New Year— getting ready for the NEW season

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No we haven’t died…. there is just always that time between the busy end of season wrap-up and the slow-down of winter that we kind of go dormant.   There is definitely less time to get onto the computer because there is more time with family, books, food, glossy seed catalogs, sleep……

With winter farmers markets,winter CSA and our regular animal chores we still stay busy with the business of farming but it is a slower time.   It is a little hard to get down to the nuts and bolts of planning and gearing up for the next season… but we are getting there.

STAY TUNED for 2015 Harvest Season CSA and 2015/16 Winter CSA sign up forms… that is one of my next big tasks!

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A short breather before a Big Finish

Our CSA pickups are on a one-week break this week, as we gather in the fall storage crops for a Big Finish for all next week.

Enjoy this weird and warm weather and see you next week!

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Hot Peppers and Tomatillos

Today we put hot peppers into the CSA share boxes… but they were all together in a bag, segregated from your sweet peppers that has free rein in the box…  Here is a photo of some of the types you would have gotten.  In general, the smaller the pepper the hotter the flavor…. with the types we grow anyway.   If you can’t use all these hot peppers at once, you could freeze them or pickle them… they do keep pretty well in a bag in the refrigerator too.

The Anaheim peppers in this photo look very much like the sweet Carmen peppers that we also grow.  That is why we keep your hot peppers separate in a bag.   You will also have gotten some ripe red sweet Carmen peppers in your share… I think they are delicious!

Here are some hot pepper recipes from a previous post (oh, you will recognize the photos too…..  reuse, recycle!)

TOMATILLOS!

These funny little husked fruits are relatives to the tomato and a staple in Mexican and Central American cooking.  I forgot to take a photo today so went on the internet and found this photo along with some interesting info and recipes on the Gourmet Sleuth website.  You can also find our favorite salsa verde recipe from a previous post.

Tomatillos

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Pickle Time Recipes

Here are two great recipes for making pickles—one uses a hot pickling mixture to make quick refrigerator pickles, the other a salty brine to lactoferment them.

Lactofermentation is a natural process of fermenting vegetables (and fruits!) with naturally occurring lactic acid. It has the added bonus of producing millions of wonderful probiotics. It is also a slower pickling process, so in the meantime I like to make the quick pickles to eat on sandwiches, with salads, and just straight out of the jar.

These two recipes use cucumbers and also work very well with any fresh crunchy vegetables like carrots or peppers, sliced very thin.

Sweet and Sour Quick Pickles

Ingredients

3-4 small cucumbers, cut into thin rounds

Pickling liquid

1 cup distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup cold water

Heat vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard seeds in a small pot, allowing to simmer until sugar dissolves. Add water to cool the mixture.

Pour liquid over cucumbers and refrigerate. They will start to taste pickle-y in a few hours and are best the next day. Store for up to a month, submerged in liquid.

Garlic Dill Lactofermented Pickles

Ingredients

3–4 medium cucumbers, sliced into quarters
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic, whole

Brine

1 quart water
1–2 tablespoons salt

Fermenting cucumbers for pickles is super easy, but there are a couple of things that will aid in success. First, make sure the cucumbers are fully submerged in the brine. I will often use a clean stone, but you can use anything like a smaller jar filled with water or even a bag filled with brine (in case it leaks).

The second is that at this time of year, vegetables will ferment very quickly. Be sure to check on your jar frequently—every day would not be too much. Not only will you make sure to not overferment, but you’ll also get a sense of how the flavors and textures changes over time.

In the jar, add cucumber, dill, and garlic. Pour in brine until full, leaving a half-inch free at the top. Weigh down cucumbers and cover with cloth.

Check on cucumbers often, and when they taste pick-y and sour, enjoy . . . and refrigerate immediately!

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What’s in Season? Zucchini Time!

Zucchini Time: This is how we do it, do it...

Zucchini Time: This is how we do it, do it…

Farmer Lisa and the Zukes

Farmer Lisa and the Zukes

From our fields to your share

From our fields to your share

It’s Zucchini Time here on the farm and we want to get you ready for enjoying the amazing generosity of the zucchini plant.

