Dark Days, Week 15

Five more weeks to go in this challenge! I am wondering if the Dark Days will truly end then…and is spring truly around the corner?  With new snow falling daily here, I am highly dubious.

To fit with the stereotype that all that can be eaten in winter are dull root veggies and cabbage, this week’s meal features…cabbage!

Slug-tattered but highly edible

In my quest to end root-cellaring certain items, I planted cabbage seedlings into one 3’x6′ greenhouse bed in early September.  I had just cleared it of its blooming lettuces, so I figured I would transplant about 12 and see if they made it through the winter.  (The twenty-odd other seedlings got transplanted outside and harvested while still small (3-4″ diameter) until the snow came and stayed in December.  This size, incidentally, is perfect for our small family:  not practical for kraut, maybe, but no waste.)  Well, the greenhouse cabbages did make it.  In fact, they continued to grow throughout the winter.  These were Des Vertus Savoy, a somewhat crinkly cabbage that can reach 5 lb. easily.  So, my root cellar this year houses ONLY potatoes!  No root veg, no cabbage.  Apples and pears on the back porch.  Whew, that was easy.


  • Bubble and Squeak (Mashed Burbank (russet) potatoes, Copra onion, Des Vertus Savoy cabbage, salt and pepper, fried up in homegrown goose fat)
  • Round Steak (Tenderized, marinated in salt/garlic/water/homemade red wine vinegar all day and then pan-seared; from Pekel Farm in Shelbyville)
  • Bitter greenhouse salad with roasted foraged walnuts (Giant Winter spinach, mache, mustard, Triple Purple orach, Italian Dandelion, arugula, red and green lettuces; chopped shallot and greens; buttermilk dressing from our milk share)
  • Pumpkin bread (Triamble squash, home-ground hard red spring berries, our eggs, buttermilk, Michigan butter, Michigan sugar, nonlocal baking spices and leavener)

7 responses to “Dark Days, Week 15

  1. Very nice!! Here I only a few weeks away from new baby greens and can’t wait. I have almost nothing left from last year – a few gallons of frozen blueberries and rapberries, a ham, a few beef roasts. The chickens ate starting to lay though, and I’ll have milk from Th goats in a month or so.

  2. That’s a beautiful cabbage! Do you like raw, grated salads? I can stretch one medium cabbage a couple of weeks, grated with carrot and dressed with sesame oil, rice vinegar, etc. I eat it with savory nuts and some raisins. Oh yum.

    You’ll be in full spring before you know it.

  3. Wonderful blog!

    Love your greenhouse garden! I’m starting a rotating raised bed garden this Spring in the vacant lot adjacent to my house, and I’m inspired by your greenhouse photos to have one corner of the yard set aside for a greenhouse. The thought of being able to gather fresh greens year round is quite attractive…

    I’m also looking into getting a stand up freezer to keep local (100miles) organically raised meats. My mother is considering going in this with me (she likes shopping at my house!) as she wants to garden at my house too!

    Wish I could keep farm animals within city limits. Afterall, we all the other critters: hawks, raccoons, pheasants, possums…

  4. Pingback: Dark Days 09/10 :: Week #15 Recap (Midwest, West) « (not so) Urban Hennery

  5. Apologies if you’ve mentioned it already, but if not, would you mind sharing a recipe for the red wine vinegar?

    How long does it keep?

    • Hi Lauren. Actually, I think you’ve requested something I haven’t mentioned before as far as a how-to-do. I actually use my cider vinegar as a mother culture, and I added the dregs of a bottle of really good balsamic (I let the last 1/8″ thicken up) and then, well, then I added these two things to a half-filled bottle of local red wine. Keep in a dark place for a while, keep sniffing it, and voila, eventually it’s vinegar! This isn’t a terribly exact method and the fine vinegarists of the world will probably cry when they read this but…vinegar does kind of just happen. The degrees of greatness are of course all over the place. See The Vinegar Man for more information.

  6. That is one huge cabbage head!

    Come show off your cabbage in our “Grow Your Own” roundup this month. To participate, find the details here:


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