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Week 12 Newsletter

September 9, 2011

In Your Box:

  •  Beans
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Hot pepper
  • Kohlrabi
  • Onion
  • Potatoes, Yukon Gold or Nicola
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini or eggplant

Judging from the extended forecasts, it looks like we’re enjoying the last gasp of summer.  With temperatures tumbling next week and a possible frost coming on September 22nd, enjoy the fruits of summer while they last!  Jeremy and I have been basking (as we work, of course) in the low humidity, high sun days we’ve had lately.  It makes the 90-100 degree days of July seem like a distant memory….  Even as we slowly say goodbye to zucchini, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and basil, we look forward to the bounty of fall: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and winter squash!

This week we feature two of our least common vegetables, which also happen to be among our most divisive.  People tend to either love or despise Kohlrabi, with German heritage playing an important part for those that love these funky looking monstrosities.  Kohlrabi is believed to have been bred from wild cabbage (the same source for kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, and our modern cabbage) to favor its swollen stem.  Kohlrabi is the only food we grow specifically for the vegetative properties of its stem; all other crops are the fruit, seeds, leaves, or roots of plants.  Garlic and leeks might look like stems, but in fact they are botanically the fertile leaves of the plants.  In addition to the round stem protrusion, the leaves can (and should!) be eaten.  They are essentially kale leaves, so prepare them in the same way and use in any recipe calling for kale or collards.

The stem should be peeled from its tough outer skin, until you reveal its juicy white flesh.  Kohlrabi is perfectly good consumed raw.  My favorite intake method is to chop the peeled kohlrabi into thin slices and dip them into a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and chili powder.

Other ideas:

  • Trick your kids into eating it by peeling it and serving them slices of “apple.”
  • Steam kohlrabi whole 25-30 minutes or thinly sliced 5-10 minutes. Dress slices with oil, lemon juice, and fresh dill weed. Dip in flour and briefly fry.
  • Sauté after grating in butter and add herbs or curry for enhanced flavor.
  • Add slices or cubes of kohlrabi to soups, stews, or stir-fries.

We also introduce Fennel this week, for what will likely be its solo performance.  Fennel is a close relative of carrots, cilantro, parsley, and dill.  Both the white bulb and the green fronds are edible and are used for their anise- or licorice-like flavor.  The bulb portion may be chopped and added to sautees or baked on its own.  The fronds are a great stand-in for recipes calling for dill.  Keep fennel in the fridge for up to two weeks.  The fronds wilt quickly, so they should be kept in a bag or wrapped in moist paper towel.

We also continue offering Tomatillos.  We don’t have enough to give them to everyone weekly, but we’re keeping track to make sure everyone gets them equally.  Tomatillos look like tomatoes and are used in similar ways, but they are a distinct species in the same family.  They are best recognized by their paper husk, which should be kept on for storage but removed prior to eating.  Tomatillos can be eaten raw (“tomato-apples”), but are usually cooked into salsa verde.  Keep them for up to two weeks at room temperature or longer in the fridge (in their husks but not bagged).

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