Friday, June 11, 2021

Greens and Things - Salad Season

 All winter long there's one thing that I long for.
Blanched and frozen vegetables fill the deep freezer.
I watch the snow fall as the prior years harvest sits on the counter thawing out.
The snowflakes fall out of the sky, tumble through the air and rest on the ground.
Melting into and rejuvenating the soil.
Providing water, minerals, and nutrients for next years bounty.
Lettuce, radishes and many other greens will soon burst from the soil.
Which is what I dream of as I watch the snow fall as my frozen veggies thaw.
Imagining my taste buds dancing and the crisp crunch of freshly picked food.
Grown in my very own backyard.
Dreaming of standing in the urban farm on a warm spring morning.
Seeing if the spring greens are ready to be devoured.
While the birds chirp.
The bees buzz.
The slight breeze going through my hair.
Cooling me down as the day heats up.
Patience is a virtue they say.
There is nothing I long for more on a cold winters day.
Than a freshly picked salad topped with thinly sliced radishes and lovely nasturtiums.
Drizzled with olive oil for good measure.
A dash of salt and pepper for a little zest.
Sitting at the patio table overlooking the garden as I eat the bounty.
Spring cannot come soon enough is all that runs through my mind.
As I watch the snowflakes fall from the sky.
While my frozen vegetables sit on the counter and thaw.
Into a mushy state of their prior glorious existence.
Still tasty but it's not the same.
Nothing beats freshly picked food from the urban farm.
Patience, patience, patience.
Must be repeated time and time again.
Salad, salad, salad.
Cannot come soon enough.

Freshly picked salad in May of 2021 - Lettuce, Arugula, Sorrel, Orach, Spinach, Mizuna and probably lots of other greens.

Holy crap, there's no way that you love salad so much that you just wrote an entire ballad about your love of salad.  Right??  That can't be  Tell us that isn't so Mr. Urban Farmer guy!

You better believe your lucky radishes that is so!!!  My love for salad is most certainly vast and deep.  Anyone who knows me would likely tell you that the main subject I yammer on and on about all winter long is freaking salad.  Salad this, salad that, when is spring going to get here.  I want a damn salad.  Yada, yada, yada.  Store bought salad can go to hell as it's just a tasteless and sad excuse of something that only vaguely resembles a true salad.  We all know looks are superficial and what's below the surface is what truly counts!  What is the taste like?  How much crunch is there?  Does the lettuce have a slight milky residue to it?  What's the firmness of the greens?  How much bite does the arugula have?  How much snap is in the radishes as you evaluate the bitter to sweet ratio?  How much lemony goodness is in the sorrel?  I could go on and on for ages...but I digress.

It's the most joyous time of year when salad season is here and guess what?????


(unless you live in a warmer climate than I do, in which case salad season has come and gone for you already, hooray!)

Greens and radishes are both very easy to harvest.  For greens just pinch the leaves off, leaving the main plant in tact so it produces more leaves.  For lettuce in particular, cut the leaves off leaving the base of the plant in the ground, it will keep producing more leaves.  I like to pinch the big lettuce leaves off, leaving the smaller leaves in-tact so they grow bigger meanwhile the leaves you pinched off start growing back so you get this cascading effect of leaves that are ready to pick and eat.

The bigger lettuce leaves have been pinched off while the smaller ones have been left to keep growing bigger creating the cascading effect of ready to eat lettuce.  That is volunteer dill on the sides that I let grow.

For radishes, bend the leaves back so you can see where the plant goes into the ground, you’ll see the radish bulb forming, when the bulb gets to be the size you want, pull it out of the ground.  Radishes are best when the weather is still mild, the taste of them (this goes for the greens too) changes when the weather gets warmer, they get more bitter.  Plus radishes start getting woody and the plant starts bolting in the warmer weather too.  Bolting is when the leaves of the plant start growing really fast and the plant produces flowers which then produces seeds.  It gets too warm for the plant and it is done for the year, so it starts producing seed.

Radish bulb that can be picked at any time.  Pick them and try them at various stages to see what you consider to be the most ideal time to pick and eat radishes!

You'll notice all of your spring greens bolting once the weather starts getting hotter than balls out there.  As they do so you'll also notice the taste of these greens getting more and more unpalatable day after day.

Harvest them all, eat them, juice them, freeze them, give them away, etc. once this starts happening as they will soon be done for the year.

Salad season seems to come and go in the blink of an eye but it truly is the best time of year!*

Don’t forget to eat the radish greens, they are edible.  If the slight prickliness is too much for you to put them in salads, then you can add them to stir fries, which makes the prickliness go away making them more palatable or you could just juice them!

*If you notice me referring to each and every season as the best time of year that's because it is the best time of year at that point in time.  The only constant in this world is change and our world changes every second which also means that my mind and thoughts are constantly changing and evolving which generally leads to every season and every vegetable being the best at that exact point in time for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment