letters & info – week 3, 2018

letters & info – week 3, 2018

Week 3: May 15, 2018 – May 17, 2018

Helpful information on share contents can be found in the produce information booklet

Produce Tips and Information:

Simple Salad Dressing
If you are in a hurry and you have not prepared a salad dressing
It can be as simple as measuring 1 part acid to 3 parts oil
Mix it up, use balsamic, apple cider, or champagne vinegar for some different tastes
Lemon and lime are both so light and flavorful. Add a little honey and season with
salt and pepper to taste.

Freezing Fresh Greens
FRESH and crisp greens to freeze within a day or so from pick-up.
Step 2 – Wash the greens, drain in a colander
Step 3 -Hull the greens
Cut off any woody stems or damaged pieces
Read steps 4-8 on Maggie’s Facebook post

Roasted Radishes
Slice or quarter
Place in a bowl
Add a little olive oil and some salt and pepper
Roast at 425 for about 15 minutes, checking the oven
For fun mix in a T of honey and a little cinnamon and sugar
Roast for 15 minutes at 350 and then turn over and roast for another 15 at 250

Making Use of Scallions
Cut off the root and a bit of the white and place it in a little water. Place near a window and watch them grow
Thinly slice the white and up through the pale green and save the dark green for stock
Top off some soup with sliced scallions. Especially tasty on potato soup and black bean soup
Slice some scallions into your salads
Mix some into scrambled eggs or an omelet
Add them to fried rice
Make scallion pancakes or frizzled scallions

Store in a place with a consistent temperature between 50-70 degrees like a pantry. Keep it away from the stove and the fridge as both locations are prone to drastic fluctuations in temperature.

This is a warm weather herb, wait to plant outside until the soil is at least 50 – preferably 70 – degrees. Plant in an area where the plant will get 6-8 hours of sun and keep the soil moist.

The leaves can be cut at any time. Use the upper, new, finely cut leaves in cooking, but not the mature, lower ferny-type leaves. Cilantro is not normally saved and dried like other culinary herbs since it loses almost its entire flavor when dried.

The best method of storage is at room temperature, on the counter, with the stem side down. If it will be more than a couple days, they can be stored in the fridge.

How to Freeze Asparagus

  1. It is important to use sufficient water such that when the asparagus is immersed in the boiling water it comes back to the boil within one minute. One gallon of water per pound of prepared vegetables is recommended. So if you are using a large (not huge) saucepan you will probably get about 2 pints of water boiling (just under a ¼ gallon) which you can then use for a ¼ pound of asparagus (about 6-8 spears).
  2. Have on hand a large bowl of iced water or cold water and running cold water to run over the blanched asparagus as it cools.
  3. Also, have ready clean freezer containers or sealable plastic bags.

To Blanch Asparagus:

  1. Rinse the asparagus spears in fresh water to clean off any loose sand or grit, cut or snap the woody ends off.
  2. Bring the water to the boil.
  3. With the heat still on high immerse the asparagus in the boiling water so that it comes back to the boil as quickly as possible.
  4. Boil the asparagus depending on the thickness of the stalks. (1 1/2 minutes for thin, 2 for medium, 3 for fat).
  5. Remove from the boiling water and immerse straight away into the ice or cold water. You need to stop the cooking process as quickly as possible to preserve the asparagus’ texture.
  6. When the blanched asparagus spears are cold dry them on kitchen paper and pack in airtight freezer containers. Date the container
  7. If using freezer bags, close the bag almost completely, then stick a straw into the bag so that you can draw out as much air as possible inside the bag. Press onto the straw as you continue to close the bag and pull the straw out. Date the bag. From: Asparagus-lover.com

Freezing fresh Greens, Spinach, Kale, Collards, Chard

FRESH and crisp greens so freeze within a day or so from pick-up.

Step 2 – Wash the greens, drain in a colander

Step 3 -Hull the greens

Cut off any woody stems or damaged pieces

Step 4 – Start the pot of boiling water  2/3 full and a LARGE bowl with ice and cold water set nearby.

Step 5 – Blanch the greens:

All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. Greens require a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanching times for collards is 3 minutes and all other greens 2 minutes..

Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the greens in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.

Step 6 – Cool the greens immediately in ice water:

After the vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the greens into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanching step. For instance, if you blanch greens for 3 minutes, then cool in ice water for at least 3 minutes.

Drain thoroughly.  Allow to dry

Step 7 – Bag the greens Ziploc bags work Remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn. TIP:  If you don’t own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When the straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out.  To remove the straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw. Date the bags

Step 8 Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!

Freezing keeps greens safe to eat almost indefinitely, but the recommended maximum storage time of 12 months is best for taste and quality. The quality of the frozen greens is maintained best in a very cold freezer (deep freezer), and one that keeps them frozen completely with no thaw cycles. Excluding any air from inside the bags which leads to freezer burn, by using vacuum-sealed bags, is also important to maintaining quality.

Culinary Expert Jenn“Food For Thought” by Jennifer Borealo

Fresh leafy greens make me think of some of my favorite salads. I love Chicken Caesar and Salad Nicoise was always one of my favorites to make with my students. We actually made that salad in a class here at the farm this spring. But my favorite salad story started in Hollywood at the Brown Derby where the owner Bob Cobb was hungry at midnight. He walked through the industrial-sized refrigerator gathering cooked chicken, hard cooked eggs, some blue cheese and some avocado, he picked up some cooked bacon as well. The Cobb salad was born, served in the Brown Derby the next day and I am sure still to this day. I invite you to be a copy-cat or take a look in your refrigerator and compose your own main dish salads during this leafy green part of our journey.

Stefan tells me that he is enjoying his time meeting and greeting all of you distributing shares here at the home farm. I had a chance to stop by and see him in the late afternoon on Thursday. He was saying that many of you were trading scallions away. I always find that the aromatics in the share very welcome. I need them for flavor. As the season progresses we will see garlic scapes, garlic, onions but for now, scallions or green onions or spring onions are available. I will add some suggestions this week how to use them and then for those of you who are new, how to even grow them on your windowsill.

I love all the Facebook posts and noticed a few that used mushrooms in delicious dishes. Maralee Sanders prepared a Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom dish and Ashleigh White prepared an updated Chicken Marsala from the book “Clean Eats.” I think we need a copy of that book. Caryn Pollock posted a recipe for a crust-less spinach and feta pie that is gluten free and no crust means an easier preparation and a lower calorie dish. Cathie Hall is having fun planting spinach, I hope some of you are too. She also asked the age-old question, is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable. Stay tuned for my answer.

This week is the one many of you wait for as there will be the beloved honey in the shares. Many of you have ordered honey in the past, but I am sure that some of you have run out and have been waiting.

I am happy to say that our organic field continues to offer a high yield. The Kale, Arugula, and Spinach will be coming from there.

Last but certainly not least, we continue to plant our herb gardens. This week will bring us basil and cilantro. Both herbs can be added to the pot with the parsley. They need similar moisture and light. I think as a group we find cilantro to be a little difficult to keep alive all through the season. I always count on the farmers to add some cut cilantro in shares or I pick it up in the market as the weather warms up and my plant goes to seed.

Thank you for all the inspirational posts on Facebook. Thanks to many of you for coming out and joining
us for Mother’s Day Brunch!  Until we meet again next week “Enjoy the Freshness!”