Thursday, June 9, 2016

Gingery Pickled Red Cabbage

Recipe Provenance
The recipe comes from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this one!).

To Pickle Red Cabbage
Wash and shred the cabbage, put it in a pickle of salt & water strong enough to bear an egg, 24 Hours. Then, drain it on a colander--boil nice vinegar with race ginger, white pepper, allspice & a little mace, while hot pour it on the cabbage.

Modern Recipe Adaptation
Yields: 7 Quarts

Step 1: Make  the Brine
You will need:
  • 2 Gallons Water
  • 2 Pounds Pickling Salt (this salt is best because it has no iodine or anti-caking agents)
  • Approximately 8 Pounds Red Cabbage (about 4-5 heads)
1. Heat the water to a boil. While the water is heating, proceed to step 2.
2.  Remove the rough outer leaves and the cores from all of the cabbages. Then, shred the cabbages and place in a large (13 quart or larger) bowl.
3. Once the water is boiling, add the salt and whisk vigorously until it is all dissolved in the water. To check you have enough salt, place a raw egg in the pot. If it is salty enough, the egg will float to the top, hence the term "strong enough to bear an egg."

"Brine strong enough to bear an egg."

4. Pour the hot brine onto the cabbage. Cover and set aside for at least 24 hours. I let mine sit for 48 hours because I just couldn't get back to it in 24 hours. 

Cabbage in Brine

Step 2: Make the Vinegar Pickle
You will need:

  • Fresh Ginger (about a 4-ounce piece)
  • 1 Quart Apple Cider Vinegar (I used organic unfiltered)
  • 1 Quart White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Mace or Nutmeg

1. Peel the ginger using a spoon:

Remove the ginger skin by scraping it off with a spoon.
2. Chop the ginger into 1/2-inch chunks.
3. Add the ginger, white pepper, allspice, and mace/nutmeg to the vinegars which have been placed in a medium stock pot. Whisk together thoroughly.
4. Bring the vinegar/spice mixture to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Step 3: Finish

1. Drain the brine from the cabbage and rinse excess saltiness off of the cabbage.
2. Recommendation: Preserve and store the cabbage using the hot water canning method. Click here to go to the Ball website for basic instructions for how to do this. Note: for canning this cabbage, pack sterilized hot jars with the cabbage, leaving very little room left for the vinegar. Ladle the hot vinegar into the jars, making sure each jar gets a good amount of the ginger chunks.

Fill jars tightly and distribute ginger evenly among the jars.

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