The kitchen is filled with gorgeous vegetables. A visit to my CSA, Z Food Farm in Lawrenceville, NJ (www.zfoodfarm.com) yielded riches in jewel tones of ruby, emerald, and deep amethyst. Bunches of kale, swiss chard, scarlet breakfast radishes, purple scallions, bags of string beans, a head of lettuce, and a bulb of frilly fennel came home with me. Unfortunately, I had not yet used all the produce I'd picked up the week before. I was faced with an overabundance of food, and a strong desire not to waste any of it.
What to do?
Organize, of course. Then cook.
I sorted all the produce into age and type, considering which items would wilt or rot first, which could last another few days. The kale and chard would limp quickly, and were not really finger foods like the beans and radishes. Making a salad of lettuce, radishes, scallions, string beans, cucumbers, carrots, and tomato left me with little to return to the crisper bins, and would be the bulk of our meals for two days. The fennel would last, and looked lovely on the countertop.
The kale and chard faced me down. I could juice them, but doing so would leave the abundance of nutrients in the pulp. The pulp could then be used to create a vegetable stock, but I had a freezer full of stock. Hmm. Ah, the freezer!
I decided to freeze the leafy greens. First I blanched chard leaves quickly in salted water, then dried them in towels to remove excess moisture. I placed a single layer of the tender leaves on a sheet of parchment paper, alternating paper and leaves until all the chard was used, and finished with a top sheet of parchment paper. Neatly folded, it fit into a gallon-size freezer bag the way a dollar bill fits into a wallet. Labeled and dated, into the freezer went the chard. I repeated the process with the kale, using the same nutrient rich water I'd blanched the chard in. I let the water cool and then fed it to some unhappy looking outdoor plants. They perked right up. Watching the plants respond so positively, I was reminded, once again, how to perk myself up. A little green goes a long way.
Next time, I'll be talking about the abundance of wind and rain, and what happens when the Norway Spruce meets the Maple Tree. I'll be making a lot of medicine between now and then.