CSA Week 13: August 24th
Happy Friday everyone! These weeks just keep on going by faster and faster. After a few cool days, the heat wave ravaging the Western US is here for us. Here’s what you’ll be eating to cool down:
Big Basil Bags
Big Kale Bunches
This week’s share is based on what we think needs to be preserved for the coming winter. Those whispers of fall we saw last week reminded us that there’s not always a counter filled with fresh vegetables and it’s important to keep eating these nutrient dense foods through the winter. I am by no means an expert in preservation and don’t even own canning supplies, but I do have some tips for being able to enjoy your favorite vegetables throughout the winter.
A few new veggies are joining your shares this week: tomatillos, pole beans, habaneros, dill seed, and collard greens. Tomatillos are a delicious tart addition to any soup, fajitas, or used in a salsa verde. The long pole beans have tender skin great for chopping and stir-frying like a normal green bean. The habaneros are HOT and will work great for spicing up any dish. The dill seed is super fragrant and delicious for making dilly beans with the pole beans! The collard greens survived the wrath of almost every type of bug and some bunnies, so these are some strong healthy greens. We hope you find great ways to combine this diverse array of vegetables for the week, and hopefully for the future!
In lieu of a recipe, I’m just going to share the ways that I preserve our vegetables for the winter. I basically have no extra time in the summer months, so these are all quick and foul proof.
- I love freezing kale and throwing it into soups or frittatas. You simply blanch the greens, submerge in ice water to stop the cooking, strain dry, and place in a ziploc bag to freeze. I like putting them in small bags so I have a nice portion for cooking every time.
- Frozen Pesto! Use your favorite pesto recipe and maybe double or triple it. Then freeze the pesto in cupcake trays. Transfer to individual bags and boom, you have delicious pesto in January.
- Andy is a spicy guy, so he loves dehydrating the habaneros. We recently got a dehydrator, but an oven at a low temperature until they are basically crispy also works. He then grinds the habaneros up into a powder to mix into everything and anything.
- Pole Beans and Dill Seed
- This is where my expertise lacks, but I have friends that made delicious dilly beans with our pole beans and dill seed. Add habaneros or garlic in there for a good time!
- Tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, and habaneros
- Salsa! What a treat some delicious spicy salsa verde is on a grey day in February.
- Tomatoes (keep in your back pocket for when we have them again)
- Blanch and freeze just like the kale! Defrosting them takes no time at all and makes the best Shakshuka.
Those cooler days definitely affected our slicer tomatoes. They did not ripen at the pace we have been used to. This could also be attributed to a few other reasons like slacking on pruning, not doing any sort of mid season fertilization, and shorter daylight hours. We hope that they come back with a bounty after we give them a little TLC and some hot weather.
But what is going strong right now is the Spicy Mix! After some struggles with germination and pest pressure, we finally got a beautiful 100+ pound harvest. It really is some of the best looking mix I’ve ever seen. The mustards aren’t too hot, the kale is the perfect amount of bitter, and the baby tatsoi isn’t filled with bug bites! It felt great to finally have what’s usually our main crop back in action. This season’s mishaps with salad production have been a great lesson to alter our crop plan for the pressures of heat and bugs by replacing spicy mix with romaine or other head lettuces and baby lettuces mixes. In the past we were able to force spicy mix in less than optimal conditions and lots of labor hours, but I think we need to stop fighting nature and learn to work with her.
Enjoy the bounty and stay cool!
Amy and Andy