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The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond

Swamp Cabbage (a.k.a. Heart of Palm, Cabbage Palm)

Frankly this is one of those dishes that I think is just more work than it's worth, but you suit yourself.

1. First you must chop down a palm tree. This isn't nearly as easy as it sounds, these trees are tough. I had thought that only a Cabbage palm could be used, but have been told that even a scrub palmetto is suitable. You can certainly get one easier...people object to your cutting down a Cabbage palm, but they will pay you to remove a scrub palmetto.

With point "A" being the part of the tree where the palm fronds emerge from the trunk, chop down about 12 inches to point "B" to find the heart of the palm. This is the only part you keep.

"C" shows the heart - cut off the top and bottom.

2. Place the heart in a container with the following ingredients and refrigerate.


• 1 tsp Alum
• 1/4 cup Kosher salt
• 1/4 cup raw sugar
• 1 cup white vinegar
• 3 cups water
• 1 tbsp minced garlic

3. Let soak for 5-7 days, then drain this mixture off.

4. Put the hearts snugly in Mason jars and pour on Italian dressing to cover them. Wait 7 more days.

5. Eat them all.

Slap My Tits and Call Me George!

Thanks to George for this recipe and her lovely sketch of a scrub palmetto.

A reader sent a note asking:

"What beasty taught you how to eat swamp cabbage!?"

His family used different recipes, which he was kind enough to share:

"We cut it down into bite size pieces and cook it much like you would cook cabbage cabbage...(Does that make sense? Cabbage cabbage...*L*). I particullarly like to brown some bean brothers sausage and cook the swamp cabbage in the drippings with some water added in an iron pot.

Some folks do not like the swamp cabbage to turn dark so they add a squirt of lemon juice and do not use an iron pot. Then some folks like it creamy and sweet and they will use white bacon (salt pork) cooking the swamp cabbage with a little sugar and canned milk or cream. For seasoning you can use white bacon, breakfast bacon, any kinda of sausage.

For a Southern New Years tradition you might even use hog jowl."

Ya'll go ahead and eat my share of the swamp cabbage. I'll be busy with the Peach Dream pie!

(Reprinted with permission. Thanks John!)


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