Deadon F1 Winter Cabbage

This is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, isn’t it? Not the weeds, of course, just the cabbage which is only a joy until I harvest it in January, if I can wait that long, at which point it will become a fleeting pleasure on the palate and a nice weight in the stomach. I love the colour of this hybrid, because the purple veining, which actually becomes a sort of ‘fringe’ around the outer leaves as the weather chills, gives way to an almost luminous green when you cut into the cabbage.

It’s said to produce 3-5 lb heads in old money (that’s 1 – 2 kilos, I think) but ours won’t get that big for two reasons:

1 we planted them a bit late (everything got planted late this year)

2 – we planted them in situ in a not very well prepared bed because we had little time to get things ready.

Next year they will go into a seed bed first, and then be transplanted once they have five or six leaves – around July. This also gets around Tony’s infamous ‘thinning is cruel’ approach to vegetable growing. Even he can see that when you’ve transplanted enough cabbages, there’s no room for others. They go into their final positions about a foot apart, with a foot between rows and remember to stagger those plantings you can easily hoe between them.

They like a sunny spot with a rich soil that holds reasonable moisture and they will not be happy if you’ve manured it recently.

Around 20 weeks after first sowing, they are ready to harvest and should sit comfortably in any not utterly Arctic soil from November to January, when you should be finishing them up or the leaves will have become too fibrous to be pleasantly edible.

Favourite recipe: Cabbage Pie

Dead easy this one. You need one pack of frozen puff pastry, one large cabbage, an onion, some butter and herbs to suit you.

Chop and fry the onion in some oil until it’s soft. While that’s happening, shred the cabbage, placing it in a colander. Pour a kettle of boiling water over it slowly to wilt it. Roll out the pastry and cut more or less in half, one ‘half’ wants to be about an inch and a half bigger all round than the other. Press down the cabbage to release any trapped water and then mix the onion into it. Season to taste, making sure you use plenty of pepper (we use mixed herbs plus some fennel seeds which we like but not everybody does). Pile cabbage mix into the middle of the smaller piece of pastry, leaving about an inch all round the edge. Put second piece of pastry on top and seal edges, cut a couple of small circles in the top of the pie and bake. When baked, melt about half an ounce of unsalted butter and using a funnel if your hands aren’t steady, pour into each of the top holes. Leave for a couple of minutes and serve.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Saturday, November 22, 2008

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