It’s not easy being green

Posted on October 6, 2010

It appears that I am experiencing a glut. The Great Silverbeet Glut of 2010. Even after the snails and slugs have been on the rampage, I have enough here to feed a Greek village on spanakopita for months. Trouble is, I tend to treat the garden like a pantry. I leave it out there until I need it. Can’t foresee needing that much silverbeet in the near future. My practical friend K suggested I bring it in, wash it, chop it finely and freeze it. It’s an excellent idea. If one had the freezer space for that much silverbeet.

I blame Masterchef. Was a time when a vegetable was a Vegetable. Now it’s an Ingredient. I’ve made quiche, spanakopita, pie, lamb/spinach curry. I’ve added it to pasta sauce, dahl, and salad. At no point have I boiled it up and plonked it on a plate with a sausage, some carrots and mashed potatoes. That’s how people used to eat it. As a vegetable.

Then again, those same people also ate a lot of chokoes. Steamed chokoes, boiled chokoes, baked chokoes. Choko chips, choko chutney… Did your parents have a choko vine? Dad’s was the wonder of the street. It intertwined along the palings of the back fence, obscene in its fecundity. Obscene to me, anyway. I never liked chokoes. No matter what my parents did with them.

Sisters B and C felt much the same way about silverbeet. No matter what my parents did with it.

Any suggestions on useful things to do with silverbeet will be gratefully accepted. I need to move it along before the rhubarb problem rears its ugly head again.



  1. Liss

    We had the silverbeet glut in Jan/Feb! Now it’s celery. Soon it will be brussel sprouts, cabbages and tomatoes!

    What I’ve taken to doing after I have frozen as much as I possibly can is tie it up like a bouquet and give it to friends – it’s better than a bunch of flowers I reckon, something pure and organic and grown with love – that you can EAT. xx

    Love Jamie – I’ve been a regular follower for well over a year now and have him on my blogroll. It is so inspiring just how much one can produce from a small space.

  2. River

    Pick it, tie it in bunches, sit them in a bucket or ten of water, out by your front gate. Add a “Free” sign and watch it disappear.

    I remember chokoes. Had a “nothing” sort of taste, so were used as a filler vegetable when there wasn’t enough of something else. I remember steaming it, then serving it with garlic sauce, next to the carrots and potatoes, to stretch the budget. We got them free from a neighbour who seemed to have thousands of them.

  3. MultipleMum

    I missed this post this morning. Your reference to chokoes made my throat involuntarily squeeze in. Not called chokoes for nothing it seems…

  4. Toni

    We did the same thing with cucumbers one year, planted stacks figuring most of them would die in the desert sun, and wouldn’t you know it, they all grew like crazy.
    I can’t help you, as I’m the only one in our family that eats outre things like silverbeet and brussel sprouts 🙁

  5. Anonymous

    sorry pass word seems not to be working….. also meant to add above that if the kids are not sure about selling … just put out the honesty tin… i’ve never not put any money in the tin when i’ve come across one and i’m sure most in fibrotown would be the same. Joli

  6. Anonymous

    set the kids up out the front with a table load some silverbeet into buckets and let the kids sell it for 10c a stem/leaf……. pocket money… My youngest daughter and her cousins spent the last holidays at their Nan & Pops farm they set up a table outside the old dairy and got to work selling their Pops produce to the neighbours (who would normally get it free from Pop lol).. they made $30.00 for the day and were very very happy…. mind you they didnt offer to share any of their loot with Pop either!!

  7. Green Mama

    And here’s me absolutely loving my glut. Except for when it’s stuck between my teeth… I saute the stems chopped into 1cm pieces with garlic and olive oil til soft, put the shredded leaves on top, drizzle more olive oil over it, put lid on for 3-5 minutes, stir some toasted pinenuts through, and done! Love it. Sometimes I stir this mixture through eggs to make a frittata as well…

  8. Bodaciousboomer

    Sorry kiddo. You’re on your own. I don’t know what a siverbeet is.

  9. Lucy

    I have a freezer shelf loaded with Glad bags of steamed & pureed bloody silver beat. I do sneakily chuck this into spag bol & casseroles etc, when I remember to. Not really for any nutritional worth, to be honest, just to get rid of the bloody stuff – we had a glut too, of silver beat, two or three years ago: the stuff never seems to go away. The problem just moved: out of the garden, into my freezer.

    I even tried some fancy tempura style. Even fried in batter no one wanted to eat the bloody stuff.

    (Silver beat no more. I have him concentrating on tomatoes & beetroot only, now. Oh, and rhubarb…..)

  10. Tricia Rose

    Ugh, chokos. I remember.

    I don’t know if your lot would go for madly healthy green smoothies – just add handfuls of greens to fruit smoothies. Taste better than they look.

    Re. ingredients: best backhanded compliment from younger son, “You don’t ever have FOOD in the kitchen – only INGREDIENTS!”

  11. Rebecca Newman

    As a child I would reluctantly eat anything if ordered sternly. But silverbeet and brussels sprouts were the only two vegetables that made me gag. I still can’t face brussels sprouts, but if you chop silverbeet up and hide it in something I will eat it.

    Evil suggestion for silverbeet glut: chop it up finely and put it in the worm farm. 🙂

  12. magicgardencymru

    Ah ha! You have a silverbeet glut.I find some comfort in this as I am no stranger to a veg glut myself. We favour a courgette glut around these parts. Since blogging about said glut I received many thoughtful replies from some lovely,friendly people with ideas as to what I could do with my glut. Many were recipes. Some I cooked, and they were very tasty. In short, I am in sympathy, and I hope that you too get sent many suggestions from many lovely people as to what can be made from your glorious silverbeet glut!

    I hope that your rhubarb situation remains under control. I am due a sprout glut shortly.

  13. Jamie

    Allison, thanks for the plug, but silver beet gluts I have known a few! All you need is one measly punnet of seedlings to create a glut eight weeks down the line. (And rainbow chard is just another type of silver beet which provides you with nice technicolor gluts).
    What to do with silver beet? Steam, freeze. Use later on.

  14. allison tait

    @ClaireyH – um, ‘spices of some kind’ doesn’t really help me, especially now you’ve told me it’s delicious. You have reminded me that spinach cooks down to nothing though…

  15. allison tait

    @Emma. I think you’re probably on to something with that. Trouble is, most of my neighbours seem to be drowning in silverbeet as well. And I have NO idea what to do with rainbow chard.

    @Siobhan – what DO you do with rainbow chard?

  16. ClaireyH

    I can’t cook, truly am crap at it. But, I did a morroccan cooking course and we boiled up lots of silver beet in lemon juice and spices of some kind, it needed HEAPS, was cooked for about half an hour and was super tasty, the first time I actually liked eating it. I reckon you could get rid of five kilos of it this way. Of course domestic goddess failure me has not got the receipe.

  17. Emma

    Maybe you could swap some silverbeet with a neighbour…friend… or a fellow blogger (like Siobahn for some rainbow chard) or whatever veggie they have a glut of!

  18. Siobhan

    I too am in a vegetable glut of the rainbow chard variety. The bastards won’t stop growing!

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