Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Just Dandy and other free greens!

A years' supply of FREE greens?
This time of the year is great for stocking up on greens to see you through the year.  We gather up dandelion greens, nettle tips, and hawthorn leaves. 
When dandies are shedding their seed heads, try popping them into some tubs in your garden to provide yourself a harvest for next season if you are worried about local cats etc.  You can also do the same to grow your own nettle patch to ensure the plants stay "unvisited" by dogs as local ground might be.
Why would I want to eat these greens?
The greens all keep excellently in the freezer for vitamin and mineral boosts even greater than spinach but for free.  They are particularly good for iron, calcium and Vitamin C. 
Freezing your greens
The dandy greens and hawthorn can be popped straight in the freezer once washed, and they will crumble nicely straight from the freezer into dishes; nettles, you will need to steam for 3-4 minutes to lose the sting then freeze.
8 great ways to use your free greens

  1. Nettle and dandy greens make a great pesto - I find sweet almonds help temper the stronger irony tang and are best used along with a milder green such as baby spinach or your hawthorn leaves.  You can make this with freshly picked and washed dandy leaves, freshly steamed nettle, or either of these straight from the freezer.
  2. This wild pesto goes great on pizzas and pastry tarts.  It brightens up hummus beautifully too.
  3. Use fresh hawthorn leaves in salads and sandwiches (I find fresh dandies, even the youngest tips, a little too strong to enjoy as a salad leaf.)
  4. Add any of the greens crumbled from the freezer or chopped to any soup, stew or casserole for a sprinkle of green.
  5. Add any of the greens crumbled from the freezer or chopped to salsa and guacamole in place of fresh coriander for a lovely fresh dark green flavoursome change (I particularly love dandelion greens in guacy!)
  6. I often use frozen crumbled dandy greens in place of fresh coriander - it doesn't taste identical, of course, but gives a nice flavour to spiced dishes.  Most of our family are not keen on soapy coriander leaves and so the dandies go down a lot better here.
  7. Use crumbled dandies as a herb for other items such as in pate and in pies, or sausage.
  8. Add crumbled frozen dandy leaves and diced tomato to tinned baked beans for serving on toast (this is great with some brown sauce on the side!)
Do you pick any spring/early summer greens? And what is your favourite way to use them?

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