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Mandarins make basic slaw supreme

Recipe: Mandarin cole slaw is an easy, flavorful winter salad

mandarins and dried cherries
The mandarins and dried cherries make this recipe
stand out. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Winter salads make the most of in-season vegetables. For ingredients, there are plenty of lettuces, cabbages and other leafy greens plus root vegetables galore.

But what about the juicy fruit part of a balanced salad? Tomatoes usually play that role. But in January, a good-tasting tomato can be hard to find.

Mandarins make a great salad substitute. Their easy-peel segments are just the right size and juiciness, adding texture as well as bright citrus flavor. They work well with vinaigrette in a green salad. They’re also dynamite with cabbage in cole slaw.

This slaw started with my grandmother’s cole slaw recipe, which is good on its own. The addition of mandarins really made it sparkle.

Also adding texture and bursts of flavor to this slaw are dried cherries. Raisins will work, too; cherries contribute tartness to balance the sweet mandarins.

Easy enough for any time, this salad can be made the night ahead (covered and refrigerated) and is pretty enough for special occasions. Think of it as cole slaw supreme.

Cole slaw
This easy winter salad features citrus instead of
Mandarin cole slaw

Makes 4 to 6 servings


3 large mandarins

¼ cup dried cherries or raisins

2 green onions, chopped

1 medium carrot, shredded

1 cup Romaine lettuce, shredded

2 cups cabbage, shredded


¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Seasoning salt and black pepper to taste

Plated salad
Pretty and nutritious, too!

Peel mandarins and separate segments, removing any seeds.

In a large bowl, combine mandarin segments, dried cherries or raisins, green onions, carrot, lettuce and cabbage. Toss gently.

Prepare dressing: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, seasoning salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over mandarin-cabbage mixture. Toss to coat. Serve.

Refrigerate covered if not served immediately.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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