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Multiculturalism        < Previous        Next >

 

African-American Heritage Garden

 

Today's Snack: You may become a lifelong collards fans after trying this traditional African-American favorite recipe. It takes a long time to make, but it's worth it:

 

1/2 lb. smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked turkey wings, or smoked neck bones)

tsp. salt

tsp. black pepper

tsp. garlic powder

1 T. seasoned salt

1 T. hot red pepper sauce

1 large bunch collard greens

1 T. butter

 

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add everything but the collard greens and butter. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for one hour.

Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Because the center stems aren't good to eat, remove the center stems by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped.

Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices.

Place greens in pot with meat and add butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, taste and add more seasonings if you wish.

 

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Supplies:

 

Space for a garden dedicated to growing plants in this theme

 

Grid paper to plan your seed purchases

 

Adult help planting and growing the garden

 

Get a group together to collect recipes from elders or from cookbooks

 

Plan a cooking day to savor dishes from the plants you grew

 

Perhaps give away or sell the rest?

 

 

Here's a fun way to combine gardening education with some multicultural history and also nutrition education. Best of all, there's good eating ahead, if you start an African-American Heritage Garden.

 

The simplest way to do it is to order seeds from the D. Landreth Seed Co., the oldest seed company in the United States. They're marking their 225th anniversary with a special collection of African-American heritage seeds that date back to people who came to America long, long ago from Africa and the Caribbean:

 

www.landrethseeds.com/catalog/african_american.php

 

Order a catalog: 800-654-2407

 

 

Sadly, the Black people who first grew these seeds were coming here to be slaves. But naturally, since they were literally being "transplanted," they brought along the seeds of their favorite food plants from their gardens in order to transplant them here, and grow the same plants once they got here.

 

They also innovated with plants that were native to the American South, where they were slaves. They learned to grow these new food crops, developed recipes for them, and combined them with their own family favorites for some of the best American cooking of all.

 

These food plants produce fruits and vegetables that are among the most nutritious and delicious of all food products.

 

Crops in a typical African-American Heritage Garden include:

 

         collards

         mustard and turnip greens

         broadbeans

         ginger

         hot peppers

         peanuts

         watermelon

         okra

         sweet potatoes

         basil

         eggplant

 

As the garden gets going, you can have fun interviewing people who are Black and might have some traditional recipes to share with you.

 

A meaningful use for the garden might be to make a few traditional African-American dishes and have a party to introduce your friends to these tastes and textures, give some of your extra fruits and vegetables to a food pantry, and sell the rest of your garden bounty at your church or to friends to raise money for next year's garden efforts.

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Multiculturalism 08 2010

 

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