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The art of gardening in Poland Posted by on Aug 18, 2020 in cooking, Culture, food

It seems like pandemic turned us all into gardeners this year! We all need something productive to go, especially now!

I always loved nature, gardening and ability to have fresh, organic fruit and vegetables on my table. Since I was a little girl, all I remember is amazing fruit and so may different salads! I guess growing up on a farm helped with that…

These are my true memories: I would wake up and didn’t really care for breakfast. Instead, I would take a walk into the fields and pick whatever it was available during that season: strawberries, plums, peaches, apples, blueberries or raspberries! That was my breakfast: straight from a tree, bush or whatever it was the fruit/vegetable was growing on. The same with lunch and dinner…my favorite lunch was fresh apples!

Image by lumix2004 from Pixabay

If there was a vegetable we didn’t grow in our garden, we would do a swap at the farmers market with a fellow gardener! That was it! I truly don’t remember shopping for a fresh produce in at a grocery store! Crazy, right?

But I was fortunate enough…I know that not everyone has this opportunity…

So what vegetables do people grow in Poland? All of them is the right answer! Although some are more popular than others.

Popular vegetables like cucumbers (ogórki/ogórek – singular), carrots (marchewki/marchewka – singular), lettuce (sałata) and onion (sałata) are everywhere.

Image by ShireShy from Pixabay

If you ever ask my family what my favorite vegetable is…I’m pretty sure all of them will give you the same answer: KALE!!! (Jarmuż)

I now, crazy, right?? Cultivated since antiquity (starożytność), kale arrived in Poland centuries ago.  Because it is resistant to chill and frost, it was suitable for cultivation in harsh climates.  It was prized for its nutritional value, though it has some other surprising culinary uses. For example, in the 17th-century, kale juice was used to dye almond cake green so that it would resemble pistachio!

Kalarepa (kohlrabi). Image by 9883074 from Pixabay

Rutabaga (Brukiew) is another popular vegetable in Poland. It was once a staple of many working-class diets. The most popular use for it in Poland is in soups.

We all know that Pumpkin (Dynia) is popular in USA, but I don’t have any memories of eating it in Poland. Nowadays it is mostly used in soups, but another popular way to serve it is breaded and fried. And of course there is pumpkin bread and all kinds of casserole dishes with this yummy vegetable.

Some other popular veggies used in Polish kitchen are beets (buraki), turnip (rzepka), chard (botwinka), parsnip (pasternak), artichokes (karczochy) and  kohlrabi (kalarepa).

As for the herbs, the most popular one in Poland must be dill (koper)!Finely chopped, the fragrant feathery leaves add an unforgettable flavor to boiled potatoes and other vegetables, poultry stuffing, soups (both cold and hot), sauces and fish dishes. It is grown in gardens and on the balconies as well!

Fruit and vegetable gardens are coming back into fashion, some of them quietly, others with a bold statement. Chefs at the restaurants are getting more and more creative with serving healthy, plant base food.

What is your go to vegetable and a favorite dish you use it in? Please share it with us:)

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


Comments:

  1. Jeff:

    Isn’t “cebula” the Polish word for onion?