Some Final Recipes and Storage tips

As you are receiving an abundance of some certain crops here these last few days of distribution, we wanted to offer up some storage tips to make the food last and some recipes.

Butternut Squash Soup:

Ingredients

Directions

Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.

Potatoes: Should be stored in a dark, well ventilated, dry area away from other fruits and vegetables and at a cool room temperature. Potatoes emit ethylene gas which can cause other fruits and veggies such as onions to spoil faster so place them in their own drawer, cabinet, etc.

Popcorn: Air: Hang the corn in a dark and cool location until they are dried. Could be over a month. You also can spread them on a flat surface if you do not have room to hang them.

For the those of you who want to try some different methods for drying, cooking, etc., I found a good video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS-DRROMj3M)  of someone who tried some experimenting with it and showed his results. He tried a few methods of drying including on and off the cob, in the oven, and using a dehydrator.

       Microwave: Very simple and easy..Simply microwave 1/4 cup of kernels in a small brown lunch paper bag. Make sure the bag is closed and folded over 3 or 4 times and firmly crease the seam so that it stays closed. No need to add any oil to the kernels as this won’t make much difference. If you wish to add more kernels, use a larger paper shopping bag.

Microwave for 2 – 4 minutes. Listen closely — when the time between pops slows to about 2 seconds, your popcorn is ready. Depending on your microwave, popping can finish in as little as 2 minutes or take as long as 4 minutes. Do not wait for all the kernels to pop; your popcorn will burn. It’s normal for there to be un-popped kernels in the bag.

Add some melted butter or oil and sprinkle with salt when finished cooking.

Stovetop Popcorn:

Yields: 2 servings  Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp coconut, peanut, or canola oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Method

1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow all of the solid oil to melt.

2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil.

3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.

This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop, and nothing burns.

5 If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan. Note that if you let the butter get just a little bit brown, it will add an even more intense, buttery flavor to the butter and to your popcorn. (Here’s more info on how to brown butter.) Just drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and toss to distribute.

6 Salt to taste.

sources:

Butternut Squash Soup: foodnetwork; Butternut Squash Soup; https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/butternut-squash-soup-recipe1-1957751

potatoes: food52; How to Store Potatoes; Lindsey-Jean Hard; https://food52.com/blog/14613-the-best-way-to-store-potatoes

popcorn: simplyrecipes; How to Make Perfect Popcorn; https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn/

Storage tips: Corn, Eggplant, Tomato

Corn:

Corn, if not eaten right away, is best kept in the refrigerator for up to two days. Keep the corn in the husk and place in the crisper drawer of your fridge.  After two days, the corn will still be okay to eat, but it will start to lose some of its sweet flavors. Your ears of corn can also be stored frozen.  To freeze corn first remove the husks and then boil for a few minutes. remove from boiling water, place in a freezer safe container and store for up to a year.

Eggplant:

The best way to store eggplant is at room temperature in a vented bowl, and away from other produce such as bananas, tomatoes, and melons. These are known for producing high levels of ethylene, a natural gas produced by some ripening fruit. Eggplant is sensitive to this and if it is exposed it can cause your eggplant to over ripen and lose some of its texture and flavor.

Tomatoes:

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, potentially in a vented bowl of some sort, and NOT in the refrigerator.  Tomatoes are naturally a warm climate crop and placing them in a cool environment causes them to undergo chemical enzymatic reactions that lead to a lose of flavor and texture. If you can not consume your fresh vine ripened tomatoes in time, it is okay to place them in the fridge, but before consuming, consider placing them back in a warmer temperature area for a bit to regain some of the flavor.

 

References:

Corn: How to store corn, by Melissa Lewis; September 21, 2017

Eggplant: The Best Place to Store Eggplant is not in the Refrigerator, by Emily Han; August 12, 2015

Tomato: How to Keep Tomatoes Fresh for Longer, by Lindsey Jean-Hard; August 29, 2017

Garlic scapes: what they are and the best storage for them!

We are happy to announce that we are now giving out delicious garlic scapes at distribution!

A common question I keep getting is: what the heck are garlic scapes?? Garlic scapes, sometimes called garlic stems, are the flower bud of the garlic plants. They are removed this time of you to encourage the bulb of the garlic to thicken up! They taste great and can be used the same way as garlic in many recipes!

A popular method of preserving the scapes is to chop them in to 1 inch pieces and freeze them in zipper freezer bags. This makes it easy to grab a handful of garlic scapes and add them to soups, stews, stir fry, omelets, or anything else you may use garlic as an ingredient in. The garlic scapes hold up really well when you freeze them and remain firm.

