From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - April 27, 2023
From the Garden this Week… Snap Peas, Salad Mix (Red & Green, Endive, Spinach, Arugula), Dino Kale, Red Chard, Butter Lettuce, Radishes, Salad Turnips, Flowering Onions, Blooming Broccoli, Purple of Sicily Cauliflower or Romanesco, Fennel, Dill, Parsley, Lemon Balm, Lemons, Grapefruit, Blood & Navel Oranges
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
This week we have lots of greens. These are all tender and can be used like spinach. I usually lightly sauté with garlic and red pepper flakes. For this week’s recipe you can use any of the varieties in this alternative take on spinach dip. The one pound of greens should equal about 10 cups of fresh chopped leaves. This will cook down when completely wilted to 1.5 cups. Chop the leaves first then swish them around in a bowl of water to remove and dirt that will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Then lift the greens out of the water and let them drip dry before cooking. You will want to cook in your largest pan or pot to contain everything. Cover it and the greens will cook down as the water evaporates. Instead of this dip, use the greens in a quiche or frittata or stir into a creamy pasta.
Hot Greens Dip
10 cups fresh greens, washed
and chopped, about 1 pound
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter or oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
bread, crackers, vegetables, and
tortilla chips for your dips
* In a large sauté pan, cook the greens with butter, garlic, salt, and pepper, covering the pan until completely wilted. Let cool, then place in a strainer to remove the excess water. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the spinach mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until dip is bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped parsley then serve with bread, crackers, and vegetables.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas arrived rather late to the vegetable table, served first in 1979. They are a hybrid of the standard (English) pea and the snow pea. Prized for their sweet and crispy texture, they are best enjoyed raw, added to soups, sautéed, or stir fried.
Sugar snap peas contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide many health benefits. Their vitamin C contributes to muscle, blood, and immune system health and their potassium promotes heart and kidney health. They support bone health (vitamin K) and provide dietary fiber to give you energy and keep you moving every day.
What To Do with All Those Greens?
How about trying a Spinach Ball, aka Green Ball? Thank you, Ronda Melendez, for this recipe to use up all the greens. I do not add salt because of the cheese, and the sauce I serve to accompany the spinach balls.
3 bags (1 lb.) of sautéed spring mix,
Spinach, or greens – liquids squeezed out
(I used the WCG Spring Mix and Arugula)
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup of Pecorino, Parmesan, or
1 Tbsp. Herbes de Provence* (or to taste)
OR 1 Tbsp. Dried Italian Herbs
OR ¼ cup Fresh Herbs of your choice
salt to taste (optional dill or red pepper flakes)
* Combine the recipe contents and form into fist size balls (hence the name), or for ease, can be spread into a casserole and baked. Bake at 350 F until it has “risen” (puffed a bit is more like it!) and until a knife comes out clean…about 20 minutes. I serve this on a light “bed” of pasta sauce or finely chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, and basil that has been sautéed in olive oil until the juices of the tomatoes have released.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
To Bolt, Or Not to Bolt…
Ronda May Melendez / Keith F Martin
A beautiful, albeit painful, tension we see in the garden has its parallel in our lives as humans. Last week our garden coordinators noticed the onions beginning to bolt. In other words, they are flowering! Yes, onions have flowers, and their blooming presence is an early but certain sign they are preparing to reproduce. Bolting onions are quite beautiful, but their beauty sounds a lovely but dire alert that they are preparing to die.
Bolting signals that the plant is stressed. The frequent changes in temperature this spring have caused them to panic and push prematurely to seed. Though the gardeners tend carefully to their growth before, during, and after planting, onions cannot control the natural process of flowering and going to seed when adverse or variable conditions suggest their end is near. Bolting means growth energy stored in the bulb is being redirected toward the stalk to form a flower. Growth in the bulb slows, then stops. If the onion flower fully develops, the spent bulb, the part we easily recognize and happily eat, cannot be stored long term after harvest. The same energy that produces its flower and seed preserves it from rapid decay in storage. Therein lies the tension: Do we want bigger bulbs or longer shelf life? Do we harvest smaller bulbs now or larger bulbs later? We can’t plant our seeds and store our onion too.
Profoundly, the seed both diminishes and empowers the fruit. What tension choice creates! We want our onions to be versatile as a Swiss Army knife and do it all: sweeten a salad, cover a hamburger bun, hold for a winter stew, and seed fields for next year’s harvest. The tension between now or later forces us to clarify our purpose and direct our intent. Do we want the most desirable food or need the most fertile seeds? Like onions, humans – No, Donkey, not “layers” or “tears.” – when stressed, may also bolt to survive, but unlike onions, we can assess risk and choose purpose when facing adverse conditions. Should we direct energy toward preserving life or should we store energy for developing something beautiful, sufficient, and enduring?
Choosing to bolt to ensure survival or escape harm is necessary, but when personal safety is not at risk, bolting happens at the expense of purposeful, personal growth in character, insight, talent, or relationships. May God grant us wisdom to discern which conditions truly threaten life and which preserve life and provide opportunity for lasting growth. May we forever choose life!