CSA Week 14

In your share week 14:

Fingering Potatoes
Cauliflower or Broccoli
Winter Luxury Pumpkin
Kale
Peppers
Onion

Full shares only:

Tomatoes
Cilantro
Beets
Radish

Frost has been the hot topic among all my farmer friends, and as I’m writing this it’s just starting to melt in the meadow outside my window.  After a fair bit of rain this month, we hit 32 last night and it seems that summer is really over.  Honestly, frost doesn’t affect us all that much.  Most of our warm season crops are inside the greenhouses, and it takes a night at about 26 degrees to kill them off.  Zucchini have still been trickling into the farm stand, and that’s probably going to end, but the rain and shortening days do a lot more to slow down our crops than the frost does.  Frost does, however, increase the concentration of sugars in many cold hardy crops like kale and carrots, making them extra sweet and tender.

Yesterday was a fun afternoon as we started the annual winter squash harvest.  Winter squash are a challenging crop here, since they need to be planted early and require a lot of heat units to ripen.  But this year’s crop looks pretty good, and today you get your first of our “Winter Luxury” heirloom pumpkins.

These pumpkins make the most fantastic pumpkin puree: flavorful, sweet, and velvety.  I’ve used the puree to make pies, soups, risotto, and more.  They are also delicious to roast and eat with butter or other toppings, although I think their texture is better pureed.  I cook them the same way I cook winter squash.  Cut it in half, put it in a pan with a bit of water, and roast it at 375 until a fork goes through it easily.  To puree it, I scoop out the seeds, peel off the skin, and use my immersion blender (you can also use a food processor, a regular blender, or a potato masher).

If you have a large pumpkin and don’t want to use it all at once, the puree freezes well.  I’d roast the whole pumpkin, since it won’t keep for long once it’s cut open.  Left whole and uncooked, these pumpkins are sturdy but not terribly long keepers.  It should keep at room temperature at least until Thanksgiving and possibly until the end of the year.  They can be left on a counter or table, and will sweeten up a bit more as they sit.

More peppers today, we have been splitting the harvest between the CSA and our market stands.  Again, they aren’t an abundant crop for us but we are trying to give you as many as we can.  Like the squash, they require an early start but don’t actually ripen until well into fall.  These are more thin walled sweet bell peppers, enjoy!


Grandma Ivah’s Pumpkin Pie

This recipe comes from the Seed Savers Exchange blog.  They describe our Winter Luxury pumpkins as “Pumpkin Pie’s Dreams Come True”.  

To make the pumpkin puree:
Roast the pumpkin whole or in half in a 350 oven, with a few holes cut in it as steam vents.  It is ready when it slumps and a fork pokes through easily.  Let it cool enough to handle, then scoop out the seed and guts and peel the skin away from the flesh.  Mash the flash or run it through a food processor to make a smooth puree.

To make the crust (enough for 2 pies):  
Using your fingers or a pastry blender, mix together 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter and 2 c all purpose flour until mixture is crumbly.  Chunks should be no bigger than a pea.  Gradually add up to 1/2 c ice water and gather dough until it just forms a cohesive ball.  You may not use all the water!  Divide into two balls, flatten slightly into disks, and chill for at least 2 hours.

To make the pie:

1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 – 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ – 1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
1 ½ cup milk (preferably whole)
2/3 cup (about 6 ounces) evaporated milk

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare pie plate with a single pie crust.

Mix pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, and spices.  In a separate bowl combine eggs, milk, and evaporated milk.

Blend milk mixture into pumpkin mixture (texture will be very thin).

Pour into pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the pie has begun to set.  The pie will continue to set as it cools to room temperature.


Roasted Pumpkin Soup

From Martha Stewart Living October 2009.  This soup is simple, healthy, vegan, and a satisfying fall dish.  You can garnish with toasted pepitas or some sour cream or yogurt.

 

 

 

Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth. Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

 

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