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Posted 9/25/2018 4:03am by Jenna Untiedt.

Summer yesterday, fall today. Hopefully we are done with the drastic temperature swings, and can finally enjoy the fall temperatures. In my mind, there is nothing better than being able to spend some time in the kitchen on the weekend cooking or baking, all while having the patio door or windows open allowing the crisp fall air into cool down the house. The share this week really dives into the offerings of fall and will have you wishing it lasted just a bit longer.

I had the chance to visit with many CSA members last week at an event and the most requested support was what to do with squash. How to cook it, how to store it, and what to do with it other than bake it. I will dive into some squash tips here this week that will hopefully help you through your share. Just remember, Google is your friend and can always provide a million ways to cook or store your vegetables.

Before getting into what to do with the share this week, let’s get the basics of squash down.

  • Storage: Store on your counter, out of direct light, or in someplace cool. Do not store in the refrigerator. It should last up to a month or longer if stored in a cool, dry location.
  • Cooking: There are so many ways! First off, make sure to wipe down the squash before you go to cook it.
    • You can bake it. Simply cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, lay face down on a cookie sheet at bake at 350 degrees until soft. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half for a larger squash. There are certain varieties that are difficult to cut, like the spaghetti squash, so you can poke with a fork like you would a potato and bake whole until the skin bounces back when touched. Let the squash cool a bit before going to cut it, as the inside holds lots of heat when you cook it this way. Instant pot! Yes, you can cook a whole squash in the Instant Pot. I like to put about a cup and a half of water in the bottom of the pot, poke plenty of holes in the squash, and cook under high pressure for anywhere from 12-18 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Again, be careful when you go to cut the squash in half when done.
  • How to eat it: Once the squash is cooked there are so many uses. Mashed up, make a soup, cut into slices and add some fall spices. The ideas are endless!
  • Can you freeze squash?: Yes, yes you can and it is super easy. Just bake the squash as normal, let cook and then place in a freezer approved container or bag. When you go to use it again, just remove from bag or container, heat up and there you have it. Freezing squash is a pretty easy project that you won’t regret come mid-February.

I hope those squash tips help you all out a bit. Let’s get down to the rest of the share this week:  

Buttercup Squash: Honestly, I have never been a fan of buttercup squash. I remember eating it for dinners as a child and it was dry and blah. I don’t know if it was a bad memory, or if this variety is much superior to the squash I remember, but the squash I had for dinner last night was outstanding. I made a buttercup and sausage soup that was outstanding. The recipe will be at the bottom of this blog. Whether you turn it into soup, eat it mashed, or find another way to use it, there is a great deal of flavor and nutrients packed into the squash.

White Acorn: Makes a great side dish to any meal. Baked acorn squash is one of my favorites. This type is very mild and can be enjoyed with any meal. Give it a try!

Spaghetti Squash: This makes a great pasta substitute. I am terrified of cutting spaghetti squash because I always feel like I am going to cut off a finger, so I cooked mine in my Instant Pot last week….definitely a game changer. It was awesome. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, just pierce the skin and cook it whole in the oven until soft and you can then cut in half. Treat this just like spaghetti noodles and top with a great dose of marinara sauce, or get creative and make a fun hot dish with it.

Sweet Potatoes: I went on a field trip with Farmer Jerry a couple of weeks ago to check the sweet potatoes in the field. Let me tell you that it is a full body workout to dig sweet potatoes. It is A LOT of work! You have to cut the vines, pull back the mulch, then dig really deep to find the potatoes….most of this by hand because you don’t want to cut the potatoes in half with a shovel. Ughh…to all of our potato diggers, thank you! Anyways, these are absolutely fantastic roasted, baked, or boiled. My favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes is to dice into chunks and roast in the oven with a bit of coconut oil or alongside some chicken thighs.

Radishes: A flashback to summer, but truly a fall variety. A great snack on the go, or maybe a batch of radish butter might be in the works. Store in cold water in the fridge to give them some extra life!

SweeTango Apples: These are my absolute favorite apple. Give me these over a Honeycrisp any day of the week. They are superb for baking or eating. As the CSA season comes to an end over the next few weeks, please remember to look for MN apples well into the fall and winter. There will always be MN apple varieties such as SweeTango and Honeycrisp apples shipped in from Washington, but the ones from MN have a much better flavor as the apples were originally bread here and were designed to be produced in MN. Just food for thought.

Baby Bok Choy: Roasted or stir fry are great options for the baby bok choy this week. This has truly become a favorite this summer and hope that you are enjoying it as well.

Romaine and Red Leaf Lettuce: OMG….real lettuce again! The flavor is fantastic and it is just so superior to store bought lettuce. Give it a good wash as the bottom of the leaves do have a bit of sand from the extreme rain we had last week. The romaine makes a wonderful wrap for burgers or sandwiches, while the red leaf is fantastic in salads. So many options, definitely enjoy!

Onions: These can now be stored on your counter as they have been seasoned for a few weeks. These are great to add to soups or sauté up for a side of onions for your burgers or sandwiches.

Grape Tomatoes: The best finger food out there. Store on your counter and not in the refrigerator. Wonderful addition to tacos, pasta toppings, or salads. Enjoy this flavor as long as you can!  

There you have it, week 15 in a nutshell. Two more weeks remain of the 2018 CSA season. The share boxes are likely to be heavy from here on out as they will be filled with squash varieties, apples, and other heartier vegetables. We will be doing an end of the season survey in the coming weeks along with opening 2019 registration. Keep you eyes open for future emails with this information.

