Getting the Most Out of Your Spring Harvest!

Jordan Freytag + photo

Jordan Freytag

Jun 2
3 min read
bubble 0

The coattails of spring welcome additional responsibilities for the gardener as the temperatures rise and as the air becomes drier. The gardener must be sure their crops are drinking enough water but not drowning in it. The gardener also must not let the crops burn in the mid-day sun. Needless to say, the work of the gardener becomes much more rigorous and demanding. But early summer also brings its gifts: the spring harvest vegetables such as lettuces, radishes, snap peas, and Swiss chard.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your spring harvest vegetables.

Leaf Lettuce

This time of year, leaf lettuces are ready for harvesting, and on Sundays, my mother-in-law picks what is ready in her garden and we enjoy the freshest salad I’ve ever had. The trick, she says, is to not immediately wash in cold water, but to let it sit in a bowl of room temperature water for a minute. What this does is open the tiny pores on the surface of the lettuce, allowing the leaves to rehydrate. After a minute, rinse the lettuce in chilled water. The cold will cause the pores to close up, retaining the moisture inside the leaves. You are left with that familiar, cold, crisp texture of lettuce that people love.

Swiss Chard

Same rinsing instructions as the lettuce but fold the leaf in half lengthwise and remove the stem. What makes Swiss chard such a gem is its diverse cooking applications. You can eat the greens of Swiss chard fresh in salads or eat them sautéed with other savory vegetables. But something I learned that I thought a great use of this unique vegetable is use the thick red stems (also called veins) in soups or stir fries. Just slice the stem into small bits (like carrots) and use accordingly. It will add a fresh, mild bitter flavor and a nice red color.

Radishes

The trick to adding extra crispness to your radishes is to soak them in ice water BEFORE you trim their greens. Soak them for up to two hours and then trim the greens.

Radishes are also known as one of the quickest producing vegetables, so you may end up with more radishes than you bargained for. But the good news is that radishes are ideal for pickling. And it is super easy too: create your own brine out of sugar, salt, and vinegar (and any other spices you’d like); cool the brine and drop thinly sliced radishes in; serve immediately or later. These radish pickles will last several weeks.

Sugar Snap Peas

Who doesn’t love picking a fresh pea pod from the vine and crunching down on its enduring sweetness? If spring had a flavor, I think it would taste just like that. But the pea plant can be used for more than its pods. The shoots and greens are edible also! Pea shoots and greens used as salad greens is a delightfully unexpected ingredient that adds character and depth of flavor.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 Comments

No Comments yet! Be the first to start a conversation

  1. What Does the Updated USDA Zone Map Mean?gardener planting tomato plant

    What Does the Updated USDA Zone Map Mean?

    Written By Lara Wadsworth You may have heard a rumor about how the USDA has updated the zone map. The rumors are true! In November of 2023, the USDA released an updated hardiness zone map. What are the practical implications of this for you as a farmer...


    Ashleigh Smith + photo

    Ashleigh Smith

    2024-07-10
    7 min read
    bubble 4
  2. Nurturing The Fierce Green Fire: Aldo Leopoldmountain landscape

    Nurturing The Fierce Green Fire: Aldo Leopold

    Written By Lara Wadsworth “When we begin to see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Such were Aldo Leopold’s words in his most popular book, A Sand County Almanac. This book is now known as one of the ...


    Ashleigh Smith + photo

    Ashleigh Smith

    2024-07-09
    6 min read
    bubble 0
  3. Ron Finley: Empowering Urban GardenersMan harvesting tomatoes

    Ron Finley: Empowering Urban Gardeners

    Written By Lara Wadsworth Have you ever wondered why gardening is often associated with retired individuals or hippies these days? I often do, and think this should change. Ron Finley, a Los Angeles-based fashion designer and urban gardener, also think...


    Ashleigh Smith + photo

    Ashleigh Smith

    2024-07-02
    6 min read
    bubble 0
  4. Rachel Carson: The Mother of EnvironmentalismTractor nozzle spraying pesticides

    Rachel Carson: The Mother of Environmentalism

    Written By Lara Wadsworth It is common knowledge these days that pesticides should be used with caution. While conventional farmers continue to use them frequently, they realize the danger of careless applications. Today, pesticides are applied in much...


    Ashleigh Smith + photo

    Ashleigh Smith

    2024-06-25
    7 min read
    bubble 0