By Maria Price
One of the best ways to enjoy my vegetable garden is by using what I’ve frozen from previous harvests. This week, I’d like to share how I use leafy greens and raspberries from my garden in Christmas dishes.
It’s very easy to freeze leafy greens such as collards, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, and bok choy. To preserve your greens, chop them into small pieces, boil for three minutes, rinse with cold water, and then put in freezer bags.
Raspberries are also easy to freeze, with no preparation necessary. All these items are easy to grow and usually produce more than one could eat in the spring.
For Christmas, I like to serve leafy greens that I harvested over the summer to friends and family in imaginative ways. One recipe I like is collard greens made into a wreath ring with lemon thyme sauce. Collard greens are superstars that rank high in vitamins K, A, and C, along with manganese, folate, and calcium. They are also rich in niacin and riboflavin, as well as carotenoid antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein and the organic sulfur antioxidant lipoic acid. Its ability to bind to bile acids in the digestive tract makes it the most powerful green at lowering cholesterol, especially when steamed.
Simmer 6 pounds of collards, sliced into half-inch lengths, in two cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain, cool, and chop finely. Return to the saucepan and add 1/4 cup butter. Heat until the moisture has evaporated. Pack the greens into a bundt pan, cover with foil, and place in a pan with water that comes halfway up the side of the mold. Simmer for 20 minutes. Loosen the edges of the mold, then place a platter on top and invert. For the sauce, melt 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup flour. Gradually add 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 cup of heavy cream, one tablespoon of fresh lemon thyme, and the juice of a lemon. Stir over low heat until thickened.
I collect raspberries all season and freeze them to enjoy for the holidays. A fresh raspberry pie for Christmas is a delightful treat. Use one quart of raspberries with 1/3 cup water, one cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and the juice of a lemon. Cook on low heat until thickened. Chill until cool and pour into a pre-baked pie shell. Top with one cup of heavy cream, whipped until stiff— prefer to use grass-fed heavy cream. Chill the pie until firm. Happy holidays from the garden!