It’s summer. And that means your farm market is bursting with all sorts of great-tasting and nutritious vegetables.
There are a few you are probably unfamiliar with, but you shouldn’t be intimidated. Just ask your farmer or run a quick Google search, and you’ll likely find a whole host of ideas on how to use those new and unusual vegetables.
Let’s explore a couple of new farm products this week: kohlrabi and purslane.
Kohlrabi is a light green or purple vegetable with greens growing out of the sides and top. It’s a bit peculiar in appearance, but the flavor is nice and mild.
Kohlrabi is a brassica, making it suitable to enjoy fresh, roasted, fried or any way you might eat cabbage, broccoli or other brassicas.
In the interest of not wasting any of your farm-fresh products, you could enjoy kohlrabi in place of collard greens or kale. My go-to solution for any excess of vegetables during the summer is vegetable fritters.
Purslane is known to the gardener as a pesky weed that appears shortly after you turn your soil and plant a crop. I was somewhat dismayed when I found my carrot bed covered with purslane.
However, I do enjoy the appearance of its succulent leaves and considered repotting some for a pleasant indoor plant. But there was just so much of it, and my instincts told me there must be some other use for it. Being always the curious farmer and not wanting to waste anything, I began to research.
I quickly discovered that purslane is a lovely little herb with a slight citrus taste, and it is high in vitamins E and C, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. I thought the flavor and crunch would make a nice addition to a creamy sauce for the vegetable fritters — and as a bonus, as it’s a nutrient-dense little plant.
Purslane can be used as a substitute for fresh spinach or watercress in salads or on sandwiches. Another option is to use it fresh in a stew to help flavor and thicken it, as purslane is high in pectin.
I also discovered I could dry purslane for tea, which is supposed to be helpful for headaches, sore throats and inflammation. Once dried, purslane can also be made into a powder and kept as a substitute for cornstarch to thicken stews.
This recipe also includes milk kefir, which many readers may not know about. Milk kefir is similar to a thin yogurt but with more strains of probiotics. We’ve previously written about the benefits of probiotics in our article about kimchee.
To make milk kefir, you’ll need to purchase a starter culture or find a friend who can share milk kefir grains with you. You will add the grains to a jar of milk and let it culture on your counter for 24 hours.
We most frequently use milk kefir in smoothies, to make a soft cheese or in a sauce.
Kohlrabi, Zucchini & Carrot Fritters
Tweak as needed with different herbs, spices, and vegetables based on seasonal availability.
3 small carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 cup flour (can substitute gluten free flour mix)
3-4 leaves fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Peel the kohlrabi and cut into large chunks.
Cut carrots and zucchini into large chunks.
Use food processor with shredding attachment to shred kohlrabi, carrots, zucchini.
Dice fresh garlic and basil. Substitute garlic powder if you prefer or do not have fresh garlic.
Use cheesecloth or towel to squeeze excess water from shredded vegetables.
Mix egg, flour, shredded vegetables and salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Heat a griddle or skillet on stove top over medium heat and paint with cooking oil of your preference. We prefer lard rendered from our farm fresh pastured pork fat back, but avocado, coconut or olive oil would be fine also.
Shape vegetable mixture into small fritters to cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until lightly browned and crispy.
Purslane Milk Kefir Sauce
1 cup milk kefir (can substitute yogurt)
1 tablespoon purslane
1 tablespoon avocado oil
salt & pepper
Combine all in a mixing bowl and serve over vegetable fritters.
n kohlrabi: T&L Fruits & Vegetables
n zucchini & purslane: Gaea Farm
n basil: Laurel Creek Farm
n carrots: Bostic High Tunnel
n egg: Rainbow’s End Farm
n flour: Reed’s Mill
For further information or to purchase a membership visit
www.monroefarmmarket.com or contact market manager Doug Koenig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April Koenig maintains a blog at holisticheartrn.blogspot.com and can be reached via email at email@example.com.