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Cabbage keeps during fresh-produce scarcity

Surveying food my household has on hand, namely shelf-stable items, I felt a surge of pride in the sauerkraut crock on the kitchen counter.

The fermenting cabbage would be ready in mere days and store nicely in the refrigerator for months to come. If fresh produce became a scarcity in my home, the kraut would furnish fiber, vitamin C and a dose of probiotics. It’s always been thus, ever since humans devised ways to preserve their fresh produce for months of winter’s deprivations.

In addition to fermented cabbage, I also had two fresh heads in my fridge that would keep for a month at least. When salad greens have long since wilted and withered, cabbage endures and even can stand up to cooking, coaxed into deliciousness by just a bit of meat, some sugar, acid and spices.

That means this recipe is earmarked for the coming weeks, particularly now that I’ve squirreled away some bacon ends that I procured at a rock-bottom price recently at Medford’s Food 4 Less. I prefer bacon ends, with a bit of the pork’s skin, to mainstream sliced bacon in dishes like these. Braising softens up the pork skin, which still imparts plenty of toothsome texture.

With roots in Eastern Europe, this recipe is courtesy of Fred Piehl, who grew up in Switzerland and was trained at Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu. He owns The Smoking Goat bistro in San Diego.

Braised Red Cabbage

1/2 pound bacon, chopped

1 onion, peeled and sliced thin

1 large red cabbage, sliced

2 Granny Smith apples, diced small

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, brown the bacon. Add the sliced onion to pan, cooking with bacon until onions are softened.

Add the sliced cabbage, stirring, until cabbage is wilted.

Add the diced apples while continuing to stir. Add the apple cider vinegar, sugar and 1 cup water.

Cook mixture on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for approximately 25 minutes or until cabbage is soft.

Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Tribune News Service.

Tribune News Service photo