CSA customers - Hurray! The first week of the CSA is finally here. You can expect to find the following goodies at the pick-up: radishes, rhubarb, cilantro, dill, salad mix and spinach. The first delivery is always the leanest in terms of variety, but by next week we will be harvesting sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, and possibly the first of the strawberries.
I encourage you to make the most of your produce share. This may mean challenging yourself to preserve (by drying, freezing etc.) items you have a difficult time keeping up with, and to think outside your usual eating routine. Remember that cooking those green tops of the turnips, radishes, and beets can add a delicious and nutrient-rich side to your main course. In fact, as most root vegetables store best without their tops, I recommend removing them when you are unpacking your produce, storing the roots and tops separately. You will probably be more apt to use the tops if you do this. If a 1/2 lb. of fresh spinach seems too daunting to eat in a week's time, gently saute them with a little onion, garlic, and olive oil as a way of reducing its bulk, or cut some up and add it into soups, pasta dishes, pizza, egg dishes etc. To preserve those fresh herbs for later use, simply remove the leaves from the stems (discard stems or add them to your soup stocks), lay out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 200 degrees F. until the leaves are fully dry. Let cool completely before transferring the dried herbs to an airtight bag or container. If you've made one rhubarb dessert too many, this beauty holds up remarkably well in the freezer - cut into 1/4 - 1/2 " pieces and store in a freezer-grade plastic bag, removing as much air as possible from the bag. It is helpful to write the date on the bag before placing in the freezer so you can use up the older bags first.
We have been loving a simple salad of radish, lime, cilantro, and a pinch of salt....great on tacos, among other things. Another favorite until the cucumbers come on is the combination of sliced radish, chopped dill and rice vinegar. I'm also a fan of adding a small amount of cilantro and dill (coarsely chopped) to our green salads for an extra flavor kick.
We hope you enjoy the first of the fresh produce this season!