Until Next Week- Jenna

 

Buttercup Squash and Sausage Soup

1 buttercup squash

1 can coconut milk

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 diced onion

2 cloves garlic minced

1 lb spicy italian sausage

2 tbsp coconut oil

  1. Bake Squash until soft.
  2. While squash is baking, saute onion and garlic until soft in coconut oil. Add sausage and brown while breaking apart with a spatula. Once cooked, set aside.
  3. When squash is cooked, scoop into a blender and add 1 can coconut milk. Mix until smooth. 
  4. Add squash mixture into soup pan and whisk in chicken broth and water. Once mixed together, add in sausage and onion mix. 
  5. Enjoy!
Posted 9/18/2018 3:47am by Jenna Untiedt.

With cooler temperatures, the desire to cook is on the rise. The thought of spending a few hours in the kitchen is now a welcome thought instead of a dreaded one. As I write this at 3 in the morning, the rain is lightly falling and the temperatures have fallen into the low 60s. It truly was perfect sleeping weather when my alarm went off at 2:15am.

The share this week truly brings us into the Fall season. The smells of baking squash, warm soup, or fresh cut apples await you. The wonderful things about fall shares, is the ability to store many of the contents for future use or use the produce right away. Squash has a long shelf life if stored in a cool place, not your refrigerator, but a drawer out of direct sunlight or in the basement. It is also extremely easy to freeze. Simply cook, cool, and put in a freezer safe container.

Anyways, let’s get down to business and see what’s in the box this week:  

Acorn Squash: The green variety in your share this week is acorn. Growing up, this was a staple in the Untiedt household. We all actually had our favorite varieties, so often times we had several varieties on the table each night, but this was a common one. Squash instantly adds fall flavor to any meal. Give it a try!

Butternut squash: A sweet, very popular variety is also here for your enjoyment. You can enjoy this variety baked and roasted in the oven, sautéed or roasted with a variety of spices, or you can add in place of sweet potatoes to many recipes. The uses for butternut squash are truly endless.  

Honeycrisp Apples: These are truly enjoyed by just slicing and eating. These posses the crisp bite that reminds everyone of Fall. They are sweet and make a great afternoon snack. Yes, they can also be used in baking, but I would recommend these as more of an eating apple.  

Sweet Corn: Possible the last of the sweet corn until the 2019 season. While you may have had your fill, enjoy these last few ears whether it is boiled, roasted on the grill, or added to soup, the flavor is unlike anything you will get at the store during the winter. I plan on cutting mine off the cob and adding it to my Potato, Leek, and Cauliflower Soup I will make this week.  

Potatoes: These are amazing. Each potato picked off the ground by hand, they are a labor of love. You can split this serving of potatoes into two, and make a wonderful batch of Potato, Leek, and Cauliflower Soup, or use the entire batch and make just Potato and Leek Soup. I will include the recipe at the end of the blog. If soup isn’t your thing, try roasting these. They have great flavor and will last a few weeks in your fridge if you can’t get to them right away.

Leeks: The long green things in your share. Similar to an onion, but much more mild. Make sure to wash well, especially between the leaves where the sand and dirt can creep in on windy days. Sauteed and added to soup or added to a stir fry, these will leave you very satisfied.

Cauliflower: While not as bright white as we may be used to, definite still full of flavor. Roasted, added to soup, mashed as faux potatoes, or cut into florets for an afternoon snack, there are many uses for this vegetable. Please look past the few spots that may have occurred due to the hot temps we had this past weekend, it is still 100% edible.

Fennel: This will fill your house with true fall aroma when you cook with it. Do yourself a favor and pick up a pork tenderloin or some pork chops that you can bake and add the fennel to the baking dish. It is a great compliment to any pork dish and really makes you feel like fall is here to stay.

Tomatoes: Some red slicing tomatoes and an heirloom to make you feel like summer is still here. Added to salads, sandwiches, or just plain these are still full of flavor and can bring you back to warm summer days. Remember, if you can’t get to all your tomatoes, just chop them up and put them in a freezer container. You can add frozen tomatoes to any soup or chili throughout the winter for an added punch of flavor.

There you have it, week 14 is in the books. I highly recommend giving my Potato, Leek, and Cauliflower soup a try. I am including the traditional Potato and Leek Soup recipe I usually make in the newsletter, but my parents are giving the Whole 30 a try, so I had to make a compliant soup for them last night. This soup is super easy and delivers a great flavor.

Potato, Leek, Cauliflower Soup

1 head cauliflower. Cut into florets

1lb red potatoes, wash and cut into large chunks

2 leeks, sliced thinly

1 cup coconut milk (from the can), or 1 cup Heavy Cream

4 cups Chicken Broth

Salt and Pepper

2 tbsp ghee or butter  

Step 1: Steam Cauliflower until soft. Boil Potatoes until tender.

Step 2: While potatoes are boiling and cauliflower is steaming, saute leeks in ghee or butter until translucent or soft.

Step 3: Once cauliflower and potatoes are cooked until tender, add to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth while adding leeks.

Step 4: Add 1 cup coconut milk or heavy cream while blending. If there is room in the food processor, begin to add in the chicken broth as well. If there is not room, no worries, pour the contents from the food processor back into a stock pot and add broth while whisking together.

Step 5: Heat for about 10 minutes and enjoy! There you have it, an easy soup to warm you up on a cool night.  

Until next week,  

Jenna

Posted 9/11/2018 4:13am by Jenna Untiedt.

