Monday, August 24, 2009

Garden 2009 - Spring - Update III - A Borsch is a Borsch, Of Course, Of Course

We planted cabbage in our summer garden again this year. If you'll remember from our garden last year, we didn't have any cabbage heads to speak of; but this year the Lord has graciously blessed us with large, beautiful cabbage heads to eat fresh and preserve.

I can probably count the number of ounces of cabbage I've eaten in my life in single digits. I have nothing against cabbage in the least but just didn't grow up eating much of it. So I was stumped to find a good way to preserve all of this cabbage with which God had blessed us.

I surfed online a bit under canning cabbage and found a recipe that sounded pretty tasty to me. Fast forward several weeks, and I now have over 60 quarts of borsch in my root cellar! (NOTE: For you proper spellers, "borsch" is, indeed, an approved variant spelling of "borscht.") I had heard of borsch but had never eaten it to my recollection. I'm not certain if this recipe is an "official" borsch; but, regardless, it's tasty! Wow! All these years I've been missing out! This recipe calls for five pounds of tomatoes per batch, so we were very thankful when we discovered the local produce market was having a sale on tomatoes at about $.50 per pound.

I've listed the recipe below in case anybody is panicking like I was, wondering how to capture and preserve their garden cabbage crop. Or if you just have a "hankerin'" for borsch :D

Here is the official link to the recipe, but I made a few changes so I thought I would post it here also with a few personal notes in italics:

Yield: Eight pints (or four quarts) although I was generous with the ingredients and consistently got five quarts each time.
- 5 lbs. tomatoes (about 20 medium tomatoes)
- 8 cups coarsely shredded cabbage (I tried using a grater but realized coarsely chopping the cabbage works just as well and is much faster)
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chopped onions (approx. 2 medium onions)
- 1 cup chopped apple (approx. 1 medium apple)
- 2 tablespoons instant beef bouillon (store-bought bouillon contains MSG, so on some of the batches I used pork stock from previous canning sessions of our pigs in place of the six cups of water, and added a little garlic and onion powder seasoning in place of the bouillon; and it worked fine)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Wash, peel, remove stem ends and cores, and quarter tomatoes. Use a small spoon to scrape out the excess seeds, if desired. (I didn't take the time to peel the tomatoes or scrape out any seeds, and it was fine)

2. In a four to six quart kettle or dutch oven combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil; boil uncovered five minutes.

3. Ladle hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

4. Adjust the lids.

5. Process in canner at 10 pounds, 45 minutes for pints or 55 minutes for quarts. (Please look online for altitude instructions if you live 1,000 feet or more above sea level)

6. Makes eight pints (or four quarts) (As I stated before, I was generous with the ingredients and consistently got five quarts)


Here are the tomatoes we were blessed to be able to buy very inexpensively. A 20 lb. box yielded three to three and a half batches:




I cut up each tomato in half and then into quarters and placed them in the soup pot:




I coarsely chopped up the cabbage and placed it in with the tomatoes:




I was amazed at how many cups each head of cabbage yielded:




Here are all of the ingredients introducing themselves to each other and ready to be boiled:




The ingredients have now been boiled for five minutes and are ready to be ladled into the canning jars for processing:




MMMmmmmm, delicious Borsch all cooked, processed and ready to eat!




What a blessing to have been able to capture and preserve these abundant, direct provisions from God. Dave and I have had some borsch for supper a couple of times now. Dave said it doesn't smell that great but tastes delicious! It can stand on its own as a very tasty and nutritious soup, or meat may be added to make a wonderful stew. I added in some canned brisket meat recently along with some homemade bread, and it made a well-rounded supper for us. All thanks to God for granting us this food from our garden as a type of the spiritual food He gives us from His Word.

Susan

14 comments:

Ginny said...

That does look very good! :-D I think "official" borscht (borsch) has beets and sour cream in it. But, your version really does look good. I will have to print out the recipe and make some with my leftover cabbages.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the famous Mr. Ed....Ha!

