Winter is coming—just six more weeks of deliveries after this one. But a little preparation will allow you to enjoy your vegetables well into 2016.
WINTER SQUASH: Butternut squash does not do well in temperatures under 50 degrees; so it’s best not to keep it in the refrigerator. This works well for me—I don’t have room in my refrigerator and I like the way it looks on the counter or windowsill. As long as the room does not too warm, it can last up to two months or more. Don’t let is sit near ripening apples or pears—they emit a gas that damages winter squash. If you don’t think you’ll be using your squash for a longer time, bake it, cut it into chunks, and store in the freezer in ziplock bags.
POTATOES: I find that potatoes will last for several weeks or even a few months if they are not subjected to warm places. I keep them in a plastic bag, punched with several holes, and near an open window—but not in the refrigerator. Check them every few days and if they show even the slightest softness, use them or throw them away. There are very few things that smell as awful as a potato that has gone to mush—and once one goes bad, it takes the rest of them with it.
CARROTS: Carrots last only a few weeks in the refrigerator, but they freeze well. Peel, slice or dice (or grate), boil them for a few minutes, cool, and pack into ziplock bags. When thawed, they can be used in any recipe calling for cooked carrots. Or—make a Carrot Cake from Recipes from America’s Small Farms (p. 206) and freeze slices of that.
KALE, COLLARDS, AND OTHER GREENS: Greens are among the easiest vegetables to store for winter. Wash and chop them roughly, then blanch in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Drain in a colander until almost dry—you can leave a bit of moisture, but water will turn to ice when you freeze. Pack in ziplock bags and squeeze out all the air before you put them in the freezer. I pound the bags until they are so thin that they take up very little space in the freezer.
BEETS: Fresh beets will last in the refrigerator for up to a month before they start to get moldy—sometimes longer if you’re not fussy. But you can also freeze them—roast, peel, slice and store in ziplock bags. Another way to preserve beets is by picking them. Pickled beets will last for several weeks in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar—or they can be canned by following instructions on the Ball Canning Jar or USDA websites. Here’s one recipe for pickled beets from Allrecipes.com:
5 pounds fresh small beets, stems removed
1 cup white sugar
1.5 teaspoon pickling salt
2 cups white vinegar
1/8 cup whole cloves
1. Place beets in a large stockpot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes depending on the size of the beets. If beets are large, cut them into quarters. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the beet water, cool and peel.
2. Sterilize jars and lids by immersing in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Fill each jar with beets and add several whole cloves to each jar.
3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, beet water, vinegar, and pickling salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Pour the hot brine over the beets in the jars, and seal lids.
4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.
One other idea: Make a batch of beet burgers (Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 195). They can be frozen before or after baking.
CAULIFLOWER AND BROCCOLI: Both of these can be frozen—cook briefly, squeeze out the water, and pack in ziplocks. Both can also be pureed before freezing—they take up less space in the freezer that way and can be used in soups.
CABBAGE: An uncut cabbage will last for months in the refrigerator. If the top leaves go brown, just peel them off. Most years, my last non-frozen or canned CSA foods is a cabbage dish that I eat sometime in February.
I’ve seen several recipes that use cauliflower as “mock mashed potatoes”—cooking it until it loses its crunch and texture and then mashing it. I find it offensive to both the cauliflower and the potato—cauliflower has its own advantages, but it’s not a potato.
It’s not easy to face down a cauliflower. It usually doesn’t break apart as easily as a head of broccoli and needs a sharp knife to cut it into bite-sized pieces, The core and leaves have to be cut away and composted, though the stems are just as good as the flowers.
Cauliflower can be boiled or steamed to soften it—but my choice is raw, cooked lightly, or roasted.
Raw, it does well in a marinade, as below, or as a crudite with any dip or dunk. If you’re not a fan of very crunchy vegetables, cook it briefly before marinating, as in the salad below. There are also instructions for roasting below. Cauliflower is also great in a gratin, often mixed with broccoli. See general gratin instructions in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, p. 25. And there’s a more complicated Cauliflower Cheese Pie on p. 74.
CURRIED WINTER STEW WITH CAULIFLOWER AND WINTER SQUASH
This recipe appeared in the NYT (David Tanis) late last fall and it became one of my favorites instantly. It uses only one pan (plus whatever you cook the chickpeas in) and is a full meal, especially if you add rice and raita. I have not included the raita recipe because it was not especially great and took a lot of work—raita is easy, just add diced vegetables (radish is perfect, cucumber is good too) to yogurt. They suggest apple, which was just ok. Add curry powder, cayenne, diced hot pepper, or hot sauce. Mix the whole thing up, allow to sit in the refrigerator and bit and serve cold.
The first time I made this recipe, I followed it exactly, using the spice seeds and individual ground spices. I found the spice was too weak overall; now I just use pre-mixed curry powder. I start with a tablespoon and keep adding until it tastes right. I also add chopped greens to the stew, at the same time as the chickpeas—and sometimes string beans as well..
