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Waverly Farms CSA Box 7/16/15

Posted 7/16/2015 8:24am by Patti Rosenberg.

Waverly Farms, LC

Dear CSA Members, 

This week's box is for Weekly CSA members only. But, don't worry, we'll have plenty of tomatoes for everyone next week, too!

This photo is from 2010, but makes the point even today: it's tomato season and a great time to freeze or can any tomatoes you can't eat. Enjoy fresh tomatoes now in salsa, salads, sandwiches or just as a side dish to any meal - breakfast (it is a fruit after all), lunch or dinner, since the firm texture of the tomato will be lost in storage.

Freezing tomatoes is easiest. You simply blanch the tomatoes in hot, almost boiling water until the skins crack, cool them in a bowl with water and ice, slip off the peels, cut them into Ziplock or other freezer-appropriate container and freeze. Here are step-by-step instructions How to Freeze Tomatoes from HGTV Gardens. Frozen tomatoes will last in your freezer 12-18 months.

Canning takes a little longer and requires more equipment, but once you get the hang of it, the advantage is that you don't have to take up freezer space with your stored food. Beautiful jars store in a pantry or cabinet that is relatively cool and dark (we store them just about everywhere) for up to 2 years. Ball Canning Company is the best resource for canning equipment, supplies and recipes. Here is a Youtube video by Ball on How to Can Tomatoes. Once you get the hang of it, you can make tomato sauce, tomato juice, salsa, spaghetti sauce and a host of other things. First timers should just get those tomatoes into jars and use them in stews, meat sauces and salsa's this winter. For canning equipment and supplies, visit your local hardware store, Walmart, Target or Southern States Cooperative or other agricultural supply store. Online, go to Target for the Ball Canning kit with Utensils. Be sure to order jars, too. Widemouth quart jars are our favorite for tomatoes. Williams-Sonoma also offers a higher-end version Multi-use Waterbath Canner. Be sure to order the utensil kit, too, and jars.

So there you have it. Once you start canning and freezing, you can freeze corn, turn cucumbers into pickles and relish, and make the best salsa's and jams ever! This is a great skill to share with children, too. For great canning recipes, try Ball Canning Recipes, or Canning, Pickling and Preserving. A new favorite book for making everything fresh is DIY from Cook's Illustrated which can be ordered from Amazon.com.

Your CSA Box - Weekly Members!

Corn - Silver Queen is a family favorite. It is sweet and tender and goes with anything. On or off the cob, this gem needs almost no cooking. In fact, we made a salad with cucumber, tomato, avocado and raw corn cut from the cob. Salt, pepper, olive oil and red or white vinegar or lime makes this a perfect summer salad. 

Tomatoes - We are loading you down this week in case you want to can, freeze or share with others. Some are prettier, some taste better than others, but they are all good. The heirloom Cherokee Purple is sometimes marketed as "the ugly tomato" because it is brown in color, has woody skin in some areas, grows in funky shapes and is generally unattractive. But, boy is it good! Interestingly, the hybrid varieties, such as the medium sized red Mariglobe, lasts longer on the vine, look prettier and are the best for canning. The smaller varieties are not good for canning because they go mushy if you blanch them too long. So slice the smaller ones for your salads and sandwiches, and can/freeze the larger tomatoes.

Swiss Chard - If you have a Protein Share, be sure to cook Swiss Chard with bacon and put it over grits or past. Try this Swiss Chard with Bacon recipe. Yummmmmy!

Carrots - these will be the last carrots till fall, but the good news is that carrots can store for months in your fridge and the Vitamin A will actually increase the longer they are stored. The trick is to keep them from losing moisture. See How to Store Carrots. If you want carrots to go out with a bang, you have to make cake. Try Carrot Cake III. It is truly delicious. 

Cucumbers - slice or serve with your favorite dip. These fresh cucumbers are delicious. As summer advances, the skin can become tough, so take some or all of it off, if you don't like it. If you want to make pickles but not get all the way into canning them, see this Youtube for Alton's Refrigerator Pickles

Potatoes - Red Pontiac's again. Terrific for roasting or boiling or mashing. Clean them, cut of any ugly parts, slice or cook skin on. Here are other recipes for Red Pontiac potatoes. Note that new potatoes do not make good mashed potatoes. Wait for them to age and toughen before mashing them. Meanwhile, cook them gently.

Green Beans - Of all the stored vegetables, I have to say that having green beans in winter is our favorite. Beans can be blanched and frozen or canned. Try this simple method for Putting Up Green Beans. You can even dry beans, as Mother Earth News instructs. Here are 11 Fresh Green Bean Recipes from Real Simple. 

Sweet Peppers - Another great choice for canning. In the short term, try Stuffed Green Peppers. You may also sauté them with onion as a base for your greens and bacon. Green Pepper and Tomato Salad is easy.  

Hot Peppers - Be careful with these. Use with caution as some are much hotter than others. I had a frightening event as I bit into one recently. Roasting them on the grill sounded like a good idea, but do not do this unless you can handle the heat. Grilling somehow concentrates the hot flavor and raises it to (in my humble opinion) a dangerous level. Try Spicy and Sweet Hot Pepper Recipes. These babies should not be used without instructions!

Sometimes Simple is Best

Member Tracy Welsch shared another easy, terrific recipe that would make a great lunch or dinner. Tracy put spiralized cukes with purple tomatoes, a bit of tuna, Extra Virgin Olive Oil salt & pepper together to make this easy dish. Tracy's new toy is a Spiralizer. So good and pretty!

Enjoy!

 

Stuart and Patti Rosenberg, owners
Richard Hendley, gardener
Waverly Farms, LC
www.waverlyfarmsvirginia.com

214-914-0323 (Patti's cell)