I have huge cabbages left to use in my garden also; after making about 7 quarts sauerkraut thus far, plus a few batches of coleslaw. Plan to make a bit more kraut, as it's tasting good, but thanks so much for this recipe as it looks delicious and to be a handy meal. I'll use canned beef broth instead of boullian. Have canned venison or beef rump roast to throw in for a variance also. Yum! Thanks again!

Beth

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hey Ginny and Beth!

Thank you both for your comments. I hope you like how the recipe tastes if you try it.

Ginny, you're right about borscht being mainly a beet and sour cream dish. The web page from which I got the recipe called it a borsch and also spelled it that way. So I went ahead and just stuck with the name. But you're absolutely right, I don't think it's an official borscht recipe. My tummy is not picky, though :D

Thanks again!

Susan

Steve and Paula said...

Many of my cabbages are basketball sized, and I will be making lacto fermented saurkraut soon.
It never needs heating to preserve it, as long as its kept cool, and will last a full year or more.
Glad you were able to get a good yeild this year.
Paula

debylin said...

Looks great... Lord willing I will be able to use this recipe! I love Borscht!
Debylin

Curtis said...

Hi Siffords!!

I was wondering if you have a email address that you give out??
I have a few random questions for you guys!
Well God bless!

Curtis

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Curtis,

You could send your email address via comment, which will be moderated, and we just won't post it; and we'll then plan to contact you with that.

Thanks,

-- David

Renée said...

You could draw a face on the Borsch, and then sing.

....and no one can talk to the Borsch, of course

That is, of course, unless the Borsh is on the Sifford's thread.

Sorry, I had to do it, but really, YOU started it!

Thanks for your helpful info!

David and Susan Sifford said...

Renee,

Hilarious! Very clever - loved it :D Thanks for the laugh and I hope you like the recipe if you ever decide to make it.

Susan

Anonymous said...

Hello Siffords:

Have you ever considered making kimchi? The most common kind is made with napa cabbage, so it would probably be something to plan for next year.

The Koreans consider winter kimchi the best. They bury clay pots full of kimchi in the ground so that they stay above freezing. They also have special kimchi refrigerators for those who have left their agrarian roots and don't have dirt of their own in which to put their pots.
The refrigerator keeps stuff at just above freezing.

jal meokkesseumnida

- Todd

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Todd!

Thanks for the kimchi idea. I look forward to checking into that.

jal meokkesseumnida back atcha! :D

Susan

Anonymous said...

Well I made this the other day with my first 10 lbs. of ripe tomatos. That double batch only used 1/2 of a huge cabbage with generous cupfuls! But it looks great, and made almost 10 quarts (some of my jars were "Atlas" spaghetti sauce jars a friend gives me that are a bit smaller than a quart and vary in size.) I did use beef broth, so it should go good with my canned meat resourses! Didn't taste yet; have you used any of yours in a dish yet? Thanks again for the recipe. Plan to make more kraut now, since it stores in my root cellar. Beth

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi Beth,

I too was amazed how far the cabbage heads would go in the borsch dish. I guess it's because cabbage is so naturally densely packed, each head goes a long way. I'm glad you were able to make some borsch and hope you enjoy it. I'm not sure what you meant when you asked if I had used any in a dish yet. Do you mean cabbage in general? If so, I've just made kraut in addition to the borsch. And if you meant borsch I have just added meat to it and served as a stew. Thanks for the update!

Susan

Anonymous said...

Just read you're response today. Yes I was asking if you'd combined the borsch with meat or anything else, for a "dish" yet. I didn't even taste mine while cooking it, as I was busy getting jars heated and ready! You'd mentioned some of yours at least, had a pork broth base; so I'd think either pork or chicken would go well with it (based on chinese wok cooking I've done). Since my borsch is beef broth based, I'll more likely use it with beef or venison. So....did your stew taste good? The borsch is a nice "base" as other vegies could be added at "stew making time" if desired for variety. Will try ours soon.

Beth