Alternate titles: What to do with all of these lovely vegetables!
Farley and Zeke checking out the CSA boxes and bag.
Zeke is mostly interested in the box itself.
Carrots, acorn squash, and cabbages topping off this box.
It has been a few weeks now since we received this, our first distribution of the bounty from the Shared Harvest CSA Winter Share.
To give you some scale, my two feline helpers are big boys, so these boxes are huge!
To get my head straight and get myself organized about what we had, how and where to store it and how quickly we'd need to use it, I first had to explore the boxes and get everything out on the counters. It took up my whole little kitchen. But, casting my eyes over it all at once, pouring myself a cup of tea and getting out the notepad was exactly what was called for to integrate all of this into our kitchen and food storage.
Gretta Anderson, the mistress of ceremonies and organizer extraordinaire for the Shared Harvest CSA had kindly offered up references for how to store vegetables as well as some wonderful recipe links. Two incredibly useful services when faced with vegetables to last well into the winter including some new and unfamiliar items.
Brimming counter-tops. Let the games begin!
Once I had everything spread out, I began to list items on my notepad and indicate where it was stored with a hypothetical expiration date...(use by this Wednesday, use by first of November, etc.). I had my trusty instructions for how to store and got to work bagging in our reusable miraculous green bags, to stow in the fridge, laying out on trays for basement storage and planning our first few meals.
Since then, we've been enjoying lots of wonderful meals, including the delicious Three Sister's Soup, and Mexican Casserole from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair; Broiled Beet Slices with Maple Teryaki from the Shared Harvest Recipe Wiki, Kohlrabi stir-fry, sauted Kale and mushroom topped pizza, oven roasted potatoes and more. We have two more shares of the winter CSA coming our way, one this weekend and one in December and I am determined that with good planning, nothing will go to waste and we'll be well-nourished through the Winter.
We also picked up our share of delicious sustainably raised pork, our usual supply of organic eggs, and a Capon and stew birds from Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds, so we are really fully stocked with the chest freezer topped up.
This wonderful, locally grown and raised food, carefully organized and stored has been one of my greatest weapons against the continuing economic news, job stress and flu-season worries. All of this and a stocked pantry of healthy canned and drygoods (oatmeal, tomatoes, beans, honey, etc) are better to me than money in the bank. This is piece of mind, and a different kind of health insurance.
So, if you haven't joined a CSA, or grown food to put by for the Winter, or you don't feel like you have the space... give it some thought. Supporting local farmers, having good food tucked away in your own home, knowing where you food comes from... it's good medicine!