Week 9, 2016

News from Field Notes Farm

We harvested garlic and have it curing in a hoophouse. Onions come next. Unfortunately this year our onions were hit with a bacteria and/or fungus on the leaves (yet to identify). I am anticipating they may not have the same storage life as last year. We plan to harvest all of the onions in the next week or so and set them to cure. The curing process dries and seals the onions (garlic, shallots, and winter squash go through the same process), allowing them to store for multiple months. Our curing process involves bundling the onions in sets of 10-15 and hanging them from pallet tables in a hoophouse. The onions need heat and ventilation, but not too much direct sunlight. Hanging bundles from the pallet tables provides adequate shade for the onion bulbs and decent ventilation underneath. We will start putting cured onions in our shares in September.

This year we are growing acorn, butternut, buttercup, and delicata winter squash. The buttercup is not doing very well, but the other varieties are showing good fruit and are still putting on new growth. The delicata is a new bush variety and some of the plants are putting on huge fruit. I am excited to try it! We will start putting a selection of winter squash in our shares around the beginning on October.

This is the season for canning/freezing/drying tomatoes. As a CSA member, you are entitled to a box “2nds” tomatoes if you plan to put some away for the winter. We will not have the quantity to provide a box of seconds to everyone at once, so please email us if you are interested and we will set a date.

We often get the question: what can I do with kale? Off the top of our heads we came up with the following list in 3 minutes:

Kale chips, rubbed kale salad, macerated kale salad, massaged kale salad, raw kale salad, grilled kale stems, kale in quiche, kale in fritata, kale in scrabbled eggs, kale in smoothies, carrot soup with kale, kale in any soup, kale based soup, kale in chickpea curry, kale in a potherb (look this one up), kale gratin, kale in casserole, kale in rice bake, kale in pot-pie, sweet potato,-squash-kale lasagna, kale mallung, kale in pho, kale kimchi.

We also get the question, what do you do with ground cherries? There is only one answer: eat them.


Lemon-Dill Compound Butter

If you appreciate the wonders butter can do to a simple piece of bread — compound butter certainly takes it to the next level.

1/4 cup fresh dill, washed & dried, tough stems removed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, softened
zest of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

On a large chopping board, roughly chop dill. Add chopped garlic and butter and chop to combine.

Add lemon zest & juice, and using your knife like a paddle, combine lemon into butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread out a rectangle of plastic wrap, place butter in the lower half, and roll up.
Chill until ready to use. (Also, freezes well.)

TIP:  You can make compound butter in a mixer, or bowl with a spatula, but since since we’re already using a cutting board for the herbs and garlic, why not make the whole thing right on the board and avoid the extra dishes?

Uses For Compound Butter

  • Cream into mashed potatoes
  • Toss with fresh-cooked pasta
  • Melt over steamed vegetables
  • Spread onto bread and grill or broil for garlic toast
  • Top grilled chicken
  • Dot on top of any roasted red meat
  • Add to sauces
  • Coat a filet of baked, grilled or broiled fish
  • Mix with hot sauteed shrimp
  • Rub onto corn on the cob

Slow-Cooker Ketchup

4 pounds tomatoes (paste or mixed variety)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1/2 teaspoon each: whole allspice, whole cloves, peppercorns, and celery seeds
1 bay leaf

Remove tomato skins (if desired), core, and seeds, and chop tomatoes. Place tomatoes and onion in slow cooker and set to high.

Cook approximately 1 hour, until tomatoes have started to break down and the juices are bubbling.
Puree tomatoes using a stick blender or in batches with a blender. Return to slow cooker.
Stir in vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Place remaining spices on a square of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with kitchen twine. Add to the mixture.

Cook on low, with the lid removed, for approximately 8 hours. Pour into either prepared glass jars for canning, or freezer jars.
Process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes if canning. If freezing, let cool in freezer jars to room temperature before sealing and moving to freezer.

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