A healthy dose of fall was has this past week, but now we are welcoming summer back with open arms. It is a funny time of year where we wish for the cool nights of fall, but aren’t ready to let go of the flip flops and warm days of summer. My favorite thing about this time of the year is the ability to get back into the kitchen a bit more. With cooler temps, I don’t feel as bad warming my house up by cooking. Although Sundays have always been my meal prep days for the week, they are now turned into day long adventures with football on in the background, truly a sign of fall.  

Let’s get down to the share this week:  

Sweet Corn: A great white variety with tons of flavor. Please note as Farmer Jerry said in his newsletter that there may be some worms in the tips of the corn. Just take a paring knife and slice off the end. The corn is still 100% edible and delicious. Boiled, roasted, raw, anyway you like to eat sweet corn, this variety will not disappoint. Lately, I have been a huge fan of slicing it off the cob when I get it home, sautéing it a bit, and then storing it in the fridge until I can add it to another dish like my eggs in the morning or a quick stir fry for dinner.  

Zestar! Apples: A nice big bag of apples for snacks or baking. I think a nice batch of apple crisp or an apple pie might be in my future this week. While I love eating these apples plain or with a touch of peanut butter, maybe a homemade dessert is in store this week instead.  

Bok Choy: The easiest side dish to whip up on a busy night to ensure you are getting your green vegetables. Simply add to a frying pan with a bit of garlic and olive oil and cook down. Top with some coconut aminos or soy sauce and you have a wonderful side dish. If you aren’t a huge fan of Bok Choy, try adding it to a soup!

Cauliflower: Please remember that if your cauliflower has little spots on it, it is not mold, but rather from the heat or oxidation after the heads have been cut from the stalk. They are 100% edible. I don’t even bother to slice off the spots, but rather just slice the cauliflower and roast away.

Romano Beans: I made a batch last night. They are simply wonderful. Sauté your shallots in some butter or ghee until crispy and then add the beans. Cover so the beans can steam a bit and there you have it, a wonderful dinner in itself. I did a little experiment a few weeks back and my Romano Beans kept for almost 3 weeks in my fridge. I simply washed and then put in a Ziplock bag with a wet paper towel. I will say the beans did dry out a bit, but they definitely did not mold and I was able to cook them up. Why did I wait 3 weeks? Well, I didn’t mean to, but sometimes I lose food in my refrigerator.

Heirloom Tomatoes: A great reminder of the hot days of summer. These are great on their own or with a dash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of salt and pepper. Try adding these to your BLTs and notice the flavor difference. Heirlooms are much softer than a traditional tomato, so please know they are not over ripe, it is just the characteristic of the tomato.  

Broccoli: A small sampling as the heat shrunk the heads, but a great treat none the less. Try roasting with the cauliflower and enjoying as a side to the rest of your dinner meal. Store in your refrigerator until use. Also note that broccoli is pretty forgiving in the fact that it can get fairly soft in your fridge, but definitely cooks up very nicely. Don’t let it go to waste!  

There you have it, another week in the books. 4 weeks to go following today, but plenty of things to come like sweet potatoes, squash, brussels sprouts, and more. We are switching to fall mode on the farm which means we no longer have a parking lot as it has turned into a holding spot for bins of pumpkins that are waiting to get shipped out. Our apple harvesters continue to harvest apples, squash is being picked daily, all in addition to the summer vegetables you have come to love in your shares. Enjoy this time of year and all the freshness that is available, because it only lasts for a small amount of time.  

Have a great week!   

Posted 9/4/2018 4:34am by Jenna Untiedt.

Welcome to September! Happy 1st day of school for many! Whether you have kids in school or not, fall seems to represent a time for change and new beginnings. It’s that time of year where we can regroup after a crazy summer of weekends away, late nights, and adventures that we still long for, but realize that we need to refocus our energy. I love fall. Not only is the weather usually perfect, but it’s football season, crockpot season is upon us, and just everything about fall is great….except the season that follows, but I try not to think about that.

While there are still strong signs of summer in our CSA shares, signs of fall will begin to appear soon in the way of more apples, squash, and sweet potatoes. This share is packed mighty full. Just so you all know, I usually receive a group text from Farmer Jerry on Fridays with his ideas on what we can put in the share. First of all, I despise group texts. Secondly, this text has a lot of options, but what Jerry often forgets about is the size of the box. Others are included on this text such as Paul who oversees much the growing and Megan, who is my counterpart in the office. I received the text this past Saturday afternoon with a list of about 12 items. 12! I read through it and it sounded great, absolutely wonderful actually….but only if we sent everything out in 3+boxes to everyone. I kindly replied to the text and said the list looks great, but we have to remember we only have 1 box and the box is only so big. The response I always receive back is: “We will figure it out.” What that really means is that I will figure out what can ACTUALLY fit in the box on Monday morning.

This week’s share was tough. The cauliflower all ripened at one time, so we if we wanted to use it, both purple and cheddar needed to be included. Then it is a geometry lesson in order to include as much as we can in the remaining space of the box. We sit and arrange and rearrange the box several times in order to get as much as we can for you. There are arguments on what should be included or not included. You see, Farmer Jerry plants items for specific weeks, but this season those plans have all gone out the window because of the warmer than normal temperatures and crops ripening sooner. So, each Monday morning we sit in the office, bicker back and forth and hopefully come up with the best share we can for you all.

Let’s break it down for this week:

Purple and Cheddar Cauliflower: Vikings colors for you all this week. You can eat this raw, roasted, or turn it into soup. What a fun way to encourage your kids to try a new vegetable. The purple does hold its color while you roast it, along with the cheddar color. I am going to be adventurous and try making the purple into soup. I can’t guarantee what color it is going to end up, but in my mind a purple soup might be kind of fun. To get the most life out of the cauliflower, slice it into florets and store in a ziploc bag in your fridge.  

