a CSA journal: cooking and eating farm fresh, seasonal & organic

CSA Share Week of July 3

CSA Share Week of July 3

Here’s the thing about cooking my CSA this week. I picked it up on Wednesday instead of Tuesday because of the 4th of July holiday. And I’m going on a beach vacation Friday which requires getting on a plane, so the veggies aren’t coming with me.  I need to use as much as I can in a couple of days and then figure out what to do with the rest.

It’s a great CSA share! Basil, broccoli, cilantro, collard greens, cucumber, fennel, kale, lettuce, peas, scallions and yellow and green summer squash.

What I’m Cooking

  • Last night I made a big salad to go with a small gluten free pizza. I also steamed the broccoli and peas.
  • I made a quick shrimp salad using the scallions, peas, dill (from last week’s CSA share – it’s fresh! It lasts!), fennel, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I had that for lunch on a salad of lettuce, cucumber and the broccoli I steamed last night. If you don’t eat shrimp, you can substitute chicken, tuna or another fish, such as salmon. Vegetarians and vegans can substitute white beans or pasta.
  • I’m making a frittata for Thursday night dinner with the green summer squash (zucchini) and scallions. If I have time I’ll make a cilantro pesto and freeze that as well. (Note: I didn’t have time. So instead I froze it. See below.)

This week, the freezer is my friend! I’m making basil into pesto and freezing it in cubes for a later use. If you don’t have time for pesto, you can freeze the leaves. I’m blending the kale with some water and freezing that in cubes as well or you can freeze cooked leaves. I’ll use it later in smoothies of soups.

Freezing Your CSA

If, like me, you don’t always have time to cook your CSA, freeze it! Here’s how to do that with this week’s share.

  • Herbs, including basil and cilantro. Wash your herbs and and dry them well. Remove the leaves from the stems. I tend to freeze basil leaves whole and chop herbs like parsley and cilantro before I freeze them in freezer bags. Mark the bags with a Sharpie or other marker, so you can keep track of what’s what.
  • Broccoli. To freeze broccoli, wash it, cut it into stalks, and blanch or steam it. That way it maintains its bright green color and a crisp texture. To blanch, drop it into boiling water for about 2 minutes, then drop it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Dry it on a towel, and put it in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and put it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen, you can transfer it to a freezer bag for storage. That way it won’t clump together.
  • Leafy greens, including collard greens and kale. As I’ve mentioned before, you can freeze greens blended with water in cubes. But you can also steam or blanch them for 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Once  cool, squeeze the leafy greens out well in your hands to remove as much of the water as you can. I wrap them in a kitchen towel, in batches if necessary, to wring the greens out. Freeze the greens in one layer, or form them into small balls, and freeze them on a tray before you put them in a freezer bag. That way you can pull out the amount you need when you need it.
  • Summer squash. So you’re probably getting the picture now of how easy it is to freeze your CSA veggies. With yellow summer squash and zucchini, I’d slice it in rounds or chop them up, and then blanch or steam for no more than 2 minutes. You just want the squash to lose its rawness, but not become mushy. Transfer it from the boiling water to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Place it on a towel to dry. Freeze it on a parchment paper-lined, or a silicone mat-lined baking tray in a single layer. When it’s frozen, transfer to a freezer bag for storage.

A quick note about CSAs and vacation. If you have someone who will use yours while you’re away, your CSA will allow them to pick up your share. And if you are unable to share it, many farms donate the CSA shares that aren’t picked up. Allandale Farm, where I get my share, donates to Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you.

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