recipe

Salad

All manner of greens and lettuces have been showing up in our subscription boxes recently. Here’s how we like to store them to extend their life and keep them crisp:

First, fill up your sink or a clean basin with enough water so that when your greens go in, they don’t touch the bottom. Add a little white vinegar (this does wonders for any greens have already been sitting a couple days). Remove the root from your greens (I just hack it off with a sharp knife) and submerge in the water. Swish them around gently, then just leave them for a few minutes. The dirt will sink to the bottom while the lettuce stays in top.

If you have a salad spinner, use it to remove as much water as you can, then roll the greens up gently, in a single layer, in paper towels or a very clean tea towel.

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Put that roll into a ziploc bag, but don’t zip it. Stash that in your fridge, and enjoy as you like. We just ate tender salad greens we had stashed that way a week and a half ago and they still crunched! This works very well with any greens- kale, chard, romaine, mesclun, spinach, etc.

Here’s one of my favorite summer salad recipes:

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Southern Peach Salad
Salad greens
Diced, cooked bacon
Diced peaches
Candied pecans

Peanut Butter Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together, drizzle to serve over tossed salad

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Freezing

This is a teaser for our upcoming food preservation workshop series, which we’ll announce in the coming weeks

The worst part about berry season is the day it’s over. I’m always trying to prolong my access to berries in any way to avoid the inevitable sadness that occurs when my raspberries stop producing, and the blueberries start looking overripe and mushy.

My favorite way to keep it going: freezing!

Berries are particularly well-suited, if treated properly, to hang out in the freezer, conveniently waiting for your craving to hit.

Here’s the method:

We’re going for individually frozen, loose pieces, for convenience and flavor. If your berries are frozen in a wet clump, it forces you to defrost and quickly use a preset amount at once, which may not be convenient at the time. I find it unnecessary to coat them in a sugar syrup before preserving. But it is delicious and attractive to make a quick vanilla syrup to coat the berries in just before baking exposed on a pastry or topping a waffle!

Obtain berries as fresh as possible, through our CSA here (look for preserving quantities available to special order soon), the farmers’ market, or your own garden.

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Pick over, rinse, and dry very thoroughly (that’s important to avoid non-tasty ice crystallization).

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Gently arrange in a single layer on a clean, dry, metal cookie sheet, and stash in your freezer. Don’t crowd the pan- the idea here is to freeze individual berries, not masses of smooshed berries (I mean, those taste good too, but it’s not ideal).

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Stainless steel and aluminum are great conductors of heat, so if you stick them in the freezer, they will transfer that temperature to your berries much more quickly than plastic would, resulting in smaller ice crystals and therefore better texture and flavor.

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As soon as they’re frozen, transfer to a labelled ziploc bag.image

Now, you can pull out handfuls as you need for your yogurt in the morning, a refreshing snack for your kids on a hot day, smoothies, pancake mixins, pie-baking, or sweet relief for teething babies (I like to stick the frozen berries in one of those netted pacifier things that help babies learn to self feed).

What do you like to do with frozen berries?

Radish

I love late spring and early summer, food-wise: finally, after a long long winter, we get rewarded for our patience in a big, satisfying way.

sweet strawberries
snappy snowpeas
tender lettuces
versatile kale
crisp, bitey radishes

So many textures, such a wide range of flavors!

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From a farming/gardening perspective, french breakfast radishes are great for a quick yield: 28 days after planting, you can usually start harvesting. If you’ve got little kids or grandkids, french breakfast radishes are a perfect, kid-scaled crop. They can plant, tend, and harvest, seeing the fruits of their labor very quickly.

We know radishes work well in salads and crudités platters, but what else can we do with our bumper crops (before they wither in the fridge)?

Traditionally made with cabbage or daikon radishes, the Korean fermented staple kimchi is a great way to preserve and to try your hand at fermenting raw ingredients in a low-impact way. I actually prefer the radish variety to the cabbage: kimchi is traditionally sour and tangy, and the radishes add subtle spiciness and crispy texture.

Although most recipes call for daikon, we have breakfast varieties, so we’ll use them! I’ve adapted and scaled the following recipe for use with regular pantry items and our local radishes.

French Radish Kimchi
based on a recipe by Mother In Law’s Kimchi

one bunch (about 8oz) french breakfast radishes
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (if you happen to have Korean chili flakes, by all means, use those. Chili powder varieties are by no means interchangeable; the closest we can get to a substitution in most of our pantries is cayenne)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch of sugar

First, gently rinse the radishes in clean water a few times. Cut off the tops (saving for some other use) and slice in at least half. We cut them into bite-sized sticks.

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Sprinkle with salt and gently toss to cover. Let sit 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, combine the water, garlic, pepper, sugar, and ginger into a paste.

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Next, pour the radishes into a sieve set over a bowl to catch the brine.

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Set the brine aside, and very thoroughly rinse those radishes. Dunk them in a bowl of clean water, pour it out, repeat once or twice, and then rinse them more for good measure. Drain for another 15 minutes.

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Pour your seasoning paste over the the radishes, toss gently to coat, and pack into a clean jar.

Pour the reserved brine liquid into the bowl you just had the radishes in, swirl it around to grab all that flavor stuck to the bowl, and pour into the jar on top of the veggies.

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Close the lid and let it sit on your counter for one day to ferment (don’t worry- the salty brine keeps it safe).

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Store in your fridge and enjoy within a week. Try it alongside barbecue chicken, grilled pork chops, sautéed greens, or beef and noodles, or as a late-night snack.

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What have you done with your radishes? We’d love to hear your ideas!