"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The Forgotten Cardoon
Last night we incorporated a couple cardoon stalks into the evening meal. I diced up eggplant, red pepper, blue corn, onions, cut in half and cored a few meaty little Turkey tomatoes (one of my new favorites). The cardoons were then peeled, diced, boiled in salted water and later added to the rest of the mixture. My wife was in charge of salmon, generously donated by my in-laws (thanks!), baked with tomatillos and dill. We topped everything off with a zesty salsa and side of warm cornbread...it was delicious.
Cardoons, a biennial and member of the artichoke family, grow fairly well for us as long as they are provided with plenty of water. These large prehistoric appearing plants have saw-toothed leaves and ribbed stalks similar to celery. I started growing them a few years back as we hope to eventually start making some of our own goat cheese. Cardoons contain enzymes that can replace rennet in the cheese making process. Since we have yet to try our hand at cheese and still don't have a viable source of goat milk, we decided to make better use of this rather unusual vegetable and have begun to include it in our diet.
Traditionally, the stalks are blanched in the fall by mounding dirt or straw around them and tying or wrapping the upper portions in paper or any material that will keep the light away, helping to tenderize the stems. We have not tried this, and find that if watered properly the stalks do not seem to get very tough, and the inner ones are often palatably delicate.
In the kitchen, the leaves are removed and the back of the stocks peeled of any fibrous strings. Immediately after peeling and cutting the stalks should be put in cold acidic (salt, vinegar, or lime juice) water to keep them from discoloring. They can then be boiled for about 20 minutes at the cook's leisure. With an almost bittersweet flavor and texture similar to celery I plan to use them in stir fries, soups, or any of the funky dishes we tend to make around here. They are not bad raw either, especially while still young.
While this vegetable may not be for everyone, we hope to make better use of it in the kitchen and will be attempting to overwinter some in both the garden and root cellar this year.
Weary of the world and its illogical ways my wife and I have chosen a path towards self-reliance in all aspects of our lives. Our main focus is on growing and gathering our own food. We hope to use this blog as an avenue to share with and learn from others with similar interests.
The Good Life (click↓)
"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves." M. Gandhi
"Deep inside everyone of us is a call to the wild. Much of the impatience, discontent or violence around us is due to a lack of opportunity to reconnect with where we came from. For sanity and generosity of spirit, we should be able to witness nature at its unceasing, rejuvenating work." - Abdul Kareem
On Permaculture, Edible Landscaping and Garden Plants
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." - Justice William O. Douglas
First They Came For My Seed..▼
"Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine" - Thoreau
Even while I dreamed I prayed that what I saw was only fear and no foretelling, for I saw the last known landscape destroyed for the sake of the objective, the soil bludgeoned, the rock blasted. Those who had wanted to go home would never get there now.
I visited the offices where for the sake of the objective the planners planned at blank desks set in rows. I visited the loud factories where the machines were made that would drive ever forward toward the objective. I saw the forest reduced to stumps and gullies; I saw the poisoned river, the mountain cast into the valley; I came to the city that nobody recognized because it looked like every other city. I saw the passages worn by the unnumbered footfalls of those whose eyes were fixed upon the objective.
Their passing had obliterated the graves and the monuments of those who had died in pursuit of the objective and who had long ago forever been forgotten, according to the inevitable rule that those who have forgotten forget that they have forgotten. Men, women, and children now pursued the objective as if nobody ever had pursued it before.
The races and the sexes now intermingled perfectly in pursuit of the objective. The once-enslaved, the once-oppressed were now free to sell themselves to the highest bidder and to enter the best paying prisonsin pursuit of the objective, which was the destruction of all enemies, which was the destruction of all obstacles, which was the destruction of all objects, which was to clear the way to victory, which was to clear the way to promotion, to salvation, to progress, to the completed sale, to the signature on the contract, which was to clear the way to self-realization, to self-creation, from which nobody who ever wanted to go homewould ever get there now, for every remembered place had been displaced; the signposts had been bent to the ground and covered over.
Every place had been displaced, every love unloved, every vow unsworn, every word unmeant to make way for the passage of the crowd of the individuated, the autonomous, the self-actuated, the homeless with their many eyes opened toward the objective which they did not yet perceive in the far distance, having never known where they were going, having never known where they came from.