We’re very excited to start our early Fall season distribution at the Gator CSA location on the UF campus! This week’s share represents the period of transition between two seasons. For those new members that weren’t able to try our Summer bounty, new plantings of okra, eggplant and callaloo offer a taste of late summer before we bound forward into the new season.
We thank our members – both new and returning – for supporting our farm with their subscription. We’re really looking forward to an excellent fall season. Registration is still open, so if you or anybody you know may be interesting in giving our CSA program a shot, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
In your share this week will be:
Sweet Potatoes: Our crew has been working extremely hard to dig these roots out of the ground and clean them to get to you. These particular potatoes are a variety called Covington, which is a very productive variety with an excellent shelf-life. It rosy skin and deep orange flesh provide a delicate sweetness and is perfect for baking or mashing. Your share this week includes smaller roots we call “fingerlings”, which are near bite-sized and make for easy kitchen prep.
Roselle: These are the calyxes of our Roselle Hibiscus plant. Also known as Sorrel or Florida Cranberry, these fruits are primary used to make a semi-tart tea that can be consumed hot or cold. You can bring the calyxes in 1/2 gallon water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let steep for 20-40 minutes, depending on desired strength. Sweeten to taste with honey, sugar or agave.
Here’s an alternative Thanksgiving recipe presented in Marian Van Atta’s 1991 “Growing and Using Exotic Foods”:
2 cups roselle calyxes, seed pods removed and coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup honey
½ cup olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup stock
2 quarts soft bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine roselle, pecans, and honey. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add in onion and celery and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the salt and herbs, and then the stock. Bring to a simmer and then add in the bread crumbs and roselle-pecan-honey mixture. Place in an oiled baking dish and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until the top becomes browned and crusty. Serve hot.
Japanese Eggplant: If you haven’t had Japanese Eggplant before, you’re in for a treat. These long, slender fruits are exceptionally tender, don’t require peeling and have very few seeds as compared with Italian Eggplant varieties. Excellent for baking or in stir-fries, you’ll be grateful for this last stretch of summer crop.
Red Radish: We grow several radish varieties over the course of the fall/winter season, but our red radish got the early jump and is handling the lingering heat and humidity very well. I’ve already utilized the guys several different ways since we began harvesting them the week before last. Thinly slice them into your salad, steam or sautee them for a stir-fry or add them raw to your fish taco for an added zing. This variety has a little bit of peppery bite, but isn’t overwhelming. Cooking them neutralizes any kick.
Red Callaloo: Another summer delicacy, our callaloo is an amaranth leafy green that makes for a perfect steaming, sauteeing dish. Endemic to West Africa and and the Caribbean, callaloo traditionally refers to a type of stewing dish shared by Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Season with salt and steam with onions, peppers, okra, and radishes! Callaloo also makes for a great coconut curry base.
Okra: This crop came in very vibrantly with tender, flavorful pods. As the heat wanes, okra will begin the give way to fall plantings, but while it’s here, let’s enjoy it! These are great roasted, grilled, fried or as part of a jambalaya or succotash. Cap the pods and blanch in salted water to retain full flavor.
Saijo Persimmons: Translated to “the very best” in Japanese, these acorn shaped fruits are astringent, meaning that have to be fully ripened and soft to be eaten. You can process them to make jams, dressings, or sauces, but there might be wisdom in simplicity here. My favorite way to enjoy Saijo are to place the softened fruits in the freezer, let them harden, and enjoy their cold sweetness after they’ve begun to thaw. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more satisfying dessert.
Mizuna: Mizuna is a Japanese mustard that can be eaten raw, stir-fried, added to soups, steamed, boiled or pickled. This green has been present for us all throughout the summer for us in shade grown conditions. Here’s a top-notch mizuna salad recipe that’s be sure to knock your socks off – be sure to add your red radishes!
ASIAN GREENS WITH GINGER MISO DRESSING
A hand-crafted dressing of ginger, miso, tahini (sesame paste) and lemon adds a creamy balance to organic baby spinach, mizuna, red and green Chard and red mustard greens. Tangy daikon radish, sweet carrots and crisp scallions complete this Asian delight.
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2 TBS white miso
3 TBS tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup water
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
5 ounces baby Asian salad mixed greens with mizuna
1 small radish, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch-long slender sticks
2 green onions (white part only), chopped
For the dressing, place ginger, miso, tahini, water and lemon juice in a blender and blend until completely smooth. The consistency should be similar to cream. Strain the dressing through a fine sieve to remove ginger fiber.
For the salad, divide greens among serving plates. Arrange radish and carrot on top, then sprinkle with scallions.
Drizzle one to two tablespoons of dressing over each salad and serve.