"storing cabbages" --- poison free organic gardening Victoria BC
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poison free gardening, Victoria BC, storing cabbages


 

Storing Cabbages

lots of cabbages - and more and better yet to come
the beautifully healthy bounty of our labour

Thank God for cabbages. What would life be without sauerkraut? It would be a situation too horrible to contemplate, and I shudder at the thought. I also have reason to suspect, very much, that this is my chief reason for growing cabbages. But this is not the only reason. There is another.


It's those fist-size cabbages which mature just before and around Christmas when one cuts off the mature cabbage heads leaving 5 to 6 bottom leaves on the plant in the ground. Cabbages are quite frost hardy hereabouts - indeed a touch of frost sweetens cabbages most delightfully - and those cabbage plants left in the ground will grow anywhere from 4 to 6 small, fist-size cabbages, all of which are any gourmands dream come true. It is as if they were made in heaven - the cabbages, that is. l am much tempted to call them "Christmas Cabbages" - which I do, to tell the truth.

And all commercial and market gardeners please note: Those 4 to 6 fist-size cabbages, and most of the time it's around six, amount to the volume of another large cabbage, and is a quick and very easy - and potentially very lucrative - second crop. For the flavour of these cabbages is straight from heaven, and should, by rights, fetch a pretty penny in the gourmet trade. What's more, their size also makes them a perfect serving for one person (gourmet restaurants, please note).


Harvesting

As always, cabbages need to be handled gently when harvesting to avoid any cuts, bumps and bruises, which will reduce storage life considerably. Select only solid heads without any sign of yellowing, decay or injury for storage. Trim away all loose outer leaves, leaving only three to six wrapper leaves. Under the best of conditions, cabbages will store well for up to six months.


Storing

Cabbages store best and most successfully at a temperature of 32 degrees F. and a relative humidity of 98 to 100%. They must not however be exposed to frost. While a slight frost does little damage, a hard frost will wreck them. So, the key words are cold, moist, and well ventilated. Under these conditions, and up to about 35 degrees F., cabbages will store well for up to six month. The best types for storage are the Danish varieties.

They will also wilt rather quickly if the humidity is not high; it must be high enough to keep the leaves fresh and turgid. They should also not be stored with fruit which emit ethylene when stored, as apples do, for instance.


If all this seems like a lot of trouble, for us on Salt Spring Island it wasn't. I had built a small, well insulated storage shed - even the door was heavily insulated - on the north side of the laundry room, and separated from the laundry room by 1 1/2 feet so no heat would be transmitted from the laundry room. The storage room had a bare concrete floor which we kept lightly puddled with water for high humidity, and it had shelves made from cedar slats, so they would not rot, for great ventilation. It had a couple of bottom louvres in the shade of the laundry room, and top louvres on the north side, for great natural cold air circulation. It also had two light bulbs, which was sufficient to keep the interior of the storage shed from freezing when it was freezing outside. It was easy, efficient, and worked like a charm. It also did not cost much to build.

This could also be easily done in the coldest corner of the basement. And while all this seems like a bit of trouble compared to just going out and buying the cabbages and carrots whenever we need them, it really isn't - given the many assaults on our health our chemically farmed food now contains.

It lacks over 60 crucially vital trace elements, without which we cannot help but sicken - and worse; it also is laced with all kinds of agricultural pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, and their pseudo-hormonal byproducts; much of it is now transgenic, and no one knows yet what this profoundly unnatural abomination will do to us; and much of it is now also irradiated to prevent decay. The latter is of particular concern to me since, in my view, the radiation cannot help but produce a heavy load of "free radicals", which are now well known to be cancer causing agents.

And since our completely natural and totally poison-free home-grown vegetables - according to the simple methods described here - are not only supremely healthy for us but also cure and prevent a lot of 'incurable' diseases, all this 'trouble' is the most worthwhile and supremely rewarding thing we can do.

And for those for whom building a storage shed is not an option, dehydrating our vegetables with one or two of the readily available and low cost dehydrators, is a simple, effective and valid alternative.



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