Garden

Cauliflower

Beautiful and good, these are the characteristics that concisely represent this vegetable. Beautiful because it can be the heart of nice bouquets of flowers. Good because it contains potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, folic acid and vitamin C. Its main feature is to be a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps to combat winter ailments such as colds. Cauliflower can also be eaten raw in the salad by cutting it into very thin slices. You can also make a juice that helps fight the flu. When buying a cauliflower care must be taken that the flower is very white, free of stains, hard, with beautiful green leaves and not flabby. If you decide to grow it in the garden of the house, it should be planted in the fall to pick it up during the winter. The soil should be well worked and fertilized, then we can forget about it. The cauliflower you see has just been harvested from my garden.

Hellebores

In the early days of February, if the garden is not iced over you can start to see the flowering of hellebores which will then continue until March. This flower once planted in the right place does not require great care. It needs a small amount of manure in the winter and plenty of water during the flowering period. The most suitable places are best in partial shade if at the foot of a conifer. In fact, if you have any large conifer in the garden under the shade of which is difficult to even make the grass grow, that’s the place for hellebores. This flower fascinates me because it explodes with beauty when it is still cold. Is commonly called Christmas rose. The most common varieties are now selling in all nurseries.


Cavasso Red Onions

Cavasso red onions from Pordenone, are hard to find. Being a niche product grown in small quantities is not commonly found in the supermarket, I must point out this product for its significance in a world that is moving towards genetically modified products.

First off, these are an ode to women. This onion was handed down thanks to the custom that every Italian mother knew. She would produce the seeds of this vegetable in an amount sufficient to enable her married daughter to sow the onions for the family in her garden. It was one of the many small actions of domestic economy that characterized all Italian women and perhaps the world, but that in reality rural foothill and mountain areas of our country represented in the hard years of the emigration of its people, a real guarantee of survival and progress before then. Add onions and potatoes, vegetables that are the most simple and obvious of our poor diet. However, I believe that without the onions the majority of our dishes would not exist.

The onion according to its different taste and characteristics, allows preparations to tastes different. One must always understand what kind of onion one wants to use, considering that in Italy we are fortunate to have many varieties. Cavasso red onions are very good especially in recipes that require raw onions and in all preparations where the onion must enhance the dish and not overwhelm the flavors.

Zucchini

Zucchini have always been part of our summer meals. My family always consumed them in large quantities, particularly boiled and on Sundays filled with bechamel (see recipe in the archive).

My aunt was the gardener of the house. She liked to experiment with new varieties. So when someone suggested zucchini seeds different from the usual ones we plated, she was happy to use them to “see what comes out.” Our garden always had yellow turban-shaped zucchini that were good fried, other yellow ones were elongated and suitable to saute with tomatoes, dark green ones, and lighter ones with stripes.

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Moscatella Gialla Cherries

In general I don’t enjoy exercising for merely physical purposes, but I do like to get out and move my body. I love walking because it allows me to observe new things even if the paths that I go down are known. In the fields near my house there is a large cherry tree that produces white fruits that mature and take on shades of gold. The tree is beautiful in the spring and its flowers are a real spectacle. It has very large and particularly prefers cold winters and rainy springs. The last two seasons have created an ideal production for this plant.


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Open Gardens

The flowers that accompany my table settings and that often peep out from the dishes photographed, are grown in our yard. This year I agreed to participate the event “Open Gardens” to make a public tribute to the landscape architect Paolo De Rocco, defender of nature and lover of antiquity. A free spirit. Many old roses in my yard are the result of the cuttings that he had the patience to find and that together we planted.

Grumolo: A Spring Chicory

This intense green chicory is a beautiful plant that is harvested in the spring when the spring rains abound and dampens its leaves. The seeds are sown in late summer and the plant emits tender leaves that die during the winter to be reborn as a fleshy roses in the spring. The seeds of grumolo can also bring satisfaction to an inexperienced gardener since after the preparation of the ground and sowing, this kind of vegetables does not require any care and should be left alone until harvest.

Grumolo really is a vegetable that is BEAUTIFUL, GOOD, and HEALTHY. The fleshiness of its leaves is accompanied by a good amount of minerals, especially iron and calcium. The fibers help to cleanse the body. This seems to be a typical Italian chicory but I found a company named Franchi that sells seeds in the United States.

Fennel

Fennel is a vegetable that is valuable to our health. It is low in calories are high in minerals, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. It possess numerous fibers which facilitate the functionality of the intestine and fennel’s digestive properties are useful for mothers who are breastfeeding.

The seeds are suitable for tea to reduce swelling of the belly. The cultivation as a vegetable began around five hundred before that people ate only what grew in the wild. Italy is a major producer of the vegetable and it seems that we are the nation that consumes it the most. Fennel should be sown in late summer when there is rich but light soil. For this reason it is well suited to coastal areas. The best fennel comes from the south of Italy.

We must remember that fennel divides itself into male and female (see photo). The males are large and round and excellent eaten raw in salads and the females are smaller and elongated suitable for cooking.