From the Field
We have plenty of cucumbers for you this week, which are great chilled and sliced into a refreshing salad for your next picnic or barbeque. They work well pickled too - if you don't have time to spend fermenting cukes, try a quick pickle (see the recipe below), or the "super speedy" pickle- soak sliced cucumbers in a solution of a mild vinegar (like apple cider), salt and sugar for 10 minutes to 1 hour, and enjoy!
Sweet peppers are excellent grilled, roasted, or sautéed. Try them as a topping for burgers, burritos, pizza or pasta.
These green beans are best steamed for just a few minutes, then topped with a drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of citrus and sprinkle of salt. They can also be roasted, stir-fried or braised. Try a Green Bean Potato Salad for a great summer side-dish.
Mangoes make a great addition to savory dishes, and can be perfect for an appetizer like Black-bean mango salsa. If mango season is beginning to overwhelm you, just slice them up and throw them in the freezer - they're great to have around for smoothies.
Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), or False Roselle, is a delcious and versatile green vegetable. Its sweet, tangy flavor and striking burgundy color make it an excellent addition to salads. It's also great stir-fried, especially in combination with other greens. Try your Ethiopian Kale and Cranberry Hibiscus cooked together, either sauteed or steamed. Just pick the leaves off of the stems, and enjoy! More information on Cranberry Hibiscus can be found at the blogs Eat the Weeds and The Back Forty
Ethiopian Kale (Brassica Carinata) is a a relative of Kale and Collard Greens, and can be prepared in a similar manner. Unlike its mustard cousins, this kale has a mild flavor and is not spicy. The stems are also edible, similar to broccoli stems. When preparing, just cut the stems into small pieces and start cooking them first, then add the chopped leaves to your pan. The leaves are high in cancer-fighting glucosinolates, and are a good source of calcium, iron and ascorbic acid. More information on Ethiopian Kale can be found at the ECHO website.
Maxixe ("muh-shee-sh") or Bush Cucumber (Cucumis anguria) is a relative of the cucumber we all know and love (Cucumis sativus). It can be eaten just like cucumbers - sliced raw in a salad or pickled - but it can also be cooked like summer squash or christophene. Cut it in halves or quarters, boil 10-15 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency, then season with olive oil and salt or add to any dish. More information on Maxixe can be found at the World Crops website. here to edit.
Hope you had a wonderful Emancipation Day and 4th of July!
Enjoy the harvest,
Claudia & the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Photo above: Cranberry Hibiscus, Basil and Moringa in the CSA fields
Quick pickled cucumbers
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water, plus more, if needed
2 teaspoons each: kosher salt, pickling spice
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1) Combine cider vinegar with 1/2-cup of water, salt and pickling spice in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil.
2) Place cucumber in a clean, dry glass container just large enough to hold all the slices. Pour boiling brine over cucumber slices to cover completely. If all cucumbers are not submerged, add cold water to cover. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for about 10 days.
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 2 minutes Chill: 1 hour Makes: 1 pint
Recipe from the Chicago Tribune (for the full story, click here)
Black Bean Mango Salsa
2 1/2 cups black beans, cooked (about 1 can)
2-3 mangoes, diced
2/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, choppe
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (or other citrus, or vinegar)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
• Toss all ingredients together and you’re done!
Potato-Green Bean Salad with Lemon and Basil
2lbs potatoes (like new potatoes)
8 ounces raw green beans
¼ cup basil leaves, packed
1 tablespoon lemon (or other citrus) juice, freshly squeezed
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons water
½ red pepper, sliced
additional lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1) Scrub potatoes well and cut into bite-size pieces. (Halve very small potatoes and quarter larger ones.) Bring a pot of water to a boil, add potatoes, and cook until just tender but not falling apart (10-20 minutes, depending on size of potatoes). When done, drain and rinse briefly with cold water.
2) Meanwhile, prepare the green beans. Trim ends and cut beans into bite-sized pieces, 1 to 1 1/2-inches long. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the green beans, and cook until tender but still bright green and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. (Or steam in pressure cooker: place in steamer basket over boiling water, seal cooker, and cook for 3 minutes; use quick release to bring pressure down.) Drain water from beans and immediately plunge them into a bath of ice and water to stop cooking.
3) To make the dressing, place 2 ounces of the cooked potatoes (60 g) into a small food processor or mini blender. Add basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoon water. Process until creamy, scraping down sides and adding more water if necessary. Drain the green beans and add them to the potatoes in a large serving bowl. Gently fold in the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, to allow flavors to blend
4) Before serving, add the sliced red bell pepper. If you like, you can roast the strips of pepper briefly under a broiler to soften and sweeten their flavor. Taste for seasoning and add additional fresh lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground pepper as needed.
This Week's Harvest
Maxixe - "Bush Cucumber"
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).