Galician Cabbage

The cabbages are the undisputed queens in the Galician orchards, being a popular, ancient vegetable and that may well have been the basis of the diet of prehistoric peoples.  Rich in water, minerals, fiber, calcium and vitamin C, it is cultivated for human consumption, but in large part also for the feed of livestock. The stalk of the cabbage is white and hard stems that become woody as it ages.  Its edible leaves are bright green on the outside and whiter green inside.

The cultivation of the cabbage is limited mostly to two regions: Galicia and Asturias, where it’s prepared as a broth of cabbage, absolutely delicious and very appetizing especially in the harshest days of winter.

According to another pilgrim’s blog, “As part of my camino education, today I learned that the tall green stalks with leaves sprouting out and which are cut off from the bottom up are called “col,” which translates as “cabbage” but is just leaves with no head. Anyway I had always wondered why even the smallest gardens had hundreds of these plants. Today I learned that the tough leaves are for the animals while the tender ones go into making that delicious soup caldo gallego (very similar to Portuguese caldo verde). The woman who explained this all to me told me that after she finished feeding her pigs, she would make some and I was very welcome to stay. Unfortunately I still had 22 km to walk, so I declined. What a tempting invitation though!  

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