WiLd grEEnS!

May 12, 2010

What is a farmer to do when all of the delicious green vegetables in the fields are on the verge of being plucked off the plant and steamed, but are still too small for harvesting?!  She is dying, that’s what!  Not really.  But I refuse to buy kale or spinach or lettuce from the store, shipped from California.  Greens are one of those vegetables that are really best to always eat locally.  Not only for sustainability issues, but also for nutrition.  Those Earthbound greens in the store were picked maybe six weeks ago, thrown in bleach water for lord knows how long, and stored in a refrigerated area until shelved in stores.  So the nutrition in these greens?  Not so great.

Not that I NEVER buy them, but I rarely do.  This is why I make so much saurkraut during harvest time so I can have all those vitamins and minerals in the winter that I do in the summer when my beloved greens are around.  (Shameless plug:  We will be selling our very our Radical Root Sauerkraut and Kimchee this year, later in the year!  All raw and fresh and fermented in glass and chockfull of nutrients and pro-biotics!).

But anyway, greens.  As much as I love saurkraut, I have been missing eating greens.  The other day Alex and I visited the store to buy a few things, and as I walked around the produce department, I noticed bunches of dandelion greens for sale.  Not that I’ve never noticed the selling of dandelion greens, but I have been noticing they had been looking very lush at our farm lately.  I picked up a bunch and inspected it.  I had thought about harvesting dandelion greens for a while to eat, and the ones around our farm looked exactly the same as these ones being sold for 2.99.  I am not really sure why I hadn’t really paid much attention to them before this year, but I figured I should try it now, especially since Susun Weed (acclaimed New York herbalist) recommends it for pregnant women.

So that evening we went to the farm and I harvested a bunch of dandelion greens.  One thing about dandelion greens is that they do get more bitter as the spring goes on, so I knew I’d have to cook them as opposed to eating them in a salad.

Dandelion Greens, Harvested and Rinsed

So I cooked them.

And I dressed them in an oil and vinegar dressing with salt and pepper.  But I must warn you, dear readers, I did not cook them enough.  Dandelions are very bitter this time of year.  I cooked them only a couple of minutes, but I’d recommend doing it longer.  Susun Weed recommends boiling them in water for at least 5 minutes.  I should have done this, because while I like bitter, I could have used alittle less so.   The last few bites I actually sort of had to choke down.

So if you’re living in the city and if you know of a place that is definitely not sprayed, I’d harvest some dandelion greens!  Some may have even planted themselves in your pots (if you have potted plants outside) or if you have a small box garden.  Then experiment!  Dandelions are very high in vitamins A and C as well as many detoxifying minerals.

Another weed that you may see, especially if you have a small garden or a small yard or, again, a potted plant outside: chickweed!

Chickweed is a sweet little plant that makes a great salad green (I top my bean and rice tacos with some sprigs) that is also high in vitamins.  Sorry this picture isn’t better..if you are unsure what it is, I’d look in some plant ID books.  A nice thing about chickweed is that it is not bitter and actually just tastes like a greener salad green.

And meanwhile, our greens are coming!  Even though it’s been a little chilly, the rain has really invigorated the plants.  I cannot wait to make my first batch of kale of the season!