Preserving the Harvest :: Stem Preserves

 

Hello,

We hope you all enjoyed a Thanksgiving filled with your favorite food and people.

We also hope you have been enjoying the wealth of greens in your CSA share each week. The kale, collards, Swiss chard, arugula, tatsoi, pak choi, mustard greens, and broccoli rabe have been plentiful lately! The only downside to so many greens is that you are left with a lot of stems, which are typically not included in recipes where you use the greens. You can always juice or add them to smoothies but we realize it’s nice to have other options. That is where this recipe comes in handy.

Sugar is the most recent category of foodstuffs to be vilified in the media, and for good reason. It’s not hard to find articles, like this one, this one and this one, that make you think twice about eating anything with a trace of sugar. But as with almost anything in life, moderation is key. Plus, sugar is a great preservative. The reason why is explained below:

“…sugar attracts water very well; the more sugar there is in any solution, the more water it tries to draw from its surroundings. This is bad news for any microbe that happens to be inside a jar of jam. High concentrations of sugar will suck the microbe’s vital water right through its cell wall, causing it to dehydrate. This process is called “osmosis,” and it can be deadly for bacteria and mold.”

So while I would never suggest adding a lot more sugar to your diet, I think preserving some items with the use of a simple, inexpensive ingredient can bring some simple joy to everyday life.

I originally developed this recipe as a way to use some beet stems that were way too pretty to toss into the compost heap. But why couldn’t it work for other stems as well? The stems are cooked down with sugar, bourbon and spices over a long enough period that any tough stems are sure to soften and take on the added flavors while imparting a little of their own too. And I think you can take the flavorings in all sorts of fun directions – play around with different types of booze, sugars and flavorings. I haven’t tested those below but really, how could they turn out bad?!

  • Gin, granulated sugar, rosemary, orange zest/juice
  • Gin, granulated sugar, Earl Grey tea, lemon zest/juice
  • Gin, pomegranate molasses, mint, lime zest/juice
  • Bourbon, honey, grapefruit zest/juice
  • Bourbon, granulated sugar, pineapple, ginger
  • Tequila, agave nectar, chile peppers, orange zest/juice
  • Vodka, honey, lemon zest/juice, lemon verbena
  • Vodka, honey, blackberries, rose

I used the stems from 4 beets in my original recipe and therefore only had about 1/2 cup of preserves in the end. Going forward, I plan to toss all of my unused stems into the freezer throughout the week. At the end of the week, I will thaw out the stems overnight and then thinly slice when ready to proceed with the recipe.

I think this would be an awesome addition to a cheese plate but there are so many other possibilities. Grown up peanut butter and jelly, anyone?!

Stem Preserves
makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced beet stems (from 4 medium beets)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (I used 1816 Cask from Chattanooga Whiskey)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1-3″ cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 3″ piece of lemon peel, white pith removed
  • 5 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Direction:

  • Place all ingredients except the lemon juice in a medium saucepan and mix to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated but with a small amount of syrupy liquid remaining. Transfer to a small, air-tight jar and cool to room temperature. Taste, adding lemon juice as needed to balance the sweetness. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Weekly Farm Notes :: Nov 24th, 2015

Hello!

Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving? If you waiting until the last minute to figure out your meal, we hope you find some ideas below. Also, don’t forget that the end of the “Fall into Greens” CSA session is ending soon so preserve the bounty now!

A reminder: all of those stems from your greens are edible! Adding them to smoothies is always an option but I like the ideas on this post. Also, look for a “Stem Jam” recipe coming soon!

See you at market tomorrow (not Wednesday) and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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November 24th Produce

Here are the items you can expect at Market (denoted by M) and/or in the CSA (denoted by CSA):

