Brussel-sprouts



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vegetable, of which there are several varieties, should be well frost-bitten before it is fit for use; after which the frost should be drawn out by placing it in a cool cellar, or in cold water. The parts used are the tender tops or crown of the plant, with the side sprouts, which should be well boiled, so as to be tender before being dressed and eaten. In season as soon as the frost takes hold of them, and continues good nearly all winter.


Broccoli.--This excellent plant is a variety of the cauliflower, but considered not quite so delicate in flavor, the head or flower of which being somewhat of a purple cast, while that of the cauliflower is of a creamy white. However, the qualities and varieties of both broccoli and cauliflower have become, by cultivation, so nearly alike--especially of the white varieties--that it requires the botanist to distinguish between them. Broccoli are in season from September to November, and may be kept longer if hung up by the roots in a cool place.


Brussel-sprouts.--This plant is one of the species of the cabbage kind, producing in the axils small heads resembling those of the cabbage on a large stalk. They are very tender, and much esteemed by those who use them, which is generally in the winter-time, cooked as greens. They stand the frost well, are in season from September to January, but are not much cultivated here.


Cabbage.--There are several varieties of this excellent plant. The "early York" is a great favorite, and widely cultivated, on account of the excellence of its flavor, and its early maturity. There is also the "early dutch,"flat dutch," which the Dutch commonly slice and call it kohl-slaw, or salat, meaning simply cabbage salad; but the progress here has corrupted it to cole or cold slaw. There are also other kinds, more particularly used for saur-kraut, or sour-kraut, called the drumhead, Bergen, etc. Another, called the "savoy," a curled-leaf cabbage, is by some considered the finest of all varieties, it being very tender, of a fine flavor, rather a small head, but solid, and generally sold for

higher prices than those that are much larger. The red cabbage is another variety, and is generally used for pickling. Young cabbage is found in our markets in May and June, when it arrives from the South; but the season about here commences in July, and continues until cold weather; then, if they are put in a good cellar, or properly buried, they can be kept almost the whole year. The London Chronicle, of 1765, gives the following account of a large cabbage: "A gentleman of honor and veracity has furnished us with the following surprising instance of the fertility of the soil and mildness of the climate of the South American provinces, viz.: He saw, a few days ago, in a gentleman's garden, near Savannah, in Georgia, a cabbage-plant, which, having stood the winter three years, and seeded annually, rises from one root and spreads over a circular form of thirty feet, measuring ten feet every way." In the year 1813, in the month of October, a cabbage was sold in the New York Market, which weighed forty-three pounds.




Capsicum, or peppers.--See Peppers.


Cardoons.--This plant is a species of the artichoke, but much larger and taller; the stalk part of the leaf and mid-rib, when properly blanched, will be crisp and tender. They are used for soups, stews, salads, etc. The Gardener's Chronicle says: "When a cardoon is to be cooked, the solid stalks of the leaves are to be cut in pieces, about six inches long, and boiled like any other vegetable, in pure water (not salt and water), till they are tender. They are then to be carefully deprived of the slime and strings that will be found to cover them; and, having been thus thoroughly cleansed, are to be plunged in cold water, where they must remain until they are wanted for the table. They are then taken out, and heated with white sauce or marrow. The process just described is for the purpose of rendering them white, and of depriving them of the bitterness which is peculiar to them. If this is neglected the cardoons will be black, not white, as well as disagreeable." In season from September until March.
Carrots.--There are several varieties of this vegetable, of different forms and colors--white, yellow, scarlet, etc.--used for the table. They are a very useful root, either in soup, stews, haricot, puddings, pies, etc., and are to be found nearly or quite throughout the year in our markets. The young carrots, which commence the season, are from the South, which arrive about the 1st of May; then from Long Island, about the 1st of June, and continue on, with new crops, until November, when those intended for the table are put in earth or sand for winter and spring use, in fact, until the young carrots are again found on sale.


Cauliflower.--This fine vegetable, of which there are several varieties, is one of the luxurious plants which generally command a high price. The large, solid, creamy, white heads are considered the best. When the leaves are much wilted, and the head has dark soft spots through it, they are stale and not good. The early kinds appear about the 1st of May, and so continue on, in succession of crops, until the frost destroys them. Besides plain boiling, they are much used for pickling, soups, etc.


Cavish, scavish, or scabious.-This is a common field-plant, which, in the early spring months, makes excellent greens. The young leaves grow in tufts of a longish shape, pointed at both ends, of a light green color, but of a pleasant taste. The young stalk is also good, both of which are soft and mucilaginous. The stalk produces a small yellow flower when in bloom. They will bear considerable boiling to be good.


