A recent article in Slate by Catherine Price pondered what in the heck to do with “the kale, turnips, and parsley that overwhelm your CSA bin” in these hardscrabble months before tomatoes and corn arrive. CSAs – community supported agriculture – provide participants with boxes of assorted vegetables and other farmed products. They’re a great option for local produce if you don’t have steady access to a farmers’ market. Price writes:
We’ve been members of this particular CSA for about three years, and for the most part, we love it. In August, we receive endless tomatoes. In June, we’re invited to a farm event called “strawberry day.” Every time we resubscribe, they send us a lavender sachet. But each year, toward the end of winter, I run into the Turnip Problem.
Ordinarily, I would never eat turnips. I managed to go 30 years without buying one. But now every winter I’m faced with a two-month supply, not to mention the kale, collards, and flat-leaf Italian parsley that sit in my refrigerator, slowly wilting, filling me with guilt every time I reach past them for the milk.
For most of those excess items, creative cooking is the only solution. For the turnips in particular, though, one option is to stick them back in the ground! I had an extra turnip sitting in my fridge a few months ago, and it started growing leaves out of its top. So I chucked it into a hole in my community garden plot, covered it in dirt up the leaves, and let it do it’s thing. It has now become a rather attractive plant:
Turnip greens may be my garden’s first harvest. Okay, so if you don’t like turnips then you probably won’t like turnip greens either, so maybe this is not a serious solution. And I suppose if I had had twenty or thirty turnips, I would have run out of room in the garden. But for now, it’s a good use of what will eventually become my squash bed. By the time it’s warm enough to put the squash seedlings in, I’ll have eaten the turnip greens and can toss the turnip root into the compost having gotten some use out of it.