3 tablespoons untoasted sesame oil or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 2-inch piece of ginger, grated
6 small garlic cloves, minced
4 small hot red Asian chiles or Mexican chiles de árbol
1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups delicata squash, unpeeled, in 1-inch slices, or butternut squash, peeled, in 1-inch cubes
1 cup parsnips, hard center core removed, in 1-inch slices or chunks
½ pound tiny potatoes, such as fingerlings, halved
2 cups small florets of cauliflower
1 cup cooked chickpeas, preferably home-cooked and the liquid reserved
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Steamed basmati rice (optional)
Apple raita (optional),
1. Put oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. When oil is wavy, add cumin seeds and coriander seeds and let sizzle for about 1 minute. Add turmeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic and chiles and stir to coat.
2. Add onion and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Add squash, parsnips and potatoes, salt lightly, then add 3 cups chickpea cooking liquid or water, or enough to just cover vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender but firm, about 15 minutes.
3. Add cauliflower and chickpeas and stir gently to combine. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender. Taste broth and adjust seasoning, then transfer to a wide, deep serving platter or bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve with steamed basmati rice and apple raita, if desired.
MARINATED CAULIFLOWER SALAD
From Martha Stewart Living
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons brine-packed capers, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch cauliflower until just tender, about 2 minutes; work in batches if your pot is not big enough. Drain; transfer to a bowl.
Whisk together vinegar, onion, and mustard in a small bowl. Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinaigrette over warm cauliflower, and add capers and parsley. Stir to combine.
Cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 day. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds and Kalamata Olives
5-6 cups of cauliflower florets
2 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs lemon juice; and 1 tbs zest from an organic lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup crumbled goat or feta cheese (if desired)
¼ cup blanched or slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup sliced kalamata (or other) olives
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Add the almonds and olives and toss until combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Roasted Cabbage & Cauliflower Salad With Peanut Dressing
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 head of cabbage,thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 (15oz) can chickpeas – or 2 cups of homemade beans, warmed
1/4 cup green onions or chives, sliced (optional)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup cup hot water
1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.
2. Place cauliflower and cabbage onto a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and roast for 30 minutes or until cabbage and cauliflower are browned.
3. Meanwhile, mix together peanut sauce and set aside. You can add more water to thin the dressing if needed.
4. Once cauliflower and cabbage are done, let cool for a few minutes then mix cauliflower, cabbage and chickpeas together. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
5. Serve over grain of choice or greens and drizzle with peanut sauce. Garnish with green onion or chives if using.
Savoy cabbage can be used in any recipe that calls for cabbage. It’s leaves are softer and sweeter than standard cabbages, making it perfect for salads. And it doesn’t give off that sulfur-smell when cooked. I hate cooking with regulat cabbage because that smell permeates every corner of my apartment—but I do cook Savoy.
Roasted Savoy Cabbage Recipe
1 head Savoy cabbage
olive oil for cooking
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a rimmed baking sheet.
Cut the cabbage into quarters vertically and carve out the core (save it for another recipe). Cut each quarter in two lengthwise, and slice crosswise thinly.
Place the cabbage on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat.
Insert in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, until cooked through and golden brown in places.
Sprinkle with black pepper, dress with a touch of lemon juice, and serve.
Creamy Savoy Cabbage with Carrots
Nick Nairn bbcgoodfood.com
1 large Savoy cabbage
4 large carrots
4 tablespoons butter
4 tbsp heavy cream
Pull off any tough outer leaves from the cabbage and discard. Cut in half, then remove the hard inner core. Rinse the leaves, then shred as finely as you can. Cut the carrots into fine, thin strips or grate in the food processor.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the cabbage and carrots. Boil for 6 mins until just tender, then drain. Return to the hot pan and add the butter and cream. Season with pepper, and salt if you like, add the nutmeg and stir well to coat. Pile into a serving dish and serve immediately.
Stephanie gave us this recipe a few weeks ago; it seems perfect for Savoy, so I’m repeating it.
2 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Swiss cheese
1 Tb crushed caraway seeds (optional)
Wash, dry, and quarter the cabbage. Shred it into 1/4-inch pieces. Melt the butter and oil in a large pan; add the cabbage. Stir until coated with butter, then cook, covered, over low heat for 8-10 minutes until wilted. Remove the cover and cook for 2-3 minutes over high heat, stirring to evaporate moisture. Beat eggs and mix with cabbage, cream, cheese, and caraway (if you like). Put in a buttered loaf pan and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve either hot or cold. (makes a 1-1/2 qt. loaf).
-Make with leftover cabbage. Saute sliced cooked cabbage in butter and oil to evaporate moisture, about 5 minutes. Then proceed with the recipe.
-Add pieces of ham or sausage.
-Season with herbs or spices.
Carolyn sent a Just Food newsletter that’s packed with info, tips, and recipes for Bok Choy; I see no need to try to improve on it–it’s a great source of info: