I confess: I am not the biggest fan of spring. But one thing spring does have going for it is the emergence of garden-fresh produce, and one of my favorite ways to take advantage is a CSA share. If you’re not familiar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture; basically, you pay up front for a sort of membership in a local farm, and in return get to pick up a basket full of fresh produce every week throughout the growing season. You can find CSAs pretty much everywhere in the U.S.; if you’re looking for one in your area, Local Harvest is a good place to start.
During the CSA season, I like to wait and meal plan after I pick up our share, and plan meals around the CSA veggies. It’s a simple way to eat more seasonally, and of course to ensure none of our produce is left neglected and wilting in the crisper drawer. So today I’m sharing the first week of my CSA share, and what I’m planning to do with all these greens.
Mizuna – this is related to Napa cabbage and Bok choy, but it’s a smaller, more delicate green. It’s also called Japanese mustard, and tastes like a milder version of mustard greens or arugula.
Bok choy – in the grocery store you usually see baby bok choy and really large heads of bok choy; the ones I got this week are medium-sized.
Radishes – if you get root vegetables with their greenery still attached, make sure to cut the stems near the root to prevent the roots from quickly going soft (I learned from experience). Keep the leaves, though – radish greens are edible.
Last night I threw a large handful each of the spinach, arugula, mustard greens, mizuna, and radish greens into a skillet with about half a block of crumbled tofu. Season with garlic, salt, and pepper and serve with toast = 10-minute dinner. I often do something similar with eggs instead of tofu, cooking the greens until they’re wilted then scrambling the eggs in.
I’ve never found much to make with salad greens apart from salad – if you have a super creative use, let me know! The radishes and most of the other greens will probably make appearances in salads also.
I don’t always love arugula in salad, but I do love it on pizza. Arugula + cured meat + fruit + caramelized onions + cheese = awesome pizza.
The bok choy will go into a noodle stir fry – there are so many half-used boxes of noodles in my pantry right now.
Chives usually end up on top of salad or scrambled into eggs. I may try mixing them into cream cheese, spreading on toast, and topping with sliced radishes.
While radishes are usually kept raw, we also like them roasted. I recommend these roasted radish and chickpea tacos.
Rhubarb seems to be an iconic spring…vegetable? fruit? Whatever it is, I have to confess I’ve only cooked with it once (last time I got it in a CSA share). I haven’t decided what to do with it, but I’m thinking something for breakfast, like baked oatmeal, or something to can, like blackberry rhubarb jam.
Our crisper drawers are currently stuffed full of greens, but I’m continually astonished by how much greens cook down. Between that and plenty of salads, I’m sure we’ll have eaten through most of this CSA share by the time I pick up the next one.
Do you have a CSA share?
What’s your favorite way to eat spring greens?