Skip to content

The Joy of Loads of Leafy Greens and Herbs.

Arugula and rapini planted in my greenhouse in the first week of April are now ripe for the picking, as are some perennial herbs, particularly chive blossoms. Nature waits for no one, so the time is now to savour the tenderness and rich taste. Another week’s growth will make for tougher greens and woody flowers but the sudden abundance is a bit overwhelming.

To take full advantage of what nature has provided, I’ve collected recipes and approaches over the years for freezing and preserving dishes made with copious amounts of garden vegetables. In a sort of anti-thesis to the recipe blog, and to give credit where it is due, I’m linking to the original recipes, adding my tips and practices. 

The first recipe is for arugula hummus. Arugula is like a spicy-tasting spinach. It’s great in salads, instead of the lettuce/spinach, as part of a soup and in pesto. With extra, I’ll blanch it (throw in boiling water for a couple minutes), press out water and freeze in balls. In the dark of winter, these balls of summer goodness (I freeze spinach, Swiss chard and pak choi in the same way) go into soups, pastas and stews. 

The hummus recipe is from Umami Girl. It calls for canned chickpeas, but I soaked and boiled dried ones. Something about the ritual of putting the beans to soak overnight soothes me. I highly recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the soak/boil cycle. It makes the chickpeas soften quicker and come out more creamy, which is great for hummus.

The recipe is for garlic scape hummus but I used blanched arugula instead of the garlic scapes and added five cloves of roasted garlic. I roast whole bulbs of garlic1 frequently. It makes the house smell great, the garlic taste good, and once you’ve done the prep, it’s easier to add garlic to whatever you’re cooking. 

Back to the hummus. I use lime juice instead of lemon, because I prefer the taste. Once prepared, ingredients are pureed together with a hand blender. Tubs of hummus go into the freezer for future use. 

Next is rapini fritters. I haven’t had much luck growing rapini in the past, it bolts too fast, rushing on to make yellow flowers before putting down the thick, leafy stems of the store-bought rapini. This year it’s good enough to try the recipe from Cuesa. I made a couple of substitutions – sauteed yellow onions for leeks because that’s what I had, and instead of parsley, fresh coriander from the garden, self seeded from the previous year. Otherwise, I followed the plan and fritters are tasty. 

I’ve made other types of fritters: zucchini with cornmeal, cauliflower with regular flour, and pakoras which use chickpea flour and any number of vegetables. Fritters freeze well and reheating in the oven gets some of the excess oil out, leaving a crispy, high fibre side dish or hors d’oeuvre2.

The final recipe for today uses chive blossoms, which don’t grow well every year, so I want to make the most of them.

From several approaches for using chive blossoms, including deep frying or sprinkling them over salad and soups as flavourful garnishes, I chose Homespun Seasonal Living’s recipe for corn muffins because muffins make a great portable breakfast. I added some sauteed peameal bacon to the recipe, but otherwise followed it. 

I’ve found that with most muffins the best way to get them out of the muffin tin unscathed is to use paper liners. However, this doesn’t work well for cornmeal, as they stick to the paper. I spray cooking oil on the muffin tin, and these cornmeal muffins fell right out. 

Hummus, fritters and muffins. Not a bad haul for just past the last frost date in my backyard garden. I try to capture every bit of bounty the earth provides, stocking my trusty freezer full of yummy foods to eat later, when the leaves have fallen, the days are dark and ground is frozen. It reminds me of this fabulous time of warmth and sunshine when each week brings new heaps of vegetables to be enjoyed. 

1 This is what I do and I’ve been doing it so long I don’t know who to credit for the recipe: Take off as much of the papery outer layers as will easily come off. Drizzle with olive oil and warp in foil. Roast for an hour at 275 -300 oF, or until a fork goes easily into the cloves. Cool and remove the cloves to a jar (this is messy but fingers get covered in deliciously garlicky olive oil). I’ve kept garlic like this for many weeks in the fridge.

2 Random information: when I was a kid, we had a family tradition of having hors d’oeuvres for Friday night dinner, which we consumed while watching TV together. It’s a tradition I still often keep.

Thanks for reading.

If you'd like more,

sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every week-ish.

Signing up is only for updates when new blog posts are added to my site. If you want marketing spam, you'll have to look elsewhere, but, really, anywhere will likely do 😎

Share this post, if you like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *