If the earth "laughs in flowers," as Emerson once noted, it surely rejoices in wild weeds. Our recipes celebrate this season's most delicious and health-sustaining young shoots.
Caring For Your Greens
Maximize the freshness of your greens with these simple tips.
Since most greens have a short shelf life, purchase only impeccably fresh-looking leafy greens. If possible, choose bunches that have roots still attached. Avoid greens with wilted, yellowed, or slimy leaves. If a few exist on an otherwise vibrant head or bunch, remove them immediately when you get the greens home. One bad leaf can spoil the bunch.
Trim the stems from the bunch. Remove any dying leaves you may have missed. Place greens in a large bowl or clean sink filled with cold water. Swish them around with your hand, and then lift the greens out of the water and into a salad spinner. Spin for a few seconds. If you see grit sitting in the water at the bottom of the spinner, drain it and repeat the process until the water comes out clean. (If you don't have a salad spinner, use a second bowl to wash the greens.)
If you intend to cook your greens immediately, leave them damp. But for salads and storage, you must dry greens; dressings won't coat damp leaves well, and greens stored wet will spoil. After spinning washed greens, spread them out on a clean cloth kitchen towel to dry thoroughly. (If you didn't use a salad spinner, place them in a clean pillowcase and shake well; then lay greens out on the kitchen cloth to dry.) Turn greens occasionally to promote thorough drying.
When cleaned greens are dry, loosely roll them up in the now slightly damp kitchen towel and slide into a plastic bag. Keep the bag open and refrigerate. Greens will keep five to 10 days, depending on their initial level of freshness.
Text by Elizabeth Germain