Fall is the best time to grow cabbage in New Mexico – spring gets too hot too fast, but fall lingers a bit longer with warmish days and cold nights. Planted in August or September, cabbages and lots of other cole crops (like broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and bok choy) are maturing right now. Cole crops are very cold-hardy, and survive uncovered until November or December, but a cover of garden cloth will help them continue to mature for another month or so. For your local food fix, don’t forget the Corrales winter market is open the first Sunday of each month and the Los Ranchos market is open the second Saturday of each month from now until April.
Sauerkraut is easy to make, high in Vitamin C, and a traditional Christmas food in many Eastern European cultures. The basic recipe has only two ingredients – cabbage and salt – but traditional embellishments include garlic, onions, bay leaves, caraway, juniper berries and wine. I made a small batch with just one cabbage, in a tiny crock I found at a vintage store, but glass quart jars are really nice because you can really see what’s going on in there. This recipe is adapted from one given in Linda Ziedrich’s excellent book, The Joy of Pickling.