Zucchini: Zoodles, chips, bread, the opportunities are endless. Enjoy zucchini while you can, as the season is almost over and the return of store bought zucchini makes me very sad.  

Grape Tomatoes: Add to stir fry, pack for an afternoon snack, or use on top of your weekly salads. They have such a wonderful, sweet flavor that will be missed in the winter months.  

SweeTango Apples: Store in the fridge and enjoy for an afternoon snack. They are hard, crisp, and so so sweet. I love these in the afternoon with a bit of peanut butter….give it a try!  

Jicama: Don’t let the cracks fool you, they are still 100% edible. These have been growing since February. February! Peel and cut into matchstick slices. They are great as snacks, added to stir fry, or as an addition to any salad. These are not traditionally able to be grown in MN, but we have been able to make it work and this year’s crop was great.  

Shockwave Melon: A bit firmer than your typical cantaloupe, but wonderful flavor nonetheless. I like to slice mine up right away and stick it in the fridge for an easy addition to breakfast or a quick afternoon snack. Drizzle a bit of lime juice and a dash of salt and you have yourself a fantastic dessert option as well.  

Mini Bell Peppers: An assortment of colors to be added to a weekly stir fry, used on top of salads, or just eaten plain. They are so sweet and crunchy, they truly make a wonderful snack.  

Tomatoes: Red slicing tomatoes for that final burger of the summer, or that sandwich that needs a little something extra to make it more enjoyable. If you can’t get to all your tomatoes, just slice them up and put them in a freezer bag or container in the freezer. You can easily add tomatoes to soups and stews in the winter, and these add a great pop of flavor.  

There you have it, Week 12 of the CSA program. 5 weeks remain and you are in for some of the best things of the season. Enjoy the first week of September, and hopefully you all are able to find some time to enjoy the bounty that you are receiving this week. Enjoy! 

 

Posted 8/28/2018 3:18am by Jenna Untiedt.

Here we are, the last week of August, enjoying every last ounce of summer that we can. I fit my quick trip to the State Fair in on Friday evening, a quick trip to a lake is planned for Saturday, and then in my book Fall starts on Monday. Well, not really in my book, but in my work life we start adding Fall Items to our order sheets. Orders for squash and pumpkins are already being placed for delivery after Labor Day, plans to start harvesting squash and pumpkins are being made, and the there are a couple cool days in the forecast. I’m not jumping into Fall too quickly as I am trying to hang on to every last ounce of summer that is possible.  

The one good thing that comes with a few of the cooler days this week is the ambition to cook a bit more. I am terrible at spending time in the kitchen when it’t hot outside, but when the temps are more friendly, I love spending time in the kitchen each evening or for a couple hours on the weekend. The share is week is great for quick eats or even some more time intensive options. Here are a few things I plan to do with the share this week along with a few storage tips as well:  

Sweet Corn: If you do not plan on eating the corn right away, keep it in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer for a  couple days. If you know you can’t get to it, simply cut it off the cob and put it in a freezer back for use in soups or stews this winter. It is really that simple! I plan on making a Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder that I will eat a bit of right away and then freeze in individual portions to enjoy for grab and go lunches or later in the winter.  

Cabbage: This will store in your refrigerator for literally months. Keep it in the crisper drawer if you don’t plan on using it right away. Deconstructed egg rolls are on my menu for this week. A dinner that takes less than 30 minutes and is great for leftovers as it makes quite a bit. Find the recipe in your weekly newsletter from Farmer Jerry under the title Egg Roll in a Bowl..  

Sweet Italian Peppers: These make great snacks or additions to salads. If you want a fun side dish for dinner, slice the long way, stuff with ricotta cheese and bake until soft. They make an excellent treat! Store these in your refrigerator, or if you can’t get to them just slice them up and place them in a freezer bag for stir fry additions later on.  

Kale: It’s the perfect time for sautéed kale or kale chips. Either option is great and super easy. Salads or adding kale to soups which can be frozen and heated up later are other great options. Store in your fridge and  this will last for up to 2 weeks. You may see it wilt, but just run under ice cold water and it will come right back to life.  

Potatoes: Store these in your refrigerator. They will last for upwards of two months if you can’t get to them right away. Mine will be turned into Corn and Potato Chowder this week though. Sometimes a nice soup in the middle of summer is actually a treat.  

Honeydew Melon: I would leave this on your counter for a day before cutting it. Once cut, store in the fridge. Drizzle it with a bit of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of sea salt for an extra tasty treat.  

Sugar Cube Melon: Since I do not have to share my melon, I like to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill one side with cottage cheese. It makes a great morning snack, and leaves me one more for the next day. Smell the end where it was picked to make sure it smells sweet before cutting. Once sweet smelling, store in the refrigerator to get extra life out of the melon.  

Green Beans and Yellow Wax Beans: Sautéed with the enclosed shallot is a great way to enjoy these. Make sure store these right away when you get home. One great way to get extra life out of the beans is so wash an prepare them for use right away. If you can’t get to using them in the first day or two, wash, cut the ends off and wrap tight in a Zip Lock bag. This should help keep them fresh for a couple more days.  

Slicing Tomatoes: BLTs are a must. A weekly staple in my household and likely served alongside the Corn and Potato Chowder this week. Store these on your countertop and never in the refrigerator.  

