Friday, June 26, 2009

Sea of Greens

Berry season is winding to a close and the tomatoes and squash haven't appeared quite yet. Which means that beets, kale, and other hardy all-season greens are the order of the day. Last week's pickup from the CSA included:

- THREE kinds of Swiss Chard (rainbow, red, and green)
- cabbage
- spinach
- arugula
- red leaf lettuce
- romaine

The non-greens were:

- beets (of which I also eat the greens)
- garlic skapes (which are green in color & are more of a flavoring than a veggie)

Perhaps I will turn into the Jolly Green *Fairy*? (those of you who know my 3-D self know I could NEVER be considered a giant by any stretch ;p )

Anyway, I've been trying to cram as much of this stuff into jars as I can, to preserve it for a season when I will actually be in lack of local greens (although it's quite hard to imagine right now!)

The photo above is some pesto that I made with the spinach and arugula. It was kind of bitter to the taste, so I added a bit of lemon juice, sea salt, and even a little sugar. Perhaps the raw elephant garlic added to the bitterness? Maybe I should have cooked it first. In any case, I think the sugar helped. The jar is such a beautiful color!

I also made some awesome looking saurkraut with the head of cabbage last night. Interesting tip: an empty beer bottle makes a really fabulous pestle for pounding the cabbage into the Ball jar! All I did was:

1. Slice the cabbage thin, then pound a layer in the jar.

2. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, then another layer of cabbage. Pound again.

3. You want the liquid to come out of the cabbage.

4. When you reach the top, add a bit of water or brine to cover the cabbage.

5. Everything I read said to weight down the cabbage until it is submerged in the brine. Plastic bag filled with water, or a plate covered with rocks was recommended the most. However, renegade that I am, I pounded down the cabbage with the beer bottle pretty good, so it didn't really float above the water, and I didn't use any weights. I'm just going to rubber-band a towel or something around the top of the jar to let it all ferment. (Oops, just realized I have a lid on the jar now- once that thing starts really fermenting it might explode!)

6. Let jar sit on counter for 4-6 weeks. Yum.

Pickled beets are pretty amazing too (and THEY'RE NOT GREEN! DEAR GOD THANK YOU FOR SOMETHING OF ANOTHER COLOR! heehee ). So sweet and pretty little things- can't wait to get more this week! Perhaps I'll have the "recipe" for those soon, although it's about as simple as the sauerkraut recipe.

I recommend a CSA highly! So much more satisfying than going to the farmer's market and feeling like a rube, since some of that food isn't really seasonal, or has to be slightly higher in $. A great way to get in touch with the seasons and your local land!



Erin Palmer said...

I am obsessed with pesto and I love that I found someone else who makes non-basil-based pesto. My goal in life is to try to make everything into pesto!

Samtaters said...

I immediately shy away from pestos because I'm allergic to pine nuts. But, I've just recently realized that some people don't actually use pine nuts to make their pesto! News to me! I will have to give pesto another chance (once I buy a food processor).

Do you happen to juice or make any green smoothies? I just started juicing a month ago and my favorite so far is carrot (2 large), spinach (2 large handfulls) and apple (1/2). Drinking your greens can be far less intimidating and a welcome change to wilting and preserving/pickling. If you happen to have a high power blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, you get the benefits of all the fiber that traditional juicers leave behind. I'm saving up for one as I type!

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