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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Giving thanks for an Edible Campus

This year when you’re having your Thanksgiving dinner, pause for a moment to give thanks to the N.C. Botanical Garden staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to bring Carolina’s Edible Campus to life. No matter what the season, these colorful garden patches scattered throughout campus offer staff, faculty and students a chance to get back to nature deliciously. You may even want to incorporate some of this healthy, organic and seasonal fare into your own feast. For a map of the gardens and to find out what’s in season, visit

Cabbage (1)
Graham, Stacy, Davis
A staple for St. Patrick’s Day, cabbage can fit into any feast. Put some leftover turkey along with stuffing or cooked rice on top of a cabbage leaf, roll up and put seam-side down in a slow cooker or oven dish, cover with a favorite sauce and cook till cabbage is tender.

Bell (sweet) peppers (2)
Davis, Stacy, Lenoir, Ram’s Head, SASB, Hardin
Slice and eat these beauties raw with dip or sautéed in leftover turkey fajitas. Or scoop out the seeds and fill the shells with stuffing for a vegetarian holiday treat.

Rosemary (3)
Ram’s Head, Hardin, Davis, Stacy
Use sprigs of this evergreen inside and outside the bird and the tantalizing aroma will have mouths watering long before dinner time. Add fresh sprigs before serving for a beautiful garnish.

Chard (4)
Lenoir, Davis, Stacy
Sautee chard and the beet greens you saved (see Beet) in oil with a little onion and garlic for a colorful and unusual side dish. If you like, add a little heat by throwing in one of those hot peppers.

Beet (5)
Ram’s Head
Roast whole or chopped with potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic as a colorful side dish or dice and serve raw as a salad topper. Don’t throw away the greens (see Chard)!

Green tomato (6)
Davis, Lenoir
Southern cooks know that the best use of this fruit, destined to remain unripe when the cooler fall weather arrives, is to slice, batter and fry it. Fried green tomatoes with a remoulade dip as an appetizer, anyone?

Hot peppers (7)
Add some spice to stuffing, salad or leftovers or flavor a fresh salsa for watching the big football game.

Sage (8)
Davis, SASB, Stacy, Ram’s Head
This savory herb is an excellent and traditional stuffing ingredient. Why settle for the powdery stuff when you can so easily pluck a few fresh leaves?