm has been a whirlwind of activity for the last few weeks. Late May through early June is always characterized by the frantic rush to transition everything from winter to summer. We’ve finally done it, though. Weeds have been wacked. Compost has been hauled from here to there.  Garden beds have been tilled and prepared for planting.  The irrigation system is back up and running. Starts have moved from the greenhouse to the ground. Seeds have been planted. The tomatoes are caged and the peas are trellised.  Flowers are blooming. Fruit trees are growing and ripening. The hens are starting to lay eggs like crazy.In another month, when we harvest all of the garlic, onions, cabbages, lettuce and peas, we’ll have another big round of work. Until then, though, I can breathe easy knowing the bulk of the gardening work is finished. (Now I’m switching to jam! I’m driving to the city this weekend to shop all the big farmers markets for berries and other fruit. I’m on a search for good, sweet organic strawberries and I think I’m going to have to leave town to find the organic part, unfortunately. That’s a story for another day, though.)

Despite the fact that I haven’t been cooking a whole lot, I want to share the one preserving recipe that I’ve been making over and over again. It’s so simple that you can make it even if you’re working back-breaking long hours and don’t even have time to bathe properly.

kimchi with savoy cabbage and garlic scapes

Whatever-Kind-Of-Greens-You-Have Kimchi, an adaptation of Ramp Greens Kimchi from the Hungry Tigress

I got the idea for this from the Tigress, who made a fantastic looking ramp greens kimchi. We don’t have ramp greens here but we do have lots and lots of other kind of greens. I particularly like this kimchi recipe because it’s vegan; a lot of recipes have anchovy paste or fish sauce in them. I don’t have any issue with those products but I’m a tired farm girl and I am not in the mood to drive to town for anchovy paste.

This recipe will work with pretty much any greens you have. I’ve made it with savoy cabbages, kale, garlic scapes, and rainbow chard.  I would avoid traditional types of cabbage because the leaves are so thick, but napa cabbage, collard greens, boy choy and mustard greens would all be fine.

Equipment needed: 2 quart jars

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. greens such as savoy cabbage or rainbow chard
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 dried cayenne peppers, crushed
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbs. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. unrefined peanut oil (or toasted sesame oil)

1. Sterilize two quart jars.

2. Wash greens and roughly chop into 1/2″ strips. 

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the greens. Mix together thoroughly. Add the greens to the bowl and mix well, making sure to coat everything evenly.

4. Divide the greens between the two jars. Loosely screw on lids and leave unrefrigerated overnight. The next day, give each jar a good shake. Put them into the fridge for a week to lightly ferment the greens. Each day or so, take the jars out and give the jar a shake and stir up the greens a little bit so that the ones on the top of the jar eventually end up at the bottom. The greens will shrink down and if you’ll probably want to combine them into one jar after a 4-5 days.

5. In about a week, the kimchi is ready.  You’ll know because the greens smell slightly sour and you won’t be able to resist digging in any longer.  Eat it in sandwiches, wraps, salads, as a side dish with stir fry or rice, or all on its own.  You will love it, I guarantee.

rainbow chard kimchi