CSA Newsletter Week #10 July 31st

Farm Notes
The storms over the weekend blew down some of our corn, but otherwise the farm and your food appreciated the rain we received. With the rain, we’ve had lots of growth — including the squash, zucchini, and cucumbers, which are back in the share! The cucumbers are a pickling variety, so unlike the smooth and soft slicing cucumbers from earlier weeks, these vegetables have bumpy thin skin, crisp flesh, and small seeds.

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This week’s garlic variety is Siberian. This garlic has a medium heat, so it complements other flavors nicely without overwhelming them. This garlic caramelizes readily when roasted.

The onion variety is Candy, a yellow onion, for this week.

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What’s In Your Share

For July 31st, you’ll find:

+ Tomatoes
+ Yellow Wax Beans
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Eggplant
+ Yellow Bell Peppers
+ Carmen Sweet Peppers
+ Hot Peppers
+ Onion
+ Garlic
+ Cantaloupe

The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Yellow Wax Beans – This may be the last week for the beans, so get them while you can!
+ Basil and Dill Flowers

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ In addition to the Flavorburst Yellow Bells in your share, you will also receive Carmen Sweet Peppers, an Italian bull’s horn type. They are named “bull’s horn” for their elongated shape that tapers at the end. These peppers are mild, and are ideal for fresh eating, roasting, or frying.

+ Your share includes Carson Yellow Wax Beans, which are also available this week on U-Pick. Perhaps the name is misleading, because these beans are not waxy at all! They are a stringless bean, with a light yellow color, and can be used as you would any green bean. They have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.

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+ There are many varieties of Hot Peppers in your share! They vary in their levels of heat, so here’s a “cheat sheet” to help you pick out the right peppers for the right amount of heat you want.

Top Row, left to right: Aristotle Green Bell Pepper, Flavorburst Yellow Bell Pepper, California Golden Wonder Bell Pepper
Middle Row, left to right: Carmen Bull’s Horn Sweet Pepper (red), Canario (yellow), Boris Banana Pepper (light yellow), Highlander Anaheim Peppers (both red and green), Numex Suave Orange (yellow orange)
Bottom Row, left to right: Tiburon Poblano (dark green), Jalafuego Jalapeno (both red and green), Padron (both red and green), Red Flame Cayenne Chili (red), Capperino Cherry (red), Mayan Red Habanero (red), Magnum Orange Habanero (orange), Fatali Pepper (yellow)

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For no heat, stick to sweet Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers, and the Carmen Italian Pepper or Canario Pepper.

For mild heat, go with Anaheim, Poblano, Padron, and the Numex Orange Peppers.

For medium heat, Jalapenos or the Capperino Cherry Peppers.

For hot peppers, Red Flame Cayenne Chili Peppers.

For very hot peppers, you want Habaneros.

For dangerously hot, Fatalli peppers, if you are brave!

+++

Recipes

Panzanella Bread Salad Recipe
From Simply Recipes

As you cut the tomatoes, remove some of the seeds and liquid. Your panzanella will be juicy enough. Leave the crusts on the bread chunks; they will stay chewier and give the panzanella more substance.

Ingredients:
4 cups tomatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups day old (somewhat dry and hard) crusty bread (Italian or French loaf), cut into chunks the same size as the tomatoes*
1 cucumber, skinned and seeded, cut into large chunks
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil, torn into little pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
* If you don’t have hard old bread sitting around, you can take fresh crusty bread, cut it into big cubes, lay the cubes out on a baking sheet, and put in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until the outer edges have dried out a bit (not toasted, just dried). If you use fresh bread without doing this, the bread may disintegrate into mush in the salad.

Directions:
Mix everything together and let marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours. Do not refrigerate or you will destroy the texture of the tomatoes.

Serve at room temperature. Yields 6-8 servings.

Ribbon Zucchini with Yellow Wax Beans
From marthastewart.com

Ingredients:
1 pound small zucchini, 4 to 6 zucchinis
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
4 ounces yellow wax beans, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Slice the zucchini into long ribbons: Cutting lengthwise, slice the sides from around the seedy core of each squash; discard core. Cut each side into long, thin strips.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Add the onion and yellow wax beans, and saute until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and 1/2 cup water, and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until zucchini is tender and flexible, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato, chives, salt, and pepper, and remove from heat.

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly Recipe
From Simply Recipes
Tart green apples have more pectin in them than sweet apples, so use tart green apples for this recipe, earlier in the season the better. This is especially true if you are not also using cranberries, as cranberries have their own natural pectin as well.

Ingredients:
4 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), unpeeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores
6 jalapeño chili peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, the seeds and ribs removed from 3 of them (for mildly hot jelly. If you want a hotter jelly leave the seeds and ribs in all of them.)
1 green bell pepper (or red if you want the color), seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1 cup cranberries (optional but recommended, will help with color and with setting)
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cup for each cup of juice)

Equipment Needed:
One 6-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel)
A candy thermometer
A large fine mesh sieve (or several layers of cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth jelly bag)
4-5 half-pint canning jars

Directions:
1. Combine the apple pieces, apple cores (needed for their pectin content), jalapenos, bell pepper, cranberries (if using), water and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until the apples, cranberries, and peppers are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan where it might burn. Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of slightly runny apple sauce. If the mash is too thick, add more water.

2. Spoon the mash into a fine mesh sieve, muslin cloth, or a couple layers of cheesecloth, suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours (even overnight). If you want a clear jelly, do not squeeze or force through the mesh. Just let it drip. If you want a fuller flavor jelly and don’t mind that the result won’t be clear, you can force some of the pulp through the mesh. If your pulp is too thick, and nothing is coming out, you can add an extra 1/2 cup or cup of water to it. You want to end up with about 4 cups of juice.

3. Measure the juice, then pour into a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot. Add the sugar (7/8 a cup for each cup of juice). Heat gently, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

4. Bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a spoon to skim off the surface scum. Continue to boil until a candy thermometer shows that the temperature has reached 220-222°F (8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude). Additional time needed for cooking can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the amount of water, sugar, and apple pectin in the mix.

Candy thermometers aren’t always the most reliable indicators of whether or not a jelly is done. Another way to test is put a half teaspoonful of the jelly on a chilled (in the freezer) plate. Allow the jelly to cool a few seconds, then push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up, it’s ready.

5. Pour jelly into sterilized jars* to within 1/4″ from the top and seal.

Makes approx. 4 half-pint jars.

Serve with cream cheese on crackers.

*There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Note that jalapeño jelly can be pretty “hot” if you have included a lot of the seeds in your cooking. The fat molecules in the cream cheese absorb the hot capsaicin of the jalapeños, reducing the heat, but leaving the flavor of the chiles. This is also why sour cream tastes so good with spicy Mexican food.

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