  • Carrots {M/CSA}: check out our latest post – Carrot and Turmeric Soup! This would be an easy, make-ahead side dish if you are still planning your Thanksgiving meal. Also, don’t forget that you can eat the carrot tops!
  • Jerusalem Artichokes {M/CSA}: there is one important thing to know about the composition of Jerusalem artichokes – they are rich in a carbohydrate called inulin and very low in starch. This makes them great for those who wish to avoid starchy foods but they can also be difficult to digest in large quantities. Check out this, this and this for more information.
  • Siberian Kale Mix {M/CSA}: how genius is this “Salad Booster” – a combination of toasted nori, kale, sunflower seeds and lemon zest?! This is definitely on my list of things to try ASAP!
  • Red Leaf & Red Butter Lettuce {M/CSA}: how do you store your lettuce? This link tells you how to keep your greens fresher, longer!
  • Ford Hook Swiss Chard {M/CSA}: kale gets all the attention but Swiss chard deserves some of the lime light! Check out this link for lots of recipe ideas – I especially like the sound of Bread Soup with Onions, Chard and Mushrooms for Thanksgiving.
  • Awesome Asian Salad Mix {M/CSA}: there are LOTS of Asian salad recipes out there but I think this one looks the best (no crispy ramen topping included, which is a good thing in my book). Just substitute the salad mix for the kale.
  • Pak Choi {CSA}: if you need something on the lighter side post Thanksgiving, give our Triple Sesame Noodles with Pak Choi a try!
  • Garlic {CSA}: I just got The Joy of Pickling cookbook and wow, it’s fantastic. If you are a fan of pickling, I would suggest you pick up a copy (I got mine for $6 on Ebay). See the Chinese Pickled Garlic recipe below for a fast and flavorful way to preserve your garlic.
  • Tender Collards {M}: these Chickpea, Cashew and Collard Green Patties can be made ahead and frozen. No need for greasy carry out when you have these stashed away in the freezer!
  • Spicy Large Leaf Arugula {M}: I am fascinated by another cookbook I picked up this week – Preserving the Japanese Way. There is a recipe for Wild Arugula with Walnut Miso that I am dying to try. If it turns out well, I will definitely post it soon!
  • Spicy Asian Mustard Greens {M}: hot damn, this vegan Mustard Greens Soup with Poblanos and Almonds sounds delicious! I love how simple ingredients can come together to make a special meal.

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Recipe :: Chinese Pickled Garlic

This recipe is from The Joy of Pickling and makes about 1 cup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt

Directions:

  • Put the garlic into a half-pint jar. Stir together the vinegar, sugar and salt and pour the liquid over the garlic. Cap the jar and store it in the refrigerator or another cool, dark place for at least 1 month before using the garlic. It should keep well for 1 year or more. After opening the jar, store it in the refrigerator.

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Alice O’Dea Article

Have you read Alice O’Dea’s recent article? Take her advice and make a yummy soup from your Thanksgiving leftovers!

 


Carrot & Turmeric Soup

Hello,

Making this soup is a lesson in balancing fresh and cooked flavor and seasoning based on taste. The base of the soup – onion, turmeric, carrots, coconut milk – would make a nice soup by itself, but it is definitely kicked up a notch by adding fresh flavors at the end. I like to incorporate fresh versions of ingredients cooked in the soup, like the carrots and turmeric. It helps to intensify both of those flavors and brightens up the dish. I then added two additional ingredients that I think almost every dish needs at the end – a little acidity and a little sweetness (a lot of dishes need extra salt too but I added plenty in the beginning). I chose apple cider vinegar and honey as I think they pair nicely with the other flavors but you can play around and try what you like (lemon juice or white wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup or sorghum in place of the honey might be nice). Whichever route you decide to take, just taste, make small adjustments, and taste again. Enjoy!

Carrot & Turmeric Soup
makes about 4 servings for a main dish, 6 for a side dish

Recipe notes: 1) I found fresh turmeric at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago so have been using that over dried. If you don’t have access to fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried turmeric instead and add it all in the beginning with the garlic; 2) I preferred this soup the day after making it as the flavors had time to really blend and smooth out, but it was still very good the day of.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1-1/8 pound (about 6 medium) trimmed carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • To serve: croutons and/or chives

Directions:

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons turmeric and garlic and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add 1 pound of carrots, water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and add the remaining turmeric and carrots, 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and honey and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Weekly Farm Notes :: Nov 18th, 2015

Hello!

There are two important events coming up of note: first, Thanksgiving of course, but also the “Fall into Greens” CSA session is coming to an end in just a few short weeks. Start thinking about preserving part or all of your weekly share to hold you over before the “Deep Winter” session starts in January. We are providing information below to help you prepare for both!

