How I deal with greens and a plea for more ideas for using them.

I have loads of greens this year and I'm trying to see that none go to waste (which leads to the annual discussion on the merits of pigs, but I digress).

A lot of the greens are pretty gritty especially after a hard rain and I've found an easy way to clean them. I prepare them and put them in the basket of my salad spinner. I rinse them, but they really need a good soak in order to get clean. There is no place for the dirt to go in the salad spinner, so I put three canning rings in the bottom of the bowl and set the basket on top of them. This raises the basket enough that the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl once it's filled with water . Our salads are a lot less crunchy since I've started doing this!

For those greens that I want to freeze, I follow a procedure that I saw on I clean the greens and blanch them, then cool them in an ice bath. I line a baking tray with parchment and pencil in what type of greens I'm preparing on the corner of the paper. After everything is cooled down, I get a good scoop of soggy greens and put them in my ricer. Once the water is squeezed out, I turn the little "pucks" out onto the parchment paper. I freeze them overnight and then bag them for long term freezer storage. It's easy to pop one or two pucks in a pot of lentil soup or some scrambled eggs in the winter.

Any ideas for what I can do with all of my clean greens (frozen or fresh)?



  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin
    edited June 2020

    I do pretty much the same. Now, 9 times out of ten, I'll just toss them in a pot with some fatback and salt and serve with hot pepper vinegar. But, there are many ways to use them. Most all greens are good in soup. The more mild/less bitter greens are excellent with pasta, either in a cream or tomato sauce. They all pair well with sausage. Even the bitter ones are good chopped up with some baked cornbread that is a few days old, all crumbled up - make a stuffing or dressing with some onion and chicken broth and whatever spices and herbs you like, maybe a little cheese. A very good way to use that is to pound out some pork nice and thin, or butterfly it... spread the stuffing over it, roll it up so the stuffing is all inside, tie it up and brown it in a pan... maybe with a little lemon zest and Worcestershire sauce. If I was going to stuff a chicken with it, I'd add some sausage to the stuffing. Greens love hot peppers, too. A classic where I come from is collard sandwiches - fried cornbread patties with collards and fried, crispy fatback in between. They also work well in frittatas, with eggs. They are great in casseroles, too. And, of course if it is mild greens like spinach, cream of, ravioli and spanakopita are classic... great in in an eggplant or chicken parm, too. Also, really nice with baked fish - serve the fish on a bed of greens... maybe some bacon chopped in and some lemon juice. Another fantastic option is jambalaya - brown up some pork (I usually use chops), some sausage, a few chicken thighs and some shrimp. Then, cook some onions, garlic, peppers and celery. Toast up a cup or so of rice in the veggies, adding a little extra olive oil. When the rice is translucent and smells toasted, add canned tomatoes and your greens, and enough broth or stock to cook the rice. Add the meats back into the pot. Use Creole seasoning, as much as you like.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    If you like Indian food, saag is pretty good.

    Also, most greens make good pesto. I made a kale pesto( with a handful of marjoram) and used it as a pizza sauce. It was pretty tasty.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    You forgot the most memorable idea...that's share with the friends, family and neighbors.

    I do this a lot and other than my older brother who hates to see my bag coming, everyone loves the fresh green's deliveries once a week because I send all kinds in the package.

    My husband and my brother came from the same mold... bitch, bitch, bitch they are not a rabbit!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    To solve said problem, I cook the rabbit with the greens stuffing.... then no one has a complaint.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @Gail H I pretty much do what you do, just clean them up, put in food processor or stick blender with some olive oil. Maybe some other flavours, garlic, lemon, chilli etc. Freeze in little muffin tins, turn out into ziplock bags, label and back in freezer. Handy for curries, soups, casseroles and pasta.@

    @greyfurball it is such a pleasure to share the harvest with family and friends. I was even thinking of building a community swap structure at our property entrance to give away excess. Even add 2nd hand books, magazines, extra seeds, odd bag of horse poo, maybe even a planting guide. Haven't done it yet but the idea still lingers!

    @judsoncarroll4 you sound like a damn fine cook, giving me some inspiration here!

