Thursday, June 2, 2011

week 2

Red Springs Family Farm
June 2, 2011 week 2

Lettuce Yokatta Na Garlic Scapes
Baby beet greens Green Onions
Sorrel Oregano Mint Miso
Mizuna Gobo (Burdock) Green Coriander

What a week! The stormy weather pattern broke and summer came rushing in. The heat has arrived. Paul and Branden have worked pedal to the metal each day, transplanting hundreds of eggplants, peppers and squashes. The corn seed made it into the ground, and another round of beans, too. The peas aren't looking good, so we're taking them out and planting the cucumbers on their trellis. Early spring crops don't like this heat. It wears a body out too. The guys have been coming out of the garden parched and sweaty and we've been spending time in the creek as often as possible.

Our spring broccoli planting may yield us some decent heads and side shoots in the next couple weeks. It won't be the same spread as the Fall broccoli last year (if you missed it – it was an amazing broccoli crop), but spring broccoli is always a gamble.

We're including some basic information about salad greens and herbs this week – care, handling, storage, and enjoyments all included.

Storage and Handling of Lettuce and Tender Greens
This category includes all lettuces, and most of the greens we send.
Store unwashed greens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. To store lettuce or greens mix that you've washed and dried, roll the leaves loosely in a kitchen towel, put the towel in a plastic bag,a nd place the package in the vegetable crisper bin. Wet greens will spoil quikly, so make sure they are truly dry before refrigerating them. If you have a salad spinner, wash and spin the greens before refrigerating them. It is preferable to eat cut greens withing three or four days, and use lettuce within a week.

Salad greens bruise easily, so be sure to handle them gently. For lettuce, slice the head at its base with a s harp knife and let th leaves fall open. Discard damaged or leather outer leaves and tear large leaves into bite size pieces. Both lettuce and tender greens can be washed by swishing them around in a basin of cold water. If a lot of dirt collects in the water, wash them a second time. Dry in a salad spinner (great investment if you love salads), or place them loosely in a mesh bag or thin towel, then go outside and swing the bundle around your head.

Yokatta Na is back. It's in the bag with the beet greens. Judging by the feedback from your surveys last year, you either loved Yokatta Na or didn't care for it at all. We stand by this plant. Please, give it another try. Though it does not LOOK like spinach, we've found that it acts very much like spinach when cooked. We also have enjoyed it sliced thin in salads.

In your herb bag this week, you'll find more sorrel (bright green arrow shaped leaves) and mizuna (white veins and deeply lobed), which are both green in a salad mix, as well as mint, and oregano. On the side, there are green onions, garlic scapes, and tiny little green corianders, just a taste. They add a flavorfull burst into a pot of chili or soup.

Herb Teas, or Tisanes

For about 6 cups, take a good handful of fresh herbs. Give them a good rinse and pluck any unattractive leaves off the stems. Place them in a teapot and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes, or longer if the tea does not seem very aromatic yet, sweeten with honey if desired, then pour into glasses or teacups. For iced tea, make the tisane, then chill well. Pour over ice and add a sprig of fresh herb to the glass.

Native to northern China and Siberia, burdock, or Gobo is more commonly cultivated in Japan where it has been an important vegetable since the 10th century. It is considered a delicacy in Southeast Asia. The root was valued by ancient folk healers as a blood purifier and strengthener, a tonic after sickness, and a relief medicine for arthritis. It is also highly valued for its medicinal uses for skin diseases. Burdock root extracts have been shown to destroy bacteria and fungus cultures, and also show strong cancer fighting properties. Steeping fresh burdock shavings in boiling water produces a tea which is thought to help with indigestion, strengthening and toning the stomach, cleansing the liver and clearing acne.

We love Gobo best in Miso Soup. If you've never been exposed to miso – here's your chance. Our good friend Crazy Owl made lots of miso and we have become stewards of a portion of his last batch. Store it in the fridge; it only improves with age. One teaspoon stirred into a cup of hot (not boiling) water makes a healthful and tasty soup/tea. Miso can be added to almost any soup as a salt substitute and taste enhancer, but only add it at the end, when the soup is no longer boiling. Gobo is a nutty rooty taste and should be added early on in the soup-making process. I will post a more detailed recipe on our blog soon.

Here's a different recipe for Gobo:
Stir Fried Carrots and Burdock with Sesame Seeds
1-2 Gobo roots 3 carrots (sorry they're not quite ready)
2 Tbsp mirin 2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp white sesame seeds 2 tsp light oil
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
1.Scrub the burdock roots with a stiff brush under running water to wash away the soil. Thinly slice them on the diagonal then slice into matchsticks. Put them in a bowl of cold water until they're all sliced, then parboil for 1 minute. Drain.
2.Peel carrots and slice into matchsticks. Combine the mirin and soy sauce. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden, then immediately pour them onto a plate to stop the cooking.
3.Heat a wok or skillet, add the oils and swirl around the pan. When the pan is hot, add the burdock and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add ¼ cup water, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and stir fry 2-3 minutes longer. Pour in soy sauce and mirin and continue to stir-fry until the vegetables are nicley glazed, af ew more minutes. Toss with sesame seeds and serve hot or at room temp.

Next week, we look forward to bringing you broccoli and chard. Get your anchovies ready – it's time for Romaine lettuce. Have a great week and enjoy your greens!

~with love from Red Springs Family Farm

“Friendship is a basket of bread from which to eat for years to come. Good loaves fragrant and warm miraculously multiplied; the basket never empty and the bread never stale.” - Catherine de Vinck

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