From the Land 2.6

food for thought

full share: grapefruit, salad mix, grilling onions, swiss chard, beets, fennel, kohlrabi, and sweet potatoes!

partial share: grapefruit, salad mix, grilling onions, and swiss chard!

veg of the week

grapefruit: Citrus paradisi

Grapefruit is a subtripical fruit, meaning that it grows in regions just above and below the tropics. Fortunately for us, Phoenix has a subtropical climate! Grapefruits are the hybrid of the pomelo and sweet orange, first bred in Barbados in the 18th century and referred to as “the forbidden fruit”. They have a characteristic sour and  bitter flavor that can be decreased by cooking the fruit or by adding sugar.

Uses: Depending on your tolerance for the bitter flavor, grapefruits can be eaten plain, just like an orange, or topped with sugar and eaten with a spoon, or cut onto a salad to combine with other flavors. In Costa Rica, grapefruit is commonly heated (reducing the bitterness), stuffed with dulce de leche and eaten as a dessert called toronja rellena (stuffed grapefruit).

Nutrition: Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C (immune system booster) and lycopene (promotes prostate health). Studies have shown it can help lower cholesterol, and the fruit’s low glycemic index helps the body’s metabolism burn fat. The seeds are shown to have antioxidant properties, and grapefruit seed extract to have antimicrobial properties against fungi.

To store: Like other citrus, grapefruit can be stored at room temperature (up to a week), but shelf life will be extended up to 2-3 weeks with refrigeration (bring to room temp before eating to increase juiciness and sweetness). In you have excess, it can also be frozen: peel, divide into sections and discard membranes and seeds, mix together and heat 2 3/4 C sugar and 4 C water, cool the syrup and pour over grapefruit, store in freezer bags or airtight containers where the fruit will stay good for 10-12 months.

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fermentation

Needless to say, I am a huge fan of fermented and cultured foods! And while I love experimenting with different strains of cultured dairy (yogurt, kefir, curds and whey…yum!), it’s the lacto-fermentation process on vegetables that really excites me. Humans have been preserving foods with this method for thousands of years. Lactobacilli are present on the surfaces of all plants, especially vegetables that grow close to the ground, and produce Lactic acid, a natural preservative. When promoted properly, the lactic acid not only preserves the food but also promotes healthy flora in the intestine, making lacto-fermented foods even more healthy than in their natural raw state! Lacto-fermented vegetables are full of enzymes that aid digestion, increase nutritional content, and have antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Cabbage (sauerkraut), beets, turnips, cucumbers, green tomatoes, lettuces and herbs, corn, watermelon rind, and even fruit (chutney) can all be lacto-fermented – or mix them all together with garlic and chile paste to make kimchi! A simple recipe is here.

Why bother making your own? Lacto-fermentation is best done in relatively small quantities, and the advent of industrial food processing introduced a different process for pickling and fermenting: vinegar. This preservation technique does not produce the same health benefits, and only accomplishes long-term preservation.

There are many different approaches to even the most simple vegetable fermentation: different people prefer a saltwater brine, or whey, or even vegetable fermentation culture. Some people like to make a large crock of sauerkraut to last all winter; others prefer a quart at a time in an ongoing process. All emphasize the importance of keeping the fermenting vegetables away from oxygen, but accomplish this in various ways: through tightly sealed lids, or using fingers to push the vegetable under the liquid, or keeping it under liquid with a weighted plate or a bag of saltwater brine, or just removing the top layer of the sauerkraut (when mold grows) before eating it. A new fermenters tool called a Pickle Pro (made by hand in Chino Valley) is put onto the lid, and allows the oxygen to be pushed out with the gas produced by the fermenting vegetables.

Next week we’ll begin an experiment on different fermentation techniques using the Pickle Pro. Keep an eye out for the jars at CSA, and we’ll keep you posted on the progress of jars using just saltwater brine, whey, or culture. And when they’re done you’ll be able to sample them! Stay tuned…

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rainbow swiss chard with grapefruit vinaigrette
adapted from chef-k
serves 8

for vinaigrette:

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 ½ t grapefruit zest (from same grapefruit)
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 small sections shallots, finely diced
  • 2 T olive oil

Zest the grapefruit, using micro plane or fine grater. Cut grapefruit in half and squeeze juice into a bowl. Add grapefruit zest to juice, then add vinegar to juice mixture. Heat olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add diced shallots and sauté 3 minutes. Add sautéed shallots to grapefruit juice.

Set aside until ready to use.

for chard:

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 batch Grapefruit vinaigrette

Wash and drain Swiss chard. Cut leaves into ribbons, and place in a pot with a lid and ¼ cup of water. Bring water to boil and steam for 3-4 minutes.

Drain and place chard in a serving bowl. Pour vinaigrette over and serve immediately.
beet, citrus, fennel and pickled ginger onion salad
adapted from eat relate love blog
serves
  • 1/2 C honey balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 beet
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • drizzle of olive oil

Combine honey balsamic vinegar and sugar in an airtight jar and add onions. Refrigerate overnight.

Toss fennel, olive oil, brown sugar and salt and spread in even layer on cookie sheet. Roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Boil beet until tender, peel and slice thinly.
Plate. Layer in order: beets, oranges/grapefruits, fennel and pickled onion.
sweet potatoes and winter greens
adapted from garden of eating
serves 4
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 bunches of chard or collard greens
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • juice of one half lemon
  • 1 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch or red pepper flakes
  • 2 T olive, peanut or grapeseed oil

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks (make them as uniform in size as you can.)

Heat one T of oil in the pan over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just brown on all sides and soft (about 12-15 minutes). If the potatoes are still hard at the end of this time, you can add a few T of water or broth, put a cover on the pan and steam for 2-3 minutes and they should soften right up.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, wash the greens (but do not dry them.) Remove the ribs and cut the leaves into ribbons. Mince or press the garlic and set aside. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, add the cinnamon, gloves, salt and pepper and then set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and saute the garlic and the chili flakes for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Add the greens to the pan (in batches if needed) and stir often until they’ve cooked down significantly and are tender. Season the greens with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the potatoes, honey or maple syrup, and lemon juice with the greens, stir and serve.

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