Monday, July 4, 2011

Beets from the Hoophouse and Storing Extra Greens

The heat is on for summer and the squash, beans, and tomatoes are loving it, but we have a few more weeks to savor greens, radishes, and scallions before the summer produce takes center stage. This week's share includes: beets, green onions, leaf lettuce, pac choi, kale, radishes, braising mix, parsley, sprouts, and fresh herbs.

Scott's sister, the photographer, took some lovely photos of our farm
this holiday weekend, including this one of freshly harvested radishes.
Thank you Stacy!
We're pretty much ecstatic about our early hoophouse beets. While the beets in the field are just big enough to thin out some greens (look for them in your braising mix this week), those in the hoophouse are ready for harvest. We seeded one bed of chioggias, two of early wonder tall tops, and a few cylindrical red beets for good measure. They have put on size at different rates in the hoophouse, so some of them are still pretty small. All this means that everyone will get something a little different in the beet department this week. We hope members are as excited about them as we are.

Early wonder tall top greens above,
chioggia beets below. The chioggias are
sweet and tender. Try them raw in
a salad.
If you're not sure how to use them up you can always try this beet brownie recipe. I came up with it last fall as an answer to all those beet brownie recipes that promise to hide the flavor of beets. It has become my go to recipe when I have a few extra beets hanging around and need a way to use them up.

On another note, we understand some members may be starting to feel a little overwhelmed by greens at this point. We want to make sure that everyone gets their fill, but we know you can't always get through all of the greens in your share in one week. If you have spare greens, remember that you can preserve them for later. That way, when the urge for kale hits you in the middle of February (you know it will, you're hooked now) you can dip into your stash of dried stuff, rather than buying a $3.50 bunch from California.

If you are interested in drying some greens, here is how. Kale, beet greens, chard, and mizuna dry well. I haven't tried drying all of the greens in the braising mix yet but I think it should work. I will let you know when I try it.

If you would rather freeze your greens, that's pretty simple too. First you need to blanch them by dipping them in boiling water (place them in a strainer basket and dip that into the boiling water) just until they wilt. Then cool them quickly under running water or in a bowl of ice water. Squeeze out excess liquid, chop roughly, pack into a zip top bag, label and freeze. Kale, chard, beet greens, braising mix, arugula, and mustard all freeze very well.

Of course, if you want to eat your greens up right away you can always try the following quiche recipe. I have shared one version or another of this quiche with members every year so far and I'm sure I will continue to do so. It's fast, delicious, and a great way to eat your greens. Why wouldn't I share it?

Quiche with Braised Greens

This is a very flexible recipe. Sausage works well instead of the bacon. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and cooking the greens in some olive oil. Also, it can be made with just about any green you want, so try them all.

Preheat the oven to 425 F

For the crust:
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

For the filling:
  • Four slices thick cut bacon
  • One bunch green onions, sliced thinly or one small small onion, diced
  • 3/4 pound braising mix (the amount in one share), chopped roughly
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Three eggs
  • One cup milk
To make the crust:
  1. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Stir together the oil and water briskly with a fork until they have emulsified.
  3. Pour the oil and water onto the flour and stir until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
  4. Press the dough into a pie plate and refrigerate while the filling is prepared. 
To make the filling:
  1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until it is crisp enough to crumble. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside to cool slightly.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and stir until it is just soft.
  3. Add the braising mix to the skillet along with fresh ground pepper to taste.
  4. Stir the greens until they are wilted. 
  5. Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet.
  6. Cover the skillet and allow the greens to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
  7. Stir together the milk and eggs until they are uniformly combined.
  8. When the greens are done simmering, remove them from the pan, leaving most of the liquid behind, and place them in the prepared crust.
  9. Crumble the bacon on top of the greens.
  10. Pour the milk and eggs over the greens and bacon.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 425 F. When the quiche is ready, the top will be golden brown and the center firm.


  1. Will there be beets next week as well? Since Patricia and I will be gone this weekend, we're having someone else pick up our share, and they're keeping it for the week. I'm SO looking forward to beets, and am sad that I won't be getting any this week :(


  2. Sorry Aleta, no beets next week. We only grew a week's worth in the hoophouse. We will have more later in the season when the beets in the field are ready to harvest.