My first year here and I started gardening in April. The only things that succeeded were rocket and silver beets. Other frost hearty stuff survived, but didn't produce to speak of.
1. Does anyone have any good recipes for silver beet.
2. Are there other crops worth growing in winter?
3. Would it be better to plant winter crops in, say, early March, so they have a good start before temperatures drop and day length shortens?
Ps I'm in Seddon, Marlborough
Silverbeet would make a good substitute for spinach in a "spanakopita" (Greek spinach and feta pie) just make sure you steam or cook it a little longer than you would spinach, which is more tender.
You would need about a kilo to make a decent sized dish using a recipe from Mr Google.
Pak choi did very well here this winter. We had some in the tunnelhouse and some outside to see how they went in the different conditions, and the ones outside were much bigger and healthier.
We did the same with savoy cabbage, and that did reasonably well in both conditions, but grew much more slowly than the pak choi. The inside ones were ready about a month to six weeks before the outside ones.
Silverbeet (the green part) is good to use with samosas where you can stuff them with various goodies. Tender leaves are best, but you can use more mature leaves too, but it pays to semi blanch in boiling water first so they stay tender.
The white stalks are nice steamed and served in either a white or cheese sauce.
I like mine just finely sliced, steamed a few minutes and with butter and salt/pepper tossed through
On the recipe front, I hate silver beet so substitute it with pak choi and have found that works quite well.
It can be eaten cooked or raw.
One of my favourites is sliced and stir fried with a little ginger, garlic and fish sauce - very tasty!
It also makes great coleslaw.
I stir fry a lot. Also chop up silver beet and throw it, plus some peanut butter and sometimes a few shrimp, I mean prawns, in with 3 minute noodles (spicy Thai, usually).
Don't forget to plant some garlic this Autumn, it needs a good six to nine months in the ground depending on the variety. Prep the ground with well rotted manure and/or a green manure, plant, mulch well and keep on top of any weeds that make it through the mulch.
Spinach or silver beet are good in a quiche. I just chop finely and add on top of whatever else is going in it and top with cheese. Also great if you are making a vegetarian lasagne. for this I layer lasagne, cheese sauce, spinach or silver beet with lasagne sheets and cheese sauce at the top.