Celeriac, or turnip-rooted celery.--This tuberous-looking root has a sweeter taste and stronger odor than the common celery, and, when properly cooked, is very tender and marrow-like. The tops look much like celery, but are quite short and green, and are much used in soups, etc. The root, however, is large, stout, and quite rough, and when sliced and stewed German-fashion, it is excellent. It is also boiled, then prepared as a salad. It is found for sale in the fall and winter months.
Celery.--There are several varieties of this excellent plant, of which the white solid, red solid, and the white dwarf are now generally preferred. The latter, I think, is the sweetest and tenderest in February and March. In buying, select the solid, close, clean and white stalks, with a large, close heart, as they are apt to be the most crisp and sweet; however, early in the season all celery is a little bitter. The season commences about the middle of August, and as soon as the frost is found, celery becomes sweeter and better. It is found constantly in our markets afterwards, until about the 1st of April.


Chard, or Swiss chard.--This plant is one of the best of the beet tribe, but, unlike that vegetable, the root is not usually eaten, but the large succulent leaves, which have a very solid rib running along the middle. The leafy part, being stripped off and boiled, is used as greens; while the midrif, or stalk, are dressed like asparagus; and when they have been properly blanched, by art, they have a pleasant, sweet taste, and are considered very wholesome. They are not much cultivated here, however.


Chicory, or wild endive.--The part of this plant used is the long root, which looks somewhat like salsify, and the leaves, when young, can be used as a salad. The root has a smell like liquorice, and is principally used in the making or mixing with coffee, when the root is properly prepared; that is, by cutting it up in half-inch pieces, then dried in the air, after which it is browned in an oven or kiln, then ground with either coffee, rye, beans, corn, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, acorns, or other cheap substances, when these mixtures are attractively placed before the public, and sold at high prices--often for pure coffee. Chickory mixed with either roasted rye or coffee, is considered wholesome; but as it is a cheap article, and when mixed with half coffee, should reduce the price to at least one-half--with rye, about one-quarter. Either article, however, should be purchased separately, then prepared to suit the taste, when the purchaser would know what he was using.
In an examination by commissioners in London, who found out of forty-two specimens of coffee, thirty-one to be adulterated with chickory only, while twelve had roasted corn in addition to chickory; one had beans, and one had potato-flour. The total result was, that one-third of the whole weight consisted of adulterants, and in some cases chickory was present to the extent of more than one-half. "It was found that some of the grocers use a 'coffee colorer,' of a rich brown color: it consists chiefly of burnt sugar, and appears to be used to deepen the color of poor coffee, or of coffee which has been chicoried. The sellers of cups of coffee at a cheap price are said to be very familiar with this 'improver.' The commissioners adduce some curious examples of the discrepancy between the quality and the high-sounding names of particular samples; thus, a packet of 'celebrated Jamaica' was found to be nearly all chicory; 'finest Java coffee' consisted of half coffee, much roasted corn, and a little chicory; 'superb coffee' was principally chickory and roasted corn, with very little coffee; 'fine plantation Ceylon' was nearly all chickory; 'fine Java' contained much chickory and potato; 'delicious drinking coffee' contained a large quantity of chickory and roasted corn."

The commissioners also examined thirty-four samples of chickory itself, purchased indiscriminately at different places, "and amongst them found carrot, parsnip, mangel-wurzel, beans, acorns, roasted corn, biscuit-powder, and burnt sugar. It had been stated in other quarters that such strange substances as burnt rags, red earth, and rope-yarn have been found in chickory; but this belongs to the transcendental regions of rascality."




Cives, chives, or shives.--This plant is a species of the leek, with small, awl-shaped leaves, growing in tufts; and these are only fit for use so long as they remain green and fresh. They possess a flavor peculiar to the onion family, and are principally used for flavoring soups, salads, omelets, etc. The Germans also make use of it in their

smear-kase, etc. It is in season from April to June, and usually found tied in small bunches. Foreigners are its principal consumers.




Colewort, or collards.--This is a kind of small cabbage, cut young and eaten as greens, but it is not much used in this country. It is, however, used in England throughout the winter, and is in season from August until March.


Corn.--See Indian Corn.


Corn salad, lamb's lettuce, or fetticus.--This plant is principally cultivated as a winter and spring salad, and is of a mild, agreeable taste and flavor. The leaves should be eaten while young. They are sometimes boiled as spinach, etc.


