Palmer Home for Children Greenhouse and Garden Manager Mary Tuggle, right, talks about some of the winter harvest coming from a lettuce table at Palmer Home Monday with Joshua, one of her young assistants. Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff
January 23, 2019 10:35:32 AM
We may not associate cold, wet January with gardens, yet good things are growing. Some of our favorite winter vegetables are surprisingly hardy and cope well with wintry weather with a little care. The cold-weather garden can put a beautiful sweet and savory beet salad on the table, or roasted carrots, or a hot serving of turnip greens, to name only a few dishes.
On a biting, bright Monday afternoon, Palmer Home for Children Greenhouse and Garden Manager Mary Tuggle and a few of her young helpers tended a "lettuce table" outdoors. It's a perfect example of a cold-season buffet. Lettuce tables are sometimes called salad tables, or salad benches. Built on legs, this one is easily accessible without stooping, and it is brimming with healthy eats.
"We have carrots and beets and lettuce," Tuggle said, beginning the list of "crops." This winter, they're also growing Swiss chard, turnip greens, broccoli, kale, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and more.
Holding up a radish he'd just pulled from the soil, Joshua, one of Tuggle's young assistants, asked, "Can I take a bite?" Sure, Tuggle answered, expanding a little on the taste Joshua might expect. All Palmer Home children are exposed to the horticulture program at different levels, depending on age. Throughout the year, they learn to nurture foods from seed to table. They learn to work together as a team, and they learn to taste new things.
"I love broccoli," said B.J., another of Tuggle's helpers. A kid loving broccoli? It might surprise some, but projects like the lettuce table encourage the children to give everything a try. Those who help out during the coldest months learn that feeding ourselves is a year-round effort.
One of Tuggle's personal winter garden favorites is Swiss chard.
"Wilted chard is so good as a side dish with sweet and sour pork over rice," she said. She shares the recipe below. Check out, too, a few more ways to showcase other cold-weather veggies. Garlic Parmesan roasted carrots, anyone?
1 (10-12 ounce) bunch rainbow chard, stems and leaves divided. (I fold the leaf in half and strip the stem out with a small knife.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges,
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts ( walnuts are a good substitute)
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
(Source: Mary Tuggle, Columbus)
WINTER BEET SALAD
Prep time: 20 minutes
2 medium fresh beets
1 package (5 ounces) mixed salad greens
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and sliced
1 small fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Note: To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition: 1 serving: 213 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (12g sugars, 6g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 3 fat, 2 vegetable, 1/2 starch.
GARLIC PARMESAN ROASTED CARROTS
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
2 pounds carrots, washed and halved
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon minced garlic)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (or normal breadcrumbs)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, optional
SPICY SKILLET TURNIP GREENS
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion cut into wedges
1 pound turnip greens cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup water
pinch brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes adjust to preference
SAUTEED SWISS CHARD WITH PARMESAN CHEESE
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
(Source: all recipes.com)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.