Not sure what to do with your unknown vegetables? Check out these great recipes.

If you’re ever stuck for how to prepare the mystery vegetables try these simple methods.

1. tough greens: braise them.

Swiss chard/Silverbeet, kale, spinach and collards can be tough – long woody stems, broad dark-green leaves – can be made tender through braising, a process that tenderizes the greens and brings out their earthy and briney flavors.  First begin  by trimming any woody or tough stems and veins from the broad leaves.  Then melt some wholesome fat such as  butter or ghee, coconut oil or home-rendered lard, then toss in chopped onion, garlic or shallots as needed and fry until fragrant, then stir in chopped greens, frying for a minute or two before deglazing the pan with a stock, juice or water.  Then cover the greens and simmer until tender, just a few minutes more. Then season the greens as needed with a splash of vinegar, naturally fermented soy sauce or good quality, fragrant olive oil.

Simple Ratio for Braised Greens: 1 tablespoon wholesome fat; 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, shallots or onion; 1 bunch trimmed and chopped leafy greens; 1/2 cup liquid such as stock, juice or water

2. tender greens: serve them raw with a vinaigrette.

Young greens like beet trimmings or baby chard and kale as well as tender greens like tat soi and mizuna can be served fresh and raw in salads, with just a splash of a homemade vinaigrette. So if you come across odd greens that you don't recognise but they appear tender or young, serve them fresh and raw.  To make a vinaigrette, whisk vinegar with oil and any seasonings or fresh herbs that like together, and dress your tender greens at the table.

Simple Ratio for Vinaigrette: 2 tablespoons vinegar or other acid, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil, seasonings as needed.

3. odd-looking root vegetables: roast them.

Root vegetables, tough-skinned and gnarled, are naturally sweet and their sweetness is enhanced through roasting.  To roast root vegetables, peel them of their tough skins and chop them into 2-3cm cubes.  Toss the vegetables with melted fat and any seasonings that you like, then roast them in an oven preheated to 220 degrees C for thirty to forty-five minutes as needed, stirring once or twice during the roasting process to prevent burning and promote even cooking.

Simple Ratio for Roasted Root Vegetables: 1 1/2 teaspoons melted clarified butter, coconut oil or other nourishing fat; 1/2 kg trimmed and chopped root vegetables

4. serve a gratin.

Almost any vegetable – leafy greens, roots and tubers, shoots and buds – can be made into a gratin.  A gratin is a soothing dish, both simple to prepare and deeply nourishing.  Allow the vegetables to dictate the flavor of the dish: spinach pairs well with cream and cheese; zucchini pairs well with tomato, olive oil and bread crumbs.  To prepare a gratin, first cook vegetables in a good quality cooking fat, then stir in your liquid and toppings as suit you: breadcrumbs, nut flour seasoned with herbs, grated cheese.

Simple Ratio for a Gratin: 2 tablespoons butter, ghee; 1/2 - 1 kg vegetables; 1/2 cup liquid such as cream or stock; 1 cup topping such as breadcrumbs, nut flour, grated cheese and seasonings of your choice.

5. serve a soup.

Make a good soup with your vegetables.  Made from homemade stocks and broths (like roast shicken stock, homemade beef stock or fresh chicken broth) Broths and stocks, made from the bones and meats of pasture-raised animals, is potently rich in trace minerals, glucosamine chondroitin, collagen and other nutrients.  All vegetables are suited to soups.  Begin your soup by melting a few tablespoons of fat in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed stock pot, stir in onion (and perhaps diced bacon) and fry until fragrant, then stir in vegetables (except greens) and fry them for a few minutes before adding stock.  Simmer the soup for at least a half hour until the vegetables are tender, then remove the pot from the heat, stir in greens and herbs, cover and allow the greens and herbs to cook in the residual heat of the soup for at least five minutes before serving. For a smooth soup allow to cool then blend, then reheat as needed.

Simple Ratio for a Good Soup: 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil; 1 chopped onion; 1/2 0 1 kg chopped vegetables; meat (as needed); 1 to 1 1/2 litres stock or broth; fresh herbs and seasonings

6. vegetables (but not greens): ferment them.

And if you have extra, consider fermenting them!  Lactofermentation is an extraordinary process that transforms  ordinary vegetables into extraordinarily nutrient-dense pickles that are brimming with beneficial bacteria, food enzymes and B vitamins.  To ferment vegetables, simply shred them and pound them with salt, and toss them into a vegetable fermenter or crock and allow them to ferment at room temperature for at least seven days before tasting.  Make sure that vegetables rest below the level of the liquid, lest you open the ferment up to contamination by microbes.  

Simple Ratio for a Fermented Vegetables: 1 qt shredded vegetables; 2 tablespoons unrefined sea salt; organic spices as needed)

The internet is a good source of fermenting recipes.