letters & info – week 4, 2018
Week 4: May 22, 2018 – May 24, 2018
Helpful information on share contents can be found in the Produce Information Booklet
Produce Tips and Information:
Freeze Herbs in Ice Cube Trays
Use a pair of scissors to cut stems of fresh herbs from the garden. Place the herbs in a colander and gently rinse them under running water. Remove the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Measure out the number of leaves you have to process using a measuring cup. Place the leaves into the blender after they have been measured. For each cup of packed, fresh herb material that is being used, add ¼ cup of water to the blender. Place the lid on the blender and process the herbs into a fine paste. Pour the herb paste into a bowl. Use a spoon to fill each ice cube compartment with the herb paste. Place the herb-filled ice cube trays in the freezer and let sit until frozen. Remove the ice cube trays from the freezer. Remove the individual herbal ice cubes from the tray and put them into plastic freezer bags or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
Using Herb Ice Cubes
The herbal ice cubes can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Herbs that freeze well using this method include basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic chives, mint, parsley, tarragon, and thyme. Fresh herbs purchased from farmer’s markets can also be processed into herbal ice cubes. To use the frozen herbs, simply place the desired number of herbal ice cubes into the pan as the meal is being cooked. For example, 1-2 cubes of basil can be added to a pan of homemade tomato sauce.
Cut the beet greens from the roots. Store the greens separately from the roots Store the roots unwashed Use the greens within 2-3 days. Grate the beets raw into a salad
Wash, wrap in foil, and roast for about an hour, until fork tender Slice and serve with your favorite vinaigrette, feta or goat cheese and toasted pecans or almonds.
Keep rhubarb in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a couple of days. Wash when ready to use. Remove the leaves and discard, these leaves are never eaten – they are poisonous.
Store in a plastic bag, roots attached, for up to a week. Close the bag so the flavor cannot get into other foods. Do not clean or cut until ready to use.
Stems can be fibrous, stringy, and difficult to eat. Discard the stems, use them for compost, or save them to add to a vegetable stock. Fold the spinach leaf in half along the spine, and grasp the bottom of the stem and tear toward the tip of the leaf.
Consider getting a salad spinner and a herb stripper to use in your kitchen. One will help you quickly clean and dry leafy greens. The other will make removing stems from herbs, kale, and similar crops quick and easy.
I am sitting and writing on a day that so many of us waited for a long time. Everyone loves a Royal Wedding for one reason or another. Yes, to see the dress but what really caught my attention the other day was the pile of fresh asparagus on the prep table in the kitchen at Windsor Castle. I was happy to hear that they would be using spring vegetables that were locally sourced, some even coming from the grounds of Windsor Estate. I think that is a detail that we can all appreciate.
Get your garden gloves on. This week you will receive two more herbs. Lemon Basil can be added to the pot with the parsley, however, don’t let it get too crowded. We will have to add traditional basil and curly parsley yet. Remember if the pot is too full the outcome is similar to leaving the herbs in the small pots that they come in. They will not grow to full potential. Summer savory is an annual plant. It can be added to that same pot with the parsley, and cilantro, and the lemon basil. We will use this basil during the summer on chicken or fish, summer savory has become more popular in this country and is thought to be a favored herb when preparing green beans among other dishes. We will also have a Rutgers Scarlet strawberry plant in the share. It should be planted in the garden if possible. They can survive in pots depending on how severe the winter is. They should flower and they may produce a little bit of fruit this year. They are a biennial, and next year they will provide fruit to you in June. Don’t worry, the strawberries in the field are starting to turn red already, the farmers will keep us supplied during the season this year, as always.
I can feel the passion you have for food when I read your posts on Facebook. Judy Kelly Sudol loves the asparagus with scallions. She says the addition of pistachios brings the recipe to a whole new level. Nicole Gabriele makes good use of the spinach as a bed with Scallops Tapenade over the top. Jennifer Rosenzweig is using her tomatoes in a canape with fresh mozzarella and basil, can you ever get enough of that appetizer? Vivienne Kay West makes me hungry for the corn to come later in the season. If any of you have some left in your freezer, check out her recipe. There are so many more of you this season on Facebook. So great to see everyone sharing! If you are not please send your recipes and ideas to Jenn@alstedefarms.com. Until next week, enjoy the freshness.