Not a bad day’s work. My sister-in-law and a friend gave me fresh cabbage from their gardens so my “putting by for winter” instinct kicked in over the weekend. While the relishes in the jars may look the same, they aren’t. The smaller jars in front are a local favorite which goes by two or three names, the name isn’t important, what’s important is what’s inside. We’ll call it BBQ slaw. It is a mustard based slaw which can be canned, containing a number of things. Recipe below.
The larger jars are chow chow. The coloring for the chow chow comes from turmeric, not mustard. These relishes are hold-overs from the days when it was necessary to put up summer’s bounty in order to have sufficient food through the winter months. In the earliest days nutritional benefit wasn’t understood, but having something with color and a spicy bite livened up the otherwise bland foods which were staples during the months when the garden was dormant.
Canning food gives me pleasure for several reasons. The most obvious is the wonderful dishes I make with it during the winter. Another is because it brings back wonderful memories of my grandmother. As a child I’d stay with her and in the summer we’d pick blackberries, wild plums, and other things and make jars of gorgeous ruby colored jam and jelly. My grandmother always made a game out of counting the “pops” as the jars sealed. She’s gone now, but every time I put up jars of food I cannot help counting the “pops” as the vacum seal pulls the jar lid down securely. A simple memory to be sure, but one that never fails to give me pleasure.
To make the slaw:
Grate two heads of cabbage, the fresher the better
Finely chop 3 medium to large onions
Grate three carrots
Finely chop two large bell peppers, any color you like
Combine these in a large pot with:
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup vinegar
3 cups prepared mustard
3 1/2 cups of sugar
Bring to a boil, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Pack hot into clean jars and quickly screw down the lids. Place 3 to 4 jar lid flats into simmering water to heat them before putting them onto the hot jars of slaw. If your mixture is hot enough and you heat the lids as described they will seal without having to put them into a water bath. Check the seal before putting the jars away by pressing on the lid with your finger. The lid should not pop up and down, if it does the jar is not sealed, in which case you should put it in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks. Jars with lids that are pulled down by vacum can be stored away for later use.
Blissful Meals, Yall,
The Historic Foodie