Traditional way of pickling cabbage
Cabbage for many years was willingly consumed in manors [ royal ? ] houses, and bigos (traditional polish dish ) best tested after successful hunts. Cabbage became the main course of poor peasants, because cultivation was simple and cheap. Dishes of cabbage added to physical strength during harvest.
Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century the rural population in the vicinity of Charsznica canned pickled cabbage, which made delicious courses for royal tables. It also confirmed the story of the oldest residents of the village. We can say, in this place cabbage was always the cultivation . This cultivation was not on a large scale, mostly every peasant planted as much as was needed for his family and the surplus sold at local fairs. Peasants didn’t have scales, so they sold cabbage in buckets and barrels. Perches of cabbage were grown beside tomatoes and hemp, which produced the smell which protected the cabbage against pests.
Silage always came after field work. This ritual began with the preparation of barrels of hardwood. At first they had to be filled with water, to see if they leaked, then the barrels went to a washtub, rammer scrubbed and washed with warm water. During the day, the shredded cabbage is put into barrels steaming with boiling water, hot stones would then be put inside and covered with linen cloth to be thoroughly decontaminated. Cabbage was shredded by knife or box grater to the wooden logs and covered with salt. No preservatives were added to the cabbage only some carrots, fennel seeds, cherry and oak twigs, grains of pepper, horseradish leaves, juniper berries and apple wine. Log cabbage was put straight into huge barrels. At first laid on the bottom were small hard sprouts and then sprinkled with a handful of salt. Then the shredded cabbage was compacted by a wooden beater or trodden with bare feet. the barrels were left in a room with a preheated oven, for a week. Everyday holes had to be made to release the bitterness. After a week it was covered with a wooden lid, loaded with stones and inserted into the basement. the remaining barrels were processed in ponds. and so they cellared up to summer. All this time the cabbage was good to consumed. Cabbage heads were very good from the bottom of the barrels, when they could not wait for them to occur. There were cooked with nothing else, they were taken straight from the barrel, cut into large pieces and eaten in the same moment. This cabbage was a delicacy for children.
In winter sauerkraut soups, cabbage with pea, bigos were cooked, and also salads . Cabbage was formerly the basis of nutrition for the Polish people. Containing a lot of vitamins, hence the strength and vitality of Polish peasants. Formerly nothing was wasted, even the cabbage acid, it was used to acidify borscht- for health benefits.
In fact, the way of pickling cabbage has not changed to this day. The most important aspect is the fermentation process that is best carried out at a countryside furnace. That furnace guarantees a specific flavor and aroma. Pickling cabbage should be not only work but also in heart.
Pickled cabbage traditionally interested please refer to the resources Museum in Miechów- Charsznica at ul. Kolejowa 22
Text comes from the book: “CHARSZNICA kapuściana stolica Polski”