Pin It

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Harvest: Beans and Greens

Beautiful Swiss Chard
We've been busy, busy the past few weeks and weekends, as I'm sure most of you all have been. Luckily, the weather has been such that we personally haven't been too worried about the veggies left in our garden or the amount of work yet to be done before the first snowfall. This weekend, other than Saturday-morning test proctoring and Sunday paper-correcting, we had no plans! While it seems we have overzealous ideas about the amount of work that realistically can be done in a day, we still managed to get a significant start on cleaning up a few garden beds and harvesting/preserving a bit of food.

First, we harvested three of our four pole bean beds. Our Trail of Tears Black Bean bed was full of skinny, gray/brown pods. Each contained about 8 small beans inside. We managed to get a whole quart of those. Our Mother Stallard bean beds produced about a quart also. Dry beans are a must for growing in our semi-vegetarian  household. We've already decided that  next year, we will triple the amount of beans. Not only are homegrown beans 100% ethical, they are also economical. Compare the price of a burger to that of a homemade bean burger made with beans from your backyard. Crazy savings!
Mother Stallard and Trail of Tears Beans

Plus, beans are just so gosh darn beautiful. The process of planting,  harvesting, picking, and then storing them entertains and tickles all of our senses. Luckily, we have beautiful Christmas Lima beans yet to harvest.

Next, we cut Swiss Chard. We'd been waiting to make a big harvest until a frost hit. In cold weather, some vegetables respond by producing more sugar because sugar doesn't freeze;  hence, the veggies are a bit sweeter. It's worth noting though, that a freeze will kill Swiss Chard, so the whole sugar thing doesn't work beyond a certain point.

This  morning, I froze 2 bags of our Swiss Chard and 2 bags of Harmony Valley Farm's spinach. If you haven't ever frozen greens before, it's super easy and well worth your time. Simply rinse the greens, chop them to desired size, and put them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Then, put them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process, dry them (in salad spinner or by squeezing and draining), and then bag them up. I find we actually eat more greens in the winter because taking them out of the freezer and heating them up or adding them to a soup or casserole is so quick! 

I also stuck a bunch of dry curly kale into bags. No need to blanch! Kale crumbles are the perfect easy addition to winter dishes.
Nutrition for the winter

And now, we're off to the garden. Happy Fall!

No comments:

Post a Comment