It’s hard for me to believe it is already May. But the calendar says so, and a cool wet spring this year has kept things green and growing, which is a welcome change from the hot and dry conditions of 2012. Last week we ate some of the ‘accidental’ Beedy’s Camden kale that sprang up next to the deck where I had gathered seed last year. There’s more where it came from for a later harvest. And the plants are not yet starting to flower, though it can’t be long before they begin.
Something that is flowering is our planting of chives in the kitchen herb garden. I cut some of the flowers to make some Chive Blossom Vinegar. I love to use this infused vinegar in potato salad and other salad dressings. It should be ready in about a week, depending on how strong I want it to be. In just a couple of days it has turned the vinegar a lovely shade of pinkish purple.
Also starting to flower is the overwintered spinach. I pulled the Merlo Nero, which was first to bolt, and blanched and froze those leaves. The Giant Winter is just now beginning to bolt, and we enjoyed some if it cooked up briefly last week. We also had some on pizza. The spring planted spinach is just now ready to harvest.
Not bolting is the lettuce in the cold frame. I harvested enough of the Black Seeded Simpson and Simpson Elite for us to have a Wilted Lettuce Salad the other night. These two lettuces are very similar in taste and growth habit. It would be hard for me to tell them apart if the plants weren’t labeled. The Black Seeded Simpson might be a tad faster growing, but the Simpson Elite is supposed to be slower to bolt. I have them both growing in the same bed this year, so it will be easy to tell which one flowers first.
I love these two lettuces for wilting, because they have big, tender leaves. Red Sails is another one I love this way, but those plants are not quite ready yet. The wilted lettuce went well with hamburgers, though I have to say for me the lettuce was the real star of that meal!
Another harvest this week was mint. I harvested enough spearmint from several plants and varieties (one packed cup) to make a batch of mint pesto. I have to admit I had some reservations about how this would turn out. I love mint, and I love pesto, but how would I like mint pesto? As it turns out, my wife and I both declared the pesto a winner. I’ll have to share the recipe. I used my basic Basil Pesto recipe, using mint for the herb and sliced, toasted almonds instead of walnuts. I debated about putting the garlic in there, but went ahead anyway. It works for me. When I make it again I might try walnuts instead of almonds to give it a little more flavor.
We used the pesto for a chicken and asparagus pasta dish last night. We continue to get almost daily cuttings from the asparagus. We have harvested over 14 pounds of it so far. I imagine we will continue harvesting until the end of May, unless the size of the spears drops off considerably. We’ve already frozen some for use later on in soups and other dishes. It is a joy to have plenty of asparagus for eating this time of year.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of our harvests here in May at HA!
Your chive blossom vinegar sounds like something I will enjoy very much, must remember your recipe when I have chive blossoms. So envious of your asparagus sure wish I have an asparagus bed.
Beautiful jar of flowers and lots of yummy looking stuff! I’m not a big fan of mint, I wish I was, that sounds like a great idea making a pesto with it.
I want to make some chive vinegar too. Last year I used a vinegar that wasn’t all that good. I think I want to try a couple different ones to see which one I like better.
Oh chives blossoms vinegar wish our chives will bloom too. But we don’t have many chive plants yet at our new place compare to our old garden. Look so beautiful in the jar 🙂 . Spearmint pesto I have not tried before but thanks for sharing the idea.
My chives are just starting to do a big bloom. I love it when they flower because the bees adore them and it is fun to watch and listen to them working the plants over. I forgot to report to you on how my Beedy’s Camden kale seeds grew that you sent me. Your harvest pic just reminded me that I had not done that yet (my apologies!). They performed very well in my garden, growing next to the dwarf Siberian improved kale which looks almost identical to the Camden. If they were not labeled I would never have been able to tell them apart. Thank you for sharing those seeds with me. I have enough left over that I can plant a fall crop with them.
Thanks for the report! It sounds like Beedy’s kale is a selection she made from her Siberian kales that overwintered, which is just as she reported. I guess that mainly matter for seed saving, since the Siberian kales don’t cross-pollinate with most other kales.
14 pounds of asparagus, wow!
Wow 14 pounds of asparagus. Now, that might make the mind boggle. The plant just wont grow here.
I was just looking at my chive blossoms this morning – I’ll be making vinegar tonight!
Thanks for sharing your great ideas…. I’m looking forward to trying pesto with different herbs too.
I also want to try oregano pest soon.
The chive vinegar sounds like something I will definitely try this year, once the chives start blooming. And wilted lettuce salad is one of my favorites from my childhood. We always had a garden and the lettuce was always Black-seeded Simpson. I always thought this was a German recipe and German potato salad (another favorite) is a variant with onions added.
I do believe that Wilted Lettuce has German origins. And that would make sense given the large number of German immigrants that settled in our area. German Potato Salad and German Fries are also quite popular here (and with me too).
The pesto sounds great. Combining mint and garlic reminds me of Greek Tzatziki sauce.
Thanks for sharing all your recipes!
Mint and garlic do go well together, for sure.
Do you rinse the chive blooms in a bleach solution? I would think the vinegar would be enough. Also how long will it last in the fridge? Thanks, I look forward to trying this!
If they are dirty I rinse them in water, otherwise the chive blossoms go straight in the vinegar. I would not use chive blossoms from the grocery (if you could find them there), only ones I have grown myself organically.
Thanks Dave. I get too hung up on the details when I read extention info.