A Local Family Eats With the Seasons – Spring Greens in Boxes 2, 3

May 4, 2012 at 7:43 am

This is the time to commit to being a local family.  It is also the time to eat green.  A local family eats within the season.  Each season tastes and looks different.

  • Spring – After a long period of bareness, where food must predominately from storage, green life emerges.  We change our diet from meat and potatoes to one of shoots, leaves, and stems.  Tradition says these spring greens purify and detoxify our bodies after the winter.  True?  Perhaps, but Spring foods are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants.
  • Summer – As fruits and vegetables ripen, we can eat them out of hand.  The best tomatoes require no cooking.  Good, because in the summer who wants to turn on their oven.  Dealing with the heat, we want foods light.   Ample salads also hydrate.
  • Fall – We take in the harvest and partake in meals that celebrate our bounty.  In the Fall, we mix.  Sweet and savory on the same plate, for instance Thanksgiving’s cranberry sauce or the Jewish holiday tzimmes.
  • Winter – Obviously, we want foods that makes us feel full and warm and protected from the harshness outside.  We put much more meat in our diets now, and we rely on staching, filling vegetables.

So, that’s a rough outline of how you’ll eat as a local family.  What does it actually look like in late April and early May.

CSA - Week 2

That’s Week 2 of our Tomato Mountain Spring CSA*

CSA - Week 3 '12

Here’s week 3.

Notice a lot of difference?  You can go back to week 1 and chart the changes (not).  Like I say, in the Spring, a local family eats green.  I will say that by the second week of our CSA, we did have many off-white Japanese salad turnips (hakurei).  Now, all this Spring green is certainly good for your body, but it does tax the repertoire.  This Local Family has already had about seven variations of sauteed greens.  There are other ways to handle your Spring. This guy combined his Tomato Mountain bok choy and red kale together with the one ingredient known to bind all, bacon.

Here’s a couple of ways we’ve tackled Spring.

braised lettuce

Tired of looking at green, you loose a lot of the color of lettuce when you braise it.  You also lose most of the bitterness.  You also gain the knowledge that lettuce can be cooked.  Braising means cooking vegetables in a small amount of liquid at a tempature below boil.  You impart flavor by your choice of liquid.  Stock and white wine were both selections from my wife’s books.  We had neither handy, so used vermouth, which gave a pleasant herbal tang to the dish.  Believe me, it tasted better than it looked.

bok choy slaw

A lot of our Spring greens are brassica’s or members of the cabbage family.  And what’s one of the best ways to make cabbage.  Slaw.  That’s bok choy slaw.  What I did was salt it heavily for about an hour.  This loosens things up and mellows out the flavor.  I then rinsed it well and dressed it with cabbage friendly ingredients like Local Folks whole grain mustard.  A little splash of sesame oil played to its Asian-ness.

It may be a lot of green  in the season, but that’s what the earth provides.  It is also part of the seasonal cycle of local eating and part of what you get now that you’re a local family.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.