CSA Pickup: Week 9

Halfway through the season already! Tomatoes are approaching but are still not quite ready this week. Corn is also on the horizon, but was not quite ready to be harvested this morning. Here is what to expect at distribution this week…

  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Bulb Onions
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash and Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Arugula
  • Mustard Greens
  • Mizuna
  • Brocoli
  • Pick your own Sunflowers

Monday is fish pickup for those of you with fish.

As always, we are selling pasture raised beef from the Trustees, spices from Organic Green Kitchen, Moose Hill Community Farm cookbooks, and we just received a new batch of honey!

Storing Our New Veggies

Here are some quick tips about storing some of our new additions of garlic, eggplant, onions, peppers, and beans. Gotta keep those veggies for as long as possible!

Eggplant

Refrigerate?: No

At Freshest: 1 week

Optimal Storage: Store loose or in a breathable bag in a cool place. Refrigeration can lead to browning and off-flavors.

Freezing: Wash, peel, slice about ⅓-in/8-mm thick, blanch with ½ cup/120 ml lemon juice per 1 gl/3.8 L water, immerse in ice water, drain, then freeze in airtight container, leaving ½-in/12-mm of headspace.

Usage: Salt the flesh of older eggplant to remove bitterness.

Garlic and Shallots

Refrigerate?: Unpeeled, no; peeled, yes

At Freshest: Unpeeled, a few weeks to several months (garlic will last a bit longer); peeled, up to several weeks

Optimal Storage: Store unpeeled garlic and shallots in a cool, dark, and dry place in a well-ventilated container such as a basket or mesh bag. Do not store in plastic. To help prevent the heads from drying out, leave the papery skin on and break off cloves as needed. If peeled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freezing: Peel garlic or chop shallots and store in an airtight container. Both will lose crispness when thawed but will retain most of their flavor.

Usage: In gardens, green garlic leaves can be used just like green onions. Similarly, if garlic grows a shoot while in storage, that can be eaten as well. Even garlic flowers are edible and have a mild flavor. Garlic scapes can also grow small shoots of garlic after being stored for several weeks.

Blend garlic with basil or blanched kale stems and other ingredients to make a pesto, which can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Green Beans

Refrigerate?: Yes

At Freshest: 3 to 5 days

Optimal Storage: Green beans and peas are fragile vegetables; they quickly degrade in quality, even at cold temperatures. Store unwashed peas and beans in the refrigerator in a breathable bag in the high-humidity drawer, but try to eat them as quickly as possible.

Freezing: Blanch, immerse in ice water, drain until dry, and then place in an airtight container.

Usage: If the pods are too tough to eat (this can happen when beans are over mature and bulging from the pods), they can still be shelled and eaten or refrigerated in an airtight container and used within 2 days.

Although often the ends of the beans are cut off before cooking, they need not be—remove only the stem end and enjoy the rest of the bean.

Salvage less-than-ideal green beans by removing any that are soft to the touch or slimy. Wash the remainder in cold water.

Briefly cooking older green beans can enhance their flavor.

Onions

Refrigerate?: No

At Freshest: Whole, several months; cut, 7 days

Optimal Storage: Store whole onions in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated place. Do not store in plastic. Remove onions with mold or other signs of dampness immediately so others aren’t affected. Storing in hanging sacks is a great idea, as it encourages ventilation. Do not store near potatoes; onions will cause the potatoes to sprout. Partially used onions should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, with the peel left on if possible.

Freezing: Remove the skins and root. Chop and freeze raw. Don’t blanch. Plan to use in cooked dishes when thawed.

Peppers

Refrigerate? Yes

At Freshest: Whole, 5 to 7 days; cut, 3 days

Optimal Storage: Do not wash until ready to use. Store in a breathable bag in the low-humidity drawer of the refrigerator. Store cut peppers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freezing: Wash and core peppers, chop and lay out on a baking sheet to freeze, then transfer to an airtight container. Can also be blanched. Or roast peppers and then flatten them and pack into zip-top freezer bags. Best used for cooked dishes, as crispness can be lost when thawed.

Usage: Drying (hot peppers)—If you have a lot, string them up together and hang in a well-ventilated place in the sun as long as the evenings don’t get cool enough to cause dew. Alternatively, use a dehydrator or place in the oven at 120ºF/50ºC for several hours until fully dry.

Green peppers last a lot longer than red peppers, which are fully ripe when picked. All peppers start out green on the plant, then change to red or yellow, purple, etc.

 

Reference:

savethefood.com, I want to store vegetables

Smokey Eggplant Dip

Ingredients 

  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste
  • 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired
  • Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper
  • Pinch or two of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish

Instructions 

Heat oven to 375°F. Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.

In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.

By hand: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and onto a cutting board. Finely chop the eggplant, leaving some bits closer to pea-sized. In a bowl, whisk together tahini, garlic, lemon, cayenne, cumin and half the parsley. Add chopped eggplant and stir to combine.

Both methods: Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. I usually need more salt and lemon.

To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges.

For a big delicious summer meal, you could serve this with a tomato-cucumber salad, ethereally smooth hummus and pita wedges. If you’d like to be fancy, grilled or pan-roasted lamb chops are wonderful here too.

Source

Smitten Kitchen

CSA Pickup: Week 8

Quite a bountiful harvest ready for this week folks! We have several new additions, and while tomatoes are still not quite ready, they may be ripe enough within the next couple weeks. Here is this week’s pickup list:

  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Green and Yellow Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Bulb Onions
  • Peppers
  • And of course…Radish

Monday is fish pickup for those of you with fish.

