Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Basics: Greens in Winter

Many preserved treats make winter survivable for summer fiends like me, but the single most important thing for me is fresh frozen greens.

The second the growing season is over, leafy greens in the store look a little faded, have come from far away, cost too much, and don't taste inspiring. I was a skeptic about putting beautiful fresh veggies into the void world of the freezer, but learned that done right, quick braising and freezing keeps produce colorful and tasty. I not only use frozen packets of kale, choy, mustard greens, vitamin greens, and chard in recipes all winter, I eat them on their own, with a touch of lemon or oil or shoyu. They taste that good, and even retain good texture.

The quick and dirty is that you steam greens just until they're wilted, then submerge them in cold water for the same amount of time they steamed. Drain, separate into usable portions, and freeze. For the Virgos among us, here's a thorough guide.

Spending a few hours in the summer preparing greens is, I believe, what keeps me from turning green in winter. Is this the secret winter lovers have known all along?

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