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Cole crops – how do you spell that?

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Yes, it’s C-O-L-E crops, not C-O-L-D crops, although this family of vegetables enjoy cool weather.  If you follow the family tree of a cole crop it turns out they are from the Brassica family which is in the genus Mustard and are known as cruciferous vegetables.  Cole crops comes from the Latin word caulis, meaning stem or cabbage.  A tad convoluted unless you’re of the scientific bend of mind.

Bottom line:  Cole crops are really good for you!  They include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi and kale.  Brussel sprouts too.  I’m going to try ‘Octia’ this year. (there’s a first time for everything) There’s ongoing research into all the health benefits but at the top of the list…  they’re known to HELP prevent cancer (not that they prevent it), heart disease and stroke.  Here’s an article I found called “The World’s Healthiest Foods“.  It’s an easier read than the scientific information!

Start your seeds indoors in another week and follow the directions on your seed packet. You can plant your seedlings outside around May 10th. That’s a nice jump start. Make sure you use clean containers or give the seeds their own peat pot. Of course any planting depends on our weather.  And, as you know, it’s pretty fickle.  Reports of frost so deep it may be June before it’s lifted!  No, I’m kidding, I hope!  At least with cole crops they like it cool!!

Kale is one of my favorite cole crops!  The Olive Garden makes a soup called Zuppa Toscana that I make.  I change it up by adding a LOT more kale and broth while lightening up the amount of cream!  It’s delicious.  I also discovered a beautiful red kale at my local coop.  o get the MOST health benefit, it’s best to eat these vegetables raw or just slightly steamed or sautéed.  I use them in stir fry a lot!

Terry’s Beet and Cabbage Borscht:

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh beets, about 4 to 6 small

3 quarts water

3-5 teaspoons Wylers beef or chicken granules ( I use this instead of salt )

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or garden fresh)

2 large carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick (we used my ‘Purple Dragon’ carrots)

1 large potato, unpeeled, chopped into large chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 Red head cabbage, about 1 1/2 pounds

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup dark brown sugar – to taste

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cider vinegar – to taste

If you like, add in some beef roast, chicken, or tender pork.  I  usually add left overs and wash the fat off so the soup maintains it’s clear, deep red color.

Directions

Wash and peel the beets. Cut them into small dice, and put them into a 10 to 12-quart stockpot. Add the water, salt, garlic, bay leaf and thyme.

Cover the stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer about 25 minutes or until the beets are fork tender.

Add the tomatoes, carrots, potato, onion, and bell pepper

Cut the cabbage into 4 wedges. Then cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices, and add them to the stockpot.

Cover the stockpot, and bring it back to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly, and simmer about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Season to taste with brown sugar and cider vinegar and serve with a dollop of  Sour Cream if desired.

 

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