Last week was another bountiful CSA week. We received: one bunch chard, three (!) bunches of (giant) beets, one head butter lettuce, one head green leaf lettuce, one bunch green onions, three fresh onions, one bunch radishes, one bunch carrots, several zucchini, a few garlic scapes, and four banana peppers.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve hardly used any of the produce from last week yet. I’m not really sure what happened. We’re still eating, of course, but somehow we seem to be eating mostly non-CSA food. I guess it was a combination of delegating some meals to Jesse (who doesn’t tend to go for cooking more complicated vegetables) and then just feeling like eating other things when I was the one doing the cooking. Luckily most of the produce from last week keeps well so I still have time to use things before they go bad, but I do need to get cooking soon or my fridge will be overflowing once I pick up this week’s share.
If you’ve been following my CSA posts, you may have noticed several new items in that picture above, namely carrots, fresh onions, and banana peppers. How exciting to get three new things all in one week!
Jesse is bringing the carrots to work to snack on raw. I buy a lot of carrots for cooking, but since I’m sure these direct-from-the-farm carrots are much tastier than store carrots I told him that we should save them for eating raw. I don’t care for raw carrots (except when shredded) so he will be the one enjoying them this week.
The carrots also came with their tops, which I’m not really sure what, if anything, to do with. I threw them in the fridge in case inspiration struck and so far they’re still looking okay. I’m guessing they’d be a good addition to juice, but we’re not juicing at the moment. Any ideas?
I assume that I can just use the fresh onions as I would regular onions. I’m not even sure if “fresh onions” is the right term here, actually, but they just seem to be large white onions without the papery skin. From what I understand the difference is that the fresh onions have not been cured…but I could be wrong about that.
We also got four banana peppers. I’ve never ventured beyond bell peppers so I actually had to look these up to even figure out what they were called. Jesse ate the first one in a Mexican chicken dish we had last week and said it was quite good, which is excellent because I will probably not be partaking of these. My tolerance for spicy things is pretty much nonexistent and although banana peppers are (according to my brief research) considered a mild pepper, what most people consider mild often ends up burning my mouth up and I just don’t like that feeling! That just means that there’s more for Jesse, though, which should make him happy because he loves his spiciness.
While ignoring my actual share I have been cooking quite a bit of zucchini, since last week we also picked up twenty pounds of zucchini as part of our preserving share. I really enjoy fresh zucchini so I’m going to keep a bunch of it just for cooking fresh, but twenty pounds of zucchini is really quite a bit of zucchini so I also decided to preserve a lot of it for later in the year. Since I’m really short on freezer space at the moment, I opted for dehydrating rather than freezing.
Since last year we liked dried zucchini slices in soup as well as in this zucchini pasta bake, I decided to dry a lot of the zucchini as thin slices. I filled seven dehydrator trays with zucchini slices and dried them overnight. It’s always amazing to me how much smaller they get after being dehydrated. Here they are before:
Impressive, don’t you think?
I used my new mandoline to make the slices. I actually bought it back in March but this was my first time using it. I was really pleased with how it made the task of cutting thin, even slices so much easier than doing it by hand. I was also glad that I decided to get protective gloves to go with it. The finger guard was pretty much useless when cutting zucchini so it was great to be able to use my hands without worrying too much about losing part of a finger.
In addition to the slices, I also decided to try drying some shredded zucchini since we like it in soups. I shredded a bunch of zucchini in my food processor and then spread it out on four dehydrator trays. I’m not entirely sure how it will turn out when reconstituted but since I’m just using it for soup I don’t really see how it could go wrong. I love that it takes up so much less space—and no freezer space.
This post is shared at Living Green Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Fresh Foods Blog Hop, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Monday Mania, and the Morristribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival.
What’s in season where you live? Are you preserving anything for later in the year?
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