Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cole Crops Still Going Strong

At this time of year we have only a few hardy souls left in the garden, but those we have seem to be flourishing! Tuscan Kale, purple and green brussel sprouts, onion, shallots and the last of the bok choy. Kale, bok choy, and cabbage are cole crops that get a bit sweeter with a frost or two (or ten!) Read here for a quick overview of cole crops that are crucial to a Maine gardeners season. Not only are they cold tolerant, they have great amounts of protein and vitamins. (Read this to see why cabbage is the healthiest food on earth!) I finally got a day when it was nice and I had the time to bring in most of what is left. 

Now I have large grocery bags of kale and cabbage in the refrigerator and more cabbage heads in the basement. This Tuscan Kale is particularly beautiful and even at this late date I have regrets about taking it down. This will be a staple next year again for color and texture. Such dark green leaves and now they look a little like a palm tree!

This now calls for creative cookery with all things cabbage and kale. I have a few recipes that are true winners that I will share soon. But what I wasn't planning on was Lily (our American Eskimo dog) loving kale as much as I do! She follows me in the garden and has picked up some habits (good or bad depending on what I am looking at for dinner!) from watching me. She loves blueberries!  Her blue lips and smile are a tell tale sign she has stolen the days crop! She also developed a taste for cherry tomatoes, which she bulls through other things to get to, trampling everything to get to the sweet red balls. But now I see, she LOVES brussel sprout leaves! As I was harvesting the sprouts, I heard crunching behind me, and Lily, with paw poised on the stem to hold it steady (does that count as using a tool?) she was eating leaf after leaf of the brussel sprouts as I cut them down. Could that be her nibbles on the sprout head that I assumed were from the snails? Ok, I know that it is good for her, but should I be encouraging this behavior? Ok, yes, is the answer!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms

With all the rain we have had lately, you might see these mushrooms cropping up along the roadsides. Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) mushrooms are one of Maine's edible mushrooms, and these cool and wet days are perfect conditions for them to grow. In late summer and fall, they grow fast and deteriorate faster so don't hesitate if you plan on trying these beauties. Like with all mushrooms, you must be absolutely sure about your identification before eating! But for those that feel confident, they say that they go well with meat. Read more about Shaggy Manes here and here.