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CSA Box Week 15: Tips, Tricks and Ideas

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!