For those who use Facebook and Instagram, we are asking that you use #tanthillfarm whenever you post something about the farm or your weekly CSA share. There are lots of us in the community but I am guessing we aren’t all connected on social media. This will give us an easy way to connect and see what others are doing each week with their produce. We will also tag any pictures of the farm so you can see what it takes to get your produce from the field to your table.

A few “Deep Winter” and “Walking to Spring” CSA shares are still available. Don’t miss out on powerhouse greens to get you through the dark and cold months ahead! Here is the link to our CSA information to find out more.

See you at market!

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November 18th Produce

Here are the items you can expect at Market (denoted by M) and/or in the CSA (denoted by CSA):

  • Kale Mix {M/CSA}: this mix includes Toscano, Siberian & Red Ruffled varieties. For a fresh recipe, this seasonal Balsamic Butternut Kale Panzanella salad looks like a great way to incorporate fresh greens in a festive way! If you want to preserve your bounty, freezing is my favorite way to store kale for future use. It is fast and great at retaining the nutrient value. Check out this guide to make little kale bundles that can be used in various ways down the road.
  • Tender Collards {M/CSA}: I have never included Mac n’ Cheese in my Thanksgiving celebration but I know a lot of people who do. Why not toss in some of your collards into the dish this year, similar to this recipe? You can always prepare and freeze your greens this week to make the process easier.
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard {M/CSA}: don’t forget about your dehydrator when trying to find ways to preserve greens. While I don’t like the way raw greens turn out when dehydrated, I really enjoy those that are tossed with oil and spices. Check out our Dehydrated Greens post that includes a recipe for Swiss chard.
  • Mild Red Dragon Tongue & Green Amara Mustard Greens {CSA}: I always fall back on making sauces to preserve fresh ingredients. I especially loves sauces like this one because it can be transformed down the road. You could add cheese and toasted nuts and toss it with pasta or use it as a spread on a sandwich.
  • Cabbage {CSA}: I always think of sauerkraut when trying to find ways to preserve cabbage, but sometimes you need to spice things up. Our Curtido (Salvadorian Sauerkraut) recipe includes carrots, jalapenos and dried spices for a nice twist on an old classic.
  • Spigarello Broccoli Rabe Leaves {CSA}: everything gets turned into a pesto these days, for good reason. They are relatively easy to make, taste great and freeze well. Prepare the sauce for this Broccoli Rabe Walnut Pesto now and freeze to enjoy later!
  • Lettuce {CSA}: I love tahini based salad dressing for the flavor and richness it provides. Just so happens, the market published this Lemon-Tahini Dressing this week. Let’s all give it a try.
  • Tatsoi {CSA}: this green is similar to spinach but with more character. That’s why it works great in this Pasta with Tatsoi and Gingered Butter Sauce recipe.
  • Spicy Large Leaf Arugula {M}: I love mixing fresh and cooked items together in a salad. I think this Arugula, Dried Cherry and Wild Rice Salad would make a great addition to Thanksgiving!
  • Spicy Asian Mustard Greens {M}: really, anything with a fried egg and avocado is going to be great, but this egg sandwich looks pretty legit.

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Thanksgiving Prep

Here are the items that will possibly be in your CSA share next week. We hope this helps you plan your dinner!

  • Sunchokes / Jerusalem Artichokes: here is a list of possible sunchoke recipes. I think the sunchoke and potato gratin would be a great Thanksgiving side dish!
  • Carrots: I can imagine really enjoying this Roasted Carrot Turmeric Soup the day or two after Thanksgiving when a light meal is in order.
  • Awesome Asian Mix: I noticed that Alexzanna Farms has Japanese persimmons this week. I think it is worth asking if they will be available next week too. Substitute the chicories with our Asian mix and I think this salad would be lovely for Thanksgiving!
  • Garlic: if you need to have a dairy-free “creamy” option for Thanksgiving, I thought this Roasted Garlic Ricotta looked like a great option (anything is good when mixed with roasted garlic).
  • Spicy Arugula (same as suggested above): I love mixing fresh and cooked items together in a salad. I think this Arugula, Dried Cherry and Wild Rice Salad would make a great addition to Thanksgiving!
  • Pak Choi: this Glazed Shiitakes with Bok Choy recipe is a similar take to many other pak choi recipes out there but I love the focus on mushrooms. It almost reminds me of a fresher version of green bean casserole!
  • Lettuce: I love shaved fennel in salad and it just so happens that Crabtree Farm has some this week! Ask to see if it will be around next week and add it to your Thanksgiving meal.

