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
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.
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.
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
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
(Reprinted with permission. Thanks John!)