1st Harvest Week <> May 1 - 7, 2000

Leaves & Stems

That's right, a new season's begun, and you can bet there'll be greens in our first share! Seems like I opened last season with a blurb on greens, and so the trend continues. But this time there's a twist -- stems!

Often discarded, the stems of many greens are good eating as well as the leaves. Although I generally remove them when making a salad, I find spinach stems are soft and delicate when cooked, and so I leave 'em on when sauteeing or steaming spinach. (Other cooks may disagree with me here; maybe it depends on the kind of spinach?) Chard and beet-green stems offer more 'tooth', and so I'll chop them separately and start them cooking sooner than the leaves. Kale stems are generally too tough, even when cooked, unless the greens are small. Asian greens (like mustard) I treat like spinach, i.e., I choose to leave the stems on when sauteeing. Try it before you knock it. You may be pleasantly surprised.

I particularly love greens (stems too) when coarsely chopped and put into soups! And beet and red chard stems add great color to a broth. Saute up some chopped green garlic, add your favorite chicken or vegetable broth and heat. Add some chopped greens and cooked pasta, gnocchi, white beans or potatoes, then with the broth boiling gently, whisk in a beaten egg, juice from a fresh lemon, and salt/pepper to taste.

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