Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CSA Report - Itty Bitty Apples and Winter Squash

It's fall now, and my shares are starting to morph a bit. Because of the cool weather things that would normally be gone are still hanging around, like raspberries, green beans and sweet peppers. The tomatoes are having a hard time ripening, so we're still getting them but they're hanging out in my windowsill. The lettuce is back with the cooler weather, just in time for salad cravings, and there's kale to come in the next week or two.

I'm excited to see some great butternut squash and it sounds like we'll be getting some varieties of winter squash unknown to me, too (like this week's Delicata). Apparently this is a light-bearing year for the apple trees on the farm, which means there won't be many. Luckily, there were several in a "free choice" bin and I took a couple handfuls of the itty-bitty, not-so-pretty looking things to try them out. (Free choice items are usual things that are either at the beginning or end of their harvest and are not plentiful or pretty enough to give out as part of the weekly share. They often include things like huge zucchini, overripe tomatoes, or bruised apples.)

This week's share:

  • 1.5 lbs green beans
  • 3.5 lbs tomatoes (about a dozen small; includes additional half-share)
  • 0.5 lbs okra (includes additional half-share)
  • 1 sweet green pepper
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 2 small butternut squash (includes additional half-share)
  • 1.5 lbs delicata squash (2 small)
  • 1 lb chard (includes additional half-share)
  • 1 cayenne pepper, 1 Thai pepper
  • About 10 tiny apples
  • Basil
  • 1 pint red raspberries
This week's share has two unfamiliar items in it: okra and delicata squash. I've heard of and seen okra before; I've just never eaten it. As for the delicata, I'd never even heard of it, so I looked it up to see what I could find out and here's what I learned from Conscious Choice:

The delicata squash is actually an heirloom variety, a fairly recent reentry into the culinary world...It fell into obscurity for about seventy-five years, possibly because of its thinner, more tender skin, which isn’t suited to transportation over thousands of miles and storage over months. Like other heirloom varieties, it is valued for its taste, not its transportability.

[It has] beautiful ivory skin striped with dark green...The moist, creamy flesh tastes and smells like a delicious blend of corn, butternut squash, and sweet potato. These squash have a small cavity, so although they may appear on the stingy side, they yield a generous amount of pulp. Perhaps another reason for the delicata’s resurgence in popularity is that when it is cut in half lengthwise it makes two perfect single portions.

Sounds good, doesn't it? If you've got a great recipe for okra or delicata squash I'd love to hear about it. I've found a few ideas through web searches, but I prefer first hand accounts to a random recipe found online. (Note: I know that fried okra is probably the standard answer for okra, but I'm looking for dishes that are a bit healthier than that. Although I am willing to give fried okra a try if you think it's the best way to eat it, I'd like to have a few options.)

1 comment:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yep, fried okra is so so good. (Flour, corn meal, salt & pepper. Fry in olive or canola oil and drain.) Yummers. It's popular here in the Creole region to stew it down with tomatoes and onions too, but I don't have a recipe for that. Bet the Net has plenty to share, though.

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