Hail to the Kale!
“Hail to the Kale” is an farmer’s inside joke because Kales, Collards and a few other Brassicas are Winter standouts. While Kale has been a very popular green with the foodie crowd for about a decade – and for good reason – , Kale was such a mainstay for Scottish Highlanders that the word itself, “Kail” also means “food.” For the Scots, not only is kale nutrient dense, but it is also exceptionally cold hardy. The only effect that cold, windy nights like tonight have on our Kales is to make them sweeter tasting. More on that below in the crop description section.
Our root vegetables for this week are Rutabegas and Beets. My most recent video below is of a raw beet salad, but I bet you could do something very similar with the rutabegas. As always, there are a few comical errors in the videos, but I think they get the ideas across.
For fun, here are some TFF Members’ Culinary Creations sent in from last week’s box. Yes, that’s a Rutabega spice cake. We will be having more of these beautiful Rutabegas next week as well, so, I’ll be speaking to Cyndie about how she does this spice cake preparation. Knowing her, it’s incredible. In next week’s blogpost, I’ll have recipes for the spice cake, Miss Jean’s beet and carrot soup, and Karla’s greens (reminds me of Grandma’s right here at the farmhouse…mmm.) I wanted to include them here, but it’s been such a long, cold day, I don’t feel like I can do these creations justice.
This Week’s Crop Theme Is “Rainbows” – multi-colored carrots and chard
Beets are in the Amaranthaceae family (sub-family Chenopodiaceae,) which is really just a complicated way to say they are related to spinach and swiss chard. In fact, beet greens are an excellent nutty-tasting addition or substitute to (and for) spinach. In today’s box, though, is the beet roots only.
Again, I apologize for not having Miss Jean’s beet and carrot soup recipe for you this week, but it’s gotten late and I want to talk it over with her so I get it right. See the beautiful picture above.
Last year, I did an unusual preparation on our TFF youtube channel by baking them whole in rock salt. And of course, check out the Raw Beet Salad above.
In the field, this Brassica looks like it’s cousin the Turnip, but it’s much longer in the field and really requires a few hard frosts before harvesting.
Rutabagas are high in Vitamin C, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. They are also full of antioxidants and the glucosinolates that Dr. Rhonda Patrick promotes so often. Check that out HERE, but be wary, she’s mesmerizingly fascinating.
If you’re new to cooking rutabagas, the easiest thing to do is just cube them and then roast them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a little Thyme if you have it. At that point, you can go either sweet or savory depending on whether you add a little syrup/honey or leave it out. I really like the looks of THIS raw Asian style preparation because it uses two other ingredients that are in this week’s box – carrots and green onions (in place of scallions. And don’t forget that next week I’ll have the recipe for making that Rutabega spice cake.
Collards (small leaf)
Collards are very closely related to kales, and they have many of the same properties. They are both very Winter hardy and they both actually taste better after a few hard frosts.
Collards also have the same healthy micronutrient profile that Rhonda Patrick talks about in all Brassicas (cruciferous vegetables.) Our small leaf collard bunches are the younger, more tender and mild version of the big, country, simmer-foerver-with-a-hamhock sized collard.
Our collards are even better than our kale for making wraps. I found a nice webpage called Love & Lemons that has a couple of great ideas that involve crops in this week’s box. Collard Wraps with Carrot Hummus!!?? I am definitely doing that in the Thursday video. BTW, don’t look for that to be up on our youtube channel on Thursday as it takes a while to edit and render.
Rainbow Chard is an Amaranth just like spinach. It grows much more vigorously in the field and high tunnel than spinach, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the cold-hardiness. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent crop both full-sized and as baby greens.
One thing you want to look for in Rainbow Chard is a decent amount of the white Fordhook variety mixed in. While it’s less colorful than the pink, yellow, purple and red varieties, it is the tastiest. Farmer’s “in the know” always have the white in the mix.
When I’m in a hurry, I usually just make a wilt (saute) like with spinach, but there are a ton of great ways to use this tasty and nutritious crop. I’ll be doing a video on it in the future, but for now, check out these 13 Creative Swiss Chard Recipes from Bon Appetit.
