Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor's Preserve

This long weekend pays homage to the grind of the worker, and is meant to offer perhaps a break from the routine. But the labor of the farmer is peaking, and the land is abundant after a long summer’s drenching of rain and warmth. So, while the beach is always a seductive distraction the foresight of winter’s slow thaw into spring presses on my mind. I have already squirreled away in my freezer: fresh corn shaved from its cob; okra simply halved; blackberries and blueberries hoping for a breakfast muffin, and of course, tomatoes, whole, at their flavorful best. I do get hungry between December and April, and being the food snob that I confess to be I do not always find acceptable vegetables – I do get tired of frozen spinach.

Beyond, a freezer packed to the point that opening it is a risky proposition I also have started pickling and jarring other summertime favorites -- petite Kirby cucumbers uncomfortably packed into a jar as well as green tomatoes, garlic tops, and cabbage potentially becoming sauerkraut. Perhaps, I may get a day to sit on my duff reading and frolicking in the surf it all depends how efficiently I labor away preparing for the winter solstice.

Pickled White Cabbage
2 heads white cabbage (medium size)
3 medium red onions – sliced into 1/4” thick strips
1/4-pound ripe poblano peppers – seeds discarded and then sliced juilenne
3/4-cup kosher salt
1/3-cup white distilled vinegar

Cut the cabbage in half, and remove the core. Then slice the cabbage into 1/2-inch thick strips. In a large bowl toss the cabbage, onions, peppers, and salt together. Pack the cabbage mixture in a clean glass or ceramic jar (about 1 gallon size). Then pour over the vinegar. Cover with a lid, and refrigerator for two weeks to a month.

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