Jackie Clay’s Amish coleslaw

I discovered Backwoods Home Magazine about a year or so ago, and especially love reading Jackie Clay’s blog and q and a sessions. She is a wonder woman in my book. Work work work work work, she does it. Mostly, I read her garden information, and DH got me her canning book Growing and Canning Your Own Food last year for Christmas and her Pantry Cookbook for my birthday. (I approved the double gift for both…Christmas babies have a strange relationship with Christmas…) She cans everything! It is amazing. I can’t imagine how much time she is spending just putting up food. I like how in her book she says things like “you can can cabbage, but lots of people don’t like it. I rinse it and it tastes just fine.” Not many people put recipes in their cookbooks that will possibly taste bad to the reader.

I especially like that in the second book, the Pantry Cookbook, she says how to use some of the things you put up in the first book to actually make food. So many people make 35 jars of jelly and nothing else. I don’t know about you, but we go through 1, maybe 2, jars of jelly a year. If I am going to spend my afternoons and weekends sweating over a steaming pot of water, it better make my life easier in the long run. The Pantry Cookbook gives you some great ideas.

One thing she says you can can, but that it isn’t deemed “safe” by the Arbitrators of Canning Truth is something she calls Amish Cole Slaw.

I love the Amish canned coleslaw, BUT it is NOT an approved recipe. (It is basically pickled sweet cabbage, so I’m not too worried. I can’t tell you to try it, only that generations of Amish have used it and so have I for a few years now.) Here’s the recipe:

1½ cups vinegar
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. celery seed
½ tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. salt
1 large head cabbage
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onions
2 cups shredded carrots

Mix vinegar, sugar, and seasonings. Mix with vegetables. Stir very well. Pack into sterile jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. (If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your processing time to suit your altitude.) — Jackie

I leave the sugar out, so it is really just pickled cabbage/celery/onions/carrots. Full strength vinegar with vegetables? Yeah, I’m ok with canning that in a WBC. Last time, I just did cabbage and carrots with the spices. That worked too.

Without the sugar, it is really too tart to just eat by itself. When I want to eat it, I have been dumping in a colander, and rinsing. That leaves some of the pickled flavor, but it doesn’t turn your mouth inside out with the strength of the acid.

I’ve used the rinsed version as a base for spaghetti sauce with meat to help keep me on the diet du jour, or Manwich meat as topping too. I’ve also used it in any version of vegetable mess, putting it in last as it has already been cooked for 10 minutes when being canned. And, sometimes, I’ll sprinkle a little Splenda in it, stir, and just eat it like cole slaw. We just used the last can from last summer up about a week ago, so when I get 8 pint jars empty, I’ll need to chop some veggies up and make some more. Very versatile thing to have on hand.

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