Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good Greens

Years ago when we first signed up to get our weekly box of vegetables from a CSA, I carried a lot of guilt with me when the deliveries started. I would peer in and feel slightly nervous at all the leafy greens. I'd make plans, find recipes, admire their sturdiness...and then throw them out at the end of the week when they were quite soggy and accusatory looking.

Perhaps out of a need for redemption, I planted greens I used to toss with the idea that I would learn to eat them, and I can say, having them in my own back yard has made a difference in my bad behavior.

First of all I am more endeared to them from a gardening standpoint because greens are easy to grow, which certainly explains the bounty of greens in most farm-share boxes. They thrive in most conditions and take well to blanching and freezing if there is just too much to eat.

Although varying greens have different cooking times, they all drastically shrink in size when cooked and therefore make a very healthy, easy addition to soups, pastas, or sauteed with any grains of your choosing.

I particularly like growing spinach because it's done early, upon which time I pull it out and either eat it or freeze it, and then replant a new row of seeds and repeat the process. Come late fall and winter, having some blanched garden greens in the freezer is a welcome sight.

To freeze greens, rinse them well, cutting off any tough stems. Place a large pot over high heat until boiling and add the greens. For tender greens, like spinach, blanch them for 2 minutes. For sturdier greens like, kale, blanch them for 3 minutes. Transfer the greens to a bowl of ice water, then to a colander to drain. Place them in plastic freezer bags making sure to squeeze the air out and freeze for up to 6 months.

Pictured above is Lacinato Kale, America Spinach, Chiogga Beet and a zucchini flower just because it's pretty.

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