August 28, 2013

Cow Horn Okra from Monticello


After my rather long hiatus from p o t a g e r, I begin anew with three little words:

Cow  Horn  Okra.

I found the seed (buy some here) in the Monticello gift shop on my most recent trip to Virginia in May...

and the historic background for this handsome vegetable
reads:  

In Notes on the State of Virginia, begun in 1781, Jefferson records that the gardens of his native state "yield musk melons, water melons, tomatoes, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." It wasn't until 1809, however, that he began to plant Okra, a native of Africa, on an annual basis at Monticello, generally in late March or early April. In 1817, for instance, he notes its planting in Monticello's Vegetable Garden on April 2 and its arrival at table on July 28, over sixteen weeks later. A member of the mallow family, Okra has large, handsome yellow flowers. The young fruiting pods were often combined with tomatoes for soups and gumbo in Jefferson family recipes. In 1813, Jefferson edged his "square," or plot of tomatoes with okra - a rather unusual combination of plant textures. Cows Horn is an heirloom Okra variety.



I planted mine in early June in quadrant 3 of the potager, where it grew, quite literally like a weed...

and was soon large enough in leaf and height

to not only produce

but also provide welcome shade on brutally hot days when the boxwood hedge gets stressed. (I love the way you can see through its stalks and branches...). And they do fruit mightily.


Most often, I don't even bother to cook the little horn-shaped buggers (not a traditional practice I grant you)...

I just eat them raw, when small and crunchy...

slicing and tossing in salads, or eating pickle-style, straight from the stalk.

Pesty locust prefer the beautiful tasty leaves , irritating creatures I pick off or shoo away each morning

(albeit while grudgingly noting how beautifully
their colors echo one another)...









Earlier in the season, before the heat set in, ants were busy ranching and herding aphid colonies (read more about this fascinating practice here)...but were easily kept under control by the jet spray setting on my trusty hose- end spray gun.

Linda Vater, reporting

from the front lines of the wild, wild, West.
























http://www.monticelloshop.org/600175.html


In Notes on the State of Virginia, begun in 1781, Jefferson records that the gardens of his native state "yield musk melons, water melons, tomatoes, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." It wasn't until 1809, however, that he began to plant Okra, a native of Africa, on an annual basis at Monticello, generally in late March or early April. In 1817, for instance, he notes its planting in Monticello'sVegetable Garden on April 2 and its arrival at table on July 28, over sixteen weeks later. A member of the mallow family, Okra has large, handsome yellow flowers. The young fruiting pods were often combined with tomatoes for soups and gumbo in Jefferson family recipes. In 1813, Jefferson edged his "square," or plot of tomatoes with okra - a rather unusual combination of plant textures. Cows Horn is an heirloom Okra variety.

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