Swamp cabbage is the favorite vegetable of Florida people and includes the main cuisine of the Florida cracker dish. It is obtained from the official plant tree of Florida, namely S. palmetto. Other names of these plants are sabal palm, swamp cabbage tree, and palmetto palm.
This plant is not cultivated; it grows all over the state on its own, either in individual form or in hammocks. Now, these plants are declared as ornamental as well as an industrial plant. Various nurseries sell them in different sizes and shapes. Swap cabbage tree grows wild, but now its cutting is declared as illegal by Florida state, but many of these plants are cut down and sold every year.
The height of swamp cabbage at maturity is about 80-90 feet, but mostly they are 10-20 feet tall. The base from which they cut the cabbage is about 8-10 feet. Outer leaf stems are cut away to remove the central core. This central core is swamp cabbage. The cabbage is cylindrical in shape and creamy white with tenderness and layers of leaves around it. The edible product of this cabbage is maybe 5-10 pounds.
There are various uses of the swamp cabbage. The most favorite Florida cracker dish is cole stew which is cook with meat seasoning. The white color of swamp cabbage turns into grayish brown after cooking. It has a wild and smoky flavor. Another main dish is palm salad, which cuts cabbage into slices and then puts it on the tossed salad with guava paste.
Here are two recipes to cook swamp cabbage
1. swamp cabbage
- Three slices of bacon
- Two freshly-cut heads of swamp cabbage
- Half cup sugar
- One tablespoon salt
- Half tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- Bacon drippings
At medium heat, fry bacon in a medium saucepan.
- Put swamp cabbage, bacon drippings, and the bacon in the saucepan.
- Fill ½ of the pot with water and bring to boil. Boil the cabbage until it becomes soft.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve it hot.
2. Swamp Cabbage Stew
- 1 pound slab bacon thickly cut
- One large finely chopped onion
- One head green cabbage and chopped by ¼ of size
- 1 14 ounces can crushed tomatoes
- One jalapeno pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- One teaspoon sugar
- 1 16 ounces tomato juice
- Two sprigs of fresh thyme
- Tomato sauce
- 2-3 cup cooked white rice
- Heat bacon over medium-high heat. Cook it until it becomes crispy and saving the bacon grease. Put the slices of bacon on the paper towel and put it aside.
- Use the three tablespoons of the bacon fat and put the inions and cabbage in it.. sauté it until they start to brown.
- Add remaining ingredients tomato juice, thyme, jalapeno, sugar, and tomato juice in it
- Simmer it for 30-40 minutes partially uncovered
- Chop bacon into small pieces.
- Serve it over the rice with the toppings of the cut bacon.
You can watch this video to learn more.