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Make your tastebuds ‘green’ with envy

Published 7:42pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March is kind of a no-man’s land for fresh fruits and vegetables.

In fact, according to the Farmer’s Market Authority, there’s only one crop at its peak of the season in Alabama in March. Good thing for us they taste awesome! All varieties of greens are coming into season right now. The early harvest season was mid-February.

March kicks off about a five month season where the getting is good.

Okay. How many people just said, “Greens? Gross!”

I know tons of people who don’t like them, and they sure can stink up a kitchen.

But, if you cook them right, they taste wonderful.

Next time you cook up a mess of turnip greens, add a little apple cider vinegar to your boiling water. How much is up to you. I’d start with about a quarter cup and go from there.

If you prefer collards, add some sugar to your water. Start with a cup and adjust up or down to suit your taste.

In either case, adding a hunk of fatty pork to your water is an absolute must.

Since greens themselves are not too hard to cook, I thought I’d offer a few recipes that may give your greens some kick.

Jason’s granddad won’t eat greens without pepper sauce. It’s surprisingly easy to make.

You’ll need 1 bottle of apple cider vinegar

6 to 8 long green hot peppers

1 glass container with tight fitting lid large enough to hold the quantity of vinegar that you use. Most Heinz vinegars come in a glass jar and are good to use here.

Cut off both ends of peppers and discard. Cut peppers into 1 inch pieces and place in small saucepan. Pour all of the vinegar over the peppers and cook in a saucepan until boiling for approximately 15 minutes.

Let the sauce cool down. Pour peppers and sauce into a glass container and put the lid on tight. Place the container in a cabinet or dark area for approximately 2 months to ripen. A little goes a long way when it’s finally time to use it, so dash on sparingly.

Maybe the only thing better than greens is the “pot liquor.” Here’s a great way to put that to use with some cornbread dumplings.

You’ll need:

1 c. corn meal

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup boiling water

Pot liquor from your greens prepared as you normally would

Combine cornmeal and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir boiling water into the cornmeal mixture and stir to blend well. Using a heaping tablespoon for each portion, shape into balls and place gently in boiling pot liquor from cooked greens. Replace cover and simmer slowly until dumplings are done, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

Tiffany Cannon is a field editor for Taste of Home Magazine and owner of 2ate9 Bakery and Catering in Demopolis. She can be reached via email at tiffany@2ate9.com

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