Thursday, September 6, 2012

Growing Greens for Fall and Winter

Don't worry if you haven't planted your fall or winter greens yet, as they like the cooler weather and in our southern subtropical climate will grow better in colder months, often lasting through February or March, even later, depending on freezing temperatures in January thru March. The seeds pop up in seven to ten days and depending on rain and heat grow very quickly. Seen above is a stand of Kale, the formal name is "borecole," a form of cabbage, closer kin to wild cabbage. Kale was first cultivated in Greece, Italy and Europe and called "Sabellian Kale" by the Romans. Different varieties range in color from light green, dark green to violet green and are rich in beneficial health goodies like beta carotene, vitamin k, vitamin c, lutin and calcium.

Kale freezes well and can be used in salads, stir fry or boiled for a vegetable side. Deberah often adds some to her breakfast smoothie with fruit to boost her daily vitamin intake.

Above is the southern classic, turnip greens, first grown in Northern England and Scotland. Packed full of many of the same health properties as Kale or other dark green leafy vegetables. The hardest thing about turnip greens is washing off the grit prior to cooking.

One of my fondest memories as a little girl is visiting my grandmother and enjoying her corn bread crumbled into the "pot-likker," or liquid poured off the greens after cooking. She taught me to make corn bread by using the basic ingredients of one cup cornmeal, an egg (use a fork to blend it into the meal), one half cup buttermilk (or more if needed to get a medium consistency) and one fourth cup vegetable oil. Of course you need a heated cast iron skillet coated with oil (Crisco was the oil used then) to keep the bread from sticking and adds to the beautiful crust, cook at 350 degrees until a knife comes out clean in the middle. I use a cast iron skillet that measures seven to eight inches in diameter. Adjust the ingredients for a smaller or larger size skillet.

Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage is another green planted in our garden this fall. It's not pictured, as we just planted a row with seeds saved from last years crop and they have not sprouted. This tasty veggie has plenty of foliate, vitamin a, vitamin c and fiber. It is easy to grow and can withstand very cold temperatures to include snow, as after the snow is gone, it will continue to grow, as if nothing had happened.

It was first recorded centuries ago in the Ming Dynasty by a pharmacologist named "Li Shizhen," who studied and praised it's medicinal properties. Since then it grew as a favorite in many oriental recipes including the Korean favorite "kimchi," and Chinese and Japanese stir fry and soups.

We love it and have been growing it for three seasons. Bok Choy is a beautiful green plant with succulent white stems which can also be used in cooking.

Luckily, we still have hot peppers growing. The perfect kick to complement any variety of fresh greens that will last several months in the fridge, hopefully until after New Year's Day. However you cook greens roasted, pan fried, boiled, grilled, used in a salad or smoothie, even in a casserole, there is still plenty of time to plant some in your fall and winter garden.
Until next time..........
Happy Gardening 2012!
Posted by Wilma Smith 


1 comment:

  1. Love seeing your pictures and I adore you cat and it's clever name -- do you pronounce it BAYsil or like the Brits BAAsil?