The Voice ‐ November 2019
Comment by Geoff
Many towns in the UK and other countries consider present day science to be glaringly obvious, yet some authorities still administer a poison to the earth to enable a better growing experience, which in the end proves fruitless.
Regular use of pesticides/insecticides/herbicides is becoming disadvantageous to all life in the same way that the use of plastic, which was once a panacea, is now known to be a killer to wildlife.
If you value having someone campaign on your behalf to protect the environment and having access to useful articles about gardening and local environmental matters, please make a donation to help us with the cost of maintaining The East London Garden Society.
The Carob Tree
Some scholars think that these majestic trees were introduced in Italy by the Greeks or the Phoenicians and that they were spread in the Middle Ages thanks to the Arabs, who consume their fruits for food and medicinal uses.
The location has all the environmental elements favourable to their growth. The Arabs named this tree which comes from the word kharrub.
Ginger is low maintenance, loves partial sunlight and can even be grown indoors. It does not tolerate frost, so if you live in an area where frost occurs, make sure you grow it in a pot so you can bring it indoors during the cooler days and months. It also takes ten months to mature, so keep that in mind.
Ginger can be grown in a place that doesn’t get full sunlight since it enjoys partial to full shade, so growing it indoors is ideal. Similar to turmeric, you only want to remove little bits of ginger at a time whilst the rest continues to grow.
- Buy some organic ginger from your local shop and break the rhizome into a little piece. It should not be shrivelled, but plump with tight skin. Look for eye buds; greener the better.
- Choose a pot that is shallow and wide since ginger loves these conditions. The roots grow horizontally, so make sure the pot you use can accommodate its growth.
- Soak the ginger root in warm water overnight.
- Fill your pot with well‐draining, organic potting soil. Adding in some organic fertilizer is also recommended.
- Plant the ginger root with the eye bud pointing up in the soil. Cover it with one to two inches of soil and water well. Make sure the soil stays moist.
- Place the pot where it stays warm and doesn’t get too much sunlight.
- After a few weeks, some shoots will pop up out of the soil. After three to four months, small pieces of ginger can be harvested. Always harvest from the edges and return the soil when finished so the ginger can continue growing.
It is three years since The East London Garden Society informed east London public authorities about the usage of Glyphosate as an herbicide.
Throughout the UK and Europe there are moves to ban this poison to avoid our health and that of our pets being affected when using the parks and gardens. The war is being won; however, some local authorities seem resilient against its banning.
In London, the councils in Hammersmith ‐ Fulham, Lambeth and Croydon have achieved a full ban or are in the process of doing so, but others are ignoring the scientific evidence by continuing to use Glyphosate; in the case of Tower Hamlets, four times a year.
Hackney has an area where the usage of Glyphosate will not be used, a reduction to 120 litres, with a view to banning Glyphosate entirely. It appears that the scientific evidence is being accepted by some but is being ignored by the many.
Bideford and Northam town councils are now looking into phasing it out and switching to a new treatment based on a foam that does not contain glyphosate but a final decision as to its adoption has yet to be made.
The evidence is clear. Other methods are available for the eradication of unwanted plants. The councils in Devon are the latest to accede and the latest country to introduce a total ban on the use of Glyphosate is Austria.
Monsanto, the manufacturer of Glyphosate, is the same company that provided the world with DDT which was eventually banned. The evidence is clear and there should be no more excuses on the usage of dangerous products in urban areas. Glyphosate is a poison and we should all be making our elected officials aware of this and demand a ban on its use. Back to top
The Winter Garden
Now is the time to get ready for next Spring. Hopefully the Winter will not be too harsh, ensuring the ground has the ability to carry out its full function. However, there is another thought; a winter garden can be a bleak place but choosing plants with rich, colourful and varied winter foliage can help keep things going. It is important when much of the garden is in retreat to have some fresh foliage and luckily there are plenty of plants with handsome winter foliage.
Some evergreen shrubs will provide solid blocks of colour in different shades from winter‐warming rich green, to sunny green and gold, to cooler cream and green and plummy red. Ground‐hugging plants are even more varied. Some leaves are veined and frosted, others are spotted or liberally splashed whilst others are plain and elegant. Together they form a winter tapestry, sheltering wildlife.
Every garden, however small, provides a series of different conditions. There may be damp corners where the sun rarely falls, a bright hotspot or dry shade close to evergreens. There’s also an opportunity for a container or two and these are good value.
These plants last throughout winter, hardly changing with little need for maintenance and afterwards they can be planted in the borders. If the earth is nutrient rich you can also grow root vegetables to welcome spring with home grown produce; one of the most popular being garlic, however most vegetables can be grown. Back to top
Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Cabbage
Before learning how to cook cabbage, it is important to first prepare cabbage properly and that starts from choosing the best cabbage possible. The Spruce Eats recommends that you look for heads with plenty of outer leaves and check the bottom to make sure the leaves are not pulling away from the stem.
