Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Today's Harvest- Turnips & Leeks

It's mid-March, cool and rainy... a perfect day for making chicken soup.  Lately we've been resorting to buying most of our produce from the grocery store, but the garden still has a few gems that wintered over that are perfect for soup.  I picked some lovely turnips and leeks today that were just waiting to be cooked up and appreciated.

Last year was the first time we planted leeks.  We planted them almost exactly a year ago.  They grow really slow which worked out perfectly.  We were able to use our green onions and bulb onions throughout the summer and fall.  Now, we are able to use the leeks which are perfect for winter harvesting and cooking.  They are extremely hardy.   They are not phased by freezing temperatures or snow.  We will definitely grow more leeks this year.  In order to get more of the tender white part on the leek, we should have planted them in a trench and hilled more soil around the leek as it grew.  

I also spotted a slug snuggling up in the turnip greens.  The pesky thing can't wait for us to plant out our tender spring crops.  We'll have to break out the beer traps and Sluggo soon.

The leeks and turnips are all cleaned up and ready to chop.  When preparing leeks, cut off the really tough dark green leaves.  Slice the leek lengthwise in half to clean out any soil that got trapped between the layers of leaves.  To prepare the turnips, I peeled them.  Their flesh was pretty clean because they were grown in the fall.  When they are spring grown they tend to have more damage because root maggots are active in the spring.  If there is damage, I just cut those areas out.

I spent the afternoon boiling up a whole chicken with some veggies and herbs to make soup stock.  Then I cleaned the meat off the bones and strained the stock.  I added an assortment of veggies along with the chopped turnips and leeks to the stock and cooked them up until tender.  I added the cooked chicken meat towards the end.  Meanwhile I cooked up a pot of rice.

Now, it's time for a hot bowl of chicken soup with rice.


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