Hand drawn image of Spring and summer greens

Spring and summer greens

Brassica oleracea var. ramosa

Beautifully sweet and tender greens. They need only the briefest cooking: blanch, fry or steam and dress in anything from a simple touch of butter to garlic and soy sauce. They will also add a welcome flash of green to risottos and stir-fries.

Image of Spring and summer greens being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

Dark and loosely packed, these leaves don’t have the shelf life of a more tightly formed head of cabbage. Store in the fridge in its bag, and eat sooner rather than later. Will keep well for 3-4 days.

Prep & Cooking tips

You’ll only need to strip the leaves away from the larger stalks. The smaller central leaves can be sliced and cooked, stalks and all. The best way to chop the leaves is to lay them on top of one another and roll them into a tight cigar shape, then shred them, widthways, thickly or thinly depending on the daintiness of your dish. Wash them well before using.

They are best finely shredded and then gently fried in a little butter or oil. It will only take a matter of mins for them to wilt and become tender. They boil or steam in next to no time or can be stirred into any number of soups, stews and curries for the last few minutes.

Easy ideas

  1. Simple Things needn’t always be complicated. These greens are often at their best simply steamed, boiled or lightly wilted in a pan. A few mins is all you need; cook it for too long and, as with most brassicas, you’ll start to release more pungent flavours. Season with a little salt and pepper. If you feel the need then add a little butter or olive oil and maybe a restrained squeeze of lemon to finish.

  2. A pinch of this and that As a side dish it can be a real cultural chameleon. Fry gently with a little desiccated coconut and black onion seed to set alongside a curry. Sauté in a hot wok with ginger, chilli and soy for all things Asian. Some crispy bacon and fragrant caraway invite a union with something dark and winey. A swirl of wholegrain mustard for a spontaneous Sunday side.

  3. The finishing touch Very finely shredded, these greens make a fresh and healthy finish to a robust soup or stew. A minestrone or ribollita, heavy with tomatoes and beans, would be ideal. The Portuguese caldo verde is simply stock, potatoes, chorizo and handfuls of sliced greens to finish. Even a deep savoury bowl of miso will be enriched with a tangle of noodle-thin greens. 4 mins should be fine on a gentle simmer, serve immediately.

Goes well with

Alliums (Garlic, Leek, Onion)

Asian spices and flavourings

Butter

Cheese

Fish and shellfish

Lemon

Lentils

Mustard

Nuts and seeds

Pork

Spring and summer greens recipes

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In the field

Seasonality

Spring greens are sown in July and August and harvest from January to April. Summer greens are harvested in June.
jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

Varieties

  • Picture of Spring greens

    Spring greens

    Winter-hardy cabbages sown in July and August, ready for harvest during the first quarter of the year when other green veg is scarce. They bring youthful freshness at a time when plates feel in need of a lift after winter.

  • Picture of Summer greens

    Summer greens

    Arriving later in the year, beautifully sweet and tender, they like a shorter cooking time. You should only need to remove the toughest of the stalks.

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