Hail to the Kale Mix
Technically, because these are brassicas and not lettuce type greens, most people would consider this a braising mix, but, these kales are so fresh and so cold-sweet that I would make a salad preparation similar to our Massaged Mustard Greens Salad.
Try this. Pour out whatever amount of Kale Mix you need onto a clean surface like the cutting board in this picture to the left. Take a rolling pin and roll over the greens a few times before tossing them into a bowl . Make yourself a simple red or white wine vinaigrette by whisking a half cup of olive oil into a quarter cup of red wine vinegar mixture (mix has S&P, honey to taste, dijon mustard dollop for emulsifier, and whatever herbs you like.) Just remember the 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, don’t forget the emulsifier, and you’re good to go after that with whatever aromatics you choose.
Mustards are also Brassicas, but of a slightly different makeup. I’ve mentioned before that combining certain greens together amplifies their individual nutritional value. Mustard is the catalyst that brings out that effect in kales, broccoli, collards, and turnip greens. There’s another terrific Dr. Rhonda Patrick video explanation HERE on her site.
Our latest video was inspired by this fascinating recipe at Eating Well (online) called Massaged Mustard Greens Salad. I can tell you for a fact that the mustard greens were significantly less hot/spicy after that preparation. And man was it good – even very reminiscent of a Caesar salad. Don’t skip the anchovy paste if you have it. You can’t really taste it but it provides mucho umami. Check out our youtube video HERE.
Rainbow Carrots with Tops
Carrots are in the Apiaceae family along with celery, parsnip, dill, fennel, coriander, chervil, cumin and parsley. We will always do our best to have carrots for as many weeks of the year as possible. The carrots are larger now, full-sized, but they are still just so fresh right out of the ground. I am doubling up on bunches as I’ve heard that the Membership children really love them. This week’s rainbow carrots have purple haze, yellowstone and white satin varieties to go with our orange Napolies.
This week’s carrots are probably best eaten raw or in salad, just because they are so fresh, but you can’t really go wrong with a quick sautee or roast either. And the greens on these would go very well in a pesto or added to a salad. By the way, the carrot cousins, parsley and celery can be added too.
I think these would go great in that Raw Asian Rutabegas Salad from above too. Great colors!
Green Onions (aka Spring Onions)
I have fallen in love with this member of the Alluim family. From a grower’s standpoint, they can be grown several ways. In the past I have cut them small to let them regrow almost like Scallions (which technically are different.) However, what I’m really excited about is seeding them out in paperpot chains and using the paperpot planter to grow a larger version of this same plant that’s known as a “Welsh Onion.” They are similar to leaks in that you grow them larger but bury more of the plant to get more white stalk. Check out this youtube video showing how the Japanese do it.
Culinarily speaking, this crop is so, so versatile. While there are myriad ways to use green onions as a garnish – think salad topper, soup topper, etc. – I love to grill them whole, or, slice lengthwise and pan sear them with olive oil and S&P. I finally found a web article HERE that puts the green onion front and center in the preparation, instead of relegating this MVP to the culinary background.
Last Thoughts for the Night
Hey folks, do me one favor if you would. Subscribe to our youtube page and give us a “like” when you check out the videos I’ve linked to. Here’s why. I’m definitely not trying to be a silly youtuber, but that kind of activity makes Turner Family Farms easier to find in online google searches. Believe it or not, I recently took an order from a Londoner (UK) to take a box to a friend in the Wilmington area as a Christmas present. That’s pretty cool. I don’t like having to play these SEO games, but I have to say it’s pretty gratifying to be at the top of a google search. There are a bunch of Turner Family Farms out there – it’s a big world – but we are number one in a google search.
As always, I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow on delivery day. If you are reading this and are not a Turner Family Farms CSA Member but would like to become part of the Turner Farm Family, check out our shop page HERE for options and pricing and give me a text or call at 910-552-3467. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to be your farmer. 🙂