The end of the season is approaching fast, and our summer crops have passed into memory. With the little cold snap and a few frosts, we are squarely into Fall. This is the time when what you have or haven’t done to preserve food for the winter really begins to sink in. Gaze out across your off-season food landscape and think about how your eating habits and food choices will change from CSA food. If you are feeling dread at the prospect of buying all your produce in grocery stores again, then you clearly haven’t preserved enough CSA food.
All is not lost though. During the next 6 weeks you can make an effort to blanche and freeze greens, make your own fermented foods with the brassicas, stash some winter squash and sweet potatoes, and pick up items we don’t have from the many farms and farmer’s markets around town to broaden your winter selection. It is also a good time to identify food projects and plan for next season.
Blanching greens is easy, just dunk them in boiling water for 1-3 minutes, depending on the hardiness of each particular green and your personal preference, then immediately place in an ice water bath to halt the cooking process. Drain to get rid of excess water, and freeze in freezer bags. I freeze the blanched greens and then vacuum seal them to ward off the chances off freezer burn.
Storing potatoes and sweet potatoes requires a cool dark place. Refrigerator temperatures are too cold for storing them. Any exposure to light can start them sprouting, and with potatoes can also restart the process of photosynthesis. When photosynthesis begins (white potatoes only), the skin will begin to turn green, and contains the same toxins that make the leaves inedible. So darkness is the key to storage.
On a different subject, many of you have asked about a use for radish greens. You can eat them, and I included recipes today, but there is also a medicinal use for dried daikon greens called a hip bath. Link 1 below contains all the therpeutic uses for a hip bath and gives detailed intructions on how to prepare and use them properly. According to the website linked below, the “daikon hip bath warms the body. In addition, it aids in extracting body odors caused by the consumption of animal foods; and draws out excess fat and oil from the body. Therefore, it is good for the resolution of skin problems. It is also good for women’s reproductive organs.”
This Week’s Harvest: Kale, Chard, Butternut Squash, Daikon Radishes, Arugula, Lettuce, Mizuna, Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Parsley