April 29, 2013

7 Ways to Use All Those CSA Greens

If you were lucky enough to sign up for a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program this Spring and Summer, you've probably gotten one or two baskets and noticed a theme with the contents:

GREENS! They are a staple of Spring CSAs and the varieties are endless. They are one of my favorite things about these weekly baskets. They can also be one of the most challenging since the shelf life is pretty short. Here are a few options for making the most of what you get, especially if you have a house of only two eaters like we do!

1. Pesto

  • Most people know about making basil pesto, but arugula makes an excellent pesto when paired with garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. You can also make pesto from cilantro, garlic scapes, spinach, mint, collard green & olives  - try different types of nuts, cheeses, and oils to compliment flavors. 

2. Blanch & Freeze

  • Chard, spinach, kale, mustard greens (etc) can all be dropped in a large pot of boiling water for 30-45 seconds, cooled in an ice bath, packed in a freezer bag (don't worry about drying, the water prevents freezer burn) and stored to drop in soups, casseroles, and sauces throughout the year. 

3. Quiche

  • Dark leafy greens are an excellent addition to quiches, which freeze fantastically. Prepare as usual, let cool, wrap in foil and place in a freezer bag. Be sure to write the contents on the bag!

4. Marinara Sauce

  • I almost always add frozen spinach when I make homemade sauce. Why not add the fresh right in and freeze or can it for Fall. 

5. Soup

  • If you haven't noticed, the freezer is your friend for keeping greens. Thick soups like potato freeze well and adding a little kale tastes delicious. You can also add just about any dark leafy green to thinner, broth-based soups. 

6. Smoothies

  • Have you had a green smoothie? Don't write it off until you try it! This is a healthy way to use up any of those greens, especially kale and lettuce. Plus, you can make a double batch and freeze it for later!

7. Unwiches

  • I think lettuce is the hardest of the CSA greens to use up. Sammiches are summer staples, but instead of just putting a few leaves in between your bread, ditch the bread altogether and use large outer leaves to wrap the guts up Jimmy John's style!

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