It’s Drenching rains may be starting to melt away the hard memories of this summer. With way too many days of challenging irrigation work, steadily learning ever more nimbleness with best laid planting plans, and now persevering through the still demanding “catch-up” workload, our farms have once again yielded a harvest cornucopia as vibrant and colorful as the marvelous foliage that graces our rural mountainsides. Those colors and the gratitude that has come with the return of the rain will surely brighten the outlook (and also what may be a moist., cloudy morning share pickup tomorrow!)–onward to the kitchen with deep gratitude and a rainbow of inspiration!
sweet potatoes ready for harvest, Picadilly Farm
Find a great plan for 3 weeks of deliciously using your October share in Jackie Starr’s October Menu (Jackie put this together for last October, 2015, with a similar list of share contents). Examples of recipes include escarole with white beans, lemon, and parsley, Mexican roasted beet salad, with poblano chili and lime, and Sweet potato and quinoa burgers, with leftover beet salad, With links to recipes for each item, she plots out a nice flow for using the most perishable items first and making and using a pot of stew or roasted veggie dish creatively in several different meals over the weeks. It is a really delicious looking menu, conscientiously made to inspire and be practical. She’s a working mom of 2 kids (at least), so she knows about busy, picky eaters and the helpfulness of a well-thought out week’s menu!
Here are some storage and use hints for this months share contents. There is also much more info under the Storage tips and Recipes Menu
Beets Refrigerator or cold cellar in plastic bag with holes
Carrots Refrigerator or cold cellar, in plastic bag or buried in leaves. Keep dark.
Store in a plastic bag in the back of the refrigerator. Carrots will keep for months this way. After being stored a long time there may be a white root substance on the carrot. Not to worry. Just peal it off. As long as the carrots are bright orange underneath they will taste wonderful. Organic carrots actually gain sweetness when stored.
Carrots and other roots can do quite well also at 33-50 degrees buried in moist leaves or sand (you’ll need to periodically re-moisten the leaves or sand with a watering can.)
Cabbage Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Fermented
Store cabbage in a plastic bag. When you take it out some of the outside leaves may look mildewed but not to worry. Simply strip off the outside leaves and the inside is as good as new. Cabbage will keep this way in the back of the fridge often for three months.
Kale Refrigerator, Freezer, Dehydrated, or Fermented. Kale made into chips (dry pieces in a low temp oven coated lightly with olive oil and salt) gets eaten pretty quickly but leftovers will store several days at room temps in an airtight container. See more info under other leafy greens, too.
Salad greens, Lettuce, Napa Cabbage, Escarole, Collard Greens, other leafy greens, Cauliflower Refrigerator, Freezer, Dehydrated, or Fermented.
These are not long keepers. Best to eat them within two weeks of the delivery. Immerse in cold water, wrap in a cloth dish towel, and place in your fridge. Or, for non-lettuce type greens, remove stems and slice or tear and blanch and freeze. Or, ferment as per directions at the fermentation… link under storage tips menu.
Escarole looks a bit like lettuce but has more succulent and prominent stems, is more nutty flavored than lettuce and good in salads or soups.
Fennel: Refrigerator drawer or other cold, moist storage. Fennel bulbs will last a few weeks if kept cold and moist. (The bulbs are easier to store if you remove the stem and fronds and use those in fine slices for more of an herb type flavor addition to a cooked stew or garnishing a salad.)
Acorn Squash (or other Winter squash other than Delicata) moderate indoor temps, dry pantry Keep in single layers in a cardboard or seedling tray in your kitchen, pantry, or moderately cool basement area. Inspect regularly for blemished pieces and use those first. If you have a lot that needs using right away, consider peeling, seeding, steaming and pureeing or cut in chunks for the freezer for later use. Butternut is among the best for long term storage and makes excellent soups and purees to freeze for soups or pies later.
Garlic Cellar, cool and damp
Store in paper bags or open box. Likes to be stored at temps between 33 and 40 degrees. A closed jar in the refrigerator can work as well.
Leeks Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Freezer
Remove any yellowing leaves, store in a plastic bag or crisper drawer in fridge. Or chop to desired cooking size and freeze.
Potatoes Cellar, cool, damp corner
Potatoes will usually store 2-3 months. Potatoes like to be stored at 45 degrees with high humidity. If possible store on flat trays. The benefit is the avoidance of the “bad apple” syndrome, and one can inspect all the potatoes as you use them up permitting you to take ones that are beginning to sprout. A soft potato usually means that it is rotten, but cut it up to make sure. Plastic bags are not recommended for storing potatoes.
Sweet potatoes Moderate indoor temperature Unheated Entrance, Attic Space or Unheated Spare Room in paper bag or tray
“Sweeties” store best on trays or in paper bags at temps between 55 and 65 and relative humidity around 60-70%. They can do well in these conditions for many months. Plastic bags are not recommended for storing sweeties.