It's the week you've all been waiting for.....RUTABAGA!! Ok, maybe not that exciting, but rutabagas have their merit and it's a shame that they are often underappreciated. The key to enjoying rutabagas is to harvest them AFTER frost when they become sweet. They are really good mashed (pair them with potatoes) or roasted (see recipes below). For long term storage (and I mean REALLY long term, as in months!), keep them in the crisper drawer of your fridge; larger roots will store longest. This is the last week for peppers since the crop got zapped by Friday night's freeze. Fortunately, Trish was out there the day before gleaning as many as possible. Some of your peppers may not be fully ripe; I've had good results keeping the unripe ones on the counter in a paper bag for a few days (like tomatoes, peppers will continue to ripen off the plant). My apologies to any regular share members who were expecting broccoli raab (rapini) today; the first planting is bolting (e.g. flowering and going to seed), so it will likely be another week or two before the next planting is ready.
What's going on at the farm?
We had our first freeze of the season on Friday which marked the end of the peppers, the last of the summer crops. Everything else came through the cold night as good as ever, some even better than before (we think the carrots are especially sweet this week). Planting garlic is the next big task on our list this week now that the sweet potatoes are harvested and curing indoors. Prepping for garlic planting involves spreading compost onto the planting beds, tilling it in, marking the rows, and "popping" garlic cloves. Popping is breaking up the heads into individual cloves; it's one of the few farming tasks you can do while sitting on the couch watching tv. Each clove will yield a plant and eventually a whole new head of garlic. To plant, each worker takes a bucket of cloves, and walking along the bed, pushes one clove into the ground, making sure the pointy tip is facing up (hence, the root side down; very important!). In a few weeks, we'll begin to see green shoots and we'll know next year's garlic crop is on its way!
Next week look forward to sweet potatoes and more!
Beth, Elise, & Trish
Rutabaga Fries, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
Peel and slice rutabagas into long batons or French fries. Soak them in water for 30 minutes, then drain and towel-dry. Toss with vegetable oil to coat lightly and a few pinches of salt. Spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 400, turning occasionally, until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes. When done, toss with a little finely minced rosemary, sea salt, and freshely ground pepper.
Preheat oven to 425. Cut into similar size pieces any combination of vegetables such as carrots, turnips, rutabagas (cut these into slightly smaller pieces), beets, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, onions, etc. In a large mixing bowl, combine the veggies and drizzle olive oil all over them and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix together (your hands work best!), then spread out onto a large roasting pan or jelly roll sheet pan; use a large enough pan so that they aren't overcrowded. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes then turn the pieces and roast another 15 minutes or until fork tender.
Sweet & Sour Peppers with Almonds, from Contorni: Authentic Italian Side Dishes for All Seasons by Susan Simon
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbl olive oil
5 sweet peppers, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried currants
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl red wine vinegar
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup blanched almonds
In a large heavy-bottomed nonreactive skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the peppers and stir to combine with the onion. Add the tomatoes and lower the heat, then add the currants and stir to combine. Simmer for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sugar, salt, vinegar and lemon juice and stir until sugar dissolves. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds until golden. Let cool and coarsely chop. Remove the peppers from the heat and immediately add the vinegar mixture and toasted almonds. Stir to combine and serve hot or at room temperature.
Carrots (1 lb)
Carrots (2 lb)