From the Land 2.27

food for thought

full share: packman broccoli, navel oranges, french breakfast radishes, sunflower shoots, hakurei turnips, vates kale, escarole, and cilantro!

partial share: pac man broccoli, navel oranges, french breakfast radishes, and sprouts!

veg of the week

sunflower shoots: Helianthus annuus

Native to North America, sunflowers have been used by Native people for over 2000 years, but only became popular when reintroduced by Russian immigrants in the late 19th century. The seeds are commonly eaten hulled, ground into a meal, or processed for oil, but when sprouted produce a green that contains every known vitamin, including the B-complex and D!

Uses: Sunflower shoots make an excellent addition to salads, soups or stir-fries; or juice with carrots, celery and fennel.  

Nutrition: According to Kitchen Garden, “unsprouted sunflower seeds are high in fat and protein. However, sprouting activates the seed, with many changes as it sprouts: dramatic increase in enzyme levels, seed fats are converted to essential fatty acids and carbohydrates, proteins are converted to essential amino acids and/or sugars, and vitamin levels (on a dry basis) increase substantially. Due to their activate enzymes, sprouts are much easier to digest than dry seeds…The greens [shoots] are a tender baby vegetable, high in chlorophyll, and a substitute for lettuce. Sunflower greens have a slightly salty taste that some compare to watercress. They are rich in chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, proteins, and the most important “nutrient”, the life force. Some writers report the greens are a rich source of lecithin and Vitamin D. Additionally, unlike most expensive freeze-dried supplements such as spirulina and algae, sunflower greens that you grow are alive up to the time you eat them (most freeze-dried items are dead).”

To store: Keep shoots in a loosely sealed plastic bag, where they will last at least a week. But you’ll eat them before then!

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Lactofermentation update

fermented radishes

Our fermented radishes are looking beautiful! We’ll be sampling them today – feel free to taste and compare the three different fermentation methods!

As you may remember, we started these three jars last Wednesday: one with only saltwater brine, one with the addition of a vegetable fermentation culture, and one with the addition of whey, for the purpose of adding more lactobacillus to the mix. Lactobacillus is the bacteria that supports fermentation, and the funny lid toppers are airlocks that keep the oxygen away from the vegetable. This type of airlock is called a Pickle Pro – made locally in Chino Valley by Homesteader Supply, and we have some available for sale at CSA.

What’s your hypothesis? Do you think one of the jars has fermented faster than the others? Do you think they will taste different?

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Genetic Roulette
Genetically Modified Food Coming under the Spotlight
By Micheal Holmes

Film author and anti-GMO advocate Jeffrey M. Smith came to Prescott College’s Mariposa building last Saturday, where he met a crowd of community members eager to hear about genetically modified (GM) organisms in food. The event was expected to host only 200 people but well over 350 people showed up to educate themselves about this growing movement and eat non-GM food donated by New Frontiers Market. Jeffrey Smith is well known for his new film Genetic Roulette, which exposes a flood of recent studies that strongly link numerous severe animal and human health problems to GM foods. Genetically Modified Organisms can be a plant or an animal that is engineered in a lab for more desirable traits like pest resistance and better shelf life. This is done by forcing a gene, or part of a gene, from one species into the DNA of another organism. One can find an example of this in GM tomatoes, where spider genes are impregnated into the tomato in order to improve its shelf life. The FDA approved GMO crops in 1996 without any long term studies conducted on them and since then GMO’s have become extremely common. Today 94% of soy in the U.S. is genetically modified, 88% of corn, as well as most sugar (from sugar beets), cotton (cottonseed oil) and papaya. GM alfalfa and summer squash can also be found. Jeffrey Smith sites research showing correlation between the following health problems and GM foods: heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, premature aging, infertility, birth defects, gastrointestinal problems, downs syndrome, allergies, auto immune disease and cancer. All of these health problems have skyrocketed since the advent of GM foods, and the number of Americans with these chronic conditions has doubled since that time. Other factors are also involved of course, but research is now strongly suggesting GM foods as the major culprit.

What Can We Do?

