This week marks the beginning of squash season! Hopefully you enjoy all the variations that will come your way. Butternut squash is very simple to prepare (although it takes a long time to cook) and I enjoy pre-softening it in the microwave, peeling and cubing it, and adding a little butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to it before placing it in the oven, covered.
I also included some fresh basil in this week’s box because it is so fantastic with your tomatoes and zucchinis in sauces, bruchettas, and definately pastas (think pestos..mmm). Plus, basil is said to combat depression, so if you are feeling a little low with the recent dip in temperatures, add some flavour and cheer to your meal. Mind you, it smells no nice on its own that just smelling it can make you feel good!
I sincerely hope you are all having a wonderful back to school time (even if you don’t have kids to send back this year) and that you are enjoying all the tasty surprises found in your box this week.
The nights sure have been cooling down lately and we can feel that we are getting to the end of summer. On the farm right now all of the seeding and planting is done – our focus now is on weeding the crops (much of which has to be done by hand) and harvesting the produce.
I have been trying to get you all some melons for your boxes but so far we are losing much of our crop to animals like groundhogs. That’s the difficult thing with organics – the animals find our food good to eat also! We will try our best to keep what we can and hopefully we will have a lot more next week.
Something we do have new this week is celery, which is just ready in the fields right now. I have tried to keep you informed about seasonal veggies by what I place in your box and by letting you know about things that are ready early because of the greenhouses. Most if not all of the leafy green vegetables are ready for almost the entire growing season in the fields.
Thanks again for your support of the farm and bon appetit!
(Quick note from Heather: I added in a few recipes that you might want to try, I made the spinach puffs and also the maple glazed carrots, they were both great! Also, I found a fantastic website that lets you add in what you have on hand and it gives you a selection of recipes you can make — visit supercook.com to check it out!)
Here we are in week 9 and, as you can see, we’ve made a few changes!
We’re looking forward to providing you more great information about organics and how to keep and cook them and hope you enjoy the new format.
Each week you’ll get the usual list of what’s in your boxes, both full and half shares, along with news about the farm, recipes, and some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your organic foods.
You love our delicious, organic fruits and vegetables, but sometimes it seems like a lot of work to keep them fresh for the whole week. There are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that your produce lasts and lasts.
Try these 10 tips to keep your organics crisp and delicious!
1. To keep your celery happy for a long time, wash it right away, pat dry and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil, pressing it to conform to the shape of the celery. Put it in the crisper drawer. Crunchy!
2. Certain fruits and veggies produce ethylene gas which can prematurely ripen some other plants, and you don’t want that. Keep your ethylene-producing foods separate from their more sensitive counterparts. That means cantaloupes and tomatoes should never hang out with broccoli, carrots, leafy greens or melon!
3. Keep onions and eggplant out of the refrigerator and try to space them apart so that they are not touching. They’ll last longer when air is able to circulate around them.
4. Your leafy greens like it best in plastic zip bags or tupperware. When you get home and unpack your bin, give everyone a bath right away, spin or shake dry, then wrap lightly with paper towel (it will be slightly damp, that’s okay). Pop in the crisper. Enjoy!
5. For carrots, turnips and beets, cut off any green tops and store in a cold, dark place that is well-ventilated.
6. When storing herbs (and asparagus, too), try snipping off the ends and storing them upright in a glass of water, covered with a plastic bag. Fresh!
7. Dear world, we tomatoes wish you’d leave us on the counter. Only put us in the fridge if absolutely necessary. We’ll taste better that way, honest. Thank you!
8. I heard that storing your berries in a sealed glass jar (pre-wash) works like a charm to keep them from going bad – let me know if you try it!
9. What to do if your lovely organics are looking a bit on the wilted side? You can revive most greens by covering them completely with cold water (you can even toss in some ice cubes) for up to an hour, this should help them regain crispness!
10. Remember: your veggies, and fruits in particular, are susceptible to mold – touch them as little as possible with your hands to give your organics the best chance at making it to your table!
Looking for some great recipes to make with your organics? Look no further!
This week we have a great one from the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis, crisp, delicious fried zucchini!
Zucchini can get watery and mushy if not cooked carefully, so it’s always a nice surprise to find a recipe that gives you a cooked-but-not-soggy veggie.
This recipe is yummy, and quick to make too. Prep is 5-10 minutes and cooking time is less than that. While her recipe calls for a true ‘fry’ experience, I have found you can use a much thinner layer of oil and just add in a bit more if the pan gets too dry (it’s healthier!).
Storage Tip! Refrigerate yellow squash and zucchini, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.Wash just prior to using.You can expect your zucchini to last around a week.
Olive oil, for frying
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or regular crumbs if you don’t have panko
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips
Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.
When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.
Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan, salt and pepper, and serve. Delish!
Next we have a quick Cabbage Slaw recipe complements of Whole Foods Market, this one is great and uses your carrots, green onions and cabbage.
If you’re feeling creative go ahead and toss in some peppers, radish or even beets — just make sure they’ve been shredded to the same size as your carrots and cabbage.
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
4 cups finely shredded green and red cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, garlic, cumin, oregano and mustard just until sugar is dissolved. Add cabbage, carrots, green onions, salt and pepper and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
Garnish this bright coleslaw with toasted sesame seeds or chopped roasted peanuts. Or, toss it with shredded roasted chicken and serve it as the main course. Yum!
Here are some more cabbage and carrot recipes for you, and Canadian Living has a lovely selection of radish recipes you might enjoy trying.
Check back for more recipes during the week and let us know what veggies you would like recipes for, we’ll see what we can find!