When I created my new blog name and decided what direction it was going to go, I didn't really take into account Florida's growing seasons and the rest of the country. When I was harvesting pumpkins in July, many of you were shocked! I also noticed that many people who are part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) are getting their boxes now, and have been for several months. Here in Florida, the CSA's run from November thru April.
So my in-season produce may not exactly be the same as the majority of the readers of this blog. However, many in-season items aren't exactly local, so no matter where you live, cherries are at their peak in the summer. They're generally harvested and shipped from Michigan or the Pacific Northwest. Not exactly the smallest carbon footprint, but because their season is so short, I can't help but buy as much as possible in the small amount of time they're available.
So back to the CSA boxes. My sister lives in Washington, DC, and uses a CSA delivery service. Last week she received a bunch of swiss chard, and asked me what she should do with it. I think the dark, and sometimes bitter greens, tend to stump many people who get CSA boxes. While you may feel like it's a filler, and not very exciting, I would disagree! Many CSA's aren't certified organic, but use organic practices and don't have the time and money to spend on becoming certified. So your one bunch of organic swiss chard runs for $4 at Whole Foods.
I looked through several cookbooks to find a swiss chard recipe, and found this one in Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven. Though we're at the very tail end of cherry season, I had to use them one more time, and this recipe was perfect for that. It hits so many flavor notes, the bitter greens are cut with the sweet onion, and the cherries bring a tart, but sweet flavor as well. This dish has few ingredients, is so simple to make, but will leave you hoping to a bunch of swiss chard in your next CSA box!
VBS Tips and Trades:
-If swiss chard is a little much for you, try substituting baby spinach leaves. Alternately, if you have kale, collared greens, or another hearty dark green, try using that instead.
-If fresh cherries are unavailable, grab a bag of frozen cherries. I love Cascadian Farm's organic frozen sour cherries.
-If you're interested in CSA's, check out this link! And others found on my "Favorite Products" page.
Bitter Greens with Sweet Onions and Sour Cherries
slightly adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
1/4 c. fresh sour cherries, pitted and halved
1 tsp. olive oil
1 c. sliced onion (vidalia, maui)
1 tsp. salt
1 large bunch of fresh greens (4 c.), stemmed and coarsely chopped - I used Rainbow Chard
Splash of red wine vinegar
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet.
Add the onions and salt, sauté over high heat for 5 minutes, turn heat to medium, cover and cook until very tender.
Add greens, wilt down, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the cherries and cook 5 minutes longer.
Add a splash of red wine vinegar, spoon into a dish.