April 2013 - Morning Song Farm
I should post this email from time to time, so that newcomers to our CSA won’t miss out. Leafy Green Storage is a huge issue. As organic farmers, we know we can’t rely on chemical preservatives or fungicides to keep your leafy greens fresh and tasty during the week. So proper storage is critical. A new subscriber said that she’d googled a recomendation to put leafy greens in a paper bag with a paper towel inside, and I have to say I think that is pretty much going to guarantee a poor outcome. Frankly, other than stomping on them first, I can’t think of a worse plan for storing fragile leafy greens.
That paper towel will suck the moisture out of the leafy green, wilting it quickly, and the paper bag is too porous, and will compound the problem. I often use simple tupperware type containers, or zip locks, although the best method is to use the Green Storage bags that you see advertised here and there.
Also, don’t jam your leafies into anything, give them some space to breathe. And don’t wash leaves before storage.
To answer questions about organically grown shelf life (vs. conventional)….if a produce item stays “fresh” beyond its normal shelf life, it’s because it’s been sprayed with a chemical to make it so. There are fungicides that will keep fruit looking fresh, but the trade off isn’t worth it. Heck, that’s why our subscribers are choosing to purchase organic produce from us.
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 1/4 cups thinly sliced leeks
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups(or more) low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh fennel, divided
- 1/4teaspoon(or more) freshly grated nutmeg
- Fine sea salt
- 1/8 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 tablespoon very thinly sliced lemon peel (yellow part only)
- Small fresh fennel sprigs (for garnish)
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until softened and wilted, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes (do not brown). Add potato; stir to coat. Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup with 2 tablespoons fennel and nutmeg in blender until very smooth. Transfer to large bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and chill. DO AHEADCan be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Whisk yogurt, lemon peel, and remaining 1 tablespoon fennel in small bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Use small bowl mixture as a garnish, dollop into each serving bowl when setting your table.
Preheat oven to 350. Peel off the outer skin of each tuber, and then carefully slice into long, thin sections. In a separate bowl, combine a quarter cup of either olive oil or virgin coconut oil with a couple crushed garlic cloves, dash of tabasco sauce, pepper and salt to taste. Dump your cut sweets into your oil mixture, toss, and then scatter on a baking sheet. Bake until tender. Enjoy!
|Actual sweet potatoes on the left, African yams on the right.|
Sweets or Yams? Most of us think that the dryer, lighter fleshed tuber is a sweet potato, while the orange fleshed variety is a yam. But actually, both are sweet potatoes, botanically. This is important to know, because the two; yams vs. sweet potatoes have distinctly different nutritional benefits. The tubers we normally see in the grocery store or farmers markets here in the US are almost always Sweets. Often grocers refer to the light skinned ones as Sweets, and the orange fleshed ones, in the image at left, as yams. True yams are grown in Africa as a staple, and are rarely seen in grocery stores domestically. (For comparison, see the image above of the African yam. The true yam is rough skinned, and can grow to an astounding 150 pounds. Sweets are smooth skinned and certainly aren’t known for rivaling livestock in weigh-ins. All Sweets, whether light fleshed or orange fleshed, are morning glory relatives. Though different in colors, the sweets share similar nutritional value and health benefits because they are all genetically similar. Though shockingly low-calorie considering their filling attributes, the sweet potato has a reputation among health food lovers as being among the most densely nutritious veggie available.
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A; one medium sized tuber has nearly eight times an adult’s needs. Additionally, the sweet contains considerable amounts of anti-inflammatory compounds which can be very important to people with IBS, arthritis, gout and other inflammation-related diseases and the tuber also has a very low glycemic index which is thought to be a benefit for those dealing with diabetes.
If they weren’t so darn good, maybe we could see not adding them to our diets on a regular basis, but happily, these gems are quite tasty, and deserve to be grown and served more frequently than during the winter holidays!
This is so quick and easy, smooth and delicious, it may become a favorite quick breakfast meal!
2 medium cooked yams (I throw them in the oven when I’m cooking something else, and then have them at the ready when I want to use them for this or another quick recipe. They can also be easily microwaved)
3 cups vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk
2 cups crushed ice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
1 ripe banana
Blend until smooth. Serves 8.
|kumquats and honey|
This is a great recipe to introduce yourself to the pleasures of both cooked kumquats (which, incidentally will fill your kitchen with the other-worldly aroma of simmering kumquats) and sauteed, freshly harvested young fennel leaf. Combined, they make a lovely stir fry with a little wilted spinach over a nice basmati rice.
|Young leafy fennel and butter|
To do: I cut a handful of kumquats longwise, and flicked out the seeds. Toss kumquats in the smallest pan you have, add water and a quarter cup of honey. If you have honey on the shelf that has crystalized, here’s a good use for it. I cook down the kumquats until the liquid has thickened somewhat. Leave the pan uncovered, and as the liquid reduces; you’ll enjoy a little “aroma therapy”:)
I sliced the tender stems and leafy green of the fennel and sauteed with a bit of butter until the fennel leaf is tender, and then set aside. This doesn’t take long, the fennel today is VERY young and tender.
I steamed my Basmati in a rice cooker, and then let sit until needed. Add a handful of your baby spinach if you like to your fennel, turn heat back on if you choose to add spinach, and saute until the spinach is wilted, no more than a minute. Finally, wisk the three pans together; kumquats, fennel and rice add salt to taste; serve immediately or chill and serve as a rice salad.