December is Holiday Harvest Time at Thomas Starr Middle School

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To close out our fall semester of garden classes, we held a harvest festival of all the fresh lettuces, kales, and veggies growing in our garden! There was so much variety to pick from and everyone enjoyed identifying the different flavors and textures of our many different lettuces, kales, and chards (so much good color there too!). All four classes picked and washed our ingredients before learning recipes that showcase such beautiful produce.

A few of our snap and snow peas were ready to pick, we just washed them and then popped these sweet wonders right into our mouths.

We harvested some carrots and radishes. While they weren’t too big, they were delicious.

We made a holiday harvest salad with a mix of red and green leaf lettuce, plus some green, rainbow, and red chard. We made a lemon vinaigrette that we massaged into our kale and threw all our leafy greens together, adding pepitas and dried cranberries for texture, flavor, and color. The students loved this gorgeous salad–for many of them it was the first time they’d tried kale. They loved it and we talked about how often salad dressings like ranch overpower the flavor of delicate lettuces and how fun it was to taste each individual leaf. We still like ranch, but this salad proved popular and we talked about how the kids could make their own salad dressings at home from just lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Next up we made a yogurt based dip with some of our fresh chives. We dipped veggies from our garden like broccolini and a few carrots into it, plus we had cucumbers and baby carrots from the grocery store as back-up. We did a taste test between our freshly picked carrots and those from the grocery store and decided that while ours looked a lot funnier, they tasted much better–more earthy and spicy than the sweet grocery store standards.

Finally, on our last day together of 2018, we celebrated our great garden by making fresh rolls! Many of the students had not used rice paper wrappers before and had fun working with them. Each student selected the ingredients they wanted from the garden to put in his or her fresh roll. Most students used leaf and romaine lettuce, carrots, cukes, and tons of fresh mint. Some added our beautiful broccolini and hot sauce. Each student wrapped their own roll, and we talked about how similar the rice wrappers were to corn and flour tortillas.

The fresh rolls were a hit! Our December harvest was a great and festive way to end the year.

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