Friday, October 5, 2012

Southern Gold

Southern  Gold
It's October 5th, and I had my first mess of turnip greens tonight. I doubt there are pleasures gentileer than the first mess of greens in these Southern clime. The turnips will come later.

Greens are a staple in the South. They require very little to grow, but you got to plant at the time when the last cycle of cabbage moths have escaped the confines of the garden, and early enough not to have the frost make the  'em bitter and tough. The big leaves shelter the smaller new growth, and allow greens to grow all winter in our climate.

Some plant turnip greens in "patches". You get a handful of seed and throw 'em to the wind. This presents a problem, because you got to stomp 'em down to get into the patch. I try to plant them in a patch that can be picked from both sides, so i don't have to put my # 12 in the patch at all. I must admit the woman of the house picks most of the greens, as she finds my picking includes various and sundry other plants, grasses, and interesting wildlife that require much extra effort to remove in washing an cleaning the greens before cooking..

I prefer to seed them in rows...with my mighty fancy Earth Way plate seeder. I can pull the whole plant to thin 'em so the good turnips will grow and have room to "make". Ain't nothing like a turnip pulled from the cold ground, peeled, and eaten in the garden...with a little dirt. To each his own.

There are all manner of greens grown in the South...Collards, Rape, Kale, Mustard and more. I plant Turnip, Kale, Collards, and Curly Mustard. I took to planting Rutabagas a couple years ago. They are not a well known item in the South. I guess it's a throw back to my Northern kindred, as they are more prevalent above the Mason Dixon Line. I encourage people in the South to try them, but the Southern are not much given to them. Janice will cook them for me, and does a fine job of preparing them but her heart ain't really in it. She does make a fine casserole with them.

Early Southern songs sing the praises of Southern cooking. Everybody know about the hit country song, Home Grown Tomatoes. The Georgia Mudcats put Cornbread and Beans and Good Old Turnip Greens   on a latest CD.

Greens is groceries in the South. Turnips made a brief appearance in Gone With the Wind, just before the intermission. Ole Scarlet near 'bout give 'em a bad name, but she ate 'em anyway...saying she wasn't gonna' be hungry again, or some such. Bet she still ate 'em when chicken and ham came back in fashion on her table, no matter what Rhett said.

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