Posts Tagged ‘greens’

As an addition to our Greens Guide, I thought it necessary to have a Washing Greens page.

The thing is, if you’ve ever bitten into a dish of homemade greens and gotten even a tiny piece of grit in your teeth you know why a washing guide is so important. It’s gross. It’s like finding a hair in your food. Ew.

So to prevent that from ever happening again, it’s pretty important to master the art of washing greens. Which, luckily, is very simple, though slightly time consuming.

Step 1.) Fill your sink or a large bowl with water and soak the greens for a few minutes. This allows time for the dirt to dislodge and fall to the bottom of the sink. Remember to swish them occasionally. Adding salt to this step will dislodge any caterpillars or bugs that may be hiding out. Adding vinegar will help deter bacterial growth if you plan on keeping the greens in your fridge for a while. Adding both…well I don’t know,  but I’d think it wouldn’t hurt.

Step 2.) Remove the greens. Drain and clean the sink, or bowl. Depending on how dirty the greens are you may need to repeat step 1. If they seem reasonably clean you can move on.

Step 3.) Rinse the greens one leaf at a time under running water. Pay special attention to the underside of the leaf where dirt and bug/eggs can hide out.

That’s it, enjoy your greens!

Greens, while more popular in the south, are a great addition to our harvest baskets here in Minnesota.

On our farm we grow; collards, kale, mustard, Swiss chard, arugula, tatsoi and bok choy. Any of these may show up in your basket over the course of the season, although they are tastiest in the spring and fall, when the weather is cooler.

Packed with nutrients, like vitamins A, C, and E, they’re low in calories and high in fiber. They’re like a delicious multi vitamin.

 

Collard Greens & Kale:

Kale (left) Collards (right)

Traditionally boiled with ham hocks or smoked turkey legs until tender. I like to season them with adobo seasoning, for a little kick try adding Cajun seasoning. Every couple of months I get a super craving for them. The liquid left behind from boiling them is called pot likker and is fantastic sopped up with corn bread.

A word of warning about collard greens. Like other members of the brassica family, collards may contain goitrogens which may cause swelling of thyroid gland and therefore, should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction. However, it may be used liberally in healthy person.

Also keep in mind it should be used sparingly with people suffering from oxalate kidney stones.  A serving of collard greens provides more than 500 mcg of vitamin K which is well above daily recommended value; it is therefore, should be used cautiously in people taking anticoagulants like warferin.

 

Kale:

My favorite way to cook kale is in soup with peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, and onions. You can find the recipe in our Crazy Daisy cookbook here: http://crazydaisycsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/crazydaisy_cooks_081.pdf Try adding some Brie to it. I love this soup!

Kale can also be seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil then baked in the oven until crispy, so yummy.

 

Swiss chard:

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard is actually a member of the beet family that is grown for the green tops rather than the root. Thus the green tops of beets can be used exactly the same way you would use chard. This is one of the reasons we leave the greens attached to the beets when we harvest them, it’s like getting two vegetables in one!

Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically sauteed as their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a delicate flavor.

 

Tatsoi (tah tsai):

Tatsoi A.K.A. Tah Tsai

These beautiful little plants have a soft, creamy texture and a mild taste that blends well in any recipe that calls for spinach. Also great in a stir fry. Although my favorite recipe is sauteing it with bell peppers, onion, shallots, tomatoes and Cajun seasoning, and serving it over rice.

 

Mustard Greens:

Mustard Greens

Mustard contains large amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C. Mustard greens are also a source of calcium that can be important to lactose intolerant individuals. And are contain a significant amount of iron.

For cooking you can prepare them the same way you would collard greens.

 

Bok Choy (A.K.A pak choi):

Bok Choy

Cultivated in China for centuries, bok choy’s popularity comes from its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value. Not only is bok choy high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but it is also low in calories.

When it comes to cooking, you’ll find that bok choy is very versatile. Boiling, steaming, stir-frying and even deep-frying are all possibilities. With large bok choy you should want to separate the leaves from the stalks, because the thick stalks have a longer cooking time.

 

Arugula:

Arugula

Arugula looks similar to kale but has tender lighter green leaves, unlike kale’s waxy blue green leaves. An ancient leafy plant, it’s been grown around the Mediterranean since roman times. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, and potassium. It’s described as having a peppery taste but I think it tastes more nutty.

Very versatile to prepare, it can be eaten raw in a salad usually mixed with other greens, it’s also great either raw or cooking in a pasta dish, or even used to top pizza.

 

So the next time you get a big bunch of greens in your basket, enjoy them!

 

 

The garden is looking really good so far. All of our started seedlings have been transplanted and are thriving. The eggplants, peas and peppers are weeded and mulched, now all they need is time to produce their fruit.

Nearly everything that we seeded directly into the garden is up and growing. The first things we planted were hardy greens like Swiss chard, arugula, kale, and collard greens. They are now between 3-5 inches tall already. Those greens along with lettuce will be the first things we’ll harvest.

Although they’re not a big  part of traditional Minnesota cuisine, greens are so versatile and so nutritious it’s worth working into your weekly menu. Personally I don’t care for Swiss chard, while my mom loves it. On the other hand I adore tatsoi and kale. My favorite way to use them is wilted with sauteed vegetables and seasoned with a generous portion of Cajun seasoning. It’s so good! My recipe will be featured in one of our newsletter this summer.

I know it looks like things should be ready, but the night temperatures have only recently been above 50 and until that happens the plants don’t thrive. Because it’s like they spend half their time in a refrigerator. The forecast for the next 7 days looks very promising though and we’re still expecting  our first harvest to be either the last week in June or the first week in July.

I will send out an email when we know for sure, as well as posting it here, so stay tuned!

Spinach

We have a variety of greens in the baskets again this week. Greens are absolutely packed with nutrients, remember popeye? He had it right!

Spinach~ With only 7 calories (1 fat calorie!) it has more than half your daily value of vitamin A. It’s also a great source of vitamins E, C and K. It’s so versatile it can be added to just about any meal. It’s excellent in pasta and lasagna, quiche, soup, or with bacon. I prefer spinach when it’s only slightly wilted. It’s more appetizing when you can eat individual leaves instead of being faced with a shapeless mound of green.

Mustard greens~Full of vitamin A & K they have a tangy horse radish flavor and are commonly mixed with milder greens in soul food. Simmer them with ham hocks or any other smoked pork, until tender, for an authentic southern meal. I love them with smoked turkey legs. YUM!

Tatsoi~ You can see our article on tatsoi here All I will say is, I am in love with this Asian green!

Whatever kind of greens you get be sure to clean them thoroughly when you get them home. The best way I’ve found is to fill the sink with cold water and salt it generously. Soak the greens for several minutes. Check for cleanness by rubbing the leaves with your finger and thumb, they’ll make a squeaking sound when they’re clean. Check them over again for bugs and dirt around the stem then throw them in the pot!

In this week’s basket most of you will get a small bag of tatsoi. This small leaved Asian green is excellent in any recipe that calls for spinach or Bok choi.

It’s fairly mild so it blends well with many different flavors. Ginger, mustard and sesame seeds are favorites to mix with tatsoi. It’s amazingly good sautéed in a little oil with some red pepper flakes until slightly wilted. Or try it sautéed and added to garlic buttered pasta with some parmesan cheese on top. It’s even excellent mixed raw into a salad!

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