The calendar says spring, temperatures a few days ago screamed summer and last Thursday it was snowing all day. Wonky weather messes with my eating habits, big time. Heck, last week I made a pot of chili with pumpkin cornbread because I was stinkin’ cold. Over the weekend, we grilled chicken and fish; sitting out in the yard with the fire pit burning and grandkiddos running around like little maniacs.
My conundrum: what I eat is usually dictated by the season; not only the temperature, but what happens to be available. Recently, horror of horrors, I succumbed to purchasing a pint of strawberries. They looked all sweet and inviting sitting in their scrub green cardboard container, emitting lovely strawberry aromas. Sadly, those would-be red garnets were flavor-boring and hence, disappointing.
With all of this gastro-confusion, I’m obliged to go back to convictions. Eat with the season. As a result, a rainy April day doesn’t include vine-ripened tomatoes showered with torn basil leaves or slices of watermelon sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt. More likely you’ll find me consuming pea shoots and other blends of micro-greens, early radishes and tender lettuce.
My local farmer’s market is set to open next weekend. I can’t wait. I anticipate finding baby lettuce, a few dirt-caked carrots, mild spring onions and end-of-the-season winter roots.
While I wait, rather impatiently, for the community garden to open up plots to plant with stuff that won’t fit in pots on my windowsill, I’ll satisfy my craving for green shoots in the form of emerging vegetables.
A sunny ledge is prime real estate when impatience is leading the way. Terracotta crammed with earth and sprinkled with seeds, produces a crop of shoots to add to sandwiches, fold into omelets or toss with other salad greens. It’s pretty fabulous to have a lively bite of young sprouts on a bowl of stew.
Basic how-to’s for peashoots:
- Pick up some organic pea seeds.
- Place seeds in a wide mouth jar; cover with water and let soak for a few minutes. Secure a piece of cheese cloth over the opening of the container and drain the water. It’s okay to leave some moisture in the jar. Place the jar in a sunny window.
- Over the next few days add water, soak and drain until the seeds begin to sprout.
- Now it’s time to plant the crop. Put a couple inches of planting mix in the pot, closely nestling the sprouted seeds in the soil.
- Place back in the window. Keep moist.
- When the shoots have reached three to five inches they are ready to harvest. Snip and enjoy.
The farmer’s market and community garden are my growing season hang-outs, but my windowsill tides me over –