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Alice O’Dea Article

Have you read Alice O’Dea’s recent article? I cannot wait to experience a Scenic City Supper Club dinner myself someday!

 


Pasta with Tatsoi & Gingered Butter Sauce

Hello,

You are receiving tatsoi in your CSA share this week so I wanted to share this really fast and flavorful recipe that I made a few weeks ago. There isn’t much to it so I would suggest serving it as a side dish or adding some protein to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

Pasta with Tatsoi & Gingered Butter Sauce
Serves 4-6 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta (I used penne but really anything would work)
  • 1/2 pound (1 medium head) of tatsoi
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions then drain and set aside.
  • Remove the root end of the tatsoi and thinly slice the stems and leaves, taking care to keep them separate.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the sake, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Add the tatsoi leaves and stir until wilted. Toss with the pasta and season to taste.

Bread & Butter Bitter Melon Pickles

Hello,

One of our shareholders mentioned the idea of turning bitter melon into bread and butter pickles and I knew I had to make a version myself. I adapted this recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Do-It-Yourself Cookbook (which I highly recommend!). You get the typical sweet-sour notes up front with bitterness from the melon on the back end. I have yet to use it with anything but here is a nice list of suggested uses. I think adding it to a German potato salad sounds pretty amazing!

I purchased fresh turmeric from Sequatchie Cove Farm at the Main Street Farmers Market last week. I used it here but feel free to use 1/4 teaspoon dried turmeric in its place. Enjoy!

Bread & Butter Bitter Melon Pickles
makes about 1 pint

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced through root end into 1/8″ thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Pinch ground cloves

Directions:

  • Toss bitter melon, onion and salt together in a colander and set over the sink or a bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Rinse and drain vegetables well.
  • Bring vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, celery seeds and cloves to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vegetables, return to a boil, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer pickles to a pint sized jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour hot brine over pickles and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Pickles can be refrigerated for up to 2 months.

Swiss Chard & Orange Oat Muffins

Hello!

I am thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and how to make life easier for the meals just before and after the main event. One can’t be bothered to make breakfast the day of or the day after (I can’t even step foot in the kitchen for a few days after Thanksgiving…unless it’s to eat leftovers). While this is not a quick, throw together recipe, it will pay off in the end when you can pull a healthy and delicious breakfast out of the refrigerator or freezer. The muffins themselves aren’t overly sweet so I think they could also serve as a side dish if you leave off the oat and brown sugar topping.

I should also note that no, these don’t end up tasting like Swiss chard. The orange flavor is most evident with a little hint of the saffron in the background. I used closer to 8 ounces of greens in my first round of testing and I still didn’t pick up on much chard flavor. Enjoy!

Swiss Chard and Orange Oat Muffins (adapted from here)
makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon + 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces (about 10 medium to large leaves) Swiss chard, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 cups milk of choice (I have used both whole and soy milk with good results)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped

Directions:

  • Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees. Liberally spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring constantly, until the leaves are wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a colander set over the sink and cool slightly. Press on the greens with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a cutting board and chop fine. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat in a small saucepan until just warmed, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the saffron, and allow to cool. Transfer to the bowl with the Swiss chard and set aside.
  • Take 1 cup (4 ounces) of oats and grind into a fine flour. This works best in a spice or coffee grinder but a small food processor also works. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Take the remaining 1/3 cup of oats and mix with the brown sugar in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
  • To the bowl with the oat flour, add the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl with the Swiss chard and olive oil, add the eggs, honey, milk, orange zest and raisins. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold to just combine without overmixing. Note: the batter will look a bit looser or wet than you might be used to – this is expected. Equally divide the batter between muffin tins until it almost reaches the top. Top each muffin with the oat & brown sugar mixture and transfer to the oven. Cook for 14-16 minutes (I needed 16 minutes), rotating once half way through, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with just a crumb or two attached. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes and then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • To store: after they have cooled completely, the muffins can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for 3-5 days, although they will dry out a bit. They can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil for 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.