We made it through the heat spell of the past week, but our eyes are still glued to the forecast, awaiting rain. So far we haven’t seen any negative impacts on the farm, though, and we are certainly better off than the farms suffering records droughts in the Midwest.
In happier news, the tomatoes are getting bigger every day! They may not be ripe enough to distribute for another couple weeks, but nonetheless, get your tastebuds ready – we’ve got about ten different varieties to choose from. Also, just like last week, we will have fresh, local, and cage-free eggs on sale for $5/dozen. The eggs come from Old Ford Farm, just on the other side of town from us.
This week, the newcomers to the table are fresh onions (use as you would any onion, just don’t try to hang on to it as long as a regular onion) and the delicious Early Wonder Tall Top Beet. Below you’ll find a delightful cold beet salad recipe to beat the July heat. The full harvest list is as follows:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (or substitute half the oil with 3/8 cup yogurt)
2 cups zucchini (grated)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts or raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 325.
Beat eggs and then add in remaining wet ingredients. Mix together the dry ingredients, then stir into the wet. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake for about one hour,maybe slightly longer. Poke a knife or toothpick down into the loaf to determine if it’s ready to come out – if it comes out clean, the bread is done!
Two important things to note – first, you can definitely use other summer squash (patty pans, yellow, or yellow crookneck can substitute in for the zucchini). Second, if you don’t want to make the bread now but don’t want the squash to go to waste, a simple idea is to shred and then freeze it. Whenever you want to make some delicious bread, pull it out and thaw! Make sure to pre-measure the right amount before freezing – you don’t want to have to chip 2 cups off a larger block of zucchini ice!
With all the cucumbers we have overflowing out of our ears right now, we’ve been making and canning pickles to preserve them for later. But here is a simple way to can pickles without much processing. They will last for a few weeks in your fridge. An important key is to sterilize your jars—it makes all the difference in keeping the pickles from spoiling or being unsafe to eat. You can put them through the dishwasher or boil them (lids too) for 10 minutes. Of course, feel free to add spices you like—celery seed would probably be nice.
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar (or less if you like)
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.
With great excitement, we make these every summer and devour them in the depths of winter. This past winter there was a week when we ate a jar every day. If you’re feeling like you’re not going to get to eating all the beans in your share this week, you might consider canning them for future delight. These do require canning in a boiling water bath with mason jars and new lids, which is a little work, but also fun. Adjust the recipe depending on how many beans you have. Again, it’s essential to sterilize the jars and lids by boiling them for 10 minutes. A note on botulism: we’re not doctors and can’t make guarantees here, but pickling vegetables with vinegar is a safe way to preserve, because of the high acidity. You may have heard that green beans can be the trickiest veggie to can, since they’re relatively alkaline, but that’s only if you’re just canning them in water, not vinegar.
2 lbs. Green beans, stems snipped off and beans cut to right size to fit into pint jars
Several cloves of garlic, halved.
Bunch of dill sprigs
1 1/3 Tablespoon pickling salt (regular salt not recommended—can cause clouding)
2 ½ cups vinegar (white or apple cider)
2 ½ cups water
Pack raw beans into sterilized jars with garlic and some fresh dill. Really jam them in there, because you’ll be surprised at how much space there will be in there after they’re cooked. Combine brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Then ladle into the jars, covering the beans and leaving about ¼ inch head space. Close the jars with sterilized lids, screw on rings (not super tightly…need to be just a little loose to allow air to leave the jars as they boil), and place into the pot of boiling water. Jars should be covered with water. Wait until the pot returns to boiling, boil the jars for 10 minutes, then remove. In a little bit, all the jar lids should pop, which means they were done correctly. If any did not pop, put them in the fridge and eat them after about a week. For those that did pop, label them with the date and contents and display them somewhere pretty until you eat them (though cool and dark places make them last longer and discolor less…).
REFRESHING COLD BEET SALAD
The first thing we do with beets is make this salad. Never gets old, especially out of the fridge
on a hot day! This is a made up recipe, so the ingredients list and measurements are not
precise. It’s very simple and you should adjust according to your tastes.
Wash the beets and boil them, skins on, until they are soft when you stick a fork into them (maybe 20 minutes, though depends on the size of the beets). Then drain and run them under cold water until they’re a little cooled down. Now, the skins should be easy to just pull or rub off with your fingers. Slice them and put them into a bowl. Now make a dressing of the remaining ingredients (and add your own!) and toss into the bowl. Mix to cover the beets, then put in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Enjoy!