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Spring Greens!

In case you missed this week’s Herald and Tribune….here are a couple of recipes featuring “heritage greens” that you should find at the market this month.

“Heritage greens” are those early wild or naturalized spring greens that settlers eagerly collected to add vitamins and minerals to their diet after a long winter of salted meat and corn mush.

Now these most basic, old-timey plants have been rediscovered—chickweed (try it in pesto), nettles (tea for allergies), watercress (piquant salad green), lamb’s quarters (sautee like spinach). They aren’t weeds! They have found a place on menus at gourmet restaurants, and our vendors are also bringing them to market. Try them to add variety to your spring salads.

Watercress is a leafy green that was brought to America from Europe, and is suggested to have been eaten in Roman times. A native of the Nasturtium, it has a peppery flavor and is full of healthy nutrients. It grows in clear, cold water—something which helped settlers locate fresh water sources, and it helped them prevent scurvy, too. Watercress is good in green salads and on sandwiches, or try this recipe for watercress soup.
*Note: it is important to know the water source of watercress, be sure it is a protected headwater free of bacterial contamination.

Watercress Soup
By market customer Mitzi Sobol
• 2 T. olive oil
• 1/2 Vidalia onion
• 2 shallots
• 3 small Yukon gold potatoes
• 1 clove garlic
• 8 oz. watercress
• 1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
• 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
• Salt and pepper

1. In a heavy soup pot, saute garlic, onion, and shallots in the olive oil until soft.
2. Cut potatoes in small cubes.
3. Add potatoes to sauté mixture. Saute potatoes about 5 minutes.
4. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
5. Add watercress and simmer for about 5 minutes, just to watercress is cooked. Overcooking the watercress will destroy the color.
6. In a blender in small batches, blend the cooked vegetables with the coconut milk.
7. Return to soup pot. Heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lamb’s Quarters is a naturalized spinach relative, with even more nutritive value than spinach. Some say, sautéed in olive oil, it has even more taste than spinach. This recipe from Jonesborough Farmers Market founder farmer Heather Halsey:

Lamb’s Quarters Quiche
Enough for one deep-dish quiche
• Your favorite pie crust
• 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (or similar), grated
• 4 cups packed fine-chopped lamb’s quarters, stems and leaves, raw
• 2 whole eggs
• 5 egg whites
• 1 cup skim milk
• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
• Paprika to sprinkle on top

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• Sprinkle ¾ cup cheese in bottom of uncooked pie crust
• Pack lamb’s quarters on top, filling pie shell close to the top
• Whisk whole eggs, egg whites, skim milk and nutmeg together
• Pour egg mixture on top of lamb’s quarters, slowly
• Mixture should be visible but not as high as the greens
• Sprinkle rest of cheese on top
• Dust with paprika
• Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown and firm in center