Eating Seasonally: Experimenting with Greens

One of my goals in living more sustainably is to learn how to eat food more seasonally and to preserve foods to eat through the year. I’ve checked out cookbooks from the library focusing on root vegetables and other such winter/early spring produce. Eating by the seasons also means that I need to eat more of the produce that is available. When you purchase turnips or beets at a farmer’s market, they come with their beautiful long and absolutely edible greens still attached. Yes, I mean greens. Yes, cooking greens. Yes, eating greens.

When I hear greens, I inevitably think of sloppy blah stuff that’s served up in a glop with suspicious liquids seeping out of it. Last year’s attempts to eat turnips and their greens were only so-so. I finally created a curry recipe that used both the turnip and the greens that was pretty decent. I’ll try to recreate it this year to share. I also made some beet greens with a splash of lemon juice as a side for my folks who were visiting from South Carolina. My folks liked it. My kiddo eyed me with incredulity, tried it, and politely did not comment. I haven’t delved too far into recipes for greens yet, mostly because the superficial searches I’ve done haven’t yielded copious results indicating a bounty of beet or turnip green recipes. I suspect other people also associate sloppy blah stuff with greens.

I’m cooking another recipe with beets this week (baked macaroni with root vegetables), so I had to find another way to cook those lovely greens. As I was rummaging through the fridge, I noticed we had some tomato sauce leftover from a pizza party the other week. Inspiration! I blanched the greens, which is when you briefly boil the greens, drain them, and immerse them in ice water to stop cooking (something I didn’t know how to do until all these experiments, I mean, who eats greens?). Then, I sautéed garlic and onions a few minutes until they were fragrant. I sprinkled smoked paprika on the garlic and onions. (Definitely use smoked paprika for additional depth of flavor). I cut up the greens and mixed them into the skillet and added dollops of tomato sauce to the greens. I seasoned with salt and pepper. Voilà! A pile of something that looked, well, like mucky greens, but I suspected would be delicious.

A Suspicious yet Delicious Side

The kiddo came out for dinner and eyed the greens skeptically. I could feel her waves of teenage contempt.

“Try it!” I urged (a refrain in our house as our foster kiddos rarely have experienced the weird mostly vegetarian foods we eat around here).

She put some on her plate, giving me “the look.”

We sat down to dinner.

Still giving me “the look,” she poked at the greens with her fork and finally took a bite.

Then she paused, looked puzzled, and asked earnestly, “What is in this?! It’s good!”

I may have done an internal happy dance of joyous celebration, but I tried to keep my chill as I told her how I had made it. Yes, dear readers, that’s right. I made beet greens, and my teenage kiddo would have eaten seconds if I had had more to offer. They were delicious.

I’ll have to keep these experiments coming!



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