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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: What are you growing that is out of the ordinary vegetab

An Italian American friend suggested escarole a couple of years ago.

I grew witloof chicory once and it was too bitter for me. The same is true with radicchio and endive, that I have had in restaurants. He suggested cooking escarole. Wonderful! It's very early and stays around longer in summer heat, certainly longer than spinach. I learned to like lettuce outside of a sandwich by having it sauteed with bacon. Escarole reminds me of that "wilted lettuce" an elderly lady prepared for me back in the '60's.

Orach volunteers for me in my garden. Now, I like that spinach relative raw in salads :wink: . It tastes good and it's pretty.

We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Greener Thumb
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:01 am
Location: Jacksonville, FLZone 9A

Re: What are you growing that is out of the ordinary vegetab

That wilted lettuce salad is a fond memory. My aunt who made it called it "Slip and Go Down" because the quick sauté in bacon fat made it half limp and all slippery. She was a lover of fine home cooking and introduced me to stuff like anchovy paste and capers and smoked paprika.

Along the same lines as escarole and endive, I grew arugula for my father's Italo-american friends from church. He was a Eucharistic Minister for the homebound and would often have requests for me of things these people missed or were seeking. Now we have the internet, but back then it took a lot of footwork or asking around. The arugula seed had to come from a mail order catalog. It's also called Rocket. Quite bitter, but most people like it well enough in a salad with milder greens.

Also grew dandelion one year for someone. That's a tall order in this area. And finding seed was a challenge. I think it's available online now. When I grew it again a few years ago, I started it from wild gathered seed taken from somewhere north of Florida. Recommend commercial seed if you try it.

How about pokeweed? Phytolacca something or other. I have to forage for it in February or March, and it does take some knowledge to prepare it safely. But you probably know it will grow where other things don't.

As with most things that tend to be bitter, keeping them well irrigated and never limp with drought will lessen the sharpness. It's a balance we learn.

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