While it is apparent that the Food and Drug Administration is not protecting us against the dangers of GM foods, there is a lot we can do to protect ourselves and also to move towards getting GM foods banned altogether. The GM foods ban in Europe showed that it is possible to ban GM foods. Better news than that is that we are actually most of the way there. Research indicates that if only 5% of Americans purposely avoided GM food, it would no longer be profitable for farmers to grow it! Also, through public outcry, we have already defeated the approval of GM tomatoes, rice, wheat, and other crops. Finally, we can all join local movements to require labeling of GM foods (GMO Free Prescott), boycott GM foods, and educate our friends and families.

Avoiding GM foods

-Avoid all non organic corn and soy products, unless it is has the Non GMO Project verified logo on it.

-Avoid anything that lists sugar if not organic, as it is most likely sugar made from GM sugar beets. (note: cane sugar is not GMO)

-Avoid canola and cottonseed oil, if not listed as organic.

-Avoid non-organic papaya, unless verified

-Avoid aspartame

There is an enormous list of “hidden” GM ingredients in processed foods on the website  nonGMOshoppingguide.com, as well as more helpful shopping tips.

Also, for a small fee you can stream Jeffrey Smith’s documentary Genetic Roulette.

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sunflower shoot stir-fry
adapted from sprout people

  • sunflower greens
  • garlic to taste – minced
  • ginger to taste – minced or sliced
  • soy sauce or Braggs

Heat a wok or pan up nice and hot.

Toss in a bunch of garlic and ginger (optional) and then a whole mess of sunflower shoots.

Stir fry vigorously for a minute. Add some soy sauce in the last 20-30 seconds. Keep stirring.

Serve over rice – or by itself!

golden beet and sunflower salad
adapted from epicurious
serves 6

  • 2 1/2 lb medium golden beets (with greens if available)
  • 1/2 C  raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 T finely chopped shallot
  • 2 1/2 T cider vinegar
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t sugar
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz sunflower sprouts or baby mesclun (6 cups)

Put oven racks in lower third and middle of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.

Trim beet greens, leaving 1 inch of stems attached (optional – if you’ve already discarded the greens don’t worry about it). Tightly wrap beets together in double layers of foil to make packages (2 or 3 per package) and roast in middle of oven until tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Unwrap beets and cool slightly.

While beets roast, toast sunflower seeds in a pie plate or a small baking pan in lower third of oven, shaking occasionally, until seeds are golden, about 10 minutes.

Whisk together shallot, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking.

When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins. Cut beets lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and gently toss with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette in a bowl.

Toss sunflower sprouts and half of sunflower seeds with remaining vinaigrette in another bowl. Arrange beets on 6 salad plates and top with dressed sprouts. Sprinkle salads with remaining sunflower seeds.

angelhair pasta with lemon, fingerling potatoes and sunflower shoots
adapted from food network
serves 4 as side dish

  • 4 to 6 smallish fingerling potatoes (about 4 to 6 ounces total), thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T kosher salt, for the pasta water, plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 qts water
  • 1/2 lb dried angel hair pasta
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 C sour cream
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small bunch chives, trimmed and minced
  • 1/2 C sunflower greens

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the potatoes: Put the potatoes on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the tray in the center of the oven and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons salt and bring the water back up to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes. Stir the pasta with a slotted spoon to make sure it does not clump or stick to the bottom as it cooks.
In a large colander, drain the pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid, in case it becomes necessary to use it later on.In a large skillet, combine the heavy cream and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce the cream over medium heat whisking until it thickens and all of the sour cream melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and a “splash” of Worcestershire sauce. Taste for seasoning. At this point, the sauce should be thick enough to coat the pasta. If too thin, reduce over low heat for 2 additional minutes. If it becomes too thick, simply thin it out with some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid.
Stir in the chives.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat with the cream. Shut the heat off and allow the pasta to “rest” for 2 minutes, tossing to coat, from time to time. Meanwhile, put the potatoes on a flat surface and use a sharp knife to slice them into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick rounds. Stir the potato slices into the pasta sauce.
Serve the pasta: Warm the serving bowls. If the cream is overly thick, add a little more of the pasta cooking liquid and swirl it around over the heat for a minute. Stir in the sunflower greens and spoon the pasta into the bowls. Serve immediately.
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