Here’s a dynamic duo of recipes from Lindsay to get you started!

Zucchini pasta with scape pesto

There are all kinds of ways to make zucchini pasta (do a little googling if you don’t believe me), but I usually make it the quickest way I know how!

  • 2 large zucchini
  • Basil and Scape Pesto (recipe below)
  • olive oil for sauteing
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel slices of zucchini from top to bottom until you get to the seedy middle.
  2. Turn the zucchini over and peel long slices off the other side.
  3. Eventually you won’t be able to peel the middle that well, I usually just use a knife to slice this piece as thin as possible.
  4. Cut your long slices into strips, 1/4-1/2 inch wide.
  5. If you’re eating the zucchini raw—you’re done! Toss with pesto and enjoy. I like to lightly sauté the “pasta” in olive oil for 5–7 minutes over med-low heat—then toss with pesto!

Serves 4

Basil and Scape Pesto

  • 10 to 12 large scapes, cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1 c lightly packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 c pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2–1 c good olive oil (depending on how thick you like your pesto)
  • 1 tsp lemon (optional)
  • 1/2–1 c grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Add scapes, basil, and salt to food processor and process, slowly adding oil.
  2. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl and add parmesan, if using.
  3. Process again, when smooth add nuts and pulse until nuts are roughly chopped and mixed in.

Extra pesto can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container … or frozen for dark winter nights.

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Mix your own pickling spice

We just gave out samples of the garlic scape pickles that Lisa and Angela made.  Since they made their own pickling spice mix, I thought I should share that with you if you want to duplicate the flavor more closely.  Use a tablespoon of this mix per pint jar instead of the coriander and mustard seed in the recipe from the previous post.

This mix is from Marisa McClellan’  Food in Jars.  Which is a great book on “preserving in small batches year-round”.  I have actually linked you to her website, which might inspire you to do some more seasonal preserving when you just have a little more that you can use fresh.

Feel free to adjust this recipe according to your taste… or what you have on hand.  For a small amount, measure with a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon and just use about 1/6th of a cinnamon stick….

Marisa’s Mixed Pickling Spice (enough for about 20 pint jars)

  • 3 Tblsp crushed bay leaf
  • 3 Tblsp back peppercorns
  • 3 Tblsp whole allspice
  • 3 Tblsp coriander seeds
  • 3 Tblsp mustard seeds
  • 3 Tblsp juniper berries
  • 1 Tblsp dill seed
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

Combine in a clean jar, seal, shake vigorously to combine and mix.  Use during the season for you mixed pickling spice!… cucumbers, beans…. more to come….

 

 

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Another Garlic Scape idea!

Garlic Scape Pickles

Garlic Scape Pickles

Pickle Your Scapes!

I often think that the best part of a jar of dilly beans is the clove of garlic… so, why not just make pickled garlic…. AND if you use garlic scapes they look like beans but have that great garlic flavor! This week Lisa and Angela went on a pickling spree with some of our scapes.  The scapes are in their prime, so pull out your favorite dilly bean recipe and just put in scapes instead of beans.   If you don’t have a favorite recipe, here is one you can try:

Pickled Garlic Scapes

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 3/4 cups of white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/4 c pickling/canning salt
  • mustard seed
  • coriander seed
  • red pepper flakes
  • about 60 scapes or about 3 pounds of scapes

Prepare 6 pint jars for canning (Wash, sterilize etc).

Combine water, vinegar and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.

Pack scapes vertically or coiled horizontally into clean, sterilized jars. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of mustard seed, coriander flakes and red pepper flakes (you can adjust or omit for hotness) to each jar.

Carefully ladlehot brine into jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace  between top of liquid and lid.  Tap jar to dislodge air bubbles, add more brine if necessary.

Can with boiling water method for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow jars to rest in hot water for 5 more minutes.  (Please refer to canning instructions from an updated home canning reference)

You can adjust this recipe for the number of scapes you have…. you need about 1/2 pound for a pint jar of pickle.

 

 

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