Dark Leafy Greens

How to cook and preserve summer's bounty

This summer leafy greens can be found in abundance! They are a wonderful source of vitamin K, A, C, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, fibre and folate (great for expecting moms). When picked young they taste great raw, especially in salads. As they mature they make can be added to smoothies, soups and be stored for future use.

One trick to extend the shelf life of leafy greens (i.e. kale, collards and swiss chard) is to freeze them. Similar to frozen spinach, the best way to preserve it is to blanch or steam it first: Begin by removing the stems and blanch/steam it so it reduces in volume by more than half and brightens in colour (approximately 1 minute). Prepare an ice bath beside your cooking station and submerge the greens or run them under a cold running tap to stop them from cooking.

Make sure to remove as much moisture as possible. Use a salad spinner or pat dry with a clean kitchen cloth. Wrap them in paper towel and put in a freezer bag for a rainy day. These will keep for about a year in the freezer and can be quickly thawed for use.

The following recipe can be made with fresh greens or from frozen. Note: use half the recommended amount of leafy greens from frozen.

Spanakopita

Ingredients

  • 4 bunches kale, chard & spinach
  • 1 white onion, large
  • 1 cup fresh dill
  • 2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 package phyllo pastry
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt

 Directions

  1. Ensure phyllo is not frozen: thaw for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Set oven to 350F.
  3. Wash and dry greens, or thaw from freezer.
  4. Chop onion into quarters and pulse in a food processor. Set aside in a bowl.
  5. In a food processor pulse greens and dill in batches. Set aside in another separate bowl.
  6. Heat a large skillet and add oil. Sauté the onions until translucent and then add greens, dill, nutmeg and salt. Wait for it to cook down by half its size and turn a dark green colour. Turn off the stove, transfer to a bowl and let cool. If using greens from frozen do not reheat, just pulse as recommended in the previous step.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy.
  8. Crumble the feta and add to the beaten egg mixture. 
  9. Once the greens are cool, combine the mixtures and stir well to blend. If you desire more feta, add in the desired amount.
  10. Melt the butter on the stove and pour into a bowl and place beside your assembling station.
  11. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan and brush lightly with butter. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top, brush with butter and repeat the process with 6 more sheets.
  12. Spread the filling into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling.
  13. Spread another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter. Then layer the remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with butter. Tuck in overhanging dough to seal in filling.
  14. With a knife, score the pie into portions and bake in the middle oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.