Wobbly Cart Farm Fall CSA Box #2

Wobbly Cart Farm Fall CSA Box #2 November 1st 2011

In this week’s box:

Carrots Leeks Sunchokes Yellow Finn Potato
Rutabaga Onion Golden Beets Fresh Sage
Garlic Baby Fennel Great Batavian Escarole
Kabocha Squash Daikon Radish Vitamin Green

Hello to all,

Another gorgeous fall day on the farm! Perfect weather for our fall CSA harvests! I’m really excited about this week’s box and have a lot of explaining to do, so I guess I’ll get right to it.

Carrots: they will be “bulk” without tops from here on out. The tops get too ugly in the cold weather, but the roots just get sweeter and yummier!

Rutabaga: Some of you will recognize this from the summer season. This hearty root vegetable can be used similarly to potatoes but has a sweet, slightly cabbagey flavor. They are very nutritious and will store a long time loosely wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

Great Batavian Escarole: An escarole is a cold hearty member of the chicory family. This broad leaved green looks like lettuce and can be used like lettuce but has a stronger, slightly bitter flavor. Escarole is related to Endive (the curly greens often found in commercial salad mixes) but is more versatile and less bitter. Escarole can be cooked in soups, stews, stir-fries, or eaten fresh in salads. Escarole is rich in many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and K, and folate. To store, keep loosely wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer of your fridge for 4 days to a week.

Kabocha Squash: Kabocha is a Japanese variety of winter squash. It looks like a deep green, warty, squaty pumpkin. The flesh inside is deep orange, and has a very sweet flavor with a fluffy texture similar to chestnuts or sweet potato. This squash will keep for several months, and the flavor will only improve over the next month or so. If you’re not in a hurry to eat it, you can store it in your pantry for quite awhile. It is excellent roasted, made into vegetable tempura, cooked into a pie, or made into a soup. The squash can be hard to cut through, but the peels are perfectly edible so there is no need to peel it, unless the recipe specifically says so. I have to say, oven roasted squash is a huge favorite with my kids, so try it out and see the recipe page for more ideas.

Leeks: This long and lovely member of the Allium family (onions, garlic and the like) is one of our star winter performers. They will stay alive through most winters here as long as the temperature dosen’t go below 10 degrees or so. They are much prized by chefs for their mild and tender flavor. To use them, first slice the whole thing vertically. Then fan out the many layers under running water to remove any trapped sediments. Slice off the tougher deep green tops, and use the white and light green parts in your recipes. Leeks wil also keep for many weeks in your fridge crisper drawer. By peeling away outer layers, you can remove any discolored parts if you do decide to keep them for an extended time.

Daikon Radish: This long white carrot shaped radish is also a favorite in Japanese cuisine, though it is believed to have originated in continental Asia. It is used throughout China and India as well. The flavor is milder than many radishes, and makes an excellent quick pickle to garnish other dishes. It can also be cooked in stir fries and soups, grilled, or cut up as a vehicle for dip. Daikon is low in calories but high in fiber and vitamin C. The leaves are also rich in vitamin C, Calcium and Iron and can be cooked like other greens.

Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichoke): This unusual root vegetable is a tuber that comes from a native North American species of sunflower. The light brown tubers look and can be used similarly to potatoes, and have been for thousands of years by Native Americans. The interesting thing about them is that they have a different type of carbohydrate called inulin instead of starch. Inulin is used differently by the body, and can have a stabilizing effect on the blood sugar. Sunchokes are very low glycemic and a very good source of carbohydrates for diabetics. The flavor can be described and slightly sweet and nutty and is excellent steamed, or peeled and pureed into a creamy soup. Sliced thinly, they can even be fit for a salad, where I would describe the flavor as similar to Jicama. Store them wrapped in plastic in the fridge for 1 week.

Vitamin Green: this robust Asian green can be used similarly to Bok Choy. Excellent stir-fried.

Golden Beets: Just like red beets, but a gorgeous golden color. Slightly milder flavor. Greens can be used too.

Baby Fennel: use the bulbous part slow roasted in olive oil. I tried it in place of celery in a poultry stuffing and found it to be excellent that way.

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