Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Old Warlock's Purple Pickle



Aside from a pact with the Horned One, the secret to good health, long life, and eternal youth is to eat lots and lots of fresh vegetables: hence my decades-long Evil Plot to Get the Pagan Community Eating More Fresh Vegetables.

Not that it's been hard, you understand. Everybody likes good vegetables. In modern paganism's Potluck Culture, the bowl is always empty by the time I bring it home.

I first discovered Purple Pickle years ago while living in the Middle East. Every pickle-seller down at the souk would always have huge, eye-grabbing jars of pickled cabbage and cauliflower that glowed a radioactive neon-purple color.

Gods, I'd think. I don't know what they put in there to make it that color, but I don't think that it's something I want to eat.

More the fool, me. The dye, of course, is all perfectly natural.

Oh, and as for that pact with the Horned: let me recommend it.

Vegetables aside, it sure has worked for me.


Old Warlock's Purple Pickle

1 small cauliflower

½ head of purple cabbage

6-7 tablespoons salt

3½ cups water

1¼ cups wine vinegar (don't use white or cider vinegars; they're too strong)

1-3 whole dried red chilis (optional)


Wash the cauliflower and break it into bite-sized florets. Core the half cabbage and cut it into thick slices; then cross-cut in the other direction. Leave the cabbage in these thick chunks; don't separate them into leaves. Pack into a large glass jar, alternating layers of cabbage and cauliflower.

Mix the salt, water, and vinegar together in a large glass bowl until the salt dissolves. Pour this mixture over the vegetables, and bury a chili pepper or two in the brine, if you like. The vegetables will float, but should be entirely covered with liquid. If you need to add more water, do so. Cover tightly with a non-reactive (i.e. non-metallic) top.

Ripen for about 10 days, agitating gently every day or so to keep all the vegetables immersed.

Then decant into jars and refrigerate.

Keeps one month, refrigerated.




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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