Nothing stirs spring fever like the first green shoots heralding the coming new season, even when your hands are still wrapped around a mug of hot bone broth,
New green tufts of baby onions join the sturdy green of October-planted garlic, everyone rising slowly skyward. Winter worn kale unfurls new leaves of a brighter tender green and the cold frames take on a pale green haze of tiny new seedlings emerging.
The daffodils, braving the snow since late January with their stubby green spears, ease themselves upright, and begin to stand a little taller. Their heads now beginning to swell with new buds that will bend them nearly double again before they find the strength to stand erect in radiant bloom. Spring is so tantalizingly near, but the cold bite of the wind says “Not yet. Not yet.”
Winter’s Legacy – Steaming Bone Broth
Winter has not quite let go, and before it’s gone, we’ll have a stockpile of the rich and aromatic warmth of many a large kettle’s worth of simmering bone broths.
All winter the over-sized pots have kept us warm and provided the ‘stick-to-your-ribs’ comfort that dark winter days demand. Those short days and long nights of bone broths bubbling gently on the stove fill the house with the hearty smells of roasted turkey, chicken or beef bones simmering. Steaming in a sea of onions, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley and thyme. They warm the spirit and the body like the friendly flames of the winter hearth.
These deep rich bone broths begun with filtered water, bones and apple cider vinegar to draw the minerals into the liquid, become a bounty of minerals and essential fats. Then come the root crops and herbs, bringing all the richness of the nourished earth in their subtle flavors.
All winter long we make and freeze up the bounty. Jars and jars of bone broth are divided to chill and use or freeze and keep. The labeled and stored jars stockpiling in the freezer as the fresh chilled jars go into nightly soups so full of vegetables there’s hardly room for the liquid. Come spring there’s a cache of jars in the freezer, ready to serve as a daily staple all spring when we need quick and easy meals with the power to keep us going.
The lengthening days and full schedule of chores from spring cleaning to getting the garden ready for a new season leaves less time for cooking. In the midst of putting away the winter clothes and cleaning out the wood stove, a last snowfall blows through and buries us one more time. New buds and shoots disappear under a blanket of cold white drifts. But in a week they’re free again and miraculously, none the worse for wear.
As surely as garden beds and market farmer’s furrows are erupting in these delicate early greens, winter is over and summer is just around the corner. It’s time to move from the slow dark days of contemplation into the action packed hours of spring.
The Sweetness of Spring
The robins return to herald the dawn, as the sun’s journey arcs ever higher in the sky toward the zenith. The time for planning is over, and it’s time to get out into the fresh air again, at long last.
Each new hour of light brings with it the pressing need to plant, prune, prepare and care for spring’s new life.
Each passing day as the light stays longer, chickens lay more eggs, sheep begin lambing and all the world is busy with preparation for new young. The soil is warming up, and starts and new shoots are opening in greenhouses and along indoor window sills. The meadows grow greener as young lambs and calves nuzzle in the earth for fresh green shoots.
These first of spring greens mark a turning that goes back eons in the animal and human psyche and diet.
The Power of Greens
The early edible greens arrive in the farmers market in a great swath of color. The bright chartreuse to dark reds mustard greens, deep emerald spinach, arugula, and kale, and the multi colored Swiss chard fill the winter-drab stalls with light. Delicate pea shoots curled in their ringlets of pale green are the first to disappear. Covering the tables for a brief moment each morning, they’re quickly snapped up by shoppers hungry for something fresh and green.
The pungent mustard greens, bright chards, and prized broccoli and kale raabs disappear almost as soon as they’re put out; leaving only root crops, leeks and a few over wintered squashes to the late comers.
Filled with the nourishment of the returning solar rays, these early spring greens pack a storehouse of high vitamin concentration revered for generations of humans in rich spring pastures that brought the creamiest of milks, butters and cheeses to the community.
Indeed the sprouts and micro-greens that offer the modern DIY healthy eater, powerful nutrient density are born of this same heritage: the potency of new growth. The power of nature’s storehouse delivered to the world each spring in the brilliant green of new pastures and new young green leaves.,
Whether its the cloud-like fronds of mustard greens, or the slender stalks of pea shoots, or the brilliantly flowered broccoli raab with its tiny pale yellow florescence like a smattering of sunlight through the green tips, each of these plants is a newborn, full of the vital energy of life that will sustain animals and man alike.
These first greens, like the first pasture grasses of spring are rich in vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, potassium, folate and bright green with chlorophyll. Tender and delicate for all their cold hardiness, they range in taste from sweet to fiery, eaten raw, or delicate to pungent steamed for barely a moment. For the best of both worlds and a powerful nutrition boost, serve freshly chopped under a few ladle’s full of steaming bone broth.
Bone Broth Over Spring Greens
I love this as a first meal of the day, but I'm partial to it any time. It works as a warm and hearty snack morning or afternoon or as the mainstay of a light supper. It's a great dish for using up leftover cooked vegetables like carrots, broccoli, sweet potato or any root crop - just toss them, cut up, into the broth as it heats.
Or, add a side of crusty toasted artisan sourdough bread, topped with pastured butter or raw milk cheddar cheese for a delicious higher calorie lunch.
However you eat it, this is a simple, delicious and super nutritious way to get healthy gently heated greens along with healing bone broth and the whole thing takes 5 minutes to prepare.
- 12 to 16 ounces bone broth chicken, turkey or beef
- 2 ounces Spinach large handful
- 2 ounces arugula large handful
- 2 ounces mustard greens medium handful, optional
- 1 dash turmeric 1 shake from spice jar
- dash Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste
Put bone broth in a small pot on the stove to heat.
Keep chilled bone broth in mason jars in the frig for easy cooking anytime. Move a new jar from the freezer every few days so you don't get caught with nothing thawed! 🙂
Chop the greens cross wise in both directions to get small bite size pieces.
Lay your greens on the cutting board, and chop multiple times across the greens, then turn the entire bunch 90 degrees and repeat the chopping.
Place greens in a large mug or deep soup bowl.
You'll have to press the greens down into the mug or bowl to get them to fit, that's fine. Don't worry if they come right to the top. The hot broth will immediately shrink them to fit in the container.
Pour steaming bone broth over the greens."
You can get a lot of broth around all thhose greens. Typically, 12 to 16 ounces in a large mug or soup bowl with ease. Just make sure the broth is simmering hot before you add it, this way it will be the perfect temperature for eating as soon as it's all in the mug.
Garnish with a dash of Himalayan salt, black pepper and a sprinkle of turmeric.
Turmeric is delicious in this mix. A nice healthy shake gives color and great flavor. Since bone broths typically should be made without salt, you'll want to add salt and pepper to taste. The peper also helps your body gett the goodness of the turmeric.
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