CSA October 2, 2013

Notes from the Farm

We hope you have enjoyed the bounty from the farm this season. If you loved the CSA, please tell your friends about it.  For every person you refer to us we will give you 10% off next years CSA!

Autumn on the farm is as busy as the springtime.  We continue to dig, pick, and haul produce from the field and it seems like a never-ending process.  The onions in your box this week were harvested weeks ago and set to cure, but due to the rainy, cold weather, they are still a bit moist.  They will cure on your counter top, or any place that is dry and has airflow.  Once the tops have sealed, they are safe to store for months in a cool, dry spot.

The squash is fully cured and can be enjoyed now or put away for future use.  We have loads of winter squash, so don’t hesitate to call and order more, they can store until early spring.  One of our friends even stored a spaghetti squash for well over a year and used it as a play toy for her baby.  We got the hint and stopped growing so much spaghetti squash.

A tremendous thanks to Renee McGrath for designing, editing and updating the website; Katie Lethenstrom for writing the weekly storage notes and recipes; and Marlon and Lisa at Bitterroot Delivery  Service for delivering CSA boxes to Missoula. Eat well, have a great autumn/winter and we hope to hear from you next spring!

This Week’s CSA

The last share is full of great storage vegetables that will help sustain you as the days get colder and the nights get longer.  Folks will find potatoes, yellow storage onions, red onions, carnival and buttercup squash, Arat parsley root, Brussels sprouts, a pumpkin or two, parsnips, garlic, jalapenos, chives, tatsoi, and pears.

Storage Notes

The pears are still a bit green so they will do best stored on the counter to encourage ripening.  Pears can ripen before they turn yellow and become soft (at that point some pears are rotting from the inside) so make sure to check periodically for ripeness.

Tatsoi will do best stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, as will the Brussels sprouts.  Remove sprouts from stalk if you don’t have room to store the entire stalk in the fridge.  If the parsley root comes with tops, make sure to remove the tops and store separately.  Parsnip roots will do best in the refrigerator.

The potatoes, onions, squash and pumpkin are all considered storage items and will do best stored in a cool, dry and dark spot.  Potatoes require the least amount of light, as light tends to make them sprout.  Winter squash can be stored on the counter but they tend to dry out more quickly.  As for the onions, make sure to use the larger ones first, as the smaller onions tend to last longer in storage.  Make sure to occasionally check all storage items for moldy, soft spots.  Often the veggie can still be used, as long as you remove the soft spots.

Usage Notes

This time of year the rich-tasting parsley root is a perfect addition to soup, but it also goes well with sausage and beans, making it a great addition to cassoulet.  The notes from August 7th provide more information on how to use Arat parsley root.  The recipe for latkes can also be adapted to include parsley root, beets, or parsnip.  The pumpkin is ideal for carving but if you so desire, it can be baked and the cooked flesh used for soups or baked goods.  If you love a good snack, make sure to save the seeds for roasting.

Tatsoi leaves are dark green and spoon-shaped with a mild cabbage flavor.  A member of the Chinese cabbage family, tatsoi greens can be added to a salad mix or tossed with sesame oil and rice vinegar for a side salad.  The leaves can also be added to a stir fry, wonton filling, or soup.

Native to Europe and Western Asia, parsnips have been cultivated to look like a large cream-colored carrot.  The root will be much larger than parsley root and come without tops.  Parsnips have a core that can be seen easily once cut in half.  If the core is woody, it needs to be removed.  Use the tip of your knife to see if the core is tough and stringy.  The root needs to be peeled before using and cut in to even size piece so the root cooks evenly.  Although tough-looking, the root will cook fast, so keep an eye on it so it doe not become mushy.  Parsnips take well to boiling, baking, roasting, or mashing.  Their mildy-sweet but assertive flavor goes well with butter, curry, maple syrup, mustard, parsley, chives, onions, apples, potatoes and other root veggies.


Squash Fritters and Fried Sage

(serves 8 as an appetizer)

From Food and Wine, October 2013

Vegetable oil for frying

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups seltzer or club soda, chilled

kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges

1/2 cup sage leaves

lemon wedges for garnish

In a saucepan, heat 1 inch of oil to 360 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk the flour and 1 1/4 cups of the seltzer until smooth and the consistency of sour cream; add more seltzer if the batter is too thick.  Season with salt

Working in 3 or 4 batches, dip the squash and some of the sage leaves in the batter; let excess batter drip off.  Carefully add the battered squash and sage, and some uncoated sage leaves, to the hot oil.  Fry over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer the fried squash and sage to paper towels to drain.  Season with salt and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Pureed Parsnips

(serves 4-6)

Courtesy of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled or scrubbed well

salt and freshly milled pepper

1/2 cup buttermilk, cream, or cooking water as needed

4 tablespoons butter

Chop the potatoes and parsnips into pieces; the potatoes about half the size of the parsnips.  Put them in a saucepan with cold water to cover, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender.  Drain, reserving the liquid.  Pass the vegetables through a food mill, or beat by hand into a puree.  Add enough buttermilk or cream to make the mixture smooth and easy to work.  Stir in butter, taste for salt, and season with pepper.