Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Swimming in Greens

Spring is leaf time, in the world of vegetannual.  (Which btw, if you haven't checked out this site or Animal, Vegetable, Mineral I highly recommend them) And let me tell you, we are swimming in leaves!  Mostly arugula, but some spinach too.  This is the first year that we've been able to successfully grow spinach.

This past week, I broke my own rule about overindulging in whats in season (as opposed to eating it at a normal rate and preserving the rest) but I'm intent on not doing that from now on.  We had Pizza with arugula & Goat cheese, two types of arugula pastas (this one is my fav, though it could use some browned onions) , and carmelized onion & arugula souffle.  And, because I don't know of any way to preserve it, we'll be having salads for lunch until the cows come home.

Today's Arugula & Spinach harvests, however were set for preservation.

Step number one: wash the greens, thoroughly!  For me, this usually means at least 3 times around the salad spinner.

Prep your pots: One of boiling water, one of ice water and a couple of strainers.  If you have a steamer or "spaghetti pot", that would be best fot the boiling pot, but I don't have either.  

Chop your greens if you think they need it.  I roughly chopped the longer-leafed arugula, but not the spinach

Blanche most greens for 2 minutes.  Collards require 3.  

Transfer immediately to ice water until cool, and drain squeezing all excess water out.  

Not so much volume anymore

Then transfer to marked zip-locs or vaccuum bags

A helpful tip for folks working with a vaccuum sealer:  many moist items (like any kind of blanched vegetable) that are still sucking water when the machine seals the bag, will wind up with an incomplete seal.  Always check for it, and if you find you have an incomplete seal, immediately fold the bag down at the seal and use the instant seal setting on it this time.  It has always worked to give me good hearty sealed bag.  

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