As always, we are selling pasture raised beef from the Trustees, honey from our farm hives, spices from Organic Green Kitchen, Moose Hill Community Farm cookbooks, and sadly our Moose Hill maple syrup has sold out.

Cookie’s Garden: Moose Hill’s Nature Play Space.

Here at Moose Hill we are excited about a new feature on our property for people to explore. It is called Cookie’s Garden: Moose Hill’s Nature Play Space. The play area is located just outside our main building right next to our bird feeder area in our front yard.

welcome to Cookie’s Garden

While many parks and playgrounds have a traditional wood, plastic and metal play structure, our nature play space combines the surrounding landscape and vegetation with intentionally designed stations that allow children to explore, create, and design their nature play experience.

boulder field

snake walk, a.k.a. stump jump

Research indicates that when children play and learn in nature, they do so with more enthusiasm, connection, imagination and cooperation than in an artificial or traditional playscape type of environment. And in many cases symptoms of attention deficit and depression are reduced while creativity and imaginative play increases.

Naturalist, researchers and educators like David Sobel, Richard Louv, Jon Young, and Dr. Scott Sampson agree that children need access to nature the same way they need good nutrition and adequate sleep. Cookie’s Garden will help children develop an attitude of curiosity and provide the opportunity to connect directly with the natural world.

While Cookie’s Garden is a constructed landscape, the features within the area are designed to mimic areas and features in the natural world. Logs and stumps to balance on, tunnels to crawl through, hills to stand on, mud to play with, and opportunities to create using items found in the natural world. There are also spaces designed to help children appreciate nature in other ways, like the giant paint easel and the musical area. Allowing children the opportunity to explore and wander without time constraints or set plans can allow children to explore their curiosity and learn at their pace.

hill and tunnel

musical area

While Cookie’s Garden is not fully complete, we encourage people to come out to Moose Hill and let your kids explore the area. Of course adults are welcome to explore too. We will be adding the remaining features over the next several months. In the spirit with which we have created the play area, I want to leave you with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience”.

If you would like to learn more about Cookie’s Garden, contact sanctuary director Karen Stein or make a donation to Cookie’s Garden so that we can complete all the projects for the play space.

If you have any questions about our camp, schools, or adult education programs, please contact me, Shawn, at smoriarty@massaudubon.org .

There are still spaces available in our camp – learn more about our program, what a day at camp looks like, our philosophy and credentials, and register today!

We look forward to seeing you at the sanctuary and exploring Cookie’s Garden.

Homemade Fire Cider Recipe – Medicinal Tonic

Last year, I decided to go to Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota to  be apart of the historical events that were taking place there. I went during thanksgiving weekend, at which point there were over 10,000 people camping out!

I got the chance to cook with a few Native Americans at one of the camp sites, and one interesting creation which really stood out to me was this medicinal tonic. It is made using a wide variety of herbs and spices. I have read articles referring to this drink as some sort of witch’s concoction, coming straight out of a Grimm’s fairy tale. The remedial effects of fire cider seem to be undeniable however, which is why I wanted to share it. The cider contains powerful immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory remedies that can help with our immune system, stimulate digestion, and warm us up on cold days.

The standard base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, but there are plenty of other herbs I have included below that can be thrown in for an added kick.  Fire Cider can be taken straight by the spoonful, and because it has a very pungent and “firey” taste (It’s called fire cider for a reason!), I was advised to take only 1 tbsp in the morning to warm up while it was frigid, or up to 3 tbsp if I felt a cold coming.

How To Use Fire Cider:

Fire cider can be added to organic veggie juice (throw in some olives and pickles — a non-alcoholic, health-boosting bloody mary!), splashed in fried rice, or drizzled on a salad with olive oil. You can also save the strained pulp and mix it with shredded veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh herbs to make delicious and aromatic stir-fries and spring rolls. There is a wide-range of ingredients you can add depending on what type of flavor you’re looking for, so feel free to experiment by using any particular spice, juice, or chopped veggie you think is appropriate.

Here is a batch of fire cider I made this past weekend…Due to its pungency it is preferable to drink in small portions, i.e 2 -3 tbsp

Homemade fire cider recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
  • 1 medium organic onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
  • Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • organic apple cider vinegar
  • raw local honey to taste

Directions

1. Prepare all of your roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart-sized jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus opening experience!

2. Pour in apple cider vinegar until all ingredients are submerged. Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or a plastic lid if you have one. Shake well.

3. Store in a dark, cool place for a month and remember to shake daily.

4. After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquidy goodness as you can from the pulp while straining.

5. Next comes the honey. Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated.

6. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup until you reach the desired sweetness.

Herbal Ingredient Variations

These organic herbs and spices would make a great addition to Fire Cider creations.

Thyme, Horseradish root Powder, Rosehips, Sar Anise, Schisandra Berries, Astragalus, Parsley, Burdock, Oregano, Peppercorns, Beet Root Powder, Habanero Powder, Bird’s Eye Chili Powder, Whole Chili Peppers, Orange, Grapefruit, Lime peels/or juice.

 

References

https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/fire-cider

mommypotamus.com/fire-cider-recipe/

 

Soon-to-be Favorites

Several of our markee crops have grown significantly within the past week due to the ideal combination of sunshine and rain. It won’t be long before you are freezing your tomatoes and enjoying some eggplant parm! Here are a few glimpses into some of our soon-to-be favorite crops.

The green will be red in no time!

 

The peppers have been growing like bamboo this past week…Well not really, but they’re almost there!