Chestnut Crab Apples: A perfect mid-day snack! Keep in the fridge, preferable in the crisper drawer. My favorite way to make sure I enjoy them all before they go bad is to wash them right away, and then put a couple in my lunch bag for each day of the week.

Zestar! Apples: Try adding one to a kale salad, they are sweet and add an extra pop of flavor. Otherwise simply wash and enjoy. They are truly a great first of the season apple in Minnesota.  

There you have it. Hopefully some helpful hints and tricks to get through your share this week. I hope everyone has a fantastic Labor Day weekend!  

-Jenna

Posted 8/21/2018 4:25am by Jenna Untiedt.

So, I wanted to give canning a try. Growing up, my mom never did much canning because she was always busy helping out in different ways on the farm. It wasn’t until we started the CSA that she began making raspberry jam. My grandma or another family friend would always can tomatoes for our family each year. We would give them the tomatoes and in return, we would receive jars of tomato juice and sauce. It was actually kind of magical that way. Sometimes things would just appear on our doorstep.  

I’m not sure what got into me, but I decided I needed to try my hand at canning tomatoes. As I dug into researching how I was going to go about this, I realized I didn’t have all the necessary items and I definitely did not want to add more accessories to my already crowded kitchen. But, I do have an Instant Pot that I am slightly obsessed with so I decided to see if I could can tomatoes that way. The verdict is: Yes! You can use your Instant Pot to make tomato sauce.  

The whole thing about boiling jars to seal them freaks me out, which is why I went with my Instant Pot process of making tomato sauce. Instead of preserving the sauce in jars, I made 2 cup portions in freezer bags and just stuck them in the freezer for later use. Overall, the process was extremely easy, but a bit time consuming.  

 

What was my process?  

1.     Set up your kitchen for a day of cooking. You will need: cutting board, knife, Instant Pot, Freezer Bags, measuring cups, spatula, large mixing bowl, immersion blender (or blender), and two sauce pots for the stove.

Ingredients: 1 box canning tomatoes (1/2 bushel), 6 onions, a dash of olive oil for the onions each time you saute them. 

2.     Now, I like to add a bit more flavor to my tomato sauce, so I added two onions to each batch of tomatoes in the Instant Pot.

3.     For 1 box of canning tomatoes (1/2 bushel), I  made three batches in the Instant Pot so 6 onions were used in total. Prep all 6 onions by slicing them and placing the first two in the Instant Pot on Saute.

4.     While the onions are sautéing, you can begin washing and cutting all the tomatoes. Now, cut the tomato in half, cut the little cortex out and then cut in half again. If there are any spots, you can cut those out as well.

5.     Once your tomatoes are all sliced, the onions should be semi soft, they don’t need to be cooked all the way. Pour a few tomatoes on top of the onions, mix together and then continue filling the Instant Pot with your large chunks of tomatoes. I filled mine all the way to the top. Do not add any water. The tomatoes release enough water throughout the cooking process.

6.     Put the top on and set your Instant Pot to Manual at 23 minutes. Now, walk away. Let the Instant Pot do its thing.

 

7.     When the timer goes off, you can choose to let it release Naturally or Rapid Release. I am impatient, so I chose Rapid Release. Once the top is off, take the Immersion Blender (or transfer to a blender), and blend until smooth.

8.     Once smooth, transfer to a pot on the stove and simmer until you reach your desired thickness. I did each batch for about 2 -2 ½ hours. Stirring occasionally.

9.     Continue with the Instant Pot for the remaining batches and repeat the blending and transfer to stove.

10.  Once the sauce is at your desired thickness, remove from heat and let cool. I let mine cool naturally, but sticking the sauce in the fridge helps speed up the process.

11.  Once cool, portion out into freezer bags and put into the freezer. The 1/2 bushel of tomatoes made (15) 2 cup portions.

12.  There you have it, you preserved tomatoes! Good work.  

While it seems like a lot of work and takes some time, I definitely would do it again. It was not a project that required me to be in the kitchen all day, but one that required me to be home most of the day to check on the simmering pots. For perspective, I started at 8am and was done with all the cooking by Noon. Yes, I left the pots on the stove until about 3pm at an extremely low simmer, but I was busy doing other things throughout the house.  

One thing to note is that I did not season the sauce at all. You can definitely add salt and pepper, garlic, basil, or any other seasoning. I wasn't really sure what I was doing or what I would be doing with the sauce, so I left mine plain and will season when I thaw and use this winter. 

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, definitely let me know! By no means am I an expert, but this seemed to work out pretty well. A great use for my Instant Pot that hasn’t seen a lot of use this summer.

Posted 8/21/2018 3:58am by Jenna Untiedt.

If you are like me, you are trying to fit every summer activity into the last few weeks of guaranteed summer. Cabin trips, trips to the pool, ice cream shop visits, walks around the lake, anything and everything outside. Let’s be reasonable though, it isn’t all going to happen. I am not going to make it to the cabin, but maybe I can squeeze in one or two more trips to the pool, and early morning lake walks are likely to happen. As I write this, I think to myself, what happened to summer? How did it go so fast? What did I do with my time? I don’t know if I can answer all those, but I do know that I will make the best of what is yet to come.

These last few weeks of August bring the Minnesota State Fair, Canning Season, and Back to School preparation. While my back to school days are over, there is something about back to school season that is just a good reset or recharge for me, and hopefully you too! Alright, let’s get into the share this week:

Sweet Corn: If you are tired of eating corn on the cob, try something new like grilling you corn or cutting it off the cob and sautéing it in a pan to add to the top of a salad, fresh salsas, or even a side dish. You can even try corn cakes. Don’t fall into the same old routine, spice it up a bit and try something new! I have been cutting the corn off the cob, sautéing it with onions and peppers, and making taco bowls regularly lately. The best part? I can do all of that in about 20 minutes and have meals for several days….that’s the best kind of cooking in my house.

