Head of the class
It's no secret that people have been feeling the effects of a whacked-out economy. This summer, a gallon of gas climbed above the $4 mark, although there has been some relief at the pumps recently. It got so bad that I heard of people who have pl...
It's no secret that people have been feeling the effects of a whacked-out economy. This summer, a gallon of gas climbed above the $4 mark, although there has been some relief at the pumps recently. It got so bad that I heard of people who have places at the lake carpooling.
And if you've been to the supermarket lately, you've probably noticed that a bag of groceries costs considerably more than it did a year ago. That's because retail food prices have jumped an average 6 percent this year, triple the normal inflation rate, fueled by a soaring demand for grains and bad weather around the world that has diminished crop production.
While we can't do much about the price of gas, there are some ways to stretch our food dollars. Good shoppers can save up to 15 percent by using grocery store ads, completing a menu plan, making a grocery list and using unit pricing to select the best buys. (More tips, Page C2.)
But the best way I can think of saving money on food is buying low-cost items that give you more "bang for your buck." And for me, that's in-season fruits and vegetables.
One of those foods is cabbage, which pound for pound, is a real bargain. It's also one of the most versatile and healthy vegetables that you can find, being a good source of vitamins C and A, some vitamin B, minerals, calcium and phosphorus as well as being low in calories).
I've been cabbage aficionado ever since that first plate of boiled dinner or bowl of vegetable beef soup -- whichever came first -- that Dad used to make. And there was Mom's coleslaw, too. Raw or cooked, it didn't matter.
Perhaps, my favorite way to have cabbage is in homemade sauerkraut. While I have a few quarts left from last year's batch, it won't be too long before some fresh kraut will be ready. I have about 30 to 40 heads of cabbage in my garden awaiting friend Darrel Koehler's shredder and crocks sometime next month.
That's if things continue on schedule and not too many of the heads split. So far, only two have. We shared the first one with our neighbors, the Stinars, using our half in a couple of slaws. I sauteed the entire second head in a little olive oil with onions and garlic, adding some brown sugar and apple cider vinegar at the end. Along with a couple of sliced tomatoes and some homemade bread, it made for a great meatless summertime meal.
And that brings me to Dave Zimniak, Grand Forks, who works in maintenance at Altru Health Systems. Dave grows 20 to 30 heads of cabbage each year, most of which goes into sauerkraut.
Things haven't gone as well for Dave. As of last Wednesday, he had six of his cabbages split, so he's already had to make one batch of kraut. (He says two large heads will get him about 6 quarts of kraut.)
Dave said there is no waste when he makes kraut. He gives the bigger leaves to his mother to make cabbage rolls and uses the scraps to make coleslaw. To me, this is just another example of how versatile and economical cabbage is.
The only downside of making sauerkraut, Dave said, is that it stinks up the house.
"My wife sure is glad when I'm done."
I can understand that. Being married, I know how important it is to have a happy spouse.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136; (800) 477-6572, ext. 136; or firstname.lastname@example.org .