Winter Spotlight on Bitter Greens

Turnip Greens (a.k.a.) Hanover Salad

Turnip Greens are one of those classic soul-food greens, like collards, that traditionally were cooked with smoked meat or bacon.  Along with their relatives in the cruciferous family, turnip greens boast a strong nutritional profile.  This article on WHFoods.com online includes all the nutritional stats you could want about the incredible turnip green!

As far as preparation, these greens are more tender than collards or kale.  So no need for long cooking; steaming 5 minutes will give you a nice tender-crunchy texture.    Their flavor leans towards the pleasantly bitter.

If you want to go traditional, sauteeing Turnip Greens with garlic, bacon, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper can be very satisfying.  But you don’t have to boil them for an hour as folks once did.

For vegetarians, steaming and sauteeing are still good options.  Try a slightly-sweet peanut sauce, or try the following recipe (which is vegan):

Hot Wilted Turnip Greens

6 cups fresh turnip greens (about 1 pound)
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
1 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp. vegetable oil
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped or broken

Wash greens well, dry thoroughly, then remove and discard the long stems. Tear the greens into salad-size pieces and place in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and mustard. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a small skillet until hot but not smoking. Add the vinegar mixture and pecans and cook, stirring regularly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over the greens and serve at once.


 

Rutabaga

This root, along with the turnip, has a long history in northern European and Russian climates.   Rutabagas will store for 4-6 months at temperatures just above freezing.    The root itself is larger, starchier, and more dense than that of a turnip.  Unlike turnips, the skin of the rutabaga is quite waxy, so it should be peeled prior to cooking.

The rutabaga has a distinct flavor which is difficult to describe!   Delicious roasted, incorporated into soups & stews, or boiled & mashed (either alone or combined with potatoes).


BabyBokChoyBaby Bok Choi

 

It’s smaller and more tender than big brother Bok Choi, tender enough to chop into a slaw or eat barely-steamed with a little peanut sauce.   Baby Bok can also be grilled – give  it a try!


Heirloom Tomatoes

There are so many kinds of heirloom tomatoes — Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Dr. Wysatch’s, Lemon Boy, Mark Twain…  These are what tomatoes used to be  before breeding for shipping and uniformity became a priority.  The colors and flavors will knock your socks off!  Be prepared for tomato sandwiches and salsas as they were meant to be — a little bit messy, maybe.  But oh so delightful.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

From Foodnetwork.com

 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch basil

Directions

Slice tomatoes right before serving, put them on a platter. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and pour olive oil and balsamic over the tomatoes.  Chiffonade the basil leaves and sprinkle on top.


 

Callaloo

CanofCallaloo“Callaloo” is the name of a popular dish in the Caribbean and other tropical regions.  While the composition of the dish varies from place to place, the primary constituent is a leafy green (amaranth, dasheen, water spinach, depending).   At Enterprise Farm, our Callaloo plants are members of the amaranth family, a seed stock originating in Jamaica.   The plants like to grow in hot, humid conditions, so our success with the crop depends heavily upon luck with the weather.    When you pick up a bunch of callaloo, you’ll be impressed at its size and heft.  The stems are more like broccoli stems!  The flavor of cooked callaloo is often compared to spinach, although it has a much “softer” mouth-feel.   But it can be easily substituted in any recipe calling for spinach, kale, or collard greens.

Storage: As with most cooking greens, callaloo can be kept wrapped and refrigerated for 3-5 days before the leaves begin to deteriorate.  Left in the open air, they will dry out and turn brown rather quickly.  One way to deal with the short, bountiful season of this vegetable is to chop, blanch, and freeze it in small batches, to be enjoyed at your leisure throughout the year.

Preparation: Both the leaves and the stem can be eaten.  Unlike spinach or chard, the leaves will not cook down in volume.  First, separate and chop the stems; then, the leaves can be chopped or shredded as desired.  You want it to stay green, not turn brown, which is a sign of overcooking.    This plant is delicious steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, made into a puree, or included in soups and stews.

In Jamaica, home of our lead field crew, callaloo is simply steamed with onions, tomatoes, and spices, then served with fish.   In Trinidad, the leaves would be cooked with okra, coconut milk, shellfish, chili peppers, and other seasonings, then used as a kind of gravy for meats, fish, noodles or other main dishes.

callaloorecipeR

Jamaican Steamed Callaloo

Ingredients:

4 C chopped callaloo
1/8 – 1/4 cup water
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 medium-sized ripe tomato, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/3 skin of a scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 Tbsp butter

Preparation:

Rinse and chop the callaloo.  In a large pot, add the 2 Tbsp oil+butter and the water, then add the chopped callaloo on top.  Add the remaining seasonings on top of the callaloo. Put a lid on the pot. Place on a medium flame and cook for roughly ten minutes or until pieces of the callaloo stalks are tender.

This recipe  serves 4.  It is adapted from cookjamaican.com, whose authors suggest it is “best served as a side dish or with bammie and fried plantain or breadfruit for lovely vegetarian breakfast.”


Shallots — A species related to onions and garlic, the shallot has a bulb of several clusters which are covered with a papery skin.  The flavor is rich and reminiscent of both sweet onion and garlic.  When properly cured (dried), they can be stored for up to 2 months in a dark, cool location.   Shallots may be chopped and frozen up to 3 months.  Just be aware that, upon thawing, they’ll no longer be crunchy.

 

 

 

 

About Genevive Bjorn

Award-winning freelance journalist based in San Diego, covering health, medicine, culture and travel.

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