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Week 11 Newsletter

September 2, 2011

September 2nd or 6th

In Your Box:

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Hot pepper
  • Kale, Red Russian
  • Onion
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini or sweet corn

This week we finally rid ourselves of sweet onions, which remained quite stumpy all year, in favor of the more impressive Storage Onion.  Our onions did quite well this year, achieving good size without the rot that plagued us last year, when it was much wetter.  Storage onions are best kept on the counter or in a pantry, and this variety (“Copra”) will keep all the way through next spring with proper storage.  They should not be refrigerated unless you use only part of the onion for a meal, in which case the remainder should be refrigerated for up to a week.

Our Basil bouquet this week includes a couple sprigs of lemon basil, which has a sweeter taste than other varieties.  Use it in the same ways as other basil.

We are also able to spice up the box this week with the first of our Hot Peppers.  We have a few different varieties, all rated a 3 on a scale of 1-5 in terms of fiery intensity.  Our most prolific are small orange peppers called “Bulgarian Carrot.”  We also have thin, stretchy “Joe’s Long Cayenne,” some jalapenos, and the bunchy “Maule’s Red Hot.”  These pack quite a punch, and you may even want to wear gloves when cutting them up.  Whatever you do, don’t take out your eye contacts without washing your hands after cooking with them! (thanks to Nina for this valuable life lesson).   If you have any difficulty telling them from sweet peppers, know that the hot peppers are always smaller.  We do have a beautiful Italian heirloom sweet pepper, “Carmen,” that has a similar shape to some hot peppers but is much larger and always sweet.  There is also a pointy-tipped tomato, “Federle,” that looks much like peppers but lacks the stem and top.

Our last new entry this week is Celery, which has performed great this year after getting drowned out in 2010. Celery is believed to be native to the south of France, and its early culinary usage extends around the Mediterranean.  The celery we grow is more similar to this early wild crop than the grocery store offerings that are mostly water.  This celery might be a little less kid-friendly, though it adds a nice crispy bite to soups, stews, and stir-fries.  Keep celery in the fridge for a week or so, preferably in the hydrator drawer.

Celery has been used throughout history as a garland for the dead during burial.  It was also used as a garland for the victorious in early Olympic-type games, before it was replaced by crowns made of pine.  I would have preferred the celery necklace, myself, as opposed to having pine sap trickle down my victorious face.  And, of couse, the celery necklace could be eaten afterwards.

After pathetic harvests during the high heat of July, our Green Beans have really turned the corner!  In just this week, we will bring in 130 pounds of beans!  We have been giving a full pound to half shares and two pounds to full shares.  In case your dinner table can’t keep up with our supply of fresh beans, here’s an easy way to freeze them and enjoy them later, assuming our bean plants ever stop producing.

  1. Break off the inedible ends of the beans.
  2. Bring a large pot of water (and a pinch of salt) to a rapid boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling, dump in the beans and return to a boil.
  4. Cook the beans for 3-5 minutes at a hearty boil and then remove from heat.
  5. Dump the beans into a colander and drain the water. Immediately run cold water over the beans, tossing in ice cubes if your patience wanes. Keep this up until the beans are no longer hot. This is important-—if the beans do not cool, they will continue boiling internally and get mushy.
  6. Once cool, set the beans out to dry.
  7. Once dry, move them into plastic freezer bags and jam into the freezer.

This process is known as blanching and can be used for peas, corn, and some other veggies as well.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Will Healy permalink
    September 2, 2011 11:16 pm

    “Green Beans” by Pinkeye Pete

    It’s off to the garden to check out the scene
    In hopes of locating my favorite green beans
    Fresh picked and tender young babies you know
    A big slab of butter and I’m good to go
    Brought to a boil and drained off you see
    Then in comes the girls all smiling with glee
    They all grab a bowl to join in the feast
    and along comes fat Eddie the last but not least
    There isn’t that many first picking you know
    So get out of the kitchen you all got to go
    I’m stuffing my mouth full and shooing away
    but though I protested they all planned to stay
    Well then it got nasty I had a sharp fork
    And fat Eddies fingers looked something like pork
    Grunting and grabbing they rushed me so fast
    They got all my green beans right down to the last

    Or, perhaps better:

    “What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? I cherish them, I hoe them, early and late. I have an eye to them; and this is my day’s work.”
    —Henry David Thoreau

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