Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter CSA installment 1 - the aftermath

Well, I started this draft shortly after we got the first install of our winter CSA with the intent of telling what I did with our produce for that two week period. Now I lost the thread, and I'm halfway through the second batch of produce from the CSA. We'll pretend as if it was all planned. 

The way I've got this CSA arranged, I get a full share every other pick-up and a half share on the alternate pick-ups. So, the first load was quite a lot of food. It certainly makes you plan in advance to either consume it, "put it up" for later, or make expensive compost. While I'm quite the fan of composting, I'm not a fan of expensive compost. I hate things to go to waste, so I either wanted to eat it or freeze it before the food went bad. For the most part, I met that goal. 

Unfortunately, as I think I mentioned before, I had already been hoarding from the Fall farmer's market. This left me with a lot of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. On the flip side, it's caused me to experiment with butternut squash recipes, in particular, in a way I've never done before. I can now make some mean, and fiercely different tasting, squash soups. My favourites so far are a butternut-sundried tomato soup, in which the squash is a medium for sundried tomatoes, and a butternut-apple-ginger, in which the squash is a medium for ginger. Both are outstanding. 

So, here's the weirder things I used stuff for.. well, at least, weird to me because it was a first. i have little experience with beets. Like almost none. Mark Bittman suggests making a Swiss Roesti from them -- essentially a giant hashbrown of beets and parmesan. This was truly excellent, though burned in parts. Where it calls for a nonstick pan, I think they really mean that. But I don't have one, so it wasn't elegant, but it tasted great. I chalked the charred parts up to learning, and since they were the same colour as the beets, you couldn't pick them out (until you bit in). The other beet recipe was for beet greens and bacon, and it came from the farm. I just got fresh bacon from my 1/2 hog I ordered from Copper Penny Farm, so I had the perfect combo. I had no idea how well those flavours go together. I thought the beet greens would be a bit bitter, like chard or another green, but it wasn't. 

The celeriac was a trip. I mashed them as the farm suggested. It was like mild mashed celery, which is great if you like celery and weird if you don't. Luckily, I liked it and so did my son. My husband probably preferred it over the beets, which he wouldn't fein to try. 

I never really thought brussel sprouts were anything to write home about, and when I saw that there were aphids in the stalks, I almost went the compost route. It looked like a lot of work for not a lot of gain to me. But I decided that I'd cook the sprouts that i could relatively easily debug, and compost the rest. In the end, I think I cooked about 3/4 of the sprouts, but they were really small when I peeled off the buggy parts. I roasted them and used them in a pastas primavera. The flavour was sweet and subtle; I don't recall that being the case with any other sprouts I've eaten, so I'm not sure if it was because they were fresher, smaller, or a different variety. 

Now, the blue hubbard squash.. that's some good stuff... I cooked mine into two things: pie and soup. Both were  fabulous. The pie was rich and sweet, the soup very similar to German kerbis (pumpkin) soup. The only recipe I found for this squash was the pie on, but it was great. 

I'm trying my hand for the first time at lactose-fermenting with the carrots. I'm using a recipe for ginger carrots from Nourishing Traditions that combines shredded carrots, ginger, salt and whey. The mixture ferments at room temperature for several days and you end up with a sour, nutritious gingery carrot side - at least, that is the theory. 

I think the only thing so far to overwhelm me is the green peppers. I've received something like 10 of them, and I'm just not a fan. so, I blanched and froze most of them. I'm sure they'll come in handy somewhere, someday. 

The first install was: (the second was very similar)
potatoes - 2 qts.
sweet potatoes - 3 large, 5 small
onions - 1 qt - these are easy to use up
leeks - 1 bunch - I froze some, put some in soup
celery - 1 bunch - froze for stock making
parsley - one large bunch - still have some of this
sage - 1 bunch - dried some, used some in various recipes
parsnips - 3 large (these store a long time and are awesome) - I ended up freezing several of these, roasting others
carrots - 1 medium bunch (ditto as parsnips) 
squash - 2 acorn, 1 butternut, 1 large blue hubbard - used these all 
garlic - 2 heads
brussel sprouts - 2 stems, about 4 cups - pasta primavera with leeks and fromage blanc
celeriac - several,  about 3 cups - smashed celeriac and potatoes - interesting
chard - 1 large bunch (probably am going to blanch and freeze this soon)  - blanched two bunches now
beets, red - 1 large bunch with greens (will blanch and freeze the greens; roast and freeze the beets)
green peppers - 5 small

No comments:

Post a Comment