pressed cabbage and cucumber salad

This morning I harvested 8 cucumbers from my small garden! The larger cukes are ideal for this slightly pickled salad that is a great digestive aid. Fermentation helps to populate and repopulate your gastrointestinal flora (aka the good, friendly bacteria).

Because it takes time to pickle – even to “slightly” pickle – Sunday is the ideal morning to serve this dish for breakfast or brunch in my home.  I get up early, make the salad and go to yoga class; it is pickled when I get home. You could also make this the night before.

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serves 4 or more

INgredients

1-2 cups shredded green head cabbage (about ¼ of an average-sized head)

1-2 cups shredded purple head cabbage (about ¼ of an average-sized head)

1 large cucumber

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2  juice orange (Valencia or Navel)

Process

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbages; if you are starting with a whole head, cut the cabbage in half, lengthwise (slicing through the point where the cabbage was connected to the earth), and then quarter it.

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Find the point at which you can use a knife to shred the cabbage into thin, curly pieces. Slice the green cabbage and then the purple cabbage.

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Place both in a large glass or ceramic bowl (do not use metal for this.)

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Slice the cucumber into paper-thin discs.

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Add the cucumbers to the bowl of cabbage.

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Add the sea salt and use your clean hands to mix the three ingredients well. This should take about 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes. Do this with awareness and focus. Think positive thoughts, as you are sending the energy from your fingertips right into the vegetables.

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When it is well-mixed, gather the ingredients together, creating a “mound.”

Place a plate that is smaller than the diameter of the bowl, but as large as the diameter of the mound, on top of the salad. Place a weight on top of the plate. I usually use a gallon jar filled with water or juice, but a heavy rock also works well. Put the bowl in a cool, well-ventilated, quiet place in the kitchen. Let it sit, pickling, for anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours.  The longer it sits, the more pickled the veggies will be.

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When you take the weight off, leave the plate on;  use it to drain the water that has been pressed out of the veggies.

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Once all the water is drained, place the salad into a fresh bowl. Add the caraway seeds and mix again.

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Pour about 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice on it for a refreshing breakfast salad.

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