Well, it’s time to start seeding greens or looking for wild or early ones at farmers markets. Here is an overview of the various ones included in the book and one recipe (of several to follow) for dandelions, which may very well be ready to pick somewhere near you.
Nutritionally speaking, the following are a well-rounded bunch. In terms of flavors, it is skewed toward my own preferences. I like bitter, and crave dandelions. Arugula is in the brassica family and allows those who prefer to avoid kale or even cabbage to carry on fully nourished. Chard is just so much more prolific and space-efficient in the garden and field than spinach, while imparting a similar gentle flavor and nutritional profile, that it is the hands-down winner of the Amiable Green Constituent award. I see parsley as a source of serious nutrition, rather than a garnish, and plant and eat it as a vegetable crop. Thoughts on how to effortlessly incorporate some nettle and kelp in your diet conclude.
Plenty of literature exists on the abundant nutritional profile of dandelion greens. I find that a serving is considerably more filling than an equal amount of any other dish of leaves, and take that as another indicator of its exceptional nutritional density. Dandelion greens are so essential to my diet that I give them their own garden bed.
Though it grows in all but deep winter weather, dandelion grows best in spring and fall when its world is moist and temperatures are moderate. Picking ½ to ⅔ of the leaves per plant seems to stimulate growth, so start with that approach but continue to observe to see if it’s true in your location. For raw eating, gather where no one walks. Wash thoroughly, if not picked from your own untrammelled garden bed. In early spring they are most tender and least bitter, but I still eat them in salad the entire growing season with a bold dressing (a recipe for one such dressing will turn up in another post, when there are other salad greens to add to the bowl).
Proportions of each will be a matter of taste, but start with:
6 T minced dandelion leaves (cleaned and spun dry in salad spinner)
6 T soft fresh goat cheese
1 T each of minced chives, balsamic vinegar, and tamari
Mix the dandelion and chives together on the cutting board.
In a bowl, combine the chèvre, vinegar, and tamari with a fork until thoroughly blended into a dressing.
Incorporate the greens completely. Serve on bread, toast, crudités, or just on a spoon 😉
Laurie Goodhart and her husband co-founded and operated two certified organic artisanal goat fromageries, Nettle Meadow in Warrensburg, NY from 1990 to 2005 and Domaine De Courval in Waterville, Quebec from 2006 to 2017. She created and trademarked the multiple award-winning cheese, Kunik.
Goodhart lives in upstate New York and continues her lifelong work as a professional artist and avid gardener. Since 2007 she has devoted her studio time to an extensive suite of paintings and mixed media work titled, The Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite. She describes the work as, “resonant totems for liminal times”. An iteration of the Lost Sanctuary is currently on view in the gallery of Stephen Procter Studios in Brattleboro VT and can be visited by appointment.
Laurie can be reached through her art website, lauriegoodhart.com