Knights in Shining Armour


One of the benefits of growing seeds for Prairie Garden Seeds (run by Judy’s niece and brother, Rachelle and Jim Ternier), is that we get to try out a multiplicity of vegetable varieties. This year’s great discovery has been a variety of shelling pea called Knight. Judy has grown these before a number of times without finding them the least bit impressive. However, they were grown in sandy soil, in a garden far from our houses and the protection of our dogs. Last year, they were a particularly sorry looking specimen. To us, that is. Evidently they looked delicious to the crows, who ate them all. In order to get a yield this year, we planted them closer to our homes, in with the CSA veggies. Much to our surprise, they are producing a fabulous yield of long, juicy peas. With our usual Homesteaders lagging behind, we have decided to “borrow” a couple of rows from Prairie Garden Seeds in order to send you earlier peas. And we will be sure to plant more next year!

Other pea varieties are coming along as well. This week you also have a mixture of edible pod peas (in the bag with your herbs). There are the Sugar Anns from last week, along with Cascadia (a slightly later and better yielding variety, but pretty indistinguishable as far as eating them goes) and some Chinese Giant, which are a snow pea (longer and flatter).

We’ve added basil to your herb mixture this week, along with the summer savory, parsley, and dill. (In the photo above, you can see the source of some of the dill you’ve been receiving; soon the parsnips and peas will be fully weeded and the dill quantities will decline!) And instead of green onions (which will come next week, we promise!), there are some multiplier onions (or shallots). You can use the bulbs as you would other cooking onions, and the tops as green onions.

The other new veggie this week is summer turnip. These are best eaten raw; just peel them and cut them into chunks. A real favourite of Judy’s, and I discovered that the plate I left on the counter one afternoon was emptied pretty quickly in our household too!
There’s lots of lettuce too, so enjoy your salads now. The earliest lettuce is close to bolting (which is why we sent lots) and later seedings are not growing fast in this dry weather. We’ve also tucked perpetual spinach into the lettuce bag.

Last night I created a scrumptious peas and green stir fry. If you use all the peas and basil in a full order and two or three handfuls of chopped spinach, it will feed 2-3 people:

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet. Add:

Edible pod peas, stringed and halved
Shelling peas, shelled
Greens, minced
Green onions, chopped
Fresh basil, minced
1/2 cup cubed paneer (or cooked chicken or tofu cubes)

Stir fry 2-3 minutes until the colour of the veggies intensifies and the spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat and drizzle with Braggs (or soy sauce) and toasted sesame oil.
* Paneer is a very easy to make East Indian cheese made by heating milk, curdling it with vinegar or lemon juice, and then straining out the whey.

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