On the first foods of spring

img_1095When you grow your own, you can’t truly expect uniformity

Wow:  a weekend of warm temperatures, and it’s like we’ve traveled to a different country!  (And all without leaving home, how cool…)  It helps that the majority of the blooming trees are blooming.  Because we live in the fruit belt, we pass probably more different kinds of trees (and orchards full of them) than the average bear; I am teaching our daughter to identify different trees mainly by blossom.  Redbuds and magnolias are easy, but she seems to be able to tell her plums from her cherries.  Even I can’t quite tell the difference between pears and apples so she gets a pass on those.  It’s early yet for apricots and peaches though, as well as the vines and the blueberries; they’ll happen soon enough.

Perhaps you’re not enjoying your own asparagus quite yet, but do you have herbs in your gardens?  Freshly cut herbs in spring are a true delicacy.  They’re still spring tender, not woody, not sharp.  It’s this time of year I make excuses to make lots of herbed yogurt cheese and herbed butters.  Herbed butters can be frozen, too; I have often surprised myself by “finding” one in mid-summer when doing a freezer-filling session:  tossing freshly cooked summer veggies in a pat of chive/thyme/marjoram butter is a great cheat, I mean treat.


Herbed yogurt cheese

  • Homemade yogurt, or store-bought plain: start with 2 cups.  Line a small colander or strainer or funnel with cheesecloth and set it over a small pot or bowl.  Add yogurt and drain; I usually let it go overnight and then give it a final squeeze until most of the liquid is out.  You’ll end up with about a cup of “cheese.”
  • Go to the garden and snip a generous handful of fresh herbs:  chives are lovely, but so is anything else that is up and is green and–most importantly–tastes good to you.  Wash and mince the herbs; add them to a bowl and mix in the yogurt cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • This is especially good on a nice warm piece of toast.

9 responses to “On the first foods of spring

  1. Oh yum! I’ve got newly sprouted tarragon and a seven basil mix. They said to space the basil on the package. I planted it in a pot probably 12″ across. A bunch came up. Pretty purple ones too. I haven’t thinned them yet, thinking “what if I thin out all the lemon basil and don’t know it!” so it just keeps growing. I may thin by cutting it and using it. Right now it’s like cilantro, just growing wild as can be. Oh, I have cilantro too! and oregano and chives and rosemary! Long live herbs!

  2. That looks great. I’ve got cilantro starting to be ready (likely in a couple weeks), thyme soon after that, and am planning on getting basil plants this weekend…. Don’t think there is an herb I don’t like!
    Oh, first picking of my mesclun last night with dinner – fresh salad 🙂

  3. Thanks, that sounds tremendously easy and delicious. I have kids coming in next weekend. I’ll be dazzling them with yogurt cheese for breakfast.

  4. Ah, this goes perfect with my new yogurt obsession!

    (Thankyouverymuch for that, by the way. Your method just “clicked” for me and that, with a newly available local organic milk in our area, has turned me into a yogurt making fiend!)

  5. I grew up on an orchard and I love(d) the spring of blooming fruit trees. I can tell you how to prune *the 60’s way) techniques keep changing and what bloom belongs to what tree.

    I love your blog, I love coming here, and I really enjoy your recipes and those other commentors leave.


  6. Mmmmm, so yummy looking! That would probably be good ON the asparagus 🙂 And I’ve been dining on asparagus since April 21…nearly every day since then, and I’m not tired of it yet (does one EVER get tired of asparagus?!)

  7. same here. Rain, finally! 4 days over 90 degree, more rain, and OMG, everything is shooting up or bulking up!!! yes, asparagus! pea shoots! spinach! the lettuce is exploding, the currants have set fruit and the first filed poppy are blooming. YEAH!!!!

  8. Jules, lookit you, you herb whiz. I would think that even at an early stage you would be able to tell the lemon basil from the other stuff, if not by taste then by rubbing it between your fingers. Vives las hierbas!

    Yay MC. Hope that mesclun was great. And I can’t wait for basil too!

    Ooo, Pamela, did you try it and did they like it? I am not all that big on sweet breakfasts so I would think this was great.

    Sara, youareverywelcome. I am glad to learn you’ve fit the yogurt in to your routine; it’s pretty simple and loads cheaper.

    Aw thanks Linda. Yeah I know: I have heard an earful from the old guy about how I trim the grapevines. But heck, they’re grapevines and they’re almost 100 years old I bet even my pruning won’t kill them. But trends in pruning do change.

    Blaithin, not sick of it here yet either! My daughter came home from my mom’s house yesterday with…asparagus. Geez like we don’t have enough of the stuff here too!

    Sylvie, I know; after such a tough winter I am glad for the explosion, aren’t you? Though admittedly it makes me feel even further behind than I was before! Eeps.

  9. Pingback: Dropstone Farms » links for 2009-05-08

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