Greens maintain their crispness by holding water in their cells. If the leaves are slightly wilted, revive them in ice water. Once they’ve perked up they’re ready to store or prepare.
Roots with Tops
It’s a good idea to remove the greens from the tops of veggies like turnips, beets and carrots. The tops can draw moisture out of the root. Store the root separately.
Cleaning & Storing Greens
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and rinse until all the grit has been removed. This step usually requires multiple rinses. Save the dirty water for your potted plants.
- Spin dry in a salad spinner.
- Roll up greens in a cotton tea towel.
- Tuck into a plastic bag and label.
- Now they’re ready to use at a moment’s notice.
Dealing with bitter greens
( mustards, turnips, collard, kale…)
If bitter greens are new to your palette you can blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately drop into ice cold water. This will diminish the bitter overtones. (Though you might enjoy the flavor.) Proceed with your chosen recipe once they’re chilled or keep them in your refrigerator for several days until you’re ready to drop them into a tasty meal.
How to chiffonade greens:
- Wash the greens thoroughly. Shake off excess water.
- If the greens are large leafed with tough stems (like mature kale or collards), remove the stems and chiffonade the leaf.
- If the stem is tender like chard, remove the stem and sauté with onion. (I like to add a dash of nutmeg and some chipotle powder to my braising greens.)
- Stack several leaves together and roll up like a burrito.
- With a sharp knife begin slicing the bundle into thin strips. (1/4″ works well, smaller if it’s a raw salad)
- This is called a chiffonade.
- Consider preparing your greens to this point and holding them in a ziplock bag.
- You’ll have REAL food—fast.
Spring Turnips–Tops and Bottoms
Turnip Tid Bits
- Remove the tops. These are wonderful in a braise of mixed greens, roasted or fresh in a salad of spring offerings.
- Turnip greens are a great source of vitamin C and because they’re low in oxalates they’re filled with readily absorbed calcium.
- The spring turnip root is crunchy and spicy like a radish. These keep longer than the greens.
- Unlike fall turnips you can eat spring turnip roots raw or cooked.
Slice thin like a radish and toss into a salad or julienne and toss with your favorite homemade vinaigrette or a combination of fresh lime and a pinch of salt.
I think they taste best after marinating for a day.
Sweet Spring Turnips -Kid Friendly
- Scrub the spring turnips with a vegetable brush at the sink.
- Boil the baby turnips in salted water for about 8 minutes and drain.
- In a cast iron frying pan: Add 2 Tbs olive oil. Saute the baby turnips until they turn a golden color.
- In a small bowl whisk together:
- 2 Tbs good vinegar (I like Champagne vinegar.)
- 1-2 Tbs honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Pour over the browned turnips and cook until bubbly.
- Sprinkle finely chopped mint leaves over the dish right before serving, if you have some on hand.
- 1/4 cup peeled/shredded fresh ginger
- 4 Tbs rice vinegar
- 2 Tbs soy sauce
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1-2 tsp garlic chili sauce ( Found in the Asian section of the grocery store…or make your own!)
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil Keep refrigerated in a glass jar. A little goes a long way.
Try tossing it over tender Asian greens or spinach. We like to add fresh orange sections, red onion and mushrooms.
Roasted Turnip & Asian Greens
- Toss fresh greens lightly in olive oil and sea salt.
- Spread out on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes @ 425 degrees. Using a convection oven works best.
- Depending on the varieties and age of the greens, check after 10 minutes, stir and give them a few more minutes if needed.
- Serve immediately.
Yummy idea from my friend Rachel who is a fellow Community Kitchen Leader and personal chef.
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