In the gardens we’ve just finished our annual sweet potato harvest. From Upper-El, Lower-El, and Primary we harvested a whopping 250lbs of potatoes! The potatoes this year were humongous, many of them bigger than a human head, but with all sorts of interesting shapes. No matter what age you are, harvesting potatoes is simply really fun, and the students enjoyed hunting for this delicious treasure. Our potatoes will cure in the greenhouse and then we will make pies, chips, biscuits, and treats galore with them for months to come. Be sure to look for some at the garden market for months to come.
For a Staff Munch in September when eggplant was abundant in the garden, Charlie got down to business grilling, making baba ghanouj, and mixing spices in this recipe of eggplant variations. Click here to see Mark Bittman’s Recipes for Grilled Eggplant featured in the New York Times
Ground Cherries are another plant in the nightshade family and a really fun snack to scavenge for in the garden. They are called ground cherries because you harvest these yummy little fruits after they ripen and fall to the ground. Primary students especially enjoyed harvesting ground cherries this fall and savoring their flavor – which is rather like a cross between a tomato and a pineapple. These plants are really easy to grow, but are hard to find in grocery stores. They make good chutneys and salsa’s, in addition to being good fresh. They grow in most soil types and will do great even in poor soil or pots. Try growing them at home for a delicious fast snack.
Tomatillos are a wonderful and versatile vegetable. The kids enjoyed picking these little “lantern” fruits in the garden and learning about tomatillos and ground cherries this year. tomatillos are a member of the nightshade family (the same family as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers) and they originated in Mexico. We used our abundant harvest to make a traditional green salsa or “salsa verde.” The first step was to peel the husks off our tomatillos and then wash the sticky coating off of them. We then put a tiny bit of salt, lime juice, garlic, and whole tomatillos in the food processor. Push pulse and – SALSA VERDE! Some methods involve oven roasting the tomatillos, but we opted for the fresh version of this classic.
For our end of season gardening celebration we decided to take all of our garden produce to make a delicious soup together! We had cured sweet potatoes from our fall harvest, the last of the fresh sweet peppers, curly kale, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. (We use this recipe often because of the abundance of sweet potatoes we have every year!) GYPSY SOUP! (Recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook) 3-4 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups chopped onion 2 cloves crushed garlic 2 cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes or winter squash 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes 3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers 1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas 3 cups stock or water Dash of cinnamon, dash of cayenne 1 bay leaf 1 tablespoon tamari 2 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon basil 1 teaspoon salt In a soup kettle sauté onions, garlic, celery, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add seasonings, except the tamari, and the stock or water. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cooked chickpeas. …
Last Friday the Upper-Elementary gardening students dove into culinary action as they prepared a Spring Feast from all of the freshly harvested goodies. They prepared a soup, herbal tea, a salad, and strawberry shortbread on homemade biscuits. Carrots, leeks, turnips, lettuce, fava beans, sugar snap pea’s, collards, radishes, mint, and strawberries were all on the harvest list! It was wonderful to see the beauty and variety that the gardens offer this time of year and the kids literally reaped the fruits of their labor on this festive occasion! Hip-hip-Hoorah for gardening and for Spring!
The Fava beans are ready for harvest, as are beautiful Haukeri turnips, sugar snap peas, lettuce, and the jewels of spring — strawberries! This sounded like a recipe for a spring feast, so we prepared Salad, a stir fry, and strawberry honey tea with fennel this week. Students had a lesson in knife skills and got to practice on turnips, onions, fresh garlic, radishes, and berries. They shelled beans, sang songs, steeped tea, and in the end we savored our food together!