The last week of the fall season has arrived.. Your Holiday Share includes: Baby Red Leaf Lettuce, Sweet Potatoes, Purple Potatoes, Turmeric, Red Radishes, Red Bok Choy, Sugar Cane, A Chinese Honey, and some Delicious recently crafted Pure Florida Cane Sugar.
Chinese Honey- or what I like to call “Swamp Citrus.” These mandarin-like citrus are out of my very own backyard. I grew up eating these fruits and in the winter months it’s basically a staple in my diet I will eat up to 10 or more a day. The trees can be propagated by seed, so save the seeds and put them somewhere to dry until you can plant them in spring. All of our citrus trees were planted from the seeds of the first fruits off of our trees back in the early 80’s. My dad got some of the beautiful honeys from a man who lived on the west side of Newnans lake in Gainesville Florida. We planted them on the East side of the lake where we live and they flourished in the rich swamp mud. They grew underneath a cypress canopy so in order to get the sunlight they had to grow up rather than bush out like most grove citrus. Some trees are close to 30 feet tall. To pick the fruits we have to get on a ladder on top of our truck with a citrus picker, it’s quite a scene, not to mention all the cypress needles that shower you when you are trying to pick that perfect golden honey. Enjoy the fragrant oily rhind, you can simmer the peel in a cast iron skillet on the stove with some cinnamon and other spices for a true holiday aroma. Sadly this staple of my childhood is coming to it’s end and all of our trees have been affected with citrus greening. The greening disease causes the fruit to yellow and drop off of the tree before maturity. The tree starts to die branch by branch until it no longer puts off fruit. Much of Florida’s citrus industry is under attack however, things are looking up, as IFAS finds ways to treat trees affected with greening.
Red Choy- Use this red/purple colored bok choy as you would the traditional green variety- Lightly saute or stir fry with some garlic, also great in soups.The leaves and stems are thinner than the “soup spoon” stalks of traditional bok choy.
Turmeric- This superfood can be used to add yellow color or orange and mild flavor to a broad range of dishes including smoothies, soups, rice dishes, omelettes, and more. I think Turmeric is one of those tastes that are not that appealing at first but you learn to love it, at least that’s the way I feel about it. I would like to get addicted to drinking the Turmeric tonic twice a day however every night before bed seems to be more realistic for me.
Simply peel the skin off with a spoon, finely chop the turmeric (you can use a garlic press too) do it all at once and store in a small jar in the fridge so you have it easily accessible. Add 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric (depending on how much you like the taste), 1 tablespoon of honey, a squeeze of fresh lemon or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a coffee/tea mug of freshly boiled water.
Like I said in order for me to drink this every night as a regiment I have to make it super easy. Go ahead and premix all of the turmeric, honey and lemon juice in a jar and then all you have to do in the morning/evening is add a few tablespoons of this elixir to your hot water. You can just feel the goodness radiating in that mug!
Read more about the healing powers of Turmeric HERE
Baby Red Leaf Lettuce- This tender and flavorful baby lettuce adds vibrant color to any salad mix. Try a very simple vinaigrette recipe pairing for your lettuce, like the one Chef Amy Secol recommended –Classic Vinaigrette Dressing.
Purple Potatoes- These purple majestic potatoes are a radiant purple on the inside. Cook this thin skinned variety as you would any other potatoes, they will lose a bit of their rich color and transform to a light pale purple
Sugar Cane- Sugar cane is the number two commodity crop in our state, just under oranges and we are the number one state for sugar cane production in the country and fourth in the world so I thought it was very important for our members to see and feel what sugar looks like in its purest form. Here at We decided to start growing sugar cane primarily as a wind and sun barrier for our crops, we harvest and sell the cane at the markets but it wasn’t until last week that we saw the true potential of this crop, when it was made into syrup. We are currently growing two different varieties of sugarcane, one is green and is best for milling and juicing (the kind we made into syrup) and the other- red variety is easy to peel and eat like the one we put in your share. The peel comes off with a tug (I hate to say it but teeth work best) peel the whole outer peel off and you are left with a sugary goodness inside, chop into bite size pieces or just chew it on the stalk and spit out the fiber. Take a peek at the graphic below from Sugar.Org to see how table sugar is made from sugar cane.
Cane Syrup- What are we going to do with all this sugar cane? In order to make that granulated sugar that is used in so many things you must send it off to be processed at one of the few sugar refineries in the United States, that is not in the cards for us so we decided to go to an older, southern method of making cane syrup. Mr T, our syrup maker, is a retired man living in Ocala, Florida. He has spent several years making this cane syrup for the sole purpose of keeping this southern tradition alive. throughout the past few months he passed by our farm regularly to watch the progress and growth of our cane in hopes that he could make some of his delicious, pure southern cane syrup using our organically grown cane. This test batch was hauled off to Ocala last Thursday to be pressed and boiled in an open cauldron for several hours until it got to the right caramel color and thick consistency. Enjoy this cane syrup over waffles, pancakes, on smoked sausage, cheese toast or stir it in your beverages as a natural sweetener.
Sugar Cane Candied Sweet Potatoes
I just could wait to start experimenting with this delicious natural sweetener. The dark rich color of the syrup reminds me of brown sugar so obviously the first thing I think of when I cook with brown sugar is a sweet potato dish. Try this simple and delicious recipe…
- Frog Song Pure Florida Sugar Cane Syrup
- About 3 medium-sized unpeeled Sweet Potatoes
- Coconut oil or Butter
Bring to boil 4 quarts of water with a few pinches of salt.
Wash and slice unpeeled sweet potatoes into round medallions.
Boil the sweet potato medallions until they are tender but not yet falling apart (10 minutes)
Transfer the medallions into a pie dish or baking dish.
Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil (my preference) or butter- evenly distribute around the dish on the top of the medallions.
Drizzle with cane syrup (about 2-3 spoon dips)
Roast the walnuts by simply tossing 1-2 cups of naked walnuts in a pan over medium-high heat for about 5-6 minutes until they are warm, browned and crispy.
Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the cane syrup drizzled medallions and bake in the oven at 375 f for 10-15 minutes. Serve. Try some other flavors with some fresh goat cheese or even some vanilla bean ice cream.