Greenhouse Newsletter | March

Upcoming Events

There are a lot of exciting new classes being offered at the Greenhouse and Kitchen! Come participate in a workshop on seed starting to kick start your spring garden, learn about identifying edible foods in the wild and using them in the kitchen with Chef Noah Sheetz of Chef’s Consortium, or check out one of our upcoming fermentation series classes!

Click here to see our full schedule

The Greenhouse & Kitchen is located at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park, 679 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10031

Plant of the month: Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena, or Aloysia citriodora, is a strongly scented and flavorful herb in the verbenaceae family. Native to Argentina and Chile, lemon verbena can grow up to 10-15 feet tall in the tropics, and 2-4 feet tall in containers. Lemon verbena is the most strongly scented and intense of all lemon foliage plants. Ever since it was imported to Europe from Spain’s South American colonies in the 18th century, lemon verbena has become a globally accessible herb used for its medicinal effects and qualities as a food additive. Its leaves can be used in beverages and desserts, or to flavor meat and vegetable dishes, as well as in perfumes, cosmetics, potpourris, and herbal medicines. Lemon verbena is rich in antioxidants, and boasts a number of health benefits when used medicinally. This herb is typically used to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, relieve stomach issues and indigestion, reduce fever, soothe nerves, clear up congestion, and aid in weight loss.

Lemon verbena thrives in full sun and hot temperatures, and will grow as a perennial in frost free areas and as an annual in northern climates. If grown in an area with too much shade, the leaves will lose their potency and the branches will grow long and spindly. When the temperature drops below 40 degrees, the plant will drop its leaves and enter dormancy. Lemon verbena can be grown in containers and overwintered indoors in bright, cool locations with minimal watering. It requires loose, well-draining soil to prevent the roots from getting soggy, which will kill the plant. Popular planting locations for lemon verbena are along outdoor walking paths, or anywhere indoors where the leaves may be brushed up against to release the scent.

Sources

Bonnie Plants, Organic Facts, Missouri Botanical Garden

Chickpea Stew with Turmeric, Coconut and Ginger

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • ¼ cup olive oil; additional for serving
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • A knob (approximately two inches) ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon or more red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, kale or collard greens, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup mint leaves, for serving
  • Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
  • Toasted whole wheat pita (cut into wedges)

Over medium heat in a large pot, heat oil and add garlic, onion and ginger. Season with salt and pepper and cook a few minutes until the onion starts to brown a little around the edges.

Add turmeric, red pepper flakes and chickpeas. Stir frequently and cook chickpeas as they sizzle in the oil until they start to break down and brown slightly and get crisp, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.

Add coconut milk and stock to the pot and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits that formed on bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until stew thickens, up to 30 minutes, or longer until it reaches your desired thickness or consistency. Add greens, submerging them in the liquid until they wilt and soften. Check seasoning.

Place stew in individual bowls and garnish with mint, sprinkle of red pepper flakes and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with yogurt and toasted pita and a dusting of turmeric (optional).

Banana Apple Muffins

  • 2 apples peeled and grated
  • 1 cup ripe mashed bananas (1 banana)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (10 tablespoons or 1 ¼ sticks)
  • 3 TB milk with ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 375°F and line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 1/4 sticks of butter and 1 cup of sugar together on medium speed until it has a light and fluffy texture.
Without reducing the speed, add 2 eggs one at a time, and also buttermilk. Finally, beat in the flour mixture. Use a spoon to fold in the apples and banana.

Fill the lined muffin cups about half-way.

Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.