Roma Tomatoes: The perfect tomato for tacos, fresh salsa, or a small batch of sauce. Please don’t store in the refrigerator! Store on your counter-top and use throughout the week. They have great flavor and you won’t be disappointed.

Onions: I had an abundance of onions from the last couple weeks, but this past weekend I sliced and prepped them for the week. I cooked two of them for taco bowls, but the rest are in a bag ready to go when I need them. I find that if the produce is cut and prepped, I am much more likely to eat it! Give it a try, take 20 minutes and prep your produce tonight and it will make your week much easier.

Jalapenos: Great when added to salsa, to the braised chicken recipe included in the newsletter or made into poppers. Don’t be afraid of the heat, they haven’t been outrageously spicy, just a nice added kick.

Tomatillos: Give tomatillos a try. Salsa verde, baked with chicken, or a myriad of other ways. If you are lost with this unique vegetable try googling it- you will come up with a million different ways to enjoy the tomatillos.

Cucumbers: Sliced and enjoyed with hummus, added to cocktails, or mixed into salsa recipes these are great to enjoy for any snack or meal. Make sure to give them a wash before enjoying as we didn’t get to washing them all and they may have a little dust on from their post harvest trip from the field to the farm to be packed.

Eggplant: Now, if we were an absolutely true CSA, you might end up with a full box of eggplant for several weeks because we have never seen anything like the plants we have this year. We have more eggplant than all of you would know what to do with. We planted the same amount as in years past, but this year the yield is astronomical. SO MUCH EGGPLANT! Anyways, be happy that you are just receiving two pieces instead of an entire box. Give Eggplant Roll Ups a try, they are delicious and you may even be able to trick your kids into eating another vegetable as they really appear just like manicotti.

Mini Bell Peppers: If these make it past your ride home, add them to salads, tacos, or an afternoon snack. They are sweet and crisp and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!  

Potatoes: Baked, fried, mashed, grilled, the opportunities are endless. Try a new potato salad recipe or try making a quiche with a potato crust. So many different ways to enjoy these this week.  

Garlic: Roast it and add it to your potatoes or to any salsa you might try to make this week. It takes very little time and the results are definitely worth it.  

Apples: Zestars! are here. Enjoy Minnesota apple season as long as you can, because it definitely doesn’t last long enough. Zestars! are perfect for eating alone or baking with. Normally, I would say try making an apple crisp, but that is just too fall sounding to me, so Im not sure I can recommend that yet.  

There you have it, the contents of week 10. A nice variety of produce that hopefully you can spice up your weekly meals! Make sure you get your canning tomato orders in this week if you are interested in canning! If you have never canned before, stay tuned to the next blog post where I will share my experience with canning tomatoes this past weekend. If I can do it, you definitely can. You will find your order form in an email from me last week or the link is included in the weekly newsletter today as well.   Have a great week!

-Jenna

Posted 8/14/2018 4:13am by Jenna Untiedt.

Summer is here in full swing and the thought of fall is right around the corner. Days are full as we all are trying to fit in every last summer activity before school starts back up or the fall temperatures begin to arrive. Trips to the cabin, days on the lake, afternoons at the pool, bbqs with family and friends are all starting to fill our last days of August. It is a little scary to think that the MN State Fair starts next week. Where did summer go? Even with the thought of Fall right around the corner, there is plenty of summer left in terms of vegetables. Let’s break down what is in the share this week and what you can do with it all:  

Sweet Corn: Absolutely fantastic flavor. What is summer without sweet corn for dinner at least once a week for dinner? Or more like 3 or 4 nights a week in the Untiedt household. Even if you can’t get to eating all the corn each week, you can cook it, cut it off the cob and freeze it for use in the winter. Frozen corn is great to add to soups, stews, or stir frys in the dead of the winter when sweet corn is nonexistent.

Baby Bok Choy: A new vegetable for many of you, but don’t be afraid. Bok choy is a very tender green that has an extremely mild flavor. I enjoyed the bok choy in a stir fry with mushrooms last night for dinner and it was delicious. Simply wash well, cut the end off about an inch up from the bottom and break away all the leaves. Sautee mushrooms in a pan with some sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Once the mushrooms are soft, add the bok choy leaves along with a tbsp or two of soy sauce and cook until leaves are wilted an soft- about 4 minutes. Great side dish to any meal!

Romano Beans: I don’t like to share these beans when I make them. I prefer to eat them as a meal by themselves and maybe save some for lunch the next day. Whether boiled or sautéed, these have fantastic flavor. Add the shallots and garlic in and you have a restaurant level side dish.

Watermelon: As always, we cannot see inside the melon. If we could, it would be absolutely AMAZING, but we can’t. If it is less than satisfactory, let me know and we will definitely get it replaced next week. Slice in half and eat directly from the shell, or slice into pieces and enjoy throughout the week. These definitely do not last long in my household.

Grape Tomatoes: The ultimate grab and go snack, salad topper, or salad ingredient of their own. If you find yourself backed up on tomatoes from your share or garden, simply throw them in a pot and cook them down to sauce for use later in the season. A little work now goes a long, long ways. Yes, grape tomatoes work as well for sauce making!