    @blevinandwomba saag is my favourite Indian sauce, especially Paneer! Last time I made it, I forgot to check the chilli level and it was almost unedible! I still froze the rest, might try adding some yoghurt to tone it down.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    These are all some fabulous ideas! Greens are my primary crop this year because they can be used in so many ways. I find I feel better if I eat them daily in some form or another. Lately I've been picking a variety of young, tender greens in the morning and blending them with an apple and enough apple juice to allow blending. I then add in a tablespoon or two of old-fashioned oats and blend until smooth. It is less foamy that way and tastes awesome! It really gives me a big boost because with the variety of greens I get so many different vitamins and nutrients in an easy to digest form. As for cooking the greens, I find it a good idea to fix enough at one time for a couple of meals and some for the freezer, that way if I'm too tired to fix any I can pop them out of the freezer and heat them then I'm done. Sharing is great as well. I give some to the neighbors across the street plus extras of whatever I have that they will eat. This year I'd had a hard time getting all my grass cut and so the husband is mowing my yard, doing the weed eating and blowing off the sidewalks and driveway! I think they are getting the short end of the stick lol but I am ever so grateful.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I forgot to mention that I put the greens in an ice bath in a dishtub for an hour or two, then do a triple rinse with them. If caterpillars or snails are an issue this makes them crawl out so it's best to check every so often.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    How about dehydrated and powdered? Then you can add the powder to soups & broths, sauces, smoothies, etc. for that extra nutrition boost. Or have a spice jar of powdered greens to sprinkle on food at the table.

  • Gail H
    Gail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey I love the idea of a jar at the table! My granddaughter might even buy into sprinkling away on her food.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,023 ✭✭✭✭

    I also freeze greens raw by cleaning then putting in food processor. I've never had a problem and it seems like a lot less work than precooking them. I use a lot of greens in many different ways so a good portion size for me is to freeze in sandwich size plastic bags. I lay the bags on a cookie sheet until frozen so they freeze flat and take up a lot less space. I also dehydrate and then powder them. It's amazing how little powder is created from "tons" of greens so if you have lots to use this is a great option. I live in a hot and humid climate so I tend to throw in one of those little packets that come in supplement jars to prevent clumping. I also make chips from kale and collards. They are delicious and if you don't have a dehydrator you can make them in the oven on the lowest temperature.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,278 ✭✭✭✭

    Such amazing ideas! I have dried mine in an oven before but one has to be very careful. I have scorched them before. I love dried kale as an afternoon snack. This year is a dehydration experiment. First, I will start off with strawberries. I love the fruit but don't have enough room in the freezer. I usually make fruit smoothies.

  • Helen South Australia
    Helen South Australia Posts: 42 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020

    I had too many greens during the late summer weeks, and so I washed a stack of spinach and silverbeet (sorry, Aussie names...) and laid the leaves on the racks of my dehydrator. Within a short time the leaves were completely dried. I then crushed the dried leaves and put the powder in airtight, sealed containers. When I make soups during winter I add a spoonful of the powder - it is amazing!

  • tilellli
    tilellli Posts: 16 ✭✭✭

    I know many blanch their vegetables before freezing them, I used to but I don't anymore. I feel like I am loosing more nutrients that way, in addition to what I loose by freezing. In stead, I invested in food saver and freeze my veggies after washing them and drying them.

    Coming back to our greens, my kids love them in soufflé dishes, quiche and as pizza toppings. I also, add them to lasagna, and rolled eggplant gratin.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin
    edited June 2020

    Welcome to TGN @Helen South Australia Lots of other Aussies here, too, as well as others from south of the equator. We're all helping each other out with differing plant names. Is silverbeet perhaps what we call Swiss Chard? Beta vulgaris ssp vulgaris?

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    Your ricer idea is genius!!! I will definitely be using that this year!

  • valizona
    valizona Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    great ideas. ya'll! i second the pesto and smoothie suggestions. And blanching does lose nutrients UNLESS you save the water to be used in soups, smoothies, etc. One doesn't want to toss out all those water-soluble vitamins.

    One more recipe suggestion I didnt see is to use softer greens--i.e. spinach, young chard--- to make lettuce wraps with. get creative on the fillings too. chopped cooked kale with tempeh (I'm vegan) or bacon (if you're not) and spice it up!

    cooked and chopped greens make great fillers for chutneys and sauces. chunky or pureed. I'd recommend the pureed for those who may need more convincing eating their veggies;)

  • Karen luihn
    Karen luihn Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    Using a ricer to squeeze out excess water and make compact patties is going to be a game changer for me. Great suggestion! For those that don’t have a ricer, a tea towel will also work but it will require quick laundering to keep the tea towel from getting moldy. Another way to use the coked greens (any type will work) is to chop them up and make mudica (sorry I’m sure that spelling is incorrect). My grandmother would make these using Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, whatever greens she had, egg, and Romano cheese and fry them up in olive oil. This was also her go to recipe for leftover breading when making chicken.

  • Karen luihn
    Karen luihn Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I have also read that cooking greens and eating them with a fat of some kind enhances the absorption of all those incredible nutrients.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin

    Welcome to the TGN forum @Karen luihn! I would be interested in learning more about mudica (even if the spelling may be correct). 😉

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Like spinach balls, but fried instead of baked... awesome!