Fall is coming .. Did someone say Soup?

With Fall just around the corner. September 22nd is the big day this year. The days get shorter we think of the warmth of hot cocoa and that good ole' comfort food. On this site we like to give you more than just talk of our delicious Jams. We like to guide you though the season's with other things to learn. Cooking soup is one of them. Each year we look forward to the bounty of soups we have cooked and the new recipes we have come up with. Here is one of our all time favorites. Nanny Rosie gave us the inspiration and knowledge to create this wonderful Cabbage Soup.


Soup is a number one target this time of the year and it warms the kids and family after a long day. Here in Southern California our cold day's have become farther and fewer as the year go by but that does not make a need for all those wonderful Fall items to falter.

Cabbage Soup 

*You make the stock first, Note this may seem like a lot of stock but beef stock is used in so may soups and recipes you will find that you can freeze or pressure can any you wish to use at a later date. 


For the stock:

4 pounds bone-in beef shank
12 cups water
2 onions, peeled chopped or whole
4 stalks celery with leaves
1 bay leaf
16 peppercorns

Combine the beef shanks and water in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cook on low for at least 4 hours we want the meat soft and to peel right off the bones. Use a strainer to skim off any foam on the surface of your pot. 

Add the whole/chopped onions, celery stalks, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Skim the surface occasionally. Use a strainer to skim off any foam on the surface. 

Now you need to separate the beef from the stock. Strain the stock. Discard the vegetables but reserve the meat and the stock. Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate. When the beef shanks are cool, remove the meat from the bones. Discard bones and gristle. Dice the meat and place in the bowl holding the stock.

I do realize this is a bit of work but the stock is so important to the taste of the soup. The beef is so tender and delicious it melts in your mouth.  Now let us move on to the ingredients to get the soup made. Get your stock going the day ahead it will cook all day and then the next day the soup ingredients can be added and it will simmer for the flavor you want.

For the soup:

1 onion peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon Sweet Paprika
1 head savoy green cabbage coarsely chopped
2 large fresh diced tomatoes with juice
1 lemon juiced you should have a least 1/4 cup more or less depending on your taste
1/4 cup brown sugar – original recipe call’s out for white I like the rich taste of the brown
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Now you need to take your stock pot and add all the remaining ingredients.  Cook the soup until the cabbage is soft and the flavor is just what you want. This soup brings back so many fond memories that it has become a Winter must on our table.

I pressure can this soup to have it ready and on hand all Winter long. Not a hard thing to do I have instructions on pressure canning on my Canarella Recipe Blog. Here go check it out


Homemade Red Wine Vinegar

At least once a month I like to give you a DIY recipe to make and create your own foods. This is one of the easy let it sit because it really makes itself. I am going to post two recipes for you to make your own vinegar. The essential of any vinegar is the Mother of Vinegar.

"Mother of vinegar is a slime composed of yeast and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, which turns alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air."

You can buy Mother of Vinegar at any Preserving Supply Store. I have my favorite which up in Oaktown.  I am up there once a month to play Yaya with my little Bean.

You can also go to the store and buy Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar it says on the label With the Mother. It is the slim on the bottom.

Let us get started. Grab your stuff which is not much here is the list of stuff.


Small Crock
Rubber Bands
Mother of Vinegar
Liqud Ethanol (Alcohol - Merlot makes great Balsamic) 

The ratio for vinegar is simple it is a 1 to 3. One part Mother and Three parts Alcohol.

So proportionally most vinegar's use identical portion's from one to another. So once you get started and get the results you want you can just copy your recipe with the appropriate Vinegar Mother and Alcohol (Ethanol).  I use a dark Merlot 2 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's to be exact. I also picked up a small but mighty book that has several recipes I adore. 


Let us get started I took  an 8 oz jar of Red Wine Vinegar Mother. I put this into my vessel
and added one bottle of Merlot wine. This filled up my little crock just fine. I gave it a little stir. I then cover it with a double layer of cheese cloth then secured it with a rubber band. 

Make sure you keep your vessel in a cool dark place.

A few tips here.

  • A dark area is because to much light can slow and even stop the process.
  • The cheese cloth keep the air flow and keep out any fruit flies that may want to find a home.
  • I keep most all of my homemade recipes as simple as possible I find to many tools just get in the way.     

Alright-y you will let this sit for three weeks. Then bring it out and check if it is what you want. Take a small piece of white bread and put a few small drop on the bread and taste. The bread takes the harsh taste away letting you taste the flavor and avoid the acid or throat burn. It can happen if the acid is to high.

If it taste good then it is time to strain it. If you want a more pungent vinegar just put the cheese cloth back on and let it sit longer. Test it each week.

Once you have the taste you like it is time to strain. You can strain it using something as simple as a coffee filter, cheese cloth or paper towel. I have a strainer I use for my Pomegranate Jam. I left my vinegar to drain for a few hours in a strainer it is a longer process. I do not mind this because of the purity of the strain no cloudy stuff. And just a note do not smooch it. If you smooch it you will ruin your original mother and get cloudy. Nothing wrong with that but the mother is good forever when it comes to making more vinegar.

Once your vinegar has strained take the cheese cloth from the original jug and rubber band it back on the crock. Dump the mother and liquid onto that cheese cloth and then return it to the original jar with added liquid for your next vinegar.  You do not want to squeeze the mother.

I know looks disgusting but it is the mother and we must respect our mother's. I put my mother back into the original jar using a funnel add enough liquid from the batch I made to keep it happy. It is like a sourdough starter it is going to make you endless vinegar.

There you have it a beautiful Balsamic (red wine) Vinegar. I found that the Merlot makes the tastiest Balsamic Vinegar and it really brought my Strawberry Balsamic Jam up a notch.

I sure hope this help if you have any questions just leave a comment or email me at canarella@sbcglobal.net

I just ordered two new Vinegar Mother's to experiment with. I ordered a Cider Mother, Plain Vinegar Mother. I will be making the Champagne Vinegar and an Apple Cider Vinegar with those. I hope this has inspired you to take on another simple DIY project. Nice thing is this one you can make leave and go on with your business for a few weeks. Love that!