On Monday, Global Gardens launched Stay Home, Eat Veg! a recipe-sharing, crop-sharing project.
Over the next 3 months, we will be featuring six crops growing at the Global Gardens site and inviting people to get involved by sharing recipes and some of the Global Gardens harvest.
This week our featured crop is SPINACH.
Sow seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep and give the seeds a real soaking. Keep well watered - spinach grows well in rich, moist, well-watered soil. Try to find a spot in the semi-shade - spinach doesn’t like too much sunshine. When the leaves are big enough to harvest and there are more than 6 leaves, you can pick a few leaves every week or so, leaving enough for the plant to keep growing (no more than half).
You can grow Spinach outdoors from February to mid-March (under fleece or cloche) and from mid March to mid May (without protection). You can also sow again between August to September for a winter crop (under fleece or cloche from October).
Once harvested spinach should be kept in a sealed bag or container in the fridge to prolong its lifetime. It’s best to wash it just before using it, as moisture will make it spoil faster. Give it a good wash before cooking to remove the dirt.
Spinach has a high water content and it reduces a lot when cooked, which is why you’ll need a good amount of it. You can simply put spinach in a pot and steam it. It will have enough water after washing to need no extra water or oil for it to cook. Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C and K as well as folate, manganese and magnesium.
Thanks to everyone who shared a spinach recipe. This week we are featuring three recipes.
The first recipe comes from Vaida who is a food blogger at One Small Spoon as well as a food coordinator in Global Gardens and a volunteer coordinator at Orchard Cardiff.
"My food philosophy has always been about taking small measures to improve our eating habits for ourselves and the planet. I’m always looking for and trying out simple and tasty recipes that could be done on a daily basis without much effort. On my blog, I post simple recipes using vegetables that are in season at the time. It feels as though the knowledge that food is a part of nature and its seasons has been forgotten. I want to bring that back by relearning what’s growing at each time of the year where I live, and what I can do with it.
Butter beans are the base of the recipe I’m about to share. There’s been a butter bean renaissance in my kitchen recently. I’ve rediscovered how tasty they are and how they bring creaminess and body to dishes. I try to remember to soak them at least once a week. I soak and cook them in big batches, so that I can use them in various recipes throughout the week.
Getting in the habit of soaking pulses, rather than buying tinned ones will save you money and reduce your waste. This recipe is quite adaptable, so you can use other greens, such as chard or wild garlic. It can be eaten as a side dish, nourishing breakfast or topped on a slice of bread."
Vaida’s butter beans with spinach
1 cup of dried butter beans
1 bay leaf (optional)
such as thyme,
rosemary, sage (optional)
1-2 garlic cloves
A good bunch of spinach
This recipe should be started a day before. Soak dried butter beans in plenty of water for 8 hours, best done an evening before.
The following day put the beans in a pot with plenty of water and salt. Butter beans are great at soaking up flavour so I recommend adding a bay leaf and some herbs that withstand heat well such as rosemary, sage, or thyme. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer till soft about 45 to 60 minutes. Drain. You can use all the beans or just some of them. You can put the rest in a fridge and use in other dishes, such as soups, stews, purees.
Chop the onion and garlic finely. Pour oil in a frying pan, and gently cook the onion. Once it’s nearly done, add some garlic. Be careful not to burn it. Mix in beans, cook for 1-2 minutes and then add spinach. Cook the spinach until has wilted. Top with some lemon zest and a dash of lemon juice and olive oil. Enjoy!
Iona’s and Pali’s Saag Tofu
Iona and Pali have also made a video on how to cook Saag Tofu, check it here.
Crushed coriander seeds
Fresh coriander leaves
Method (20-30 mins)
1. Toast cumin seeds and split chickpeas without oil
2. Add chopped ginger and garlic
3. Add chopped chilli and sesame oil
4. Add chopped onions
5. Add sea salt
6. Chop and add tomatoes
7. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes then cover with a lid
8. Add coriander seeds and turmeric powder
9. Chop and add coriander leaves
10. Stir and cook on medium heat, then cover again with a lid
11. Finely chop the spinach
12. Add spinach to curry and mix it all up
13. Dice tofu and add it to the mixture
14. Stir it carefully, cover with a lid and let it cook for a bit
15. Add some freshly chopped coriander and salt to taste
16. Let it simmer without a lid to reduce the water
You're done! Serve with rice or chapattis
Lee’s potato cakes with wilted spinach
1 egg + 1 egg for poaching
Boil and mash potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add paprika and cayenne pepper, mix in an egg.
Shape into patties and fry.
Serve with wilted spinach and a poached egg.
Thanks for sharing your recipes! Watch this space for the next crop, which we will announce on the 25th May.
In the meanwhile, Stay Home, Eat Veg!