We received two inches of rain on Sunday night. Rain is a mixed blessing. It saves work running around turning on and off irrigation, but it creates work in maintaining drainage ditches and can leach nutrients from soil and wash out newly seeded beds. Too much moisture for too long encourages fungal diseases. The carrots that we’d planted on last Wednesday had already germinated in just four days. Farmer John was disappointed he’d missed the window to use a flame-weeder before they sprouted, but hopefully their little roots helped them to hang on and survive being washed out. Fellow farmers in nearby counties were not as lucky, with nine inches of rain nearly washing out their entire plantings. We are grateful each day for the opportunity to work together to grow quality food, and are grateful for the support of our CSA members to help us along the way!
In this week’s share, you can look forward to:
Mizuna: a mild relative of mustard greens, which can be used in salad mixes or lightly cooked. It has a hint of mustard flavor without the spice, and a delightful crisp and light texture. This is the light green, frilly textured vegetable. Wash well and spin dry. If you don’t have a salad spinner, we recommend getting one. Fill the bowl with water, swish around the greens, and lift them out to leave sand behind. Repeat a couple of times for a sand-free salad experience. Or you can use the tried-and-true low-tech method of putting your washed salad greens in an old (clean) pillowcase, and swinging it around over your head outside to drain excess water. Washed and dried salad greens hold well in the refrigerator, and also stick better to salad dressing.
Mustard Greens: A southern staple vegetable. Don’t try to eat them raw unless you like the sensation of your sinuses becoming very clear. This curly variety is wonderful braised and seasoned with raisins, or try a dash of apple cider vinegar. Vinegar helps cut the spicy flavor.
Bok Choy: a light, crisp and versatile Asian vegetable. Try it lightly stir-fried or sauteed, Bok Choy pairs well with ginger, garlic and citrus.
Daikon Radish: Daikons are popular in Chinese and Japanese cooking, and they are also the radishes that go into the fermented food, Kimchi. You can use them just like you would a carrot or radish: raw in salads, roasted in chunks, or diced in soups. They are relatively mild, and cooking them brings out their sweetness and diminishes any spicy flavor. Try this recipe for Glazed Daikon Radishes. The greens are great, cooked, too!
Red Leaf Lettuce: a tender and tasty base for any salad. Try one of our favorite farm house salad dressings:
Olive Oil – 1/2 cup
Lemon Juice – 1/4 cup
Tahini (sesame seed paste) – 2 tbsp
Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
1 clove of fresh garlic (finely minced if you don’t have a blender)
Chopped cilantro or sesame seeds are optional additions
If you have a blender, puree all the ingredients until smooth. You can add water to thin it out if it gets too thick. If you don’t have a blender, put everything in a tightly lidded quart jar and shake vigorously until well combined. Check seasoning and enjoy on your salad.
Green Beans: Try blanching (plunge into boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then shock in ice water and drain) and adding to salads, or freezing for later use. This recipe for Nicoise Salad uses lettuce, green beans, eggs, radishes, potatoes and olives and is a hearty and satisfying meal. Just substitute the red leaf for the butter lettuce called for in the recipe.
Roselle (aka Sorrell): Try this recipe for “Florida Cranberry” sauce and save it for Thanksgiving! You can also pop your Roselle into the freezer, whole, to preserve for later use. Break them out for a festive Sorrell Drink around the holidays with a cinnamon stick and splash of rum. Substitute the pint of fresh Sorrell for the dried in the recipe. You do not need to remove the seed pods if you’re making a drink. You do want to remove them if you’re making relishes or jam. There are many variations including with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, etc.
Florida Cranberry Relish (AKA Jamaican Sorrel Relish)
From the Survival Gardener
1 1/2 c. orange or apple juice
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
a couple of dashes of ground cloves
24 oz. Florida cranberries (seed pods removed)
1 c. raisins (golden or ordinary)
1 c. chopped pecans
*Chopped citrus and orange zest (Amy’s suggestion)
In a saucepan, combine juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved. Add Florida cranberries and raisins, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer 3-4 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in nuts. Chill for several hours.
Family Boxes will also receive French Breakfast Radishes and Rainbow Chard. Try a mild french breakfast radish sliced the long way and on a sandwich, or dipped whole into melted butter with a sprinkle of salt. Rainbow chard is a versatile green much like spinach in texture and flavor. You can eat the colorful stems too, just chop into small pieces (1/2″ or less) and add to your steamer basket or saute pan. Chard also makes a hearty salad green.