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Re: adapting crops to cultural cuisine

  • Subject: Re: [cg] adapting crops to cultural cuisine
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 18:43:31 EST


What a marvelously comprehensive response! 

Question: On pigeon peas/gandules - aren't these hard to grow in our area? I 
thought these were problematic outside of the tropics, or at least Florida. 

Please let me know.  I have some Puerto Rican gardeners who would like to 
grow them fresh ( as would I - Goya gets alot of my money in soup season.)

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

<< Subj:     RE: [cg] adapting crops to cultural cuisine
 Date:  3/20/03 5:15:34 PM Eastern Standard Time
 From:  gordonse@one.net (Sharon Gordon)
 Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
 To:    jverin@Pennhort.org (John Verin), community_garden@mallorn.com
 We are developing a training on food growing and nutrition in a primarily
 Puerto Rican neighborhood. We are seeking to find the balance between
 culturally appropriate foods and what actually grows in this climate. Thus,
 we're looking for recipes and stories around adapting crops to cultural
 cuisine, specifically Puerto Rican cuisine.
 ***Puerto Rican food you could grow as gardeners in PA usually do***
 Grapes for raisins
 Vinegar--may want to teach apple cider vinegar making
 Chick peas/garbonzos--ask Rodale which varietes they have had luck with
 Kidney beans
 Navy beans
 Pigeon peas
 Vegetables(term used loosely):
 Onions, scallions
 Peas, green
 Peppers, hot and sweet, paprika, chili, pimentoes
 Turnip greens
 ***House Plants***
 ***Spices to get at grocery store***
 ***Possible substitutions***
 Bread Fruit--Sweet potato
 Chayote--summer squash
 Lime, Lime rind--lemon or lime basil, orange/lemon/lime thyme
 Nuts--I don't know anything about Puerto Rican nuts,
   but you could try sunflower seeds and peanuts and any
   others you can grow.  I would however have a nurse with a sack of
   epi-pens ready incase of adverse peanut reactions.
 Plantains, white potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, waxy potatatoes,
    apples, zucchini, pumpkin or butternut squash
    may work depending on rest of recipe
 Plantain leaves as wrappers--depending on recipe, cabbage leaves,
    lettuce, lettuce leaf basil or corn husks may work
 Rice--Can you grow wild rice in your area?
 Sour Orange Juice, as above for lime rind or verjus
 ***Fruit strategy***
 The big hole in the diet is in the tropical fruits.  What I'd try
 is having fresh fruit tastings when the local PA/NJ fruits are
 in season.  People may have tried some of the imported northern US
 fruits and not liked them because they were picked green and crunchy.
 So I'd let them try some apples(all sorts), blackberries, blueberries,
 cherries, cranberries, figs, pawpaws,peaches, pears,persimmons,
 strawberries, watermelon, and whatever else grows well there.
 ***Misc ideas***
 I'd also ask around for who the really good local PR cooks are.
 Then I'd ask them in several different sessions to taste
 various other easy to grow PA foods raw or plainly baked/boiled/roasted
 and ask them what sort of Puerto Rican dishes each food would
 go well in.
 I'd also look for similar categories of PA foods to put in
 Puerto Rican recipes.  For instance, I'd see if gai lon,
 broccoli, or pak choi would go well in cabbage or greens recipes.
 If a recipe was using pineapple for a fruity, sour flavor, I
 might try cherries in it.
 Since a shorter growing season represents a major change,
 I'd teach Coleman's four-season strategies, canning, solar
 food dryers (and recipes for dried foods), pickles, kim che
 and sauerkraut, and growing seeds for sprouts.  Though I'd
 probably do all those except Coleman next year so you can test
 to get acceptable recipes during the coming year.
 It might be fun to have challenge potlucks where you ask people
 to bring a dish that contains at least one new PA food, and then
 have some cook-interviewers collect recipes of the successful dishes.
 Recipe booklet might make a good fund raiser in both spanish and
 Some of the local hospital nutritionists or local dieticians
 or regional friends/colleagues of Joan Gussow may have come up
 with Puerto Rican friendly healthy dishes using local foods
 that you could use for starting points as well.
 Another thing you might try is to have a varied group of
 Puerto Ricans rate how important the Puerto Rican foods that
 will grow in PA are to their diet and give some idea of the
 frequency with which they'd like to eat them.  Then use that
 info to develop a model Puerto Rican One Circle Diet Garden.
 That could create a healthy start and buy you some time to
 introduce lesser known and unknown foods.  It looks to me like
 you could easily get enough calorie and vitamin crops for a
 sustainable garden.  The compost/grain crops might be a little
 tricky given the high preference for rice in the Puerto Rican

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