Monday, June 29, 2015
The Brassica Bridge
I've just passed through that brief period of summer that I call the Brassica Bridge - the time when I'm still harvesting cabbage family plants from the garden and also starting new seedlings for the fall. "Bridge" is pure alliteration, of course - it would be more like a happy stroll up to the edge of a yawning abyss, if I didn't have a freezer full of greens to tide us over through some otherwise kale-less months.
Cutting down my last cabbages, kohlrabis and collards this week, and the Romanesco broccoli that utterly failed to produce heads, I felt like a hypocrite in the context of my recent post about eating parts of brassica plants we don't usually consider edible, such as the leaves of broccoli or the flower buds of kale. Really, I should have made an exception for those late-in-the-season plants that have been thoroughly colonized by cabbage worms because the row covers got loose or had to come off altogether. Most of my "edible" leaves went straight into the compost. But I did put a few more pristine cabbages in the fridge - here's just a small part of my Great Cabbage Bounty of 2015:
We've been eating a lot of coleslaw and other cabbage salads! This is one recipe I really like: Creamy Vegan Coleslaw Dressed with Avocado.
It has much less sugar in it than many other slaw recipes (you can use regular cane sugar here instead of coconut sugar, and never mind the nutritional yeast if you don't keep that around). I also experimented with a cabbage "recipe" recommended by a fellow MG, from this list of simple salad ideas by Mark Bittman. Idea #20 just says "Shred Napa cabbage and radishes. The dressing is roasted peanuts, lime juice, peanut or other oil, cilantro and fresh or dried chili, all whizzed in a blender." You kind of have to improvise from there, but I recommend a cup or so of peanuts and a handful of cilantro leaves, with a couple of tablespoons each of the liquids, and one dried or fresh chili or the equivalent to start, and then see how it tastes and keep adding things as necessary. I ended up using some peanut butter as well, because it didn't taste peanutty enough.
The other building blocks of the Brassica Bridge are trays of new seedlings, some grown for the demo garden and some for mine, and some to be sold to visitors at our Grow It Eat It Open House on August 1 (of which more later). Here are some baby brussels sprouts:
Here's a post by Kent on how to calculate when to sow seeds for fall greens. We will have MGs on hand on August 1 to explain how to plant these seedlings in your garden and keep them happy through the rest of the summer and into the fall - and then how to build low tunnels to keep them growing into the winter! Just imagine that crisp fall air - well, today is cool enough to keep imagination going, though we've got more hot weather coming up soon.
I've crossed the Brassica Bridge, but I still have lots (and lots!) of Swiss chard growing in my garden, so perhaps I'll write some about that next time.