Monday, April 16, 2012

First Harvest of the Year!

A fraction of the gardening operation , chard on the right.
My wife is one amazing, seriously dedicated gardener--she's got green things in different stages of development all year long. We have basil, parsley, and such going in our "bathtub garden," and right now the living room is a makeshift nursery, where she's got little bitty green sproutlets peeking up out of the dirt in preparation for planting in the outdoor garden as soon as it stops snowing around here, hopefully sometime next month.

April 15th--just a few inches, mostly melted now.
But we've already had our first harvest of Swiss chard, which I immediately used in a salad--it's so fresh and tender, I couldn't bear to cook it!

Freshly picked young chard is velvety soft with a delicate flavor.   I still had some of that Tangelo Vinaigrette left over, so making a delightful salad was quick work.

All I had to do was cut out the center ribs, then stack the leaves and cut crosswise into strips about 3/8-inch (1 cm) wide. Then I combined them with slices of baby cucumber, red pepper, and red onion in a bowl and tossed it all with the vinaigrette.

There's something ineffable about the experience of eating food that just moments before was still sucking nutrients from the soil--like munching on a freshly picked strawberry, still warm from the sun--nothing compares with that.

The chard was amazingly fine; if you look closely, you can actually see a little piece of red pepper through one of the strips. Now just imagine biting down on that! It was more like an herb accompaniment for the cucumber and pepper than an actual salad green. Yum!

I can't wait until all these tiny sproutlings are in the ground and pushing out zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers,peas, beans and whatever else my magical garden goddess has planned...


  1. I've never had chard raw and this looks remarkable. You're right... More like an herb than a green. Lovely.

  2. If you can get your hands of the April issue of Delicious Living Magazine (free at most health food stores and many Whole Foods), my "Swiss Chard Raw Wrap" is on the cover (and inside, of course!) Another way of eating chard raw...