Happy New Year! After a rather warm December, the cool days seem here to stay – but there’s lots of veggies staying warm in our storage. We spend most of our time these days cleaning and bagging up vegetables for our monthly CSA, as well as for our Saturday market at the Wychwood park barns. If you’re part of our Winter CSA the list of goodies is below, but if you’re not you can come find most of them at our market stall on Saturday!
Steve has been busy in the office crunching numbers and making plans. We put up our registration for 2015 and we’re doing our early-bird special again this year… 50$ off full shares, and 25$ off half shares. Toronto – Belleville – County Register by February 6th to get the discount.
The monthly box that is being delivered tonight (Toronto) or tomorrow evening (County and Belleville) includes a full selection of our storage stock:
* Beets (Chioggia and Golden)
* Cabbages (red and Nappa)
* Carrots (large and small)
* Jerusalem artichokes
* Onions (including yellow and red cipollini – the ones that look flat)
* Potatoes (Russet, Onaway, Linzer Fingerlings)
* Radishes (Daikon and Watermelon)
* Purple Top Turnips
* Chioggia (candycane) and Golden beets do not stain like your standard beets! Their skins cook up fairly tender if you don’t want to peel them.
* Nappa cabbage shines in raw salads – nice dressed up sweet with carrots, fruit and apple cider vinegar dressing, or savory with radishes, sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce in the dressing
* Jerusalem artichokes… I’ve said it before, the longer you cook them the better! Throw them in for a slow simmer with your bones to make an amazing stock, then pull them out and into the blender to cream up your soup.
* Kohlrabi: fresh, or with cheese and potatoes… is it time for fondue?
* Leeks: use within a week… with onaway potatoes for soup!
* Onions have been in storage at 5°C, so they would prefer to pop
* Cipollini onions (the flat ones): sweeter than our spanish cooking onions, these treasures are at their best when roasted or even better caramelized
* Russets are your roasting potatoes this week, with amazing crunchy skins if you like them that way, or a nice creamy mash. Onaway are multi-purpose, on the waxy side and would be nice in a stew. Linzer Fingerlings are ready for roasting beside a nice hunk of meat, or sliced for tiny coins to be sautéed.
* Radishes can be cooked up instead of any frozen veggies in most recipes as their spice hides and sweetness shines – I love them in tomato based sauces.
* The humble Turnip can be had raw (for the spice) or cooked (milder). Solo for flair, or tucked into a recipe with other veg. Grated into salads, sliced to make “crackers” for cheeses or almond butter…
This is the time of year that I really value plastic, as much as I hate it otherwise it is really indispensable when storing vegetables. Veggies like to be just the right moisture, too dry and they go soft, too wet and they go mouldy. Most of our vegetables are stored in large plastic bags with a few small holes in them, to achieve that perfect in-between moisture. While short term (your fridge) doesn’t matter as much, after three months we’re starting to notice which bags had tops that weren’t closed properly (soft) or ones piled with the holes covered (white fluffy bits). So for your fridge, keep our roots in their bags and they’ll be fine, or leave a carrot loose to see what I mean by “soft”. If you’re experimenting with long term storage in your fridge… know the value of plastic, and a couple of pencil poked holes!
Enjoy the tastiness,
Steve and Heather
There is something wonderful about looking out the window at the gently falling snow as you cook up a feast… here’s a favourite of mine for a cool evening that my mom found in Canadian Living back in 1987. There’s nothing like the smell of baking potatoes, or the delicious crunch of their skins when buttered.
4 large potatoes (russet are perfect)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb of onion (one of the round yellow ones)
pint or 450ml of tomato sauce
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 c salsa
2 t chili powder
1 t salt
1c frozen corn
100g grated mild cheddar
4 T sour cream
4 t chives
Preheat oven to 450º F. Bake potatoes 1 hour.
In frying pan, saute beef. Add onions, cook until soft. Add tomato sauce, red pepper, salsa, chili powder, salt. Simmer 15 minutes. Add corn, heat through.
Cut potatoes, fill with sauce, garnish with cheese, sour cream and chives.
In the spirit of local, although it may not be Mexican, I love putting in carrots instead of red pepper, and daikon radish instead of the frozen corn. I’ve also been known to use the sprouting tip of an impatient onion instead of the chives… some caramelized cipollini’s would do very nicely too.
This is what Kohlrabi looks like when it’s growing. You can see it’s on one little stem, and all the “arms” are leaves. When these leaves dry out they leave little scars on the Kohlrabi, making the distinctive white stripes on the purple ones!
Potatoes were one of our all-star crops this year, and they are storing nicely too!
We’ve never seen onions as big as we grew them this year, Cipollini’s the size of my hand!
The leeks are best used within the week. We’ve learnt lots about their storage this year but sadly this is one item that won’t make it into your February box.
While some people stop composting in the winter, all you need is a place to put it till it thaws.
This was our “waste” from packing 32 CSA boxes yesterday, which happened to freeze in it’s bin before I dumped it on the compost pile. The chickens will have fun with it tomorrow!
Saturdays you can stock up at the Wychwood park indoor market this time of year, 8am till 1pm.
It’s the time of year when farmers order ducklings… and when you can sign up to get the early bird discount on a Summer 2015 CSA!