In your share this week will be:
Chestnuts: These guys come from our certified partner orchard in High Springs and have a flavor that’s tough to beat. You can roast, bake or boil them to soften the skin until its tender enough to be peeled off so the inner “meat”can be enjoyed with some butter and cinnamon! Prior to cooking in each method, be sure to use a sharp knife to cut an “X”into each nut to ensure quicker cooking and allow for steam to be released. Looking for a bit more of a unique recipe? Good ‘ole Martha Stewart had something to say about a Pumpkin-Chestnut soup, which includes our Seminole Pumpkin, another share item we’ll get to in a bit. It’s a pretty perfect dish for the Fall!
Jimmy Nardello Peppers: For those interested in the name, the story goes that Giuseppe Nardiello and wife Angela grew an heirloom frying pepper in the small coastal Italian town of Ruoti. In 1887, they followed the migratory flow across the Atlantic and set sail from Naples, were processed through Ellis Island, and eventually settled in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Like many other families, they took their prized heirloom seeds with them to settle in their new home garden. Jimmy Nardello, the 4th of their supposed 11 children, was the inspiration for the namesake. It’s a good story, and we’ve all greatly benefited from their gardening prowess: these long, tapering, red (when fully ripe) fruits are widely considered to be among the world’s best frying pepper.
Fuyu Persimmon: This non-astringent varietal ripens to a deep vibrant orange and though softens a touch, keeps a slightly crunchy texture. Firm, crisp and sweet, I might be misleading you if I suggested a recipe over simply munching these raw.
Italian Basil: As we truck deeper into October its getting late in the season for basil, but our most recent planting is still producing nicely for us. These flavorful and aromatic sprigs can be used for pesto, in a pasta sauce, a pizza topping or finely chopped and paired with our cucumbers and tomatoes for a bold flavor salad.
Mizuna/Arugula Mix: Mizuna is a Japanese mustard that has historically been (and still is today) pickled, stir-fried, steamed or added to soups/hot-pot dishes throughout Japan and Southeast Asia. With its crisp stalks and beautiful frond-like leaves, mizuna can also be an excellent salad addition with a mild peppery flavor not quite as pungent as arugula. Arugula (also known as “rocket) is a biting salad green that we plant and cut in successions to ensure only the younger, more tender leaves eventually make it on your plate at home. We believe this double washed and spun-dry ready to use salad mix compliment each other nicely.
Red Radishes: These mild radishes can be enjoyed raw or cooked. I typically prefer them thinly sliced or shaved into my salad, but I came across this recipe from the NYT Cooking blog that really intrigued me:
- 40 radishes (green tops optional)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
- If radish tops are intact and in good condition, trim off (leaving a short length of stem attached to radish), wash and set aside. Leave small radishes whole, and cut large ones in half.
- In a medium-size pot melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots and thyme, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add radishes, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and just enough water to cover radishes. Bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. If using, add radish tops, and simmer 1 minute more.
- Remove radishes (and tops, if using) to a serving dish, and boil liquid in pot until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour over radishes. Garnish with thyme leaves, and serve
Seminole Pumpkin: These native Florida crops have been cultivated for even longer that Western historical records can measure by Florida’s first peoples in the Creek and Seminole. The Miccosukee name for this crop is “chassa howitska” meaning “hanging pumpkin”. This references the method by which native peoples would plant the pumpkin seeds at the base of girdled trees, so that the pumpkin vines would grow up the trunk, and the pumpkin fruit would grow to be hanging from the bare limbs. These guys are easy to prep: halve it, place flesh down in a pan of oil and bake and 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The flesh will easily separate from the skin and makes for an excellent side dish seasoned with cinnamon, salt, pepper, etc. Or you can try the chestnut soup pairing mentioned above!