Edible Gardening

SOUP – It’s what’s for Dinner

Witty Rd 0037

Entrance garden Nov 12th

Caldo Verde

I really tried to be good.  But alas, even my “fat pants” are tight.   I’m back on the treadmill now, and back in my garden soon.  Veggies could save me.  Fortunately, delicious hot soup is on my “get healthy again” plan and I have one of my favorite recipes for you below.

I picked the last of the lettuce and arugula from my garden today for salads with zingier flavors that the grocery varieties. My collards are sweeter than ever and growing strong – perfect with New Year’s black eyed peas!   Did you know it’s the sugar in collard leaves that keeps them from freezing through our coldest days of winter?  I’m happy to retrieve my garden green beans and okra (stir-fried please) from the freezer now too for a little change of pace.

My garden has been a bit neglected while my hand is recuperating, but there is actually a lot to do in winter.  This is a perfect time to refresh your mulch, now that most of our leaves are cleaned up and the ground has not yet frozen.  Mulching now saves a lot of time in spring when we will be especially busy with so many other garden tasks (& visits).  Here are some of the other things on my list:

  • Divide raspberries and build a better trellis for them,
  • Create plant markers for my perennials which have all but disappeared underground for the season,
  • Spray fruit trees with organic dormant oil to smother overwintering insects & their eggs (Adelgids, aphids, caterpillar eggs, leafhoppers, mealybug, mites, scale, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies to name a few.) More about Horticultural Oils
  • Plant new interesting shrubs– a Snowberry and Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ (Ordered from  www.ForestFarm.com  where you can find loads of cool plants.)
  • Clean up more leaves and shred them for compost,
  • Cut back my tall sedums and grasses,
  • Add compost to the long row of asters that line my driveway,
  • Mulch my perennial & shrub borders with pine needles or shredded pine,
  • Add green wood chips to my walkways ,
  • Investigate companies who offer organic lawn care treatments,
  • Clear more of the underbrush in my forest to uncover the huge tree trunks that give a peaceful feeling of strength and timelessness  to my woodland.

Now for SOUP!  I love Caldo Verde (green soup) which takes advantage of abundant, colorful winter vegetables. It is fast and easy, and so beautiful you would be proud to serve it at your next dinner party.  If you are a stranger to kale, this is the time to try it out! Among the list of “super foods”, kale is truly the most nutritionally dense scoring a 1000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). The recipe is below. Click here for an easy to print .pdf version:  Caldo Verde.pdf  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

1 lb. chicken sausage links, sliced bite size
(Costco’s Amylu brand Andouille Chicken sausage or the Italian turkey sausage from Whole Foods’ meat counter are good choices.)
2 onions, peeled & chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 large turnips, peeled & cut into 1” pieces
(You may substitute potatoes, but turnips have far better flavor & texture here.)
3 large carrots, sliced
1 lb. fresh kale, stems removed & leaves shredded
3 cups chicken broth + 1 cup water
¼ tsp red or black pepper
2 tsp ground oregano

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pan, brown the sausage and drain.  Add onion and cook about 3 minutes until soft.  Add garlic, carrots, turnips, chicken broth, oregano and pepper. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until carrots are barely tender. Add kale and cook about 8 – 10 minutes longer so that it is tender but still bright green.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Best Wishes for a very happy, healthy New Year!