We’ve had plenty of sunshine, warmth, and rainfall on the season so far, and our plants are growing well. And so, the spring harvest is upon us! This morning, we went out and collected a bit of all the mature foods. Our basket included eggs, beets, carrots, spinach, lettuce, green onions, turnips, radishes, garlic scapes, rhubarb, and even the first few ripe strawberries (many more to follow…). We take care to hold these morsels fresh as long as possible, which includes keeping them cool, shaded, and occasionally covered with dirt!
Now, what good is this food if we don’t know how to enjoy it? Here are our thoughts on preparing these delicacies:
Spinach, carrots, lettuce, turnips, and radishes are all great raw, perhaps with a bit of dressing, perhaps cut down and mixed together.
Beets are especially good boiled or roasted whole just until tender, then peeled if possible and tossed in a vinaigrette. Common accompaniments are pistachios, goat cheese, and arugula.
Beet and turnip greens are perhaps the most nutritious parts of the plant, and can be enjoyed sauteed (especially with bacon and finished with vinegar), and maybe then folded into an omelet.
Rhubarb is nice diced and cooked, say, sauteed with a touch of water along with a healthy dose of sugar to balance the tartness. Rhubarb will also roast well, tossed with sugar (or other sweet things, like strawberries) and perhaps a dash of cinnamon, in some sort of vehicle, might we suggest a pie crust? In this way, it becomes a tasty sweet/tart mush comparable to applesauce.
A garlic scape is the single flowering stem of each garlic plant that pokes its head through the leaves at some point in the spring. The white, tender base is surprisingly sweet with a touch of garlic burn, making it a great candidate for use raw in salsas, relishes, and salads. The green, woodier upper stem may be nice chopped and used like scallions, or made into a pesto (mortar-and-pestle or food-processed paste) with various oils, nuts, and/or hard cheeses.