Friday, November 15, 2013

Bricker and his Cabbage Soup

We used to work on the Orchard Ranch out of Tensleep, Wyoming.  When we were there, they had a handyman named Jim Bricker.  He was a big bear of a man, and as kind as can be.  Always with a twinkle in his eye and ready with his big booming laugh.  My boys loved him, and so did we.  He had a weiner dog female named Killer that was his constant companion.
Bricker lived on cabbage soup.  My friend Amanda reminded me about cabbage soup, and it made me think of Bricker.  Built like a brick house, and always healthy.  He was a bit windy to be around, so that might have contributed to his good health a bit.
Bricker Soup
1 onion diced
2 T minced garlic
2 T olive oil
big pinch of red pepper flake
whole head of chopped cabbage
bunch of fresh chopped spinach
1 diced zucchini
2 peeled and diced carrots
1/2 C diced celery
1 whole jug v-8
1 quart of diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
In a large stockpot, brown the onion and garlic in oil with the red pepper flakes.  Add the rest of the vegetables and stir until they are opaque.  Add the juice, tomatoes and herbs.  Bring to a boil and salt and pepper to taste.  If you plan on eating, not canning, simmer until vegetables are soft, and serve.
This soup makes a ton, but if you live on it like Bricker did, it will go fast. I will just can this soup in the pressure canner. Yes you can pressure can cabbage.  It is a green, and processes for 75 minutes for pints, and ninety for quarts.  It is not usually recommended, as it gets strong tasting when canned, but like turnips, and collards, we like them the way they come out, and can them anyway.  I use fifteen pounds pressure, but you will need to check the pressure for your own elevation.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Canned Corn, Corn Syrup, Apple Cider, and Apple Juice

The more foods I make for our family rather than buy, the more I find that I can cheaply and easily make at home.  I canned corn yesterday.  I just canned it plain, and in water, no added salt.  I like canning corn.  It's easy and straight forward.  Shuck the corn, blanch it three minutes, cut it off the cob (my favorite part) and shove it in the jars.  When all the corn is shucked, blanched and in the jars, then pour boiling water over it and wipe the rim of the jars.  You have to vigorously stir it around with a chopstick to get the air bubbles out, and then you can add a hot lid and ring, and process it.  85 minutes for quarts.  From my four dozen ears, I got a thirteen quarts of corn, and a pint to add to the chili that was cooking in the crockpot.
I had done some pints of corn earlier with red and green sweet peppers, celery and vidalia onions.  I have about forty pints of this calico corn.  So we can have corn with our meals at least once a week for a year, and then some.
So today, I have all these cobs that are left from cutting the corn off.  I am going to make corn syrup with them.  The season of making candy is approaching, and homemade corn syrup will come in handy!  I will use my pressure canner as a pressure cooker and quickly make a bunch of stock from my cobs.  In my canner, I'll add the jar rack so the cobs don't scorch to the bottom of the pan.  I'll add a dozen or so cobs, whatever will fill the canner about half way.  I'll add water to cover the corn, and then put on the lid, and process this stock for twenty minutes at fifteen pounds of pressure.  Viola!  In half an hour, I'll have loads of corn stock.
Once the canner cools to room pressure, I'll take off the lid, and strain the stock through a cloth lined colander.  Now I can measure how much stock I have, and figure out how much sugar to use.  For each cup of stock, you will use half a cup of sugar.  So, for eight cups of stock, I'll use four cups of sugar.  I'll bring this to boil in my stockpot, and let it cook until it's thick and syrup-ey.  I'll put it into quart jars, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.  Homemade corn syrup can be used in place of store bought syrup in candy making recipes.  It can get crystalized, like honey does, and will turn back into syrup if you place the jar in a saucepan with some water, and gently heat it.
Yesterday, Joel and I juiced about three bushels of tart Northern Spy apples.  We canned this apple cider in my big half gallon jars.  We drink a lot of spiced hot apple cider in the Wintertime.  I have an old glass percolator that we use for that purpose.  It not only tastes wonderful and warms you up when you are chilled, it makes our house smell like home!
I saved the pulp from the juicer, and will add water to cover that, and cook this to extract the apple juice from it.  Once it's simmered about twenty minutes or so, I'll strain it through a cloth lined colander, and bottle it in quart jars.  This apple juice processes for five minutes in a boiling water bath.
Once I'm through extracting the juice from this pulp, I'll feed the stuff that I strain out of the juice to the chickens.
This morning, I'm pulling out a fresh tablecloth, and scrubbing my apple sticky floor.  When my husband comes home from his trip to Montana today, we'll have a sit down supper with cloth napkins, and the good dishes.  I'll put out the jelly into a pretty glass bowl, and pull out some bread and butter pickles, and put them in a refrigerator glass square dish with a pickle serving fork.  I'll get out the glass pitcher, and fill it with tea and ice, and warm the rolls to put into a wicker basket with a cloth.  I already have these nice things, and they should be enjoyed!  It doesn't cost money to live a rich life.