I do not know about anyone else but I find that the price of fresh salad greens has made me reconsider if I would continue to purchase these items at this time of the year. With our Canadian dollar slumping the way it is, it is no wonder that the price of fresh produce is being driven up. Factor in the drought in such places as California and you have prices that many cannot afford or are not willing to pay. I do have to admit that we do like our “greens” during the long winter months. I myself find that there is something missing if we do not have some kind of vegetable or salad with our meals. We have strived to eat healthier and this was one of the many reasons we began homesteading.
With the winters being as long and as cold as they are here, we are unable to grow things like lettuce, cucumbers and peppers all year round. This has thus made us dependent on the local grocery stores if we wanted the “fresh” produce. I have now began to rethink that notion. We are striving to be more independent, therefore there had to be something that could be done about this was my thought.
Thinking back to when I was younger, I remember my mother putting up jars of canned coleslaw for the long winter months. Now not having any negative memories about this, I thought why not. How bad could it possibly be. It would give us some of the salad we would desire and could be easily made up later in the fall after the main canning had been done. Things like cabbage, carrots and onions could easily keep in the root cellar for a bit before being put in jars as coleslaw.
Upon deciding to give it at least a try, I found myself picking up some green and red cabbage at the store, along with a few carrots, onions and both green and red peppers. I would do a few jars as an experiment. If I found it was not what we were really looking for then I would not bother making any more jars up this fall.
I found after some research a receipe which sounded very much like the one that my mother had used. I set to work preparing all the ingredients. It looked actually quite good when I got it all together. Preparing the brine to go on it I hoped that it would taste at the very least as good as it looked. Getting the jars ready, I proceeded to fill them and place them in the canner for the recommended time. There was a bit left over so we had that with our supper that night. Both of us approved of how it tasted. As long as the ingredients with stood the canning process and stayed crunchy, we would have no problem having this on a regular basis.
A week later, I ventured downstairs to the cold room and brought up a jar of my “canned coleslaw”. Draining it well, I placed it on the table for supper. I have to admit it is very good! Everything retained its “crunchiness” and the brine that was used on it gave it a very nice flavour. With draining it well, one could add a different dressing to it if you wished.
I am going to pass on the recipe for anyone who is interested in giving the coleslaw a try.
1 medium cabbage head ( I used a half a head of red cabbage as well).
1 each green and red pepper
1 tsp. Pickling salt
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 cups of sugar ( you could use less if you wish)
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Shred cabbage and carrots. Finely chop the onion and dice the peppers. Add the salt, mix well and let stand one hour. Drain the water from the vegetables and rinse well. Boil the syrup ingredients for 1 minute. Cool. Add the vegetable mix to the syrup and mix well. Pick into pint jars (quarts can be used). Process the jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
So now the plan is in the fall to have a good supply of the ingredients in the cold room waiting till I have some time and then it will be processed into salad that we can enjoy all winter long and not have to worry about quality or price. It will be an addition to the other items that we plan to fill the cold room with. Making us more self sufficient again!