This Week’s CSA
The box hosts an abundance of early summer herbs, oregano, hyssop, and cilantro, as well as broccoli, snow peas, lettuce, cauliflower, kale, green onions and zucchini.
Cilantro is in the same family as the carrot, Apiaceae, and considered native to northern Africa, southern Europe and southwest Asia. If one lets it go to seed it produces coriander, a popular sweet-tasting spice used in Indian cuisine and pickling applications. For those that like random trivia cilantro is actually the Spanish word for coriander.
Love it or leave it: To some cilantro leaves taste like soap. According to science this has been traced to olfactory-receptor gene called OR6A2 . According to Wikipedia “OR6A2 lies within a cluster of olfactory-receptor genes, and encodes a receptor that is highly sensitive to aldehyde chemicals. Flavor chemists have found that the coriander aroma is created by a half-dozen or so substances, and most of these are aldehydes. Those who dislike the taste are sensitive to the offending unsaturated aldehydes, while simultaneously may also be unable to detect the aromatic chemicals that others find pleasant.” Here’s a clip about why cilantro tastes like soap to some.
Hyssop is native to the Mediterranean, and Middle East, thus it has a long history of medicinal and culinary uses. It is a strongly scented herb, pungent, minty, peppery all in one. This herb can be strong-tasting for the modern American palate with our sugar-loving tongues. Be brave, try something new make hyssop tea, or substitute hyssop leaves into a recipe where you would use thyme. You can use this herb fresh or dry it for future use.
Snow peas are flat, pale green pods with barely formed peas. These tender peas can be eaten whole, and are delicious fresh, steamed, sautéed, or added to stir fries.
We love growing cauliflower. It’s pretty, nutritious, tasty and best of all …easy to harvest. Cauliflower is in the same family as broccoli, Brassicaceae. When you bite into a cauliflower you are actually eating tiny flower buds! We are growing three kinds of cauliflower this year snow crown (white), cheddar (yellow), and graffiti (purple). So far only the snow crown and cheddar are mature, you’ll get one or the other. As far as taste, some people say they can detect a difference between the varieties, but they all taste like cauliflower to me.
Do we really need a photo of zucchini? I hear stories of old where people’s parked cars get mysteriously filled with zucchini. We won’t do that to you.
Hyssop is used medicinally for treating coughs, bronchitis, and easing the common cold.
1 cup honey
2-3 TBS dried hyssop
When the hyssop is completely dry the leaves and flowers should easily break off the stem. Place hyssop at the bottom of a 1/2 pint clean, dry jar and pour honey over the herb Using a chopstick or other implement, stir to coat the herbs with honey. Top off with more honey to fill the jar. Wipe the jar rim with a clean cloth and cover tightly. Let infuse for a month or longer in a warm area out of direct sunlight.
Once your infusion is complete , warm your honey until it is liquid and pour through cheesecloth, into a sterilized jar. Seal and label. You can use this herbal honey in teas or as a throat soother when that winter cough won’t go away.