Eating Fresh Spring Greens

Fresh spring greens are growing in many of the community gardens and home gardens in Santa Fe this month.  The planting date for greens can be as early as March so there are lots of spinach, kale, swiss chard, asian greens and hearty lettuces ready to harvest now.  Most early greens, also called baby greens, are best eaten right out of the garden.  Here are some tips for picking and eating spring greens.

  • Pick greens early!  The small leaves will be more tender and this will encourage more growth of your plant.
  • Greens will grow throughout the season so you do not want to pull them to harvest.  Bring scissors to the garden and cut the greens close to the bottom.   Consult your seed source for details on individual types of greens.
  • Spring greens are tender in salads or on your favorite sandwich with hummus and sprouts.  Greens that are grown organically will need a rinse in the sink right before you use them.  If you can’t eat them after harvesting, keep them in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to three days. Do not wash to store them.
  • Cook the greens that are heartier, such as kale, swiss chard and pak choi, bok choy and tatsoi.  These are still very delicate leaves so rinse them and chop them into long ribbons.  You could roll them into tube and then cut fine slices, also called chiffonade.  Heat the pan to a medium high heat and add a little almond oil or toasted sesame oil.  Add onions and garlic or saute the greens quickly.  One tip is to throw a handful of water on the greens and cover almost all of the way to steam the greens as they cook quickly.  Either add salt or tamari before serving.  Enjoy!
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