Slicing Tomatoes: The weekly BLT sandwich is happening for sure at my house. These past few weeks have been a bit crazy, so I do have a couple of soft tomatoes on my counter-definitely not bad, but not ideal of sandwiches. I will dice them up, throw them in a pot and cook down into a reduced sauce and put into a container for use in chili or hot dishes this winter. A tip: Premeasure how much is in each container you do! It makes it WAY easier come time to use the freezer items.

Zucchini: I made a SUPER easy Unstuffed Pepper hot dish last night that will last my parents all week. The recipe only called for green peppers and onions, but I snuck in both zucchini from the share as well-a great way to get extra vegetables. If hot dish isn’t your jam, try making some zucchini noodles or just slicing the zucchini in half and grilling them. Peppers: So many uses, but one way to use both in one setting is to make the Unstuffed Pepper Recipe I made last night. It is versatile and super easy! Find the recipe here: https://www.rachelcooks.com/2015/11/02/healthy-stuffed-pepper-casserole/   You can even add zucchini and fresh chunks of tomato to make the recipe even better! Give it a try and let us know what you think.  

Onions: Well, the yellow onion can be put into the pepper hot dish! Otherwise, the perfect burger topper or addition to any stir fry for the week. As for the red onion, I am going to try and pickle mine. I follow a ton of food and wellness bloggers on Instagram and pickled red onions are the new thing they are all trying. So, I’m going to try as well so I can enjoy later in the week with my roasted beets!

Beets: Red and Golden for your enjoyment. They may be a bit soft due to the heat, but they are 100% edible and perfectly fine. Personally, I think that roasting them is the way to go. You can then eat them plain or add to a salad. A great grab and go snack for me.  

Strawberries: I am not sure I need to give you ideas on what to do with these as they are usually gone within minutes of getting home. I do recommend eating them within the first 24 hours as they don’t have great shelf life. Enjoy MN berries while you can!  

There you go, week number 9. We are over half way through the season, but honestly, I think the best is yet to come. We are getting to the weeks of the season where there are true arguments in our office about what actually gets to go in the share. Sometimes the box is just too small, but we will make sure you all enjoy the bounty of MN produce that is yet to come.

As a shameless plug, today is Primary Day in Minnesota. Get out and vote! I work on a campaign in my ‘free’ time, so this political season has been interesting to watch unfold. No matter what your views are, it is extremely important to exercise our right to vote.

Have a great week and enjoy your share!

Posted 8/7/2018 4:10am by Jenna Untiedt.

Week 8 is here. Almost half way through the CSA season, but in a personal opinion, the best is yet to come. More variety, more items to choose from each week, and even more desire to enjoy fresh and local produce as we realize what seasons are just around the corner. August brings us the first of locally grown apples, the best sweet corn of the season, and typically more tomatoes than the average human knows what to do with. I have already had my first request for fall pricing guides and I can’t wrap my head around that quite yet. Before we know it, our parking lot will transformed into a holding ground for bins of pumpkins, squash, gourds and all things fall. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, let’s enjoy what is left of the great Minnesota summer!  

There is lots to do with the share this week, let’s break it down:  

Sweet Corn: I think a weekly staple in any house throughout the summer should be burgers and sweet corn. Back to bi-color this week, and you won’t be disappointed. Please remember, if you do not eat it right away, don’t husk it, keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. I never recommend keeping the corn more than 2-3 days, but that’s a strong personal preference. The fresher the better. If I have to recommend one thing to eat right away, it would always be the sweet corn.  

Romano Beans & Shallots: The best of the best. Yes, they do have a bit of sand and dirt on them, but a good rinse in the sink will get the grit off of the beans. A bit different than your typical green beans, but even more flavor. A special offering in our CSA, so enjoy them while they are here. My favorite way to enjoy these would be sauté all the shallots in a bit of butter until crisp and remove from the pan. Add the Romano beans and sauté  or steam until tender. Add the shallots back in for a few minutes and you have an outstanding side dish. I made these last night, and since the ‘rents are out of town for a couple days, I ate almost the entire batch. No shame, they are amazing and I didn’t make much else for dinner!  

Kale: Salads, smoothies, chips, stir fries, the opportunities are endless. If you really aren’t a fan of this great vegetable, I recommend slicing it up really finely and adding it to a pasta sauce. It is a great way to get in extra veggies without noticing much added flavor.  

Onions: A sautéed onion and kale would make a great side dish this week. Otherwise, these will keep for quite some time. If you don’t want the onion aroma taking over your fridge, toss in a bag and store in your crisper drawer, they will last for several weeks.  

Slicing Tomatoes: Perfect for sandwiches, burgers, or just plain. Let the tomatoes sit on your counter for a day or two until the are soft to the touch. We don’t like to send them too ripe, otherwise we get lots of complaints that they get bruised in transportation. Give the yellow, low acid tomatoes a try as well!  

Medley Grape Tomatoes: A fresh tomato salad is in order this week. Simple slice and toss with a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a dash of salt and pepper, add some fresh basil and mozzarella cheese and you have the perfect summer salad.

Green Peppers: The flavor and the aroma are outstanding. Stuffed peppers, afternoon snacks, the perfect burger topping….opportunities are endless.  

Cucumbers: Just a couple to enjoy throughout the week. Scroll to the bottom of the email for a special recipe including cucumbers, eggplant, medley tomatoes and kale…a dish you won’t want to miss out on this week!  

Potatoes: Simply the best. My favorite thing to do is to boil them all up right away. I may only eat a couple a night, but the fact they are cooked in the fridge and I can grab and go is great. Crispy smashed potatoes are probably my favorite and will likely be had for breakfast in a few hours after the shares get out this morning.  