Cress.--There are several species of this warm and pleasant-tasted plant, the shoots of which are much used as an early salad. The most common is the water-cress, which appears in abundance from March until May, and then again from September until November. Another kind is called the


Garden-cress, or pepper-grass, which is also eaten when young as a salad. It has a pleasant, refreshing, pungent taste, and may be had during the spring. Another species, called


Winter-cress, or early hedge-cress, which is a much larger plant, and is considered a species of the mustard, is very pungent and biting. The young leaves are most of the year used as a salad. There is also another species of this plant, called by some


Indian-cress, or nasturtium.-See Nasturtium. I might add another small variety, called


Small water-cress, with much the taste of the family of cresses.


Cucumbers.--This vegetable is called a fruit in botany, and a cold one it is, although pleasant to the taste of most people, yet they are not easliy digested, nor is there much nourishment in them; but when pickled, or made into

pickles, they are then considered less unwholesome. There are several varieties found in our markets, among which are the early, short and long, prickly, green, white Turkey, etc. The quite young or small ones, of various sizes, are used to make pickles--in fact, many persons call them pickles when asking for them. The very small ones are used for gherkins; the large, or those nearly full-grown, are hard, and commonly used as a salad; and when they begin to soften and turn yellow, or rather ripe, the Germans and others prepare them in such a manner as to make some very good dishes, among which frying is one of them. Cucumbers begin to show themselves from the South in April, from Long Island, etc., about the 20th of June, and so continue in our markets until November, after which they are found in a cured state, or pickled. Several other species of the cucumber have been tried, but with little success, for the table.




Dock, yellow dock, or patience dock.--The curly and narrow-leafed dock is much used in the spring months as greens. The broad, smooth leaf-dock, known as "horse-dock," is considered not fit for use, and some say it is poisonous. The former is often found in our markets when young, is tender and sweet, and makes a very fair dish of greens. The root is much used as a purifier of the blood.


Dandelion.--This well known wild plant, by some called "piss-a-bed," is now much cultivated, and is found a very wholesome vegetable. Early in the spring--March and April--the young leaves are used for salads and greens, when it is found slightly bitter, but rather agreeable; and as it increases in size, it becomes full of bitter milk. However, by proper cultivation and blanching, it is found to be both pleasant and wholesome. The roots are also used, and much valued for their medicinal properties. In 1856, Messrs. Hills & Stringer, of New York City, introduced "dandelion coffee," made of the roots of this plant, which I found a very pleasant drink. It was then prepared for the visitors

to the Fair of the American Institute, then held in the "Crystal Palace."




Egg-plant.--This plant is called "guinea-squash" at the South. There are several varieties of this excellent vegetable, of which the large, purple, oval-shaped kind is the best for the table. When cut into thin slices and fried, they have the taste of an oyster; but they should be firm and hard, or rather, not ripe. They are much used in other dishes, in soups, plain boiled, stews, etc. The white variety is much smaller, being about the size and shape of a goose-egg, and but seldom used--grown rather for ornament than use. The egg-plant is in season from June until October.


Endive, or succory.--There are several varieties of this plant, of which the curled are found the most numerous. The green curled is very crisp and tender; but the white curled is more so, but less hardy, and usually found quite scarce. The broad-leaved Batavian--called, by the French, scaroll--is much cultivated, but principally used by the French and Germans. The leaves (only) are generally used in soups, stews, ragouts, roasts, etc., but, when blanched, they make a good salad. In season from September until March. The roots of endive are also much used in Europe; the Germans prepare them like salsify, and they are also dried and ground into powder as a substitute for coffee.


Garlic.--This plant is a speices of the onion, with an acrimonious taste, and a most disagreeable smell. The root grows in the shape of bulbs which are enclosed. It is much used by the French in a great many dishes for seasoning, soups, stews, and other dishes, and has also many medicinal qualities. It is in season throughout the year, and usually found strung as onions, in ropes or bunches.


Gherkins, or Jamaica cucumber.--This small, oval, light-green, prickly fruit appears to be a species of the cucumber, but more thickly covered with prominent fleshly spines or prickles, and usually about the size of a common egg-plumb. It is also very full of small seeds, and a round stem, three or four inches long, which is firmly attached to

the fruit. When cut its smell is like that of a cucumber, and its uses are generally for pickling; but it should be pickled before the skin grows tough. It is not much cultivated here, but, when found, it is usually in the months of August and September.




Gourd, or calabash.--This creeping plant, perhaps, ought not to be placed among the table-vegetables; but, as its fruit, when young and tender, can be--and is, sometimes--used for pickling like cucumbers; and also, as this fruit grows old, its shell becomes hard, light, and strong, which can also be made useful either for water-dippers, substitutes for buckets, etc., I concluded it was worthy of space somewhere in this volume.


