WHAT IN TARNATION IS THAT?
When I had my first CSA box in 2006, I remember fruitlessly searching the internet for “green, bulb looking, radish” or “lettuce with plump leaves” and then looking through mountains of images. “Maybe it’s that? It could be that?”
I want to make it easy for you. Here is a list of not so common (and a few common) items and an image (in season order) for you to reference. Along with ideas how to use it and my favorite recipe. As always, if you have any questions, please ask! Enjoy!
SPAGHETTI SQUASH-Spaghetti Squash is a great alternative to wheat spaghetti. You cut the squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Paint with olive oil and roast facedown until soft at 350 degrees in your oven. Then let the creativity begin! Here’s a link to get you started.
FLOWER SPROUTS- These leaves taste like cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts all in one! They are the size of the palm of your hand and there are also small “flower” looking bursts along the stem that are similar to brussels sprouts that are also packed with flavor. Eat raw or sauté!
ELEPHANT GARLIC- Fun Fact: Elephant Garlic is actually an onion! However, you can use elephant garlic in any recipe as normal garlic. There’s a strong garlic flavor and it’s especially good roasted or grilled.
TARRAGON-This herb is part of the sunflower family! It has a taste similar to anise (mild black licorice taste). You’ll use about a tablespoon fresh in most recipes and generally used in traditional French cuisine–especially in chicken recipes.
Here’s a recipe for French Chicken Tarragon. The recipe does require créme fraíche (very similar to sour cream), but it is simply made of heavy cream and buttermilk. Here’s a simple recipe for créme fraíche.
TURNIPS-Turnips are a starchy delicious root vegetable, similar to a potato, but just now gaining popularity. Below is a link to recipes to use turnips in your own cooking. My mouth was watering while reading these.
ORACH-This year we have green orach from saved seed. It tastes like a mild spinach (and can be used interchangeably). It retains many of the nutrients it pulls up from the soil so it’s exceptionally healthy. Use this spring green in salads or wilt in a skillet with garlic, a little butter and a little salt.
BROCCOLI SPROUTS– These are basically little broccoli plants. They contain more than 5 times the amount of antioxidants than a normal head of broccoli. Use them on sandwiches, salads, or in a hummus wrap.
SWISS CHARD– You can use the stem and the leaf of swiss chard. The stems can be tough though. Eating it raw or cooked is your preference. Sometimes I eat it raw in salads, but often I will wilt it or sauté it in a skillet. The stem in the middle of the leaf part is often called a rib in recipes. Below is a great recipe.
BLACK KALE-I have seen black kale labeled as dinosaur kale as well. Confession: I always hated kale until I ate it after it was massaged. Massaging the kale leaves it softer and releases it’s sugars so it’s not so bitter. Directions are in the link below.
PAK CHOI-aka Bok Choy, is a Chinese cabbage. It’s sweet and cooks so quickly! Below is a great recipe.
CHOCOLATE MINT-The name implies a chocolate taste, but it’s named after it’s coloring. I rinse then rip the leaves up and leave them in a pitcher of water overnight. Then I strain the leaves from the water the next day for a refreshing flavored water. You can also add the leaves to a tea ball infuser and pour hot water over it for mint tea. Of course, there’s mojitos. The recipe is below.
LEMON BALM-This is a plant that is part of the mint family, but smells and tastes like lemon. I rinse then rip the leaves up and leave them in a pitcher of water overnight. Then I strain the leaves from the water the next day for a refreshing flavored water. You can also add the leaves to a tea ball infuser and pour hot water over it for lemon tea.
GREEN GARLIC-Green garlic is just fresh new garlic that isn’t cured. You can use it however you normally use garlic. For me, that means practically EVERYTHING! 😀
KOHLRABI-This is in the same family as cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. It can be eaten raw or cooked. I, personally, like to eat the greens wilted in a sauté pan with some garlic. I cut the stems down to the bulb and slice the bulb and eat that part raw. (It’s actually not a bulb or a root, but the stem in this plant becomes bulbous). Below is a recipe for a kohlrabi salad.
Mammoth Basil– Just like regular basil, but with curvy leaves. I love basil on pizza. Have excess? Chop up, pack an ice cube tray with the basil, and fill the ice cube tray with your choice of oil. Then later on in the season, pop out the amount you need and you’re cooking.
GARLIC SCAPES-You can eat the whole scape, including the flowers/flower seeds. It’s like a mild garlic. The scape is the flower stem. Hardneck garlic produces garlic scapes. Below is a link for many ideas on what to do with garlic scapes. I harvest the scapes when there are more straight than curvy for tenderness.
LEAFY GREENS-BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER AND CABBAGE GREENS-Full of flavor and nutrients, these large greens are easy to chop finely and then sautéed with the garlic scapes or green garlic. Or try them steamed! Their taste is a mild version of the vegetable and grow sweeter when cooked! Below is a link to some other cooking (and juicing!) ideas:
LEEKS-Leeks have a mild onion taste. All of the leek is edible, but usually people only use the soft white and light green parts. The dark green part is tough. Leeks go well with potatoes (potatoes leek soup) or use them to flavor other soups, pastas, or dips. Below is a link to my favorite leek recipe.
I’ll add more as the season continues! Happy Munching!Share This: