BRATTLEBORO—Food Connects, the Brattleboro organization dedicated to connecting local consumers, schools, and other institutions to farms in and around Windham County, has chosen cabbage as February’s “Harvest of the Month.”
Harvest of the Month [HOM] “is a Farm-to-School campaign that provides ready-to-go materials for the classroom, cafeteria, and community that promotes the use of local, seasonal Vermont foods” says Food Connects.
On the HOM Website (www.vermontharvestofthemonth.org), anyone can access their free resources — the Cafeteria newsletter, Educator newsletter, Family newsletter, and Retail Store packet — to utilize materials like recipes, lesson ideas, healthy eating tips, and color posters.
For February’s cabbage celebration, HOM offers the following fun facts about Brassica oleracea :
“In 1536, a French explorer named Jacques Cartier brought cabbage to North and South America.”
“The heaviest cabbage ever grown weighed over 125 pounds!”
HOM also provides guidance for the novice cabbage-buyer:
“The cabbage head should be compact, with crisp outer leaves that are free of insect damage and bruises. Take note that a perfectly edible cabbage may be below a few damaged outer leaves.
“Peel off any outer leaves that are damaged and check for cabbage worms. If the cabbage is insect free, it can be washed under running water. To rid cabbage of insects, soak in salt water for 15-20 minutes. When cooking, use very little water, about ¾ inch. Once the water is boiling, add the cabbage and cook briefly, as it easily overcooks.
“Cabbage will keep for about two weeks, if kept in the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator. Once cabbage is cut, wrap tightly in plastic for storage. Cabbage can be frozen after being blanched — 1 minute for shredded and 2 minutes for wedges.
“Add cabbage to your favorite vegetable soup. Add raw cabbage to any salad. Shred cabbage into dishes such as stews or curries. Sauté cabbage with onion and add to pasta. Use cabbage leaves as a wrap substitute.
“Raw cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid (B9), as well as a good source of vitamin K.
“Although cabbages are not roots like carrots, they can be stored in a root cellar over the winter, just like carrots.”
Helen Rortvedt of Food Connects says that Basin Farm in Bellows Falls, Harlow Farm in Westminster, and the Dutton Farm Stands in Manchester, Newfane, and West Brattleboro all have local cabbage available for sale.