Horse-radish.--This is a common kitchen-plant, the roots of which are used ground, or cut into very small pieces for salads, sauces, etc. It is, however, boiled by some. The tops are also used when young as greens. It is always in season. When freshly ground, it has an agreeable pungent taste, but soon loses it when left open or exposed.


Indian corn, or maize.--The useful qualities of this important plant are very numerous, and easily prepared into a variety of forms fit for human food. Before it becomes hard and ripe the ears are fit for roasting or boiling; cut from the cob, and cooked with beans, makes the dish called "succotash;" or it can be dried and kept a long time for future uses. When ripe and hard, it is prepared by coarse or fine grinding for hominy, samp, mush, johnny cake, bread, etc. There are many varieties, of which the sweet-corn is considered the best for boiling; and of this quality there are several kinds, caused from peculiar culture, soil, and climate. It begins to arrive from the South (Charleston), about the 1st of June; then from Philadelphia, say from the 10th to the 15th of July; from New York, about the 1st of August; and continues, by a succession of crops, to be soft and good until the 15th of October--although I have eatn it ina good condition on the 1st of December (1855). It was raised on Long Island, near Fort Hamilton,

by Mr. Richard Bennett, and sold in the Jefferson and other markets. But a few years ago, it was the custom for colored women to sit around at the various corners of the market, with their pails and tubs of hot-corn, which had been previously boiled; and others, again, perambulating the streets half of the night, with the cry of "Hot corn! hot corn! hot! just come out of the boiling-pot."


{centered,"The full-eared corn, at every well-known spot,

Prompts now the vender's cry, 'All hot! all hot!'"}

It is recorded in the Onondaga Standard (September, 1846), that the Onondagas and other Indians have a grand feast annually, which they call suckatash, or succotash. It states that "the great suckatash was served up in the big kettle, composed of all sorts of vegetables, mixed with corn and beans, and seasoned with pork and a great variety of meats. It is a luxury highly prized by the Indians as the consummation of their harvest."




Kale, green-curled.--See Borecole.


Kohl rabi, turnip cabbage, or Dutch turnip. turnip.
--This vegetable was formerly known as "Egyptian kale;"{picture of kohl-rabi, with the words "KOHL-RABI" underneath it} is considered sweeter, more nutritious and solid than either the cabbage or white turnip. On a stem, just above the ground, it grows or swells out in a round, fleshy bulb, about the size and form of a large turnip, on the top of which it sends forth its leaves. Among the varieties, are the white, green, and purple stemmed--the latter usually preferred for winter use, as it can be kept sound and good until late in the spring. They are usually found in the market about the middle of June, and are best

for the table when quite young, being then more tender and delicate. They may be cooked like the cabbage or turnip, and eaten with the same condiments; or they may be cut in half-inch slices to boil; then change the water once or twice, and then serve it up with butter or cream poured over it. They should be preserved like a cabbage for winter use.




Lamb's quarter.--This common plant or weed, when young, makes early greens, which are much used by country people. The leaf is somewhat the form of a lamb's quarter, which, no doubt, has given it the name. The root, stalk, and leaves have a pinkish color, and, when boiled, are quite pleasant tasted. Best in the month of May.


Leek, or flag onion.--This common plant of the onion tribe shows large flag-leaves running up from small, fine roots. They are generally found tied in bunches, or one or two with a small bunch of parsley, tied up, being a quantity sufficient for a soup or stew, etc., for a small family. The leeks, when properly blanched, are boiled, and served with toasted bread and white sauce, and eaten as asparagus. The young leeks are found in August, and continue throughout the winter.


Lentils.--These seeds or beans are not much used or grown in this country, but are a favorite food with the French and Germans, who consider them nutritious and better tasted than the common bean, which they much resemble. They are found in a preserved state in some of our best grocery stores.


Lettuce.--This fine tender plant is by many called salad, for which it is almost wholly used, and for which it is unrivalled. It is sought after early in the spring, even at high prices, which cause many to grow it under glass. There are many kinds, each of which is excellent--the early cabbage, butter, drumhead, silesia, cos, etc. The hard lettuce raised in the open air is generally found in the month of May, but most abundant in June and July, and continues throughout the year, except at short intervals through the winter.
Mangel wurtzel is a variety of the beet, but much coarser and larger, although a wholesome vegetable either for men or cattle. The leaves, when young, are quite as good as the common white or red beet, as well also as the thick, fleshy stalks, stripped of the leafy part, peeled or scraped, then boiled.
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