Monday, October 25, 2010
To me, the escarole is the most exciting addition to the share this week. If you haven't had it before, it looks like lettuce, but it's a little different, heartier and better in the cold. Escarole is one of several chicories we grow. They're commonly thought of as bitter, and they can be very bitter when grown in the spring and summer, but the cool of fall and winter tends to make them sweeter and more tender, which is why we grow them only in those seasons. There are two things you can do to reduce any bitterness, one is to soak the cut pieces of the leaves in ice cold water for 15-45 minutes before eating, the other is to cook it, which also takes away bitterness. Escarole is a little tougher than lettuce so it's good to cut it in smaller pieces if you're using it raw. My favorite salad with escarole is just slicing it very thinly across the grain, soaking it for 5 minutes or so before spinning it dry and then tossing with olive oil, coarse salt and a little lemon. I also like it in bigger pieces, wilted in a hearty soup soup or stew.
There are a few other items in the share as well: beets with their tops, a few more peppers which are still green, a small bunch of parsley, and a bit of purple peacock broccoli, which is pretty exciting itself. The purple peacock is an odd sort of broccoli, not uniform and green like the type you see in the store, but multi colored, sized and shaped, with tasty leaves as well.
Today was a clean up day on the farm, we got all of the drip tape out of the field, all of the bamboo stakes out, and cleaned up all of the cell trays still leftover from the starts we planted out late in the summer. The rain is good for something, keeps us from working the soil and gives us a little time for the other projects...