June
29 - 2010

Great Spring Green Recipes From Our CSA

As I’ve mentioned before, we belong to a great CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm here in Colorado. With our weekly newsletter, Grant Family Farms sends out recipes and info, and this year, they generously said I can share the info with you!

Herewith, two great how-tos on freezing the spring/early summer spinach bounty for winter goodness, and something new to do with lettuce.

 

Freezing Greens

I know that winter seems far from now, but as we all know it will be here before we know it, so if you like frozen greens in the winter, just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a bag yourself and then quickly froze it at home!  It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a vegetable for the winter. Here’s how to do it, and the greens will taste MUCH better than anything you’ve ever had from a store.

Ingredients and Equipment
Fresh greens – any quantity.  I figure one handful per serving.
Vacuum food sealer or “ziploc” type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
1 Large pot of boiling water
2 large bowls, one filled with cold water and ice.
1 sharp knife

 

Directions

 

Start with fresh Grant Family Farms greens.

Step 1 – Wash the greens!
I’m sure you can figure out how to rinse the leaves in plain cold water.  I use a large bowl of cold water and a colander to let them drain.
Step 2 -Hull the greens
Cut off any woody stems. or damaged pieces
Step 3 – Get the pots  ready
Get the pot of boiling water ready (about 2/3 filled) and a LARGE bowl with ice and cold water.
Step 4 – Blanch the greens.
All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. greens requires a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanching times for collards is 3 minutes and all other greens 2 minutes..
Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the greens in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.
Step 5 – Cool the greens
Cool greens immediately in ice water. Drain the greens thoroughly (this shouldn’t take more than a minute).
After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the greens into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch greens for 3 minutes, then cool in ice water for at least 3 minutes.
Drain thoroughly.
Step 6 – Bag the greens
I love the FoodSavers (see this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing!  I am not paid by them, but these things really work.  If you don’t have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags.  remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. TIP:  If you don’t own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out.  To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.
Step 7 – Done!
Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!


Braised Lettuce

Tired of munching bunny food? Don’t be afraid to add heat to lettuce. In this recipe, small heads of lettuce are carefully bundled and cooked like whole vegetables-first blanched to tender succulence, then braised to give them a buttery golden glow. Cooking lettuce this way brings out a natural, delicate sweetness in the leaves.
3 to 4 small heads lettuce, rinsed whole under running water, tough or bruised outer leaves removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons butter
freshly ground black pepper
1. Tie a piece of string around each head of lettuce, just tightly enough to hold the leaves together and promote even cooking.

2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil; add the salt and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the lettuce heads and boil for 3 minutes.

3. Drain the lettuces in a colander and let cool. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze them in your hands to remove any excess water. Remove the string.

4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the lettuce heads; cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, turning them carefully, for another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4

Grant Farms

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