Gazpacho And Storage Tips

Here are some quick storage tips and a recipe for gazpacho which utilizes several of our veggies at distribution. This is a great way to use your tomatoes if you don’t have the time to make sauce. Enjoy!

Corn: Store uncovered in the fridge with husks still remaining. Cooler temperatures below 40 degrees will prevent the sugars in the corn from turning to starch.

Tomatoes: Here is some interesting information I read regarding storing tomatoes. Many people have experimented with the effect of this, and have found that it is best to only store fully ripe tomatoes in the fridge, and anything less than fully ripe in a cooler environment between 55 and 70 degrees if possible. They should keep for a day or two in this environment. The reason for this is that the flavor-producing enzymes – which develop during the ripening process – are affected by cooler temperatures. Because tomatoes originally came from a warm climate, their flavor development, coloration, and mealy texture can be affected if stored in the fridge too soon. Fully ripe tomatoes however, don’t seem to benefit from hotter temperatures since their enzyme activity has significantly slowed. Some of their flavor can still be revitalized though if allowed to recover at room temperature for a day or two after refrigeration.

Watermelons: Keep whole melons at room temperature, refrigerate and wrap tightly once cut.

Cantaloupe: Refrigerate whole cantaloupe once fully ripe for up to five days. Sliced cantaloupe without seeds will store for 1 – 2 days in a resealable container, yet if the seeds remain intact it should last up to 3 days since the seeds prevent the cantaloupe from drying out right away.

Gazpacho Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • 6 ripe tomatoes (about 3 lbs), peeled and chopped (yielding about 6 cups)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (more may be needed to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, add to taste)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omit for vegan or vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups tomato juice (or 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes if you don’t have tomato juice)
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Use an immersion blender or blend in batches, to desired smoothness. Some prefer gazpacho somewhat chunky, in which case you can pulse just a few times in the blender.
Adjust seasonings to taste.

Place in a non-reactive container (tomatoes are acidic) to store. Chill several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

Gazpacho

Reference:
simplyrecipes.com, Gazpacho
realsimple.com, Fresh Pick: Cantaloupe
food52.com, How to keep tomatoes fresh for longer
womansday.com, Watermelon 101
livestrong.com, How to store corn on the cob

Drying Chili Peppers

Drying chili peppers is a great way to store them for the long-term. You don’t want to waste any of those chili peppers picked from that huge harvest this year. Here are a few ways to dry them so they don’t go to waste.

The Basic Method for Drying Chili Peppers

Wash your chili peppers thoroughly after picking to remove any dirt, then dry.

Place on a plate or a wire rack in a dry, well ventilated room. You can also string the chilies up on string or thread and hang to dry. Within several weeks, you will have dried chili peppers and you can grind them up or use them as ornaments as desired.

Oven Drying Instructions

Wash your chili peppers thoroughly after picking to remove any dirt.
Cut them in half, lengthwise to expose the pepper innards.
Arrange the chili peppers over a baking sheet.
Bake at low heat, about 100 to 135 degrees.
There is no set time to bake the chili peppers for drying. Keep an eye on them, turning every few minutes or so. You can leave the oven door cracked for some air flow. It will take several hours with this method. Keep in the oven until the moisture has been baked out of them. Use as desired!

Drying Chili Peppers Without an Oven – Air Drying

  1. In this case, dry your chili peppers whole. Do not slice.
  2. String them together on some strong thread with a few inches between each jalapeno peppers.
  3. Hang the chili peppers in direct sunlight. Be sure it is dry and warm.

It can take several weeks for the jalapeno to completely dry with this method, but it’ll be worth it!

Last but not least, you can also consider a food dehydrator, which is a more fool-proof method of drying chili peppers.

Drying Chili Peppers with a Dehydrator

A dehydrator is probably the easiest method for drying chili peppers. A dehydrator encloses the chili peppers and dries them overnight in soft heat. Slice them up before dehydrating for faster dehydration. You can find dehydrators in stores or online.

What can you do with your dried chili peppers?

Grind them up to make your own chili powder, which is like cayenne powder, or keep them whole and use them as you might use a sun-dried tomato. They can be rehydrated with hot water and go great with many recipes!

Sources 

Ultimate Guide to Drying Hot Chili Peppers

Storing Chili Peppers – How To Dry Hot Peppers

Drying Chili Peppers