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!