Thursday, October 17, 2013

Post Deluge Harvest, Can you eat a Pumpkin? Black Radishes, Napa cabbage and Kimchee


Hello from the farm,
Things are drying out from last week's downpour which resulted in about seven inches of rain here, fields that were the consistency of chocolate pudding to work in,  and the pictures below.  It was great to see that our waterways are up to the task and did an excellent job of directing the water around the vegetable growing areas.  Farmer Elizabeth is on a well-deserved vacation so it is a mantribe this week. One member of the farm crew said that "it's going better than he thought" in her absence. Although things have not fallen apart, she is missed and we look forward to her return next week.  
Can you cook and eat a pumpkin?  I'm accustomed to roasting the seeds and I've often read that you can eat pumpkin, but I had not tried it until last evening.  Yes, I found it worthwhile, and here is a simple way to do it:
+ poke a few holes in the top of the pumpkin for steam to escape. 
+ place pumpkin on baking tray in 350 degree oven for an hour or until soft
+remove, cool it enough to handle, cut in half and use a large spoon to scrape up seeds and remove pumpkin flesh from rind.   Use for pumpkin bread, curried soup, or a sweet soup or anything that calls for pumpkin puree. 
Your farmers geared up for whatever may come!

water coursing along the pick your own field

The River Homefields running pell mell along the blueberry patch

Serving Suggestions for the Harvest

Napa cabbage:  this Asian cabbage is nutritious and lighter and crispier than standard cabbage. It really shines in kimchee, and here is a recipe.  It is not difficult to make. 

Who is that kimchee maker? 
Kim Chee Recipe:

This Korean spicy "sauerkraut" of a sort is outstanding. It is enjoyed in Korea and Japan. I like to get it from the Viet My Asian grocery across from McCaskey High School--the brand they carry is Kimchee Pride from NYC and the favorite of the kimchee I've purchased.

1 large head Chinese (celery or Nappa) cabbage
Salt--non iodized, esp. sea salt preferred.
4 green onions (including tops) --regular onions are too strong and smelly!
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dried hot red chili (about 2" long), crushed--you can substitute paprika so moderate the heat--keep adding and tasting until it reaches the bliss point.
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1. Cut cabbage into pieces, 1-inch long and 1-inch wide.
2. Sprinkle 2 Tbs salt on cabbage, mix well, and let stand 15 minutes.
3. Cut green onions in 1-1/2 inch lengths, then cut lengthwise in thin slices. Wash salted cabbage three times with cold water. Add the onions,garlic, chili, ginger, 1 Tbs salt and enough water to cover. Mix well.Cover and let stand for a few days.
4. Taste mixture every day. When it is acidic enough, cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 1 quart. --from

Black Radishes:
Black Radish Russian-style

First peel the black skin off. In a bowl, grate the radishes, chop or mince green scallion, grate a carrot and dice fresh cucumber...mix together with sour cream If you want more of a spicy tang, use less carrot and cucumber, if it's too spicy then use more carrot and cucumber. Use as a salad or eat on crackers. --adapted from
Popcorn: our popcorn is very tasty--put oil in heavy bottomed pan and heat up the oil. Put a test kernel in when you think the oil is hot. When that one pops--pour in popcorn enough to cover the pan bottom and shake. Put a lid over the pan--but not tightly, so that steam can escape. Shake the pan as corn pops until popping slows. (it must be said that everyone seems to have a different method that works for them--and only them, perhaps ;-)
Winter Squash: these hard squash will keep in cool and dry storage for months. Great for apple and squash bake, curried or sweet soup.
Cilantro: great in a sandwich, soups, salads, recipes from around the world
Dill: great for pickling or with potatoes.
Fall Cabbage family crops: the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are starting to mature.
"Dessert Turnips": Our pet name for the sweet and mild white Hakurei salad turnips is dessert turnips. These are not your ordinary firm and strong purple top turnips. They are best eaten raw like carrot sticks with or without some kind of dip. Growing up, we had carrot, celery and turnip sticks at holiday meals.
Hakurei turnips (the white ones) Scarlet Queen are red and not as mild as Hakurei
Arugula: Yes, the arugula is back—cheers from all corners. This spicy green's nutty flavor jazzes up a salad or sandwich really well! Kind of zingy for most people--use as your palate prefers.
Ornamental/Flour Corn: feel free to shell your corn from the cob sometime and bring the kernels in to grind in the mill that we have here. Run it through once to grind coarsely and then tighten it up and run through again for finer grind for cornmeal for cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, muffins etc.
Sweet Peppers: almost finished for the season. Notice we didn't say bell peppers. There are other shapes that are sweet, too. Diced sweet pepper is great on a salad, or pepper strips on a relish are sweet and tasty, too. They also freeze well in strips or dices after core and seeds are removed.
Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are the farm favorite for French-fry making, hands down. Potatoes are a wonderful source of nutrients, versatile to cook with, and very satisfying to the eater--they even help you sleep well at night. (Potatoes not Prozac book)
Eggplants: Asian eggplants are mild and sweet; dark Italian types are probably what you grew up with. Slice and put on the grill rubbed with oil, soy sauce, and miso paste. Tasty and easy to use.
Chard: Remove the lower portion of the stalk as it is usually tough. Sautee leaves in butter, olive or coconut oil, add salt, and red pepper, top with Parmesian cheese. Mustard Greens: Known for their pungent flavor, these greens can be added to a salad for a mustardy hot punch, or can be added to soups or stir frys. Flavor mellows when cooked. Tatsoi: A mild green that is great raw in salad or cooked. We think of it as fall spinach.
Purple Mizuna: a unique mustard green from Japan that has mild flavor and is great in salad for color and flavor.
Senposai: has a sweet and tender cabbage like flavor. Makes a great outer wrap for veggie wraps. Use raw or cooked.


Tomatoes/Peppers/Eggplants: these heat-lovers are slowing down and getting smaller and more sparse. Frost will likely take them out in the next week.
Onions: If you have onions remaining at home, they will keep for several months in cool, dark, and dry storage.

Enjoy the October bounty,

Your farmers

Stay dry and enjoy those hearty warm meals of fall,

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