CSA Week 19

*** 1 more week!  Final share is November 7 or 9.  Thanksgiving shares still available, price goes up after today!***

In your share week 19:

Yacon
Carrots
Leek
Kohlrabi
Kale

Full shares only:

Italian parsley
Tomatoes or Broccoli

 

We’re almost to the end of the season, with just 1 week left of the CSA.  But I’m happy to offer 2 new items today (3 for full shares): yacon, leeks, and parsley.  If you were in our CSA the last 2 years, you may remember yacon.  But if you are a new member, this may be a whole new vegetable for you.

 

Yacon (pronounced yah-CONE) is a member of the sunflower family from the Andes.  This is the tuberous vegetable that looks like a sweet potato, oblong with dark skin.  I strongly recommend eating it raw: it is sweet, tender, mild flavored, and juicy.  Think of jicama, asian pear, or even a cucumber.  We most often slice it up and eat it plain as a refreshing snack or side dish.  I like the flavor of the skin (it’s earthy and somewhat bitter), but you may prefer it peeled.  It will brown soon after cutting, you can toss it with a bit of lemon juice to keep it white.  It can also be cooked, but I honestly haven’t found a way to cook it that’s much good, and it’s so delicious raw that I gave up trying.  Some people like to juice it (we recommend peeling it first).  Store it in the fridge in a plastic bag, it will dry out and soften if left on the counter for long.

 

Here is a link to a more in depth article about yacon in Mother Earth News.  One thing worth noting is that yacon’s sweetness is from inulin, which makes it extremely low in calories and a better choice for diabetics.

 

New today are leeks, which are one of my favorites but aren’t our most productive crop.  Leeks are milder than onions and have a savory flavor all their own.  I love to use them in soups, sautes, and braises.  I use the whole leek, greens and all, and I don’t usually find ours to be too tough.  We have peeled and washed them, but leeks are notorious for catching soil in their many leaf bases.  You will probably want to give them a good rinse before using them.  Typically I slice them lengthwise, lay them cut side down, and slice them into thin half moons.  If you don’t want to cook with the greens, they are a great addition to stock.

 

Full shares have Italian parsley, which is usually a regular item in the CSA but just hasn’t pulled it together this year.  We had a lot of trouble getting it started, with birds eating nearly every seedling I planted.  But I have enough for a few folks today.  I prefer Italian parsley to the curly type: I think it is more tender and flavorful. It’s excellent in pasta dishes, salads, pesto, or tabouleh.  You can use the leaves and the stems.  Parsley is also particularly nutritious, so eat it up.

 

We have one last kohlrabi bulb for everyone today, and they are huge!  These are a fall storage variety, so they will keep well in the fridge if you don’t use them right away.  They tend to be a little less sweet and juicy than the quick-growing summer bulbs, so I generally prefer to cook them, though they are still good raw if you prefer.  I love kohlrabi in soup, like the kohlrabi-cheese soup below, or chicken noodle.  I also like it roasted, by itself or with cauliflower and potatoes.  Try substituting it for broccoli or cauliflower in a recipe you already know and love: it works pretty well!  Remember, it needs to be peeled, and you can also eat the greens.  To keep the bulb longer, remove the greens and store them separately.

 

Next week will be your final CSA share (unless you are signed up for a Thankgsiving box).  I hope you’ve enjoyed it and will be back next spring.


Yacon Grapefruit Salad

Okay, this recipe from Marthastewart.com originally called for jicama.  But it is delicious with yacon: the bittersweet grapefruit and sweet apple are a great complement to the mild crunchy yacon.

1 red grapefruit, peel and pith removed
1 navel orange, peel and pith removed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, flakes
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 large or 3 to 4 small yacon, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cut into 3/4-inch chunks

Working over a large bowl, carefully carve out sections of grapefruit and orange from membranes using a paring knife, letting sections fall into bowl and reserving membranes. Transfer juices to a small non-reactive bowl; squeeze membranes into bowl. Discard membranes.

Add lime juice, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and salt to the small bowl with the juices; stir to combine. Add jicama, apple, and cucumber to the large bowl with the fruit. Pour juice mixture over fruit mixture. Gently toss to coat. Let salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Kohlrabi Cheese Soup with Bacon

I had this at Hearth and Table, and it was delish.  I looked for a recipe online and found one at the CSA for Three blog.  She says: Kohlrabi tastes kind of like broccoli, so I thought, why not use a broccoli cheese soup recipe and sub in kohlrabi? I made some modifications, and I used both the bulbs and the greens in this recipe. It came out great!

4 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onions
fresh ground pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 lb (ish) peeled and cubed kohlrabi bulbs
1 bunch kohlrabi greens, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup cream
1 1/4 cups shredded cheese – I used chihuahua
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter

Render the bacon in a dutch oven and remove and crumble the bacon. Saute the onions in the bacon fat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, season with pepper and nutmeg, and cook for another minute or so. Add the flour and stir until well-distributed and slightly browned. Slowly stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Allow to thicken just a little, then add the chopped kohlrabi root. Lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. Add the greens and stir, cover again for a few more minutes until the root is soft and the greens wilt.

Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to pot and add cream, and add cheese and butter when hot enough to melt, stirring to distribute. Serve and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

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