Agriculture Seasonal Recipes

December 5, 2014 at 9:29 am

Putting Up Your Fall Harvest: Dark Leafy Greens

This series is for farmers, gardeners, or anyone overloaded with produce. Written by Monica Johnson, a woman who farmed her way from Brooklyn, NY to her current home in Deep East Texas, “Putting Up Your Harvest” is full of tips and tricks to keep your food waste down and your culinary enjoyment lasting throughout the colder seasons. Enjoy these clever ways to preserve your fruitful harvest.

M Johnson Dark Leafy Greens 2

Credit: Monica Johnson

Recently, kale has exploded onto the scene as the “it” dark leafy green (kale’s PR team deserves an award). However, there are other dark leafy greens, like Swiss chard and spinach, which are just as healthy, if not more so. 

You can grow dark leafy greens during the winter – they are tough and can make it through cold temperatures and even snow. Or, you can always grow them in a greenhouse!

In Texas, we’ve had a few nights that have dipped below freezing, but all of my greens (kale, Swiss chard, arugula and lettuce mixes) are thriving and I love being able to harvest fresh greens every day!

I rarely have any extra greens, but just in case you do, here are six ways to preserve your dark leafy greens:

Credit: Samantha Forsberg

Credit: Samantha Forsberg

1. Freeze. You can blanch them or leave them raw before you freeze or you can make logs (raw works best). Put washed greens in a bag and roll it up. Place a rubber band around the middle to hold its form. Take out of the freezer and cut off the amount you need. Throw handfuls in smoothies, soups, quiches, or stir-fries.

2. Make Soup. Greens are often forgotten about when it comes to soup, but they are an excellent addition.

3. Make Chips. Again, kale has the market on this, but you can use any dark leafy green to make healthy, but tasty chips. My favorite recipe is some olive oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast.

4. Make Pesto. I love kale pesto, but it can be pretty strong tasting, so if it’s too much, use a sweeter green like Swiss chard or spinach. Make a big batch and freeze the extra. Take out to top pasta or even use as a dip.

5. Make Spaghetti Sauce. This is a fun twist on a classic recipe. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil, then add greens and cook until tender. Puree until smooth and then cook down until you achieve desired consistency.

6. Make Burgers. Make a bunch of these healthy vegan burgers and then freeze them, so you can pull them out at anytime and enjoy.

-Monica Johnson