Veggies in the Rough!

We often get text photos when we send new and unusual veggies in the Special Boxes.  I’ve had countless photos of the Lemon Cucumber with the quiz, “What is this”?  Others are the Celeriac, Kohlrabi, and Sunchokes, all of which are unusual and not something familiar to us.  But Brandi in Riverton caught me off-guard with her query, “What is this”?

cabbage in the rough

If course I was taken back…Wow!  That should not have been in the box like THAT–see the brawny roots starting at the bottom of the stem, and all those tough outer leaves that would be a challenge to eat?!  That is Green Cabbage…IN THE ROUGH!  You see, my helpers put 68 boxes together that week, along with all the harvesting of the garden ahead of the end of the growing season, and apparently I forgot (or The Farmer) to show them how to trim cabbage for delivery!  So, if you got one like this, trim it and store in a container or bag to prevent moisture loss…after all it can now be considered naked!

We harvest cabbage in the rough and often hold them 30 days, or longer in the late fall after the freeze.  The outer leaves protect the cabbage in the cooler from refrigeration damage, shown as wilting or rubbery texture.  Moisture does not escape as easily from the sealed stem.  Once the outer leaves are removed and the stem trimmed, the cabbage looks like the day we harvested it, and its ready for YOU!  (It is a living food, capable of making roots!)

Another reason to harvest in the rough is to stop the cabbage from growing any bigger.  Our midseason cabbage (Kaitlin) and Fall cabbages can easily grow to 10 pounds!  Ideal size is 6 pounds.  So, we harvest them at the smaller size and hold them in the cooler.  Believe me, few folks want a MONSTER cabbage…takes up too much room in the fridge, hard to handle and cut, and requires multiple meals as you carve it away.  (For that very reason–oversized heads– we shred cabbage and put a pound bag in each of the boxes once a year!)

Truth is cabbage can keep for extended lengths of time…The Storage No 4 cabbage will store for 6 months!  Kaitlin, which is good for sauerkraut is shorter at 2 months.  Brunswick is our flat, late, and it will not firm up at a smaller size so those weigh 10-14 pounds at maturity.  We don’t plant many of those…

We use a little different tact on the savoyed Deadon cabbage, which doesn’t seem to store as well.  Maybe all the wrinkles create more surface area for moisture to escape from.  Deadon is the 110 day, January King. (Deep green, wrinkled outer leaves, with a bright pink blush on the interior.  Super tasty boiled, baked, or fried!)  That baby is left in the garden, often until mid-November, under row cover to give it some protection against the freezing weather.  We pulled it out this year a little earlier as it was getting hard to maneuver the garden and too cold for us to work out there!  Besides the rain—Holy Cow, we are not used to that!

Deadon will go out in BOX 2, a change from the original plan as the Red Cabbage is holding better.  Red Cabbage will be in the December 4th Box 3.

So there you have it!- Cabbage in the Rough!  If you got one of those, feel free to trim it up and then place it in a bag for protection.  Enjoy! and Eat your Veggies!  The Farmer’s Wife



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