Monday, November 28, 2011

Multipurpose Vegetables

Today's share is actually pretty big, bigger than I was expecting at least.  From left to right in the photo there are celeriac, brussels leaves, root parsley, and a leek.  The celeriac is really grown for the roots, but the leaves and stems are quite good as flavoring, or even cooked on their own.  There's a bit of slug damage so you may need to pick and choose your stems, but they'll work just like celery for flavoring soups, stocks and other dishes, like my favorite, bread dressing.  Bread dressing happens to go very nicely with mashed celeriac root.  The brussels leaves are from brussels sprout plants and basically will cook up just like a collard green.  We haven't harvested the sprouts yet, but we had to pull off the leaves anyway to get to the sprouts so I figured they should be eaten too.  The root parsley is another that's grown for the roots but has a top that is good for the greens and stems as well.  The tops are basically parsley and like the celeriac, the tops are bit tougher than their cousins that are grown only for tops, but they are packed with more flavor and once you cook them you won't notice any toughness at all.  The roots can be roasted with other roots, or boiled and mashed.  They're like a carrot or parsnip, but with parsley flavor.  The leeks are just plain good, top to bottom.  The greens parts are just as edible as the whites, but are more commonly saved for stock and not put directly into dishes.  There's not really any good reason for this, I think, but I do it that way anyway.  

On the topic of multipurpose vegetables, I just noticed that one of my favorite farm blogs also used a similar title recently.  If you're interested in that sort of thing you might check out the Matron of Husbandry's take on the subject.

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