Inspect the leaves to make sure they are fresh and have minimal wilting and look for those that have tight groupings. If you are at a farmer’s market, ask the producer when the cabbage was harvested; cabbages are sweeter after a frost.
The next step in cooking cabbage is to prepare it. Better Homes & Gardens has outlined easy‐to‐follow steps on how to ready the vegetable before cooking:
- Remove the loose outer leaves and rinse the head with water.
- Slice the head in half, then slice further into quarters.
- Remove the core from the wedges.
- If you want a coarsely chopped wedge, simply slice a wedge perpendicular to the knife and cut into one-fourth-inch pieces.
Now that you know how to prepare cabbage, it is time for you to cook it. But the question is, what is the best way? The answer depends on what you want, as there are several ways to cook cabbage. The following ideas adapted from Eating Well magazine provide several methods you can try at home:
- Heat the oven to 245 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the cabbage into wedges and toss in coconut oil. Place the wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet, then season with salt and pepper, plus caraway seeds (optional).
- Roast the cabbage until tender, around 25 to 35 minutes. Flip once halfway through cooking.
Cooking Different Types of Cabbage
If you don’t often cook with cabbage, the green variety is probably the one with which you are most familiar. However, there are other varieties available with different characteristics of which you can take advantage, depending on what you are cooking. The Spruce Eats outlines the four most commonly used cabbages:
- Green cabbage ‐ The most common cabbage variety, it resembles iceberg lettuce. It has a peppery taste when eaten raw, but becomes sweeter when cooked
- Red or purple cabbage ‐ This variety is practically the same as green cabbage, as it may be interchanged in recipes without changes in flavour. The only difference is that your food will take on a redder appearance. It is recommended you add acidic agents, such as lemon juice, if you want to maintain the red look.
- Savoy cabbage ‐ It looks similar to green cabbage, but has wrinkled leaves and is considered to be the most tender and sweetest cabbage variety.
- Napa cabbage ‐ It has a milder flavour, with sweetness and frilly leaves.
So, which one goes best with what dish? The Michelin Guide provides useful insight on the best dishes to cook for each cabbage:
- Green cabbage is best prepared shredded to make great coleslaw or sauerkraut. It also works well in soups.
- Napa cabbage is heavily used in East Asian cuisine andis used to make kimchi.
- Savoy cabbage works great as a wrap for ingredients such as meat, or braised for a different flavour.
- Red cabbage is best used on salads or coleslaw, as well as sauerkraut.
Fried Cabbage: Lemon Garlic Sautéed Cabbage
- 10 cups of shredded cabbage
- 1½ tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
- Red pepper flakes, crushed
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Half a lemon, cut into wedges
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium‐high heat.
- Add all ingredients (except the lemon), stirring occasionally until the cabbage becomes tender (10 to 15 minutes).
- Squeeze two lemon wedges over the cabbage. Adjust seasoning as needed and add more lemon to taste.
Easy Roasted Recipe
- 1 medium head cabbage, cut into 6 to 8 wedges
- Coconut oil for drizzling
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the cabbage wedges on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and seasoning on one side, then repeat the process on the other side.
- Roast the cabbage until lightly browned (approx 10 minutes). Flip wedges and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.
Sautéed Cabbage Recipe
- 1 small head of white cabbage
- 2 tablespoons of raw grass‐fed butter
- 1½ teaspoons of Himalayan salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the cabbage in half and slice as thinly as possible around the core. Discard the core.
- In a large pan, melt the butter over a medium‐high heat. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes until the cabbage begins to brown.
- Add more seasoning to your liking and serve.
Grilled Cabbage Steaks Recipe
- 1 large cabbage head, cut into ½ inch thick rounds
- Coconut oil for brushing
- Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Chopped organic bacon (already cooked), for serving
- Crumbled blue cheese
- Chopped green onions
- Heat the grill to medium‐high.
- Brush the cabbage steaks on both sides with oil, then season with salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes before grilling for five minutes on each side.
- Top with the bacon, cheese and green onions. Drizzle with the homemade ranch dressing.
Grilled Cabbage Steaks Recipe
Making your own cabbage soup is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to this wonderful vegetable. Aside from being tasty in its own right, it is the best meal to warm up a cold winter day. To make the most out of this dish, you will need a slow cooker.
- 2 or 3 free‐range organic chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- ¾ cup of chopped carrots
- ½ cup of courgette, peeled, deseeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- ½ head of cabbage, chopped
- Coat slow cooker with coconut oil, then add chicken.
- Add chopped celery, carrots, courgette, garlic and onion. Next, add basil, oregano, salt, pepper and broth.
- Cook the soup on a high temperature for approximately two hours and then remove bones from chicken and add chicken back to the pot. Add the chopped cabbage.
- Continue cooking the soup on a high temperature for an additional two hours before removing from the slow cooker