From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - April 20, 2023
Fresh from the Garden… Romanesco or Head Cabbage, Onions, Radishes, White Turnips, Arugula, Spinach, Salad Mix, Edible Broccoli Blooms, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Dill, Fennel, Cilantro, & Parsley
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
Right now, we have winter vegetables flowering, including our broccoli. You can still eat the broccoli and the flowers. The flowers can also be used to as a garnish, just sprinkle them on top of any dish. At times the stalks can get a little fibrous, but all of the leaves are edible and can be used just like cabbage leaves or kale. Our fast-growing radishes and white salad turnips are ready to harvest, and more are coming this week. These both can be eaten raw, but they are also great cooked. I like to roast them like potatoes or on the stovetop. Do not forget to eat the greens. I included this recipe to use them both in the same dish. If you don’t use the leaves and roots together, make sure to separate them when you put away your vegetables.
Braised Turnips with Their Greens
1 bunch salad turnips with greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cold butter
2 teaspoons honey
* Separate the turnips and greens, discard any yellowing leaves. Wash turnips and cut in half or quarters. Chop the greens and stems, rinse away any dirt if needed and set aside. Heat olive oil in alarge skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add turnips in a single layer, cook 3-4 minutes, without turning. Add parsley and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add vegetable stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until turnips are tender, 2-3 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and add greens; cook until liquid reduces by three-fourths, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the butter and honey, stirring until the butter is melted. Serve right away.
Fickle Weather Affects Persnickety Produce
Frequent changes in weather – from rain to cold to heat and back - have affected the appearance of our Romanesco. Small specks of purple have colored the tips of some heads, and they have started to bloom. The purple specks are caused by anthocyanin, a harmless, water-soluble pigment that darkens when exposed too quickly to heat and sun following freezing weather. Why purple? It’s stylish for youth in bloom! Purple hair is everywhere.
Such effects are quite normal during “shoulder season,” the time of year when it’s too cold for short sleeves but too hot for a coat. How does one dress for shoulder season? Wear a light cover – scarf, wrap, shawl – over the shoulders.
All of our spring herbs are great additions to any salad dressing. This dressing recipe is almost a pesto with a cup and a half of herbs. The lemon balm is mild so you can use a lot. You could substitute parsley or dill, but because of the stronger flavors, don’t use that much.
Lemon Balm-Cilantro Dressing
1 cup lemon balm leaves, chopped
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
* Put all the ingredients except the oil in the blender and blend well. Add the olive oil and blend again. Taste and add salt if desired.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
Condition of the Ground
Keith F Martin
I gained new insight into the garden and ground after learning the difference between soil and dirt. Dirt is ground devoid of life-promoting organisms that plants need to grow; soil is ground replete with life-giving creatures that make plants thrive. Dirt is a lifeless composite of sand, silt, and clay; soil is a living community of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, worms, insects, and other creatures. Here lies the amazing difference: Dirt is dead, but soil is alive. Soil nurtures, dirt deprives. The more lifeless the ground, the more demanding the work to make it thrive. That difference calls Genesis 3:2 to mind: “Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” Eden, which means delight, had provided ideal ground for Adam and Eve to thrive. The LORD planted trees good for food and pleasing to the eye, and they were placed in the garden to care for it, to work - craft, create – with its growth, and to delight in God’s Presence there. By eating fruit from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve scorned their blessing - the garden’s natural beauty and bounty, their creative work and caretaking, and the holy image, favor, and Presence of God.
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Cursed ground becomes hard, resistant, unyielding, even hostile. The ground’s condition provides the ideal metaphor for fallen humanity’s heart toward God. Hostile thorns and thistles grow defiantly. Pitiless ground produces grudgingly. In painful toil Adam tills unyielding ground, plants in hardened fields, and gathers resistant plants by the sweat of his brow all the days of his life. Death returns him alone to lifeless ground, not as dirt but the mere shadow of dirt – dust.
Wonder, though, at God’s amazing grace! He leaves the Garden of Delight to lead us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. He lets us force Him out of the Garden of Gethsemane (Oil Press). He allows us to place His lifeless body into a rock garden tomb. Relentless, He rises and invites us to yield defiant ground to His sufficient work. He can restore hearts - even the hardest, most resistant, and lifeless. We must choose, however, to let the LORD God rework and amend our pitiless ground. There, He replants a Garden of Delight that welcomes His Presence and produces abundant fruit: “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:23)