Eggplant: Oh the poor vegetable that receives the absolute most criticism. I challenge you all to give this eggplant a try. An extremely mild flavor that can be enjoy in so many ways. I am enclosing a fairly straightforward, easy recipe to use up the eggplant in one meal. Personally, I found this Japanese eggplant to be much more tender than traditional eggplant and have a great flavor and texture. Step outside your comfort zone and give it a try this week.  

Chives: I’m not going to lie, I am not a good herb gardener. Perhaps it is because I never get them actually planted. I like to keep mine in the kitchen where they receive some natural light and use them for a few weeks and then toss. Chives are great to add to eggs, potatoes, meat, really anything. Even if your garden is full, you will definitely get a few uses out of the fresh ones and they will grow for a couple weeks in the small pot.  

Strawberries: Honestly, I think these are the best of the season. If they make it past the ride home for you, share with your family. Slice and serve over ice cream, top your yogurt with them, or just eat plain. These are truly and treat and absolutely delicious.  

There you have it, week number 8 is in the books. Lots of things you can do with the items this week, and these are just a few ideas. Challenge yourself to try a new recipe this week. While I didn’t make my normal Monday night spread, I did come up with a recipe for Eggplant so you all can easily enjoy it. Personally, I thought it was delicious and look forward to making it again later in the week.

  Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Crispy Kale Medley

-3 pieces of kale torn up into pieces, rubbed with olive oil

-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch pieces and quartered, tossed in olive oil

-1 cup plain Greek yogurt

-2 tsp minced garlic -3 tbsp lemon juice

-1 cup sliced medley tomatoes

-1 cucumber peeled and diced into small pieces -salt and pepper  

Roast eggplant at 425 degrees, tossing occasionally until a nice dark color and tender to the touch.  

When the eggplant is about done, add kale to the oven and roast until crispy. Make sure to keep tossing as it will easily burn.  

While the eggplant is roasting, mix the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper together. Spread the yogurt mixture into a light layer over a large dinner plate.  

Sprinkle the diced cucumbers over the yogurt. Followed by the roasted eggplant, medley tomatoes, and finally tuck the pieces of kale in the mixture. A light, summery side dish or main meal that is easy to make and definitely east to enjoy.  

Enjoy!

-Jenna

Posted 7/31/2018 4:05am by Jenna Untiedt.

Here we go, week 7. As I write this at 3:30 in the morning, I am holding my eyes open with toothpicks. My Monday night was thrown off by having to attend a gubernatorial forum. Doing my civic duty by educating myself is important, but not getting home until 10pm is pretty hard when the alarm goes off at 2:15am on CSA days. Anyways, here we are with a great share and I will soon have some coffee running through my veins  to help me make it through the day.  

I am not going to lie to you all, but I haven’t cooked anything from the box yet. Because of the forum last night, I wasn’t able to cook, but I look forward to cooking everything in the box this week with you all. As always, if you are feeling stumped and don’t know what to do with your share contents, simply google some recipes. Recipes don’t need to be fancy. Heck, 99% of the time recipes in my house are not fancy, but they even the most simple way of cooking these vegetables make delicious meals.  

Let’s take a look at the box:  

Sweet Corn: An all yellow variety that we only grow for you, our CSA members.  A delicious treat with burgers or brats on the grill this week. As always, please remember to store in the refrigerator, and if possible store no longer than 2 days. The fresher the better!  

Green Beans & Shallots: One of my absolute favorite meals, and yes, this the meal itself. Simply sautee the shallots in some butter and remove from pan when golden brown. Add the green beans to the pan and cook until tender, add shallots back in and there you have it. One of the most simple side-dishes or meals!  

Zucchini: Bread, muffins, stir fry, the opportunities are endless. I prefer to slice into about ¼ inch pieces, toss in some olive oil and fresh herbs and roast. Yum!  

Green Peppers: Take a moment and just smell the peppers, they smell amazing. Every time peppers are being washed at the farm, the aroma carries itself to our office. A strange smell you may think, but definitely one of summertime. Add these to anything you are cooking, they make a great flavor enhancer.  

Onions: You truly have everything you need right here for a great stir-fry. Onions, peppers, zucchini, carrots, beans….what more could you want or need? These are a mild onion, so they make a great addition to any meal.  

Jalapenos & Tomatillos: Great green salsa right here. Don’t let the tomatillos stress you out. They are super easy to cook, simply husk and boil. Toss into a blender along with the amount of spice you like from the jalapenos and there you have a green salsa.  

Carrots: These don’t last long in my house. I peel them as soon as I get them home and they are the perfect snack for anytime of day.  

Potatoes: I can’t wait to boil up a batch of these. Freshly dug, homegrown potatoes are one of the best things ever. Top with a bit of butter and fresh thyme and you have a complete meal. I see a lot of vegetarian meals in my future this week. Have leftover potatoes from the night before? Try warming them up a bit, smashing with a fork, and frying in a pan….crispy potatoes are great too!  

Watermelon: The one thing I have tried from the shares this week is the watermelon. We taste test so many melons to make sure that we are sending out good ones, and these definitely passed the test this week. Remember, we do not have x-ray vision and we never send a bad melon out on purpose. Should you receive a melon that is less than perfect, let us know and we will fix it.  

Strawberries: I'm not sure you need ideas for the berries, as they are likely to be gone before you even get home. If they make it past Tuesday night, you have great will-power!

There you have it, week number 7. Lots of great produce awaits you and your culinary skills this week. Enjoy! Now, I’m off to find some coffee.  

Until next week-  

Jenna