Spring Sprouts – Week 1 of the 2015 Herb CSA

Welcome Members to the first week of the 2015 Herb CSA!

In this week’s parcel, we have included a number of splendid spring sprouts, sprigs & specialty items.

French Purslane

Burnet

Alfalfa Sprouts

French Sorrel

Chive Blossom Apple Cider Vinegar

Traditionally Purslane would be added in the high heat of the summer, however as we have had bouts of unusually warm weather this spring, we are fortunate in being able to bring it you a little earlier this season.

Also added as a bonus, naturally grown salad bowl lettuce & spinach. We realize these are not herbs, but thought you might enjoy it as an accompaniment to this week’s culinary adventure.


French Purslane

 Purslane

An Omega-3 Fatty Weed, purslane contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other plant source in the solar system, and an extraordinary amount for a plant, some 8.5 mg for every gram of weight.  It has vitamin A, B, C and E, six times more E than spinach, beta carotene, seven times more of that than carrots, magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, lithium, and iron and is 2.5% protein. Two pigments, one in the leaves and one in the yellow blossoms, have been proven anti-mutagenic in lab studies, meaning they help keep human cells from mutating, which is how cancer gets started. And you get all that for about 15 calories per 100 gram (three ounce) serving.

Plus it tastes like sweet peas.

Henry David Thoreau, knew of it, penning in 1854 at Walden Pond: “I learned from my two years’ experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one’s necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner . . . simply of a dish of purslane … which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted. . . . Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries but for want of luxuries.”


Burnet

Burnet 3

With a light, cucumber like flavor, Burnet is an excellent substitute for the vegetable, especially since it is ready to harvest months before cucumbers are ripe. It is wonderful infused in vinegars, marinades & beverages, combines nicely as an herb butter, and is lovely as a garnish. To preserve, chop and freeze, as the dried leaves have little flavor.  Try chewing fresh Burnet to aid digestion.

Burnet was commonly grown in medieval kitchen gardens and was used medicinally to heal wounds and protect against the plague. In the Elizabethan age, the herb was used to garnish glasses of wine.


Alfalfa Sprouts 

 Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts contain a concentrated amount of calcium, vitamin K and vitamin C and are an excellent source of protein. Alfalfa sprouts contain just 8 calories and 0 grams of fat per cup.

Refrigerated, it can keep for four to five days, but the “eat fresh” principle applies. Try not to keep them for too long.

Rinse your alfalfa sprouts thoroughly before consuming.

The name Alfalfa comes from the Arabic al-fac-facah, which means, father of all foods. It has been used for centuries as a high-protein food source for cattle, horses, sheep and other livestock.


French Sorrel

Sorrel

The name “sorrel” is derived from an ancient Germanic word for sour, and it is this refreshing, lemon-like sharpness that has made sorrel an appropriate accompaniment to many dishes.

Like spinach and rhubarb, sorrel must not be cooked in iron or aluminum pots as it will react with them and cause unpleasant flavors. Always use stainless steel utensils for cutting and cooking sorrel.

During the Medieval period French Sorrel was often ground fresh with a small amount of vinegar and used as a meat sauce. Greensauce is an old name for it. Try it with your Chive Blossom Apple Cider Vinegar.


Chive Blossom Apple Cider Vinegar

Chive Blossom

Within just a few days of its 4 week infusion, the vinegar turned a bright pink and developed a lovely onion aroma.

One nice thing about this vinegar is that you are using a seldom utilized part of the plant.

This vinegar can be used as a base for salad dressings or marinades, on sandwiches, or in place of raw onions, for a more subtle onion flavor.

Let us know how you use yours!

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