The First Ripe Tomato Before Xmas

We have just picked our first ripe tomato before Xmas. This was never possible when we came to live here 40 years ago, but now, with global warming, we have been able to do it for the last 3 or 4 years in a row.

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We have a nice crop of red cabbage coming along just now, so it’s time to make a batch of pickled red cabbage. I slice it finely and remove all the coarse bits to be fed to the worms. Then place it in a big bowl and pour over some brine. This is the standard 1 cup of salt to 2 litres of water. This is a pretty saturated solution. It’s just about as much salt as cold water can dissolve. It’s left to stand over night with a weight on top to compress. It soon drops down and is submerged in the brine. In the morning I pour off the brine and rinse it once on cold water, then pack the cabbage into sterilised jars. I prepare a batch of pickling vinegar, by heating up standard white wine vinegar with all the usual spices and a spoon full of sugar. This is poured over the cabbage and the lids sealed down. It couldn’t be simpler.

I want the cabbage to remain crunchy for use in salads, so I don’t cook it. It’ll need to be kept in the fridge for safe keeping.

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