Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter - Share # 2


I hope you are doing well. Our shares this week include; gold potatoes, butternut squash, spinach, red savoy cabbage, celeriac, mustard greens, candy onions, chinese rose radishes, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga. There was so much in the shares this week that we had to include the gold potatoes in their own seperate bags. They will be in a box next to the CSA shares, please just open it up and take a bag of those in addition to your share.

Everything in the shares this week is new, except the sweet potatoes...

The gold potatoes are probably the most common 'boiling' potato. Though they are great prepared many ways in addition to boiling, because of their smooth texture and thin skin, they are classified as boiling, rather than baking potatoes. I think it's quite difficult to differentiate between potatoes when it comes to eating them, but several Pittsburgh chefs have complimented us on how excellent they are this year, and have requested that we save enough for them to use throughout the winter. I hope you will be equally satisfied with them.

Butternut squash is also probably the most popular of winter squashes, and for good reason. It has a wonderfully nutty, sweet, flavor, that almost turns to honey when roasted with butter and a touch of sugar. It is also easily the 'meatiest' of all winter squash, and has quite a lot of edible flesh; which sometimes means it takes longer to cook, if you don't cut it into smaller pieces. Most people slice in half, starting on the stem side, then coat in oil/butter, and herbs or sugar, and roast, cut-side down, on a baking sheet, at ~350, for 40-60 minutes. It is done when it is as soft as you'd like it, if you continue to cook it, it will become extremely soft (which is great for mashed squash) before it starts to burn.

I am sure most of you are familiar with spinach. It is a cold-loving leafy green that can grow fairly large, but is more popularly harvested and eaten young, as is the case this week. It can be eaten raw, steamed, or stir fried, and has a ligthtly nutty flavor.

The red savoy cabbage is a special variety that has extra curly leaves--their texture reminds me of elephant skin. They can be used like any other kind of cabbage.

Celeriac, which is also known as celery root, is a starchy root vegetable, with a texture similar to potatoes, and a somewhat sweet, herbal flavor. It is commonly mixed with potatoes when serving, but is great roasted, stir fried, or in soups on its own. Make sure to cut off all of the roots before cooking. They can store in your fridge for a couple weeks before going bad, and like many root vegetables, will lose moisture and turn squishy well before starting to rot--so keep them in your crisper or a bag so they don't dry out.

Mustard greens are spicy, flavorful greens that are excellent raw, and by themselves, but can also easily be mixed in with other greens for a salad, or into soups or stir-fry to add a wonderful mustard flavor. Included this week is a mix of 3 varieties of mustards, each with their own unique flavor.

Candy onions are a local variety of sweet onions, similar to vidalias. They are especially good raw, since they lack that spicy bite that most onions have, but are also great cooked; which only enhances their sweet flavor.

Chinese rose radishes are mildly spicy, and slightly sweet, though less so than the watermelon radishes you received last time. They can be roased, sliced thin into salads or slaws, cooked into soups, stir-fried, or pickled.

Rutabagas are another starchy root vegetable, somewhere between a potato and a turnip in flavor and texture. They can be sliced and eaten raw, and are great as slices for dip. I like them most roasted, where they have their own rich, delicious flavor, but also absorb other flavors really well. They can be used in soups as well. Like turnips, they should be stored in the crisper in your fridge, though they have quite a long shelf life, and should keep for several weeks.

Things on the farms have been going very well. We had one of our quarterly all-cooperative meetings earlier this week, and organizationally, financially, and otherwise, we seem on the path to a stellar/record year, and are already hard at work putting together plans to make sure next year goes even better. As you can see, we have included some greens in this share, but as it's getting even colder out, it is probably about the last of those for the season. The farmers are busy harvesting and putting away for storage the last of their crops, and planting cover crops in their fields. I will write more about that next time...

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.



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