Jun
07
    
Posted (Lori) in News

This week’s recipe sheet is so long that I’m splitting into several posts.

STORING AND PRESERVING GREENS

Patricia gave us some great tips for storing our produce when we bring it home. Greens will last for several days—even a week or more—if we take a little care when we put them away. The trick is to keep them cool and dry. No need to clean them or cut them up until you’re ready to use them. If you’d like to read more of Patricia’s Pickup Tips, I’m pasting the whole thing at the end of this email.

From Patricia:

Store greens in ‘fridge in perforated plastic bags.  Check daily for moisture buildup inside bags.  Simply turn bags inside out and replace greens in dry side of bag.

Store stemmed herbs in a glass of water, after first trimming ends.   Put perforated bag over herbs  and refrigerate.  Check for moisture buildup every few days.  Replace water, re-trim stems, and cover with dry side of plastic bag.  I’ve had dill, parsley, etc. last for more than 2 weeks.

Store lettuces in perforated plastic bags.  Recut stem and wrap bottom of lettuce with 1 square paper towel, to keep leaves dryer.  Check for moisture buildup, as for other greens.

Freezing greens

If you’re not going to use your greens for more than a week, blanch, bag, and freeze them. They squeeze down to size of a small, flat baggie, and you’ll be delighted when you take out one of those baggies in the middle of winter.

Instructions

While the greens are still fresh and crisp, wash them carefully and pick off any yellowed leaves and chop them roughly. Cut off tough stems. Prepare a large pot of boiling water and another pot of ice water.

Blanch the greens by tossing them into the boiling water. Cover and let them boil for 2-3 minutes (2 for the most tender greens, 3 for tougher ones). Blanching destroys enzymes and bacteria what destroy the leaves and nutrients.

After they’re boiled, drain and drop them into the ice water so that they don’t continue cooking. Leave them in the ice water for 3 minutes until they are completely cool. Drain again, then squeeze out any excess water (which will turn to ice and freezer-burn them.

Now place in plastic bags; I find a ziplock sandwich bag is just right for 2 servings of greens. The trick here is to get out as much air as possible—to save space and to avoid freezer burn. Some people have clever device for this; I use a straw. I zip-seal the bag, then open it just wide enough to insert the straw; I suck out as much air as I can, then hold the top of the straw (to avoid letting more air get in) while I take out the straw and quickly seal up the bag. I keep my bags fairly flat, so they take up almost no space in the freezer. They’ll be good for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Some people blanch and cook lettuce; it’s mushy and useless for salads, but can be used in smoothies. I don’t think it’s worth it; if I can’t use all my lettuce, I give it away and make other people happy.

Herb are easy to preserve; just hang them upside down until they’re dry, then crumble and store in tightly-sealed glass jars.

PATRICIA’S PICKUP TIPS

Here are some common sense rules for picking up and storing our veggie shares, which we follow throughout the season.

Monday CSA emails include Deb’s list of veggies we’re getting Tuesdays.  Set aside enough small plastic bags (we use left-overbags from the grocery store veggie section) for each green (lettuces, herbs, Swiss chard, etc.). Poke holes in bags, so moisture isn’t trapped inside once you get them home. The type of veggie also determines the size bag to bring.  Put them in your BYOB (bring your own bag) for Tuesday.

Tuesday at the site pick up heaviest veggies first.  They go in the bottom of your BYOB.  Light and fragile vegetables, including herbs, go on top. Greens go in your smaller perforated plastic bags.  Loose items in containers (cherry tomatoes, red currants) can be tipped into small plastic bags (leave containers at site), or take containers home covered w/plastic bag  and remember to return containers following week.

Tuesday night at home

Store greens in ‘fridge in perforated plastic bags.  Check daily for moisture buildup inside bags.  Simply turn bags inside out and replace greens in dry side of bag.

Store stemmed herbs in a glass of water, after first trimming ends.   Put perforated bag over herbs  and refrigerate.  Check for moisture buildup every few days.  Replace water, re-trim stems, and cover with dry side of plastic bag.  I’ve had dill, parsley, etc. last for more than 2 weeks.

Store lettuces in perforated plastic bags.  Recut stem and wrap bottom of lettuce with 1 square paper towel, to keep leaves dryer.  Check for moisture buildup, as for other greens.

Other veggies—Remove from BYOB and gently wipe off dirt and water.  Store dry in fridge.

Salad season

The first 2-3 weeks of the CSA season has become our favorite time, because it means salads for dinner!  Invest in a salad spinner or large cotton dish towels to dry lettuce leaves, etc.  Mizuna is wonderful with lettuce, adding a slightly spicy taste.

Keep on hand potatoes, organic frozen corn, avocados, and butter beans, to add to the salad.  (Dice potatoes, cook for 3-4 minutes in microwave oven until done, remove lid and add frozen corn.  The corn cools down the potatoes, and the potatoes warm up the corn.)

Make a large supply of salad dressing and store in a glass container in the ‘fridge.  Wisk minced garlic and Dijon mustard together in small bowl.  Drizzle in balsamic vinegar.  Slowly wisk in olive oil, until dressing thickens.  Add a teaspoon of water to thin, if very thick.  Add black pepper and any dried herb on hand.  Stoneledge sends us summer savory (tastes like a stronger version of thyme), which I dry.  Dried basil, oregano and thyme are also good.  I usually add a little of each.



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