Allandale Farm’s much-loved CSA Coordinator Chrissy Seible has moved to the green pastures of California and her position and all that it included is now on my plate, literally. My vision for this site is to help you (each of you in our beloved CSA community) get the most out of your box of veggie goodness by diving in to my own share and exploring various uses in my kitchen at home, with the help of my partner The Lady (a Culinary Institute of America grad and local Chef de Cuisine). This season look here for tips, experimentation, successful eats, and culinary disasters. I also might be toying with the design, so don’t be scared if you see it all look different next time you visit the page.
Week1- Box of delicious fresh produce or Pandora’s Box?
I would consider my household very comfortable with fresh produce, cooking and meal planning. However, as my partner and I unloaded the contents of our first CSA share it felt less like a delicious bounty and more like an overwhelming obligation to use all of this produce quickly before it died in the refrigerator. I had immediate anxiety about not being motivated to use everything in my box and it being ultimately thrown out, like doggie bags from the restaurant that sit in my refrigerator and never actually get consumed.
Just as some of you need to clean and organize your desk before writing a paper the Lady immediately got to work washing and storing all of the produce before tackling what we were actually going to do with it. Not something I would have thought of at all. But again, I was still dazed with confusion looking at the mass of green on my counter and trying to figure out how to stuff that wax box in my refrigerator and get the door to close.
As I started to look up recipes, she filled the kitchen sink up with cold water, trimmed and submerged each item in the sink and allowed for a brief soak, and then put all the leafy greens (the lettuce and the kale) through a run in the salad spinner. For the lettuce, she broke up the head, taking all the leaves off, before soaking, and for the kale she did a brief chop before washing. After the washing and the spinning, she laid each item out on a paper towel to dry (as seen above). Note: Allandale produce is washed before it goes in to your box, but the second wash in the sink allows for every last bit of the grubby sand and dirt to fall to the bottom.
Once washed, spun, and laid out, The Lady put each item in a large Ziploc bag with a paper towel wrapped around the herb or along the side of the inside of the bag of greens, which absorbed any excess moisture that could cause deterioration. The result allowed for us to grab and cook or grab and go with any produce item throughout the week, without added cleaning and cutting. This immediate clean and store method also made our produce last in to the following week.
This coming week, when you get your box, take 10 minutes and take everything out of the box, trim, wash, dry and store it as a means to get comfortable and ready for what your box has in store. And be sure to reuse your plastic bags from week to week. Feeling ready, organized and anxiety free is step 1 in using and NOT THROWING AWAY anything in our weekly shares.
For the season stock your kitchen with:
1. Plenty of large Ziploc bags
2. Salad spinner
3. Paper towels
Note: I was never raised in a salad spinner family, but as a CSA member and lover of green things from the ground, this is a necessary addition to your kitchen if you don’t want sand or dirt as a garnish to your eats.