Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Make your own medicine! Fermented Escarole

When I ferment vegetables I always feel that I am making medicine because the fermentation process fosters the same bacteria and yeasts that keep our digestive systems strong. This in turn keeps our immune systems strong.

Fermented Escarole has the added benefit of being a bitter green that supports and detoxifies the liver. Escarole has a naturally bitter flavor, mild when young, stronger when older.

It is easy to start from seed in the garden, doesn't need much attention, can sit in the bed a long while till you need it and stores well in the fridge. The young leaves are good in salad, older leaves are great in a stir fry, especially with garlic.

After fermenting I find that it is still a bit tough to completely chew so I scoop out the leaves, run them through the blender while adding enough brine to bring it to the consistency I like. I add it to salad, beans and have it with meat or fish.


Freshly washed and ready to chop for fermenting


In the jar, ready for fermenting for 3 days at room temp and 2-3 weeks in fridge

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Green Garlic, Fermented!

Green Garlic is garlic grown for the young plant parts rather than just the bulb. Just plant some cloves in the fall and eat them in the following spring/early summer. They don't need optimal conditions yet they give a lot of food.

They are great sauteed and I also love them fermented. Imagine all the benefits of garlic combined with all the benefits of lactofermentation. This is power food!

Recently harvested Green Garlic plants


Green Garlic Scapes or Flower Stalks


Green Garlic stalks, cut and ready for fermentation jar


The jar ready for fermentation period

The white layer is from chopped green garlic bulbs, the light green layer is from the chopped stalks and the dark green layer is from green garlic scapes. I used a horseradish leaf for the leaf layer.

I'll let it ferment for 3 days on the counter and then 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Late Spring Lentil Stew using what grows in Late Spring!

I like to make lentil stew in the late spring and summer because it's a light but nutritionally potent meal. I often serve it marinated and room temperature. This week I was able to use vegetables entirely from the garden for the stew.

I soaked 4 cups of green lentils for 24 hours. They were beginning to sprout by then. I used a pile of radish greens from the radish crop, some hefty Walking Onions and a clump of Green Garlic which is garlic grown for it's stalks, flower stalks and flowers rather than the bulb. Some parts of the Walking Onions and Green Garlic were too tough or unsuitable to use for the stew so they went in to the freezer for the first fall soupstocks.

When the stew was finished I froze some of it for future summer meals. I marinated the rest of it with lemon juice and Kombucha vinegar which is kombucha tea that has matured into the vinegar stage. The kombucha tea was made with lemon balm from my garden.

Green Lentils soaked for 24 hours, starting to sprout


Radish Greens


Green Garlic & Walking Onions


Walking Onions leaves and bulbs chopped


Green Garlic bulbs chopped


Finished Cooking - Ready to eat, freeze or marinate in Kombucha Vinegar


Tough Green Garlic leaves to be frozen for soupstock in the Fall


Green Garlic & Walking Onion roots and necks to be frozen for soupstock in Fall

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Walking Onions

Walking Onions are a fabulous perennial vegetable. They need minimal care and will produce a large amount of food in a very small space. All the parts of the plant are edible!

I use the different parts in salads, sautes, stews, soups and lacto-fermentation. I begin harvesting in early spring when the first greens come up. I continue to harvest the greens and later on harvest flower stalks, flower buds, and sometimes complete plants.

The top photo is my walking onion bed in early spring. The bottom photo is in late spring.

Watch Walking Onion Video! 

As I harvest I keep in mind not to use it all so there will be plenty for next year.

This season I have extra walking onion bulblets for sale!!  20 bulblets cost $21, including shipping and will plant a 4 square foot bed. Planting directions included.

 Order Walking Onions

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This Week in the Garden

Boston Lettuce + one Freckled Red Romaine


Green Garlic Stalks




Harvest on a Bench:
Escarole, Green Garlic, Walking Onion Flower Stalks and Lemon Balm for Kombucha Tea.
The Escarole and Green Garlic were sauteed together with olive oil. Really Good!