As a CSA member, I receive a box of 8 vegetables every week. The first time I joined a Farm Share, I chose the half-share option where you receive the box every two weeks. Since my husband and I cook almost every night, we found it to be insufficient. This winter, I decided to go for the full-share, a box every week. This time around, I’ve found it to be too much food. Maybe because it is winter and the veggies are hardier and last longer, I find that we have not been using them as much. I love soup, so basically every food item in my house turns into soup at some point in their lifetime, which I freeze and eat for lunch when I have no time to cook for myself.
Before leaving for Spring Break I realized I had a lot of veggies (I traveled on Friday and picked up a box on Tuesday before the trip!), which might or might not have gone bad in the 10 days I would be away. So I decided to donate all my veggies and fruits to a friend who was staying in Philly and, of course, loves to cook. Potatoes, collard greens, leeks, spinach, radishes, sweet potatoes and carrots were among the items.
When I arrived back to Philly, my friend invited me over to her house and showed me that she hadn’t used some of the veggies. I ended up bringing some of them back with me: spinach, beets, rosemary, leeks, sweet potatoes, shallots, and cabbages. I urgently had to do something with them because the day after I would pick up another farm share box, and it would be way too many vegetables to handle.
So today I want to share fun ideas for things to do with cabbage and some information about it.
First, cabbage will last about 2-3 weeks in your fridge! I got one cabbage one week and then two more the week before I went on break, so basically the first one was refrigerated for about 3 weeks. I only had to pull the outer layer to reveal that the cabbage was still gorgeous inside. Since this one was pretty large, I decided to freeze it for later use. It is such a simple process and will keep the cabbage for about a month after you freeze it. Here is how to freeze cabbage:
Step 1: Wash under cold water and remove layers that are not crisp.
Step 2: Cut along the midline into 4 pieces. Each piece should have some of the root – this will help so that it doesn’t layer out, and it will make it easier to handle (check the photo).
Step 3: Boil enough water to immerse the cabbage pieces in. On a separate bowl, add cold water with ice cubes.
Step 4: Blanche the cabbage. Dip it 3 minutes in the boiling water, then immediately drown it in the ice cold water so that it stops cooking.
Step 5: Get as much of the moisture out of the cabbage. You can air dry it for about 2 hours.
Step 6: Place in a ziplock bag, get as much air out as possible, and voilá!
Make sure you date the bags so you know when to use it by!
For the rest of the cabbages, I decided to go with soup! This is the great and oh so homie recipe I found on the 101 Cookbooks blog, slightly adapted. This soup is very simple to make, and I love the textural differences that you get between the cabbage, potato and beans. It is also very healthy – especially because we do not eat enough white beans in our routine and they are packed with potassium and iron!
Cabbage Soup Recipe:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
6 smaller potatoes, skin on, cut 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
5 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cups hot water
2 vegetable bouillon squares
1 can white beans, (drained and rinsed)
2 smaller cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook for about 5 to 10 more minutes. Add the water, vegetable bouillon, and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage, cook for two minutes, then cover for another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed!
As a side note, I also brought beets back. They had been in the fridge for 3 weeks as well and I decided to cook and store them so that I have some options to add on salads and for breakfast (beets go really well with yogurt and a touch of lemon!). Preparing beets is amazingly easy to do: Boil water with a little salt and add the beets with skin and all. Cook for about 15 minutes and when you can pierce the flesh with a fork, they are ready to be drained. Let them cool and then just peel away the skin with a spoon (comes off very easy) and cut into pieces. Store and enjoy! (Sarah Muller)