harvest 9 – August 14 & 16 – swiss chard

reminders:

  • We’ve got our frozen, pastured pork, select cuts for sale
  • We’ve got our bulk basil for sale
  • I need volunteer harvest help next week: Tuesday 21 & Thursday 23

Since about March, I’ve occasionally wondered if we need to flip the calendar forward a month. Sometimes seemed a different date might fit the weather outdoors better. (Other times it’s seemed a different state might fit the weather outdoors better!) It’s been interesting.

The Crop. Farm News, 1994. We could have dug the carrots a couple of weeks ago, but lured by the promise of increased size and sweetness (the starch-sugar conversion resulting from the colder temperatures), we opted to wait. Patience paid off beautifully this time.” (Source: Farmer John’s Cookbook. Angelic Organics.)

This week, especially, we’ve faced that balancing act, “Harvest now or later?” We’ve opted for later… Later for the beets, carrots, eggplant, peppers, salad mix (you’ve rec’d some of all, already). Some of these we’d like to size up, color up, ripen up. We’ve done some preliminary “thinning” of these crops (except salad mix). You’ve rec’d a few of this, few of that, some of this. We thin many of the plants down to fewer fruits/veggies, allowing the remaining to get more focused ripening.

It seems we’ve lost the incessant heat. Once it seemed predictable and reliable, it done changed on us! And we’ve now had runs of rain and overcast days. But, yet this season, never have the two met for long (good heat and good natural soil moisture).

So, we’ve kind of been “playing our cards”. Now, granted, there’s more than one way to play the same hand of cards. We’re doing what we can.

We are so on the cusp with tomatoes. We’d like the beets and carrots to size up (cooler temps will sweeten both too). We’ll skip one week of salad mix, as the new seedings size up. We do have head lettuce this week. We’ll keep on robbing green peppers, waiting for ripening. If the weather stays stalled, I’m anxious about jumping the gun and harvesting our future away though.     

 What we’d really like, of course, is, roughly what Farmer John said, Patience to pay off beautifully this time. Yes, this time, this time, this time….

in your crate – Harvest 9

swiss chard, banded

head lettuce

cabbage

yellow summer squash

cukes

basil

garlic

sunflowers or mixed flowers

“Chard: The common beetroot evolved from the leafy Swiss Chard. Chard is high in vitamins A, E, and C, and minerals like iron and calcium. Minerals are more readily absorbed from chard than they are from spinach, chard also contains no oxalic acid, and element present in spinach that tends to bind minerals and render them unavailable during digestion.

Chard: Cooking Tips:

  • wash leaves by swishing in water bath. soil and particles will float away.
  • if leaves are large and mature, remove stems to cook separately. Young, tender leaves can be cooked whole.
  • Chop leaves and stems diagonally across the leaf. Cut stems into 1 inch chunks and leaves into ribbonlike strips. Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes, leaves 4-6 minutes.
  • Raw baby chard leaves are wonderful in green salads. Many salad mixes include them.
  • Saute the leaves in garlic butter or with onion.
  • Include chard in stir-fries with different colored and textured veggies. Serve over rice or noodles.
  • For soups, add stem 10 minutes and leaves 4-5 minutes before soup is done.
  • Use swiss chard in any recipe calling for fresh spinach, like quiches, lasagna, omelets, etc.
  • Chard freezes well. Blanch chopped leaves for 3 minutes, rinse under cold water to stop cooking process, drain, squeeze lightly, and place in an airtight container such as a zip-lock freezer bag.”

(Source: From Asapragus to Zucchini. MACSAC.) 

recipe – Harvest 9

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts

The classic Mediterranean preparation of Swiss Chard is one of our favorite ways to enjoy greens. The chard’s silky, earthy flavor is nicely balanced in taste and texture with the pine nuts and raisins. This dish sits comfotably on the side of just about any entree. It makes a great bed for grilled meats, it’s wonderful stuffed in roasted portabella mushrooms, and it makes an outstanding pizza topping. It’s even been known to make its way inside a grilled cheese sandwich. You can make the same recipe with spinach.

serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 1/2 – 2 pounds swiss chard, rinsed, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt

freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in large skillet, med-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook 1 minute more.

2. Add chard in batches, adding more as each batch wilts (the only water you will need is the water clinging to the leaves from rinsing), and keep the pan covered between batches. When all the chard is added and the leaves are wilted, stir in ther raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

(Source: Farmer John’s Cookbook. Angelic Organics.)

 

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