Heirloom Cabbages For A More Prosperous New Year

The folklore that surrounds us at New Years certainly revolves around a very long history of preparing cabbages and black-eyed-peas. Other cultures from around the world all take a keen interest in preparing special dishes to be served on the first day of the New Year.

It seems to me that what could be deemed a superstition may actually hold some very relevant truth. After all, if we are to obtain wealth and wellness we must first eat for health. Right? How many times have you heard that without health we have nothing or you are what you eat?  So I began thinking, why shouldn't we be concerned with starting out on the right foot.

I found some very fun reading at the Farmers Almanac that tells of all the folklore. They summed it all up with “While many of these traditions are based on mere superstition, the idea that what we do on the first day of the New Year affects our entire year remains popular. Choose your actions carefully!”

Kim Chi Made With Heirloom Cabbage Photo By Jane Sperr

Heirloom growers relish in the flavors and rich nutrients found in specially grown heirloom vegetables. My garden friend Jane Sperr gives host to a whole range of beautiful cabbages she has grown in her gardens and shares them with us on her website A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui.

She also shares some inside growing tips with us for the beautiful Testa Di Ferro Savoy Cabbage as well as her special New Years dish “Kim Chi” to help get us off to a more prosperous New Year.

In an article written in the Los Angeles Times I find out that the Korean people began eating the pickled dish about 1,300 years ago. It has long since become a family tradition in preparing it and some actually have special refrigerators just for Kim Chi to help prevent the odor from contaminating other foods.

Jane tells us “the Savoy cabbages have crinkled leaves, similar to Napa cabbage, and they won't store for very long. They also contain less sulfur and don't have a strong cabbage smell when cooked.” I can see why this would make it an excellent choice for preparing the Kim Chi.

Jane adds, “Although savoy cabbage varieties are attributed to Italy, they originated in the Savoy region of what is now the French Rhone-Alps. In the past, the territory of Savoy included areas in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Testa di Ferro, which means Iron Head in Italian, is known Tete de Fer in French.”

She also says that ”  It's too hot where I live, even during the late fall and early winter months to grow Napa cabbage. But, I can grow Testa di Ferro if I plant the seeds from mid-October until early November so the heads will form during our coolest weather.

The harvest photo at the top of the page that Jane shared with us measured at 8 inches wide and was 2.5 lbs. She says that so far she has not been successful getting Testa di Ferro to produce a flower stalk for saving seeds. “We have only a short reprieve from our normal hot weather and Testa di Ferro will wilt when the temps start to rise again in February.”

Saving seeds from heirlooms is part of the joy of growing them for passing on to our future generations. Living in the deep south myself I can see this being a problem in our gardens as well for this spectacular heirloom cabbage. But I just about bet we may be able to convince our fair weather garden friends in cooler climates to grow and save these seeds to share! Do we have any takers for this challenge? Happy New Year from Natural Family Today!!




Pamela Kimsey
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