Dutch Gardening

In traditional Dutch cooking, vegetables represent one third of the total meal. After all, vegetables, meat and potatoes form the Dutch culinary trinity.

When children ask their parent what will be served for dinner, the answer will most likely be the name of the vegetable. Since certain vegetables are paired with certain meats (i.e. red cabbage will traditionally be served with hachée, a tangy meat stew and boiled potatoes, zuurkool (sauerkraut) comes with mashed potatoes and kielbasa, or salt pork, spinach will be creamed and served with boiled potatoes and a meatball), the children will automatically know what the rest of the meal is going to look like.

On a, perhaps, not so separate note, the Netherlands is one of the top producers of vegetables in the world. The quality of the products is excellent and people will shop every day for fresh vegetables. Not many Dutch people have space for a garden or have the time or desire to invest in a volkstuintje, a terrain allotment outside of the city limit that can be rented for a fee. Growing your own vegetables while two miles further down the road is a huge greenhouse that produces tons of the same seems silly to many. Nevertheless, the resurgence of forgotten vegetables (i.e. old-fashioned vegetables and fruits) are making a come-back. 

Frozen and canned vegetables are not used very often. Meat, on the other hand, will be bought a couple of days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. It is understandable therefore that the emphasis is on the type of vegetable that is served and why vegetables are so important to Dutch cooking.
Many of these traditional Dutch varieties are available to grow in our own gardens. I'm gathering information below if you want to expand your gardening and eating repertoire with some old-fashioned Dutch vegetables. I do encourage you to buy heirloom, or non-GMO treated seed, so that you can save the seeds for next year and replant. 

The links in the title will take you to a vendor or a site where you can purchase the seeds. Please know that with the Amazon purchases, a small amount comes back to The Dutch Table. It will help with some of the expenses as we don't advertise on the site. 

Bintjes are Holland's most famous potatoes: they're buttery yellow potatoes with an exceptional flavor. Their starch content puts them right between starchy and waxy, making it a very versatile spud. Potatoes can be grown in buckets, planters and raised beds, so give it a go! Please click the Amazon link here to find a vendor for Bintje seed potatoes.

Nothing as Dutch as steamed cauliflower with a "melksausje", or a bechamel. Grow your own this year and enjoy fresh cauliflower from your garden or raised bed! For an Amazon vendor, click here.

Farmer's cabbage, or boerenkool, is better known as kale. It seems to have taken over every food magazine, salad bar and smoothie drink, but we known it best in a stamppot boerenkool. Order seeds here

Bruine Bonen
Dutch brown beans are used for two main dishes: brown beans with rice, and brown bean soup. It's a flavorful, buttery bean that holds its shape well and is easy to grow. You can order seeds here

Capucijners are field peas: brown, creamy peas that are eaten in a soup or as a stew. Another word for capucijners is blauwschokkers. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds carries two types. You can also order through Amazon here.

Raapsteeltjes - TBA

Cutting beans, or snijbonen, are flat green beans. Most often served as "blote billetjes in het gras" (naked bottoms in the grass), the green bean will be cut at a diagonal angle, and a whole white beans will be tossed in for good measure, giving the resemblance of the aforementioned naked behinds. Grow your own! Here's an Amazon link to a seed vendor.  

Tuinbonen - TBA

Also know as corn or mache, veldsla is a type of field green. It can be used as a salad green, or as a stamppot added right to the mashed potatoes before serving. Healthy and nutritious, veldsla is also easy to grow. An Amazon link to heirloom seed can be found here.

The winter carrot is otherwise known as "winterpeen" and can be found here. It is a larger, coarser carrot that collects sugars after the first frost and is therefore sweeter, but also more fibrous. A traditional winter dish with carrots is called "hutspot": mashed potatoes with carrots and onions

Witte Asperges - TBA