From the Land 3.20

food for thought

full share: sweet potatoes, pinto beans and wheatberries from Crooked Sky; spinach and carrots from Whipstone; onions from Chino Valley; choice of salad mix or chard from Collier; and sprouted beans from Maxwell!

partial share: sweet potatoes, pinto beans, wheatberries, and spinach!

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veg of the week

sonoran white wheat

 

This ancient wheatberry is a remnant from a time before the Green Revolution, before the intense effort on crops to produce more, faster, and resistant to pests and drought. Instead, it is supple, nutritious The glutinous white flour is perfect for making large tortillas, traditional in this part of the country. And despite the market’s preference for processed hybrid varieties, recent efforts on the part of Native Seed SEARCH (where this picture was taken), Hayden Mills, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and others (like Crooked Sky Farm, who grew the wheat we’re receiving today) are bringing this ancient grain back. Read more about the history of Sonoran White Wheat and grain mills in the Southwest here and here.

In addition, most of us are used to receiving our wheat in its milled form! Did you know you can also eat the wheatberry cooked like rice or other whole grains? Sally Fallon recommends soaking the grain overnight, and then cooking it like any other grain. Our wheatberries from Crooked Sky tend to have some chaff remaining on them, so this is also a good time to stir with your hand and get the floaty bits off, and also to check for any small hard bits. Jeanine from Love and Lemons (my new favorite food blog!) recommends this cooking technique:

I cook these like pasta, not like rice, so the ratio of water doesn’t matter, you just need to make sure the water covers them. Fill a pot with water, salt the water, add the wheatberries. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour (sometimes longer). About halfway through check to make sure there is still water covering the wheatberries. If most of your water has been absorbed but your wheatberries are still crunchy, add more water and continue simmering. They are done when they have a soft but still have a firm, not mushy, bite.

You can use the cooked wheatberries in place of any grain, like rice or barley. They make a tasty and hearty addition to salads, stews or stuffed squash!

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Foreign Edibles
By Alex Deck and Erin Lingo

Over spring break I stayed with some friends who are very into eating foreign and exotic fruits. My friends hunt down grocery stores that import a variety of imported fruits, mostly from the tropics. As I was eating these fruits, the thought occurred to me that these tastes are what candy is trying to replicate. Only this fruit was so much better than candy!
Here is a short list of foreign fruit that makes eating healthy and raw more exiting than chocolate syrup on ice-cream.
Chocolate Vine- From Japan. Smells like chocolate, tastes like tapioca pudding.
 
 
Buddhas Hand- From India and China. Citrus fruit used as zest.
Dragon Fruit- From Mexico. Similar to Kiwi in taste.
Okinawan Sweet Purple Potato- From Japan. Light sweet taste.
Spiky Kiwano Melon- From Africa. Tastes like a cucumber.

 

 

 

 

We all know the benefits of eating locally, such as freshness, supporting local small-scale farmers, and lower transportation costs; we support the effort to buy and eat locally-grown and produced items whenever possible. Still no one can deny the allure of tastes like tropical fruits that, regardless of how hard we try, cannot be grown in our climate! So unless we all pack up and move to the tropics, it’s worth exploring how we can ethically incorporate non-local items into our diets to take advantage of the nutrition, colors and tastes that are otherwise unavailable here. Though we may not know the producer personally when we purchase these specialty foods, we still have the opportunity and responsibility to check out their growing practices and treatment of their workers. The best and more consistent way we can do this is to buy organic and fair trade, labeling practices that take the guesswork out of food purchasing.

More on organic certification and fair trade another day…

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pinto bean sweet potato chili
adapted from epicurious
serves 4

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 t chili powder
  • 2 C vegetable broth 
  • 1 1/2 lbs sweet potato, cut into 3/4-inch  cubes
  • 2 cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 2 C pinto beans, cooked and drained
  • 6 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 t grated orange peel

Heat olive oil in heavy medium sauce-pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder and stir 1 minute. Add broth and sweet potato. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium and simmer until potato is almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices and pinto beans. Simmer uncovered until chili thickens and potato is very tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in cilantro and orange peel. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

wheatberry spinach salad
adapted from stahlbush farms
serves 4

  • 1/2 bag wheatberries, soaked overnight and cooked until soft but chewy
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 orange
  • 3 finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add spinach, finely chopped carrots, and peeled, bite size pieces of orange to a large bowl. In a measuring cup combine the olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Add wheatberries to salad. Top with olive oil dressing. Serve immediately.

roasted sweet potato and wheatberry salad
adapted from love and lemons
serves 2 as main dish, 4 as side

  • 1.5 C cooked wheat berries (about 3/4 cup uncooked – see above for cooking info)
  • 2 C of mixed greens (spinach, salad mix, arugula, etc.)
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into cubes
  • 1/3 C dried cranberries
  • 1/3 C crumbled feta
  • 1/4 C toasted pumpkin seeds (toast on a small skillet for 30 seconds or so)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

dressing:

  • 2 T  olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 t honey
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 4 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper

roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop the sweet potato into bite sized cubes. Drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until they start to edges start to turn darker and roasty.

assemble the salad:
Stir the dressing ingredients together, set aside.

Place greens in a large bowl. Place the warm wheat berries and hot sweet potatoes over them so they wilt slightly from the heat. Add the dressing, as much or little as you like. Toss. Add in the rest of the ingredients, gently toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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