Veggie Tips for the Week
I usually write this CSA newsletter on Wednesdays, mid-week, once we're knee-deep in whatever the week's harvest might be. The outline for the newsletter will take shape in my head on Tuesdays as I move around the farm picking and packing your week's share. It'll dawn on me that I need to tell you that most of our artichokes are baby chokes, that they barely have a hairy choke inside, and that you can eat almost the whole wonderful tender thing from the bottom up. Oh, and that even if you don't have a use for fresh oregano (or mint) you can dry it and use it as needed. And that you can cook up the leaves of those Hakurei turnips like mustard greens. And so many other little things that you may or may not figure out on your own.
But these first couple weeks I've been writing the newsletter on Monday, before I find myself in the field meditating on all the lovely specifics of the produce we are harvesting for you. Which means I forgot to tell you some things last week (see above re: artichokes and oregano and turnip greens). :-)
As for this week....
Kohlrabi: Those are the two bulbous things in your tote this week, one purple and one white, with a goofy topknot of leaves - a quirky spring/fall vegetable that's bringing a splash of color to your tote this week. You can eat every part of the plant (use the leaves like kale), but most of the culinary focus is on the bulb: peel it, slice it up and eat it raw. You can also steam, stir-fry, and sautee it, although I think it shines as a raw vegetable more. It'll keep for weeks in the fridge in a plastic bag.
Mint: As mentioned above, if you aren't going to toss it into your smoothie, muddle it in a cocktail or rub it on some unctuous leg of lamb, dry it for later. You can simply hang the bunch and wait until it's crispy, or put it in a food dehydrator at low temp. Once it's dry, crumble it up and store in a glass jar.
Lacinato Kale: The blue-green crinkled bumpy bunch of leaves are a popular variety of kale that we always refer to as "Lacinato," but it goes by a lot of other names: Dinosaur kale, black kale, Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, flat black cabbage, palm tree kale, or black Tuscan palm. It's been grown for centuries in Tuscany and is a traditional ingredient in minestrone. You can steam it, sautee it, roast it into kale chips, put it in your smoothie, add it to pasta or soup, for juice it (for extra super powers!). Keeps for a week or so in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Pea Shoots: We started experimenting with micro greens and pea shoots in our greenhouse this winter (one of the positive developments that came out of the incessant rain that prevented us from getting outside). The little bag of pea tendrils that some of you are getting this week (others next week) is one of my new favorite things to grow and eat. They taste just like peas! (Which, by the way, are growing beautifully in the field and just began flowering....cross your fingers for sugar snaps in three weeks!). We've been eating these little pea shoots in our salads - so pretty and tasty - but you can also flash sautee them with a little olive oil and salt or eat them alongside a slab of fish or other meat. They'll keep for up to a week in the fridge.