Wednesday, May 16, 2007

winter greens?

I just found out--from my awesome new book--that kale can grow through the winter. What? Coming from a family that did not eat greens, other than those from the store, this was completely new to me. But it's true--kale is cold-hardy to -10. How about that? And collards will produce until Thanksgiving in some cases. This is great! I love greens in all their forms--except maybe beet greens. I haven't tried those. I wasn't too jazzed about salads growing up. I thought they were fine, just nothing to get worked up about. Then I got a job in Provo (a little less than 2 hours south of here) soon after I graduated from college, and I stayed with my aunt and uncle while I was looking for an apartment. One night we had a salad whose main ingredient was butter lettuce, and I was floored. It was the most delicious salad I had ever eaten. But I grew up on iceberg, which I always thought tasted like bland aspirin. It's strange, because we always had a ginormous garden--why didn't my parents grow spinach? It's one of the most rewarding crops to grow, as far as the sow to reap ratio goes. We grew peas, tomatoes, beets, turnips, onions, cucumbers, summer and winter squashes, carrots, potatoes, beans, corn . . . I'm probably forgetting a lot of stuff, because we were swimming in produce. We tried brussels sprouts and cabbage one year, but my mom didn't like how worm-prone they were.

So it wasn't until I had that eye-opening and palate-awakening salad at my aunt's house that I realized that iceberg wasn't the only choice available. Thus began my magical mystery tour of all that the edible leafy world has to offer. Now I plant spinach and loose-leaf lettuces every year in our garden. I intended to plant collards and chard this year, but: fat pregnant lady. My mom tried chard last year, but found half of a worm in the bottom of her bowl and was creeped out by it. Worms are not fun to see or eat.

Because of my new discovery I ordered some kale and collard seeds this afternoon, along with some herbs. I haven't got any dill, and I need some to do pickles this summer. Emmett is a big fan. I'm hoping to mooch some cucumbers off my mom.