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Daily Archives: June 21, 2012

The CSA Box, Week Seven. Get It Before It Wilts

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Boy, it’s hot. Getting that CSA box early is a smart thing. The Lancaster Farm Fresh refrigerated truck was there when we arrived a few minutes before 1 PM. Lots of people arriving right after we did. Don’t want those veggies to wilt, do we?

The haul. It keeps getting harder to take the picture. I am glad I have lots of counter space to clean and prep it all. It takes about 20 minutes to process all of it.

I did one swap. Dandelion greens to get another bag of pickling cukes. The list.

The analysis. Based on organic pricing. Green Kale $3. Yellow Chard $3. Pickling cukes, eleven of them at 2/$1 is $5.50. Heirloom carrots (priceless 😉 ) where else do you find this sort of carrot — $3. Onions $3. Fennel $3.50. Zucchini $3. Two slicing cukes $2. A pound of rhubarb $3. Large green cabbage $3. Total is $32. $3.25 more than the weekly cost of the CSA. Running cumulative total is $51.90, with eighteen weeks to go and so much goodness coming into the house.

As for all these cukes, I am busy doing easy refrigerator and crock dill pickles. Check out the crock at the moment after I added new cukes to the mix. This is what my mom and my husband’s mom always did. Keep a crock of pickles “dilling” in a cool place in the kitchen.

You can see differences in the older pickles and the new brighter green ones, as well as some of those white cucumbers from last week’s CSA. I bought a food grade white bucket, sterilized it in the dishwasher and for these, used a prepared dilling mix that my husband wanted me to try. He thought my original pickling spice mix wasn’t like his mom’s, so we tried this one. It is OK, but I will be experimenting with fresh spices I grind myself to change it a bit. This is Mrs. Wages, bought at Butler’s Orchard in their canning section.

I just use a 2:1 water/vinegar mix and use the appropriate amount of spice, boil it quickly, cool it and cover the cucumbers. Put a plate on top and a clean dish towel and leave it alone in a corner. There is also a bowl full of sauerkraut fermenting next to it from the cabbage two weeks ago. It is coming along nicely and I will probably grill kielbasa and serve it over some sauerkraut next week. Another staple from my mom’s and my grandmom’s German influenced kitchens.

The sauerkraut is really easy. Cut up cabbage. Pack it into container layering it with salt and caraway. Get enough water in it to cover it. Add salted water if needed. Put a plate on it. Weight it down. Let it ferment its little self silly.

OK, all this talk of food has made me hungry. Time to go up and find my crock pot soup made with greens and bacon, using up all of last week’s leftover CSA greens. Veggie stock from the freezer. Greens, beans, bacon and onions. Herbs, salt and pepper. Two or three dinners. We may look like we are drowning in veggies but we do make a huge dent in them every week. Check out our What’s In The Box linkytools party to see how dozens of us are using our CSA deliveries. Bon Appetit!

hocofood@@@

The State of the Garden

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Other than slightly wilted. I have been good about watering it. The heat index today will make it difficult to keep the container plants hydrated, but I will get out there and keep them from scorching. I love the celosia that is blooming on the steps and I wouldn’t want to lose them.

I hope the heat doesn’t mess up the cucumbers. There are lots of little ones on the vines and one monster that was hiding under the fence. I usually like the pickling cucumbers smaller than this, but I think a few large dill pickles can be handled.

The tomatoes are coming along nicely. One large Amish paste, and lots of little ones on all four plants. I was worried about them at first because they seem to wilt more, but they are hanging in there.

Both orange blossom tomato plants have tomatoes now. The biggest ones are hidden deep down in the midst of the shady leaves.

The pole beans are over the top of the fence and climbing the extensions and even attaching themselves to fence posts.

With three or four slicing cucumbers ready to pick today and two coming in the CSA box, I think I will be making cucumber salad for the weekend. Hard to believe a few weeks ago the garden was just starting out, and now it is full of large healthy tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans.

Time to go mist the plants with a water bottle containing a little dish soap since I found a few aphids on one of the tomato plants. Can’t have them spreading. Have a good Thursday, and stay cool.

hocofood@@@