CSA Week 8

In your share week 8:

Austrian Crescent Fingerling Potatoes
Cabernet Onion
Zucchini
Cucumber
Green Beans
Baby Turnips
Beets
Kale
Tomatoes and/or Cherry tomatoes
Basil

Full Shares only:
Salad mix

Another August week and another massive share!  Today sees the last of the baby turnips for a while, possibly for the season.  Baby turnips really want to be a spring crop, and it’s hard to keep them happy in the summer.  So this is the last sowing and we probably won’t be harvesting it again.  I am going to try to get a sowing in the greenhouse for late fall, we’ll see if I can find the space.  But I wanted to get them in your share one more time, so everyone gets a bunch today.  Remember, they are great raw or cooked into soups, roasts, and stir fries.  The greens are my favorite.

On the other hand, we have the return of the beets.  Beets aren’t our most reliable or productive crop, but they are popular with our customers and members so we keep them coming when we can.  They would be good roasted with your potatoes, grated raw for salad, or made into refrigerator pickles.  They’re also fantastic on the grill, cooked low and slow with a bit of soy sauce and olive oil.

Today’s onion is a red variety called Cabernet that I started growing last year and love.  These onions are gorgeous as well as delicious, and we will have a lot of them going forward.  There’s rain predicted on Wednesday, so today we pulled in all of the yellow storage onions that were starting to dry down.  Onions start fresh with green tops, like the one in your share.  As the days shorten, they are triggered to lay down their tops and die back, drying the outer layers to preserve the bulb inside for winter.  When that happens, we bring them inside the greenhouse to complete the drying and curing process.  The red onions are a later variety and are still standing tall, so we’ve left them to grow a little more and you can enjoy fresh onions for a little bit longer.

We had a nice big pick of cucumbers today, so everyone gets several.  You may have lemon cucumbers in your share; these are round and yellow and the size of a tennis ball.  They are named for lemons because of their looks, not their flavor: I find them to be very sweet, juicy cucumbers.  I use them interchangeably with the green slicer types.

Are you having trouble keeping up with these big shares?  Try preserving some of the harvest for later!  Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes freeze well, I simply quarter them and put them raw in a ziplock bag.  Basil freezes well as pesto or ground up with olive oil.  Cucumber, beans, beets, onions, turnips, and zucchini can all be pickled, either fermented or brined in vinegar.  Zucchini can be frozen, I like to roast or grill it until not quite done then freeze it in a bag.  Kale can be made into chips or blanched and frozen.

I’m certainly busy thinking ahead to fall and winter.  Most of our fall crops are well underway by now, but I’m continuing to sow salad and I’m getting ready to start planting a few late or overwintering crops in the greenhouses.  I ordered cover crop seed to help prevent erosion, feed our soil, and provide habitat for beneficial critters, and I’ve figured out my plan for overwintering the fields.  We’ve got just a few more beds of fall carrots to weed.  The onions were the first storage crop to come in, but soon we’ll start digging up the potatoes in bulk, and we’re watching the pumpkins and winter squash sizing up.

Personally, I’m trying to find some time to do food preservation: I did a big dryer load of tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, we’ve been freezing lots of berries and our tomato seconds, and I finally did my first batch of jam over the weekend.  It’s hard to fit it in with these huge harvests, but come winter time I’m so glad I did.


Quick Pickled Vegetables

By Sylvia Fountaine at the Feasting At Home blog, A simple delicious recipe that can be used with any veggie! Beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, kohlrabi, onions, cauliflower, peppers, or green beans! | www.feastingathome.com

Ingredients

  • Enough Fresh Raw Veggies to fill 2 Quart size mason Jars (about 5-6 cups)- beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, cucumbers, okra, green beans, asparagus, red onion, zucchini or summer squash, cauliflower florets, bell peppers, garlic scapes, fennel bulbs, cabbage, rainbow chard stems
  • 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 610 cloves garlic- sliced thickly
  • ½ an onion sliced (optional)
  • few sprigs fresh dill ( optional) or other herbs
  • Other optional additions- whole cloves, dill seeds, whole allspice, fresh ginger slices, fresh chilies or chili flakes, celery seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, star anise, other fresh herbs.

Pickling liquid:

  • 2 Cups vinegar- white, red wine, rice wine, apple cider (any of these, or a combination)
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 46 Tablespoons sugar ( sugar is added for flavor, so feel free to cut back you like)

Instructions

  1. Prep your veggies. Wash them well and slice, quarter, or cut into spears, or leave whole ( like with green beans, asparagus, okra etc)
  2. Bring the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil in a small pot, and in the mean time pack the jars with the prepped veggies.
  3. In two quart size mason jars, divide the garlic and whole spices.
  4. Begin adding the veggies and if your are including the onion ( which I recommend), layer a few slices in with the veggies along with any fresh herbs you would like to include ( you can also layer the garlic this way too, or put it in first, your choice) leaving about an inch at the top of the jar.
  5. Using a funnel, carefully pour the hot liquid into the jars, making sure to submerge all the veggies, pressing down on them with the end of a wooden spoon. You may be able to add more veggies at this point, just make sure the liquid completely covers the veggies leaving at least a half inch of room between the liquid and lid.
  6. Cover and let sit on the counter to cool, and after an hour or two, place in the fridge. These will taste good after 6-8 hours, but much better after a couple days. Keeps up to three weeks.

Penne with Zucchini, Lemon, and Cherry Tomato

Easy and quick, this is especially good when the zucchini is fresh and sweet. Serves 4.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 lb penne and salt generously. Cook until al dente, then drain and toss with a little olive oil.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add:

1 onion, cut into thin slices

            2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried

            salt and pepper

            ½ tsp freshly grated lemon zest

Sautee until the onions are transparent, then add:

            6 or 8 small zucchini, sliced into thin rounds

Cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini begins to soften. Add:

            1 c cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook a few more minutes until zucchini are tender. Squeeze in:

            juice of ½ lemon

Toss with the pasta and:

            2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley

Sprinkle generously with parmesan and serve.

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