Hi everyone and welcome to Week 1 of our CSA program! In this section each week, I will be sharing my suggestions and tips on what I’ll be doing with my produce. This week, I’d like to start by going over the procedure I follow when I arrive home with my weekly share.
First of all, after picking up my share, I go straight home to go through the box and get everything refrigerated. It’s important to not let it sit in the hot car or out on the kitchen counter – after all, it is fresh produce, and subject to wilting if left unattended! I usually place newspapers on the table or counter and spread all my items out on them. I compare my items to the pictures in the newsletter, in order to identify them. I shake off any loose sand or farm soil, place each item in separate plastic produce bags, and refrigerate them. (A few years ago, I purchased a package of the Debbie Meyer’s green bags. The package includes an assortment of various sizes, they hold up well, and are reusable.) At this time, I do not wash anything. Remember it’s best to wash the items just prior to using.
I like to use any of the greens that night or the next – items like lettuces, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc. With that in mind, I take note if any of the items have green tops which could be cut off and stored separately. Examples of these would be beets, radishes, kohlrabi, turnips, etc. To prepare the greens, I wash them carefully under cool running water, rubbing both sides gently to remove any excess sand or soil. I then place them in my salad spinner, and spread the leaves out on white terry cloth towels I bought just for this purpose. I blot them dry, and get ready to use them in my recipes.
With all that has been going on regarding COVID-19, many of us have had more time at home to pursue some new activities and interests. For a lot of people, one of these is cooking and experimenting with new dishes. And that’s another reason why a CSA share is so much fun to get! You may find you’ll be trying some unfamiliar vegetables. That’s where I come in. I’ll help you learn about them, how to store them, and most importantly, how to prepare them.
This week’s share contains bok choy, a vegetable commonly used in Asian cooking. The Yummy Bok Choy Salad is so easy to prepare, and the chow mien noodles add a nice crunch. Similar versions of this recipe call for ramen noodles, split up, and I feel they could be substituted. Use what you have on hand, as we’ve all learned to do during this time. I personally love kale, and even though I have my favorite go-to way of preparing it, I’m always open to new ideas. The Kale, Cherry Tomato and Bacon Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing is a nice change. Who doesn’t love anything with bacon? And have you tried cooking your bacon in the oven? My son got me started doing it that way, and now I’m a fan. No more spattering grease! The other kale recipe in this week’s newsletter will be using the parsnips in your share. Parsnips are one of those root vegetables you may not have tried before. You’ll find the maple syrup called for in the recipe brings out the inherent sweetness of the parsnips. If you’re looking for more of a main dish, try the Pasta with Parsnips and Bacon. You may discover a new comfort food!
To finish, we’ve included a dessert from The Pioneer Woman, Rhubarb Cobbler. Doesn’t that remind you of your grandma? I remember my grandma used to make various cobblers for us all the time. I especially like the flavoring of the almond extract; for me, it puts it over the top.
Hopefully, this will help you as you embark on this CSA journey with us this season. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I would love to help in any way.
Again, welcome everyone!