Grown by Toos near Cuckfield
Toos Jeuken grows delicious rows of biodynamic veg and fruit over at her feast of a farm near Cuckfield, at the foot of the South Downs. Toos is from Holland where she started her biodynamic farming career alongside her siblings – who are all now biodynamic farmers. Toos has been farming in Sussex for over 40 years and is a dedicated and inspirational farmer – it’s not often you meet someone who loves their job as much as she does.
Big Leafed Spinach and Rainbow Chard
Big leafed sturdy varieties of greens are often associated with winter cooking. But in the spirit of eating seasonally, we need to embrace what we can grow in our soil and adapt cooking when we are lucky enough to have such delicious fresh ingredients to play with.
So, at this point in the season, the big leaves are on the smaller, more delicate size but in a week or so will be flourish and flesh out.
How to store
The greens are super-fresh and will last a little longer if kept in the fridge in a plastic box (not bag) with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. This, apparently, should keep sliminess at bay, if you can’t use the leaves immediately.
Another method, which has received good reviews (although we haven’t tried it yet – we will do and let you know the results!) – is to put your greens into a plastic bag and blow into it to inflate. Seal the bag and keep in the fridge. This allows the leaves enough carbon dioxide to keep them fresh.
This only extends the life of the greens for a few days – eat fresh for maximum flavour and nutrition!
How to cook
Spring greens, chard, spinach and all greens work with simple cooking and flavours. Here are some cooking tips from Great British Chefs.
Throughout the continents, there is nearly always a meal which combines tomatoes, greens and eggs. The Middle Eastern dish, Shakshuka is a perfect way to combine the flavours in this rich Shakshuka with Swiss Chard (or Rainbow, in our case).
If you’re cooking for gluten free diners, then this richly nutty flavoured Chard Tart is both practical (great for breakfasts) and tasty for picnics.
If you’re using the leaves, don’t discard the bright stems. Keep a jar of Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems to hand to eat with salads or in a Buddha bowl…or with rice.
Canapes, snacks, brunch, barbecues – there is always a place for mini-pizzas and this recipe is one we will be trialling over and over again with different toppings. A crunchy base is the perfect texture to bite into with rich toppings. Here’s the recipe for Mini Polenta Pizza with Rainbow Chard and Caramelised Onion.
Finally, chard and pasta go hand in hand like Sausage & Mash or Fred & Ginger. The flavours make a tasty mouthful, especially combined with a soft melted cheese. The Italians famously use Taleggio but in Sussex, we have our ripe, creamy Sussex Brie to use in this gorgeous recipe for Chard Penne Pasta Bake.