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Tues 8.23.11 Farmshare CSA Newsletter

We are at the height of our summer season here at Applecrest! Our varieties of melons are bountiful and plump. We have the largest picking of peaches we have seen in a long time so get ready for peaches through the end of September. The beans are coming in strong. Sadly, summer squash and blueberries are slowly trickling out the end of their season so be sure to check out the Zucchini-Blueberry bread recipe at the bottom. We will be sharing recipes and tips for storing, canning, and preserving these summer fruits and vegetables so that you can still enjoy August in February. Don’t forget we have pick-your-own Blueberries, Peaches, and Raspberries every day from 8-6!

What’s in this Week’s Share:





Tri-Color Bean Mix

Swiss Chard

Salad Mix




Apples – Jersey Mac & Paula Red



Handling & Storing Tips:


If you want to keep peaches for longer, keep them in the refrigerator after they have begun to ripen (do not put under-ripe fruit in the fridge as it will dry out the flesh and turn mealy). If you’re looking to eat them sooner, leave them out at room temperature. If you want to eat it even sooner, place it in a brown paper bag with a banana (or any fruit that exudes ethylene) and it will expedite the ripening process.  Peaches and nectarines, like tomatoes, are climacteric, which means they will continue to ripen after they are picked. So, if you buy a peach or nectarine from the farmers market that is pretty hard, it is because the farmer knows that you might not eat it right away, so leave it on the counter and it will be excellent to eat in a couple days.

What’s the difference between a peach and a nectarine? Not too much.
Fact: peaches and nectarines are so closely related that sometimes a peach seed will germinate a nectarine tree and a nectarine seed with grow a peach tree! There is just one differentiating gene. Because peaches have hair on their surface, they are considered to be “pubescent” whereas nectarines have no fuzz, just a smooth surface. Although preferred by some, nectarines are firmer than peaches so they don’t have that melt-in-your-mouth effect and therefore don’t really fall apart messily all over your hand, half in your mouth like a ripe peach often does.

Medical: Lots of Vitamin A & C and potassium.

Cooking: When cooking peaches, peel the skin as they will easily peel away throughout the cooking process, however, nectarines do not need to be peeled. To easily peel a peach, put an X with a sharp knife at the bottom of the peach and pop in boiling water to blanch for a couple seconds and then quickly put into a bowl of ice water. The ice water will stop the peach from continuing to cook and the skin will easily peel away. If the fruit is incredibly ripe, blanching is probably not necessary.

If you are using cut fruit, sprinkle some sugar over it to stop it from browning as the exposure to air will cause enzymatic browning.



Look for eggplants that are heavy for their size with smooth and shiny skin without bruises or wrinkles. Eggplants should be firm – if you press gently on the skin, your thumb indentation should not remain. If the stem looks fresh it is also a good indication of a good eggplant. An alarming amount of varieties, eggplants actually come in a variety of shapes and colors ranging from short and round, long and thing, to bulbous. Don’t use eggplant that has bruised brown flesh.

Storing: Eggplants can be kept in a cool space or in the fridge for up to one week. They don’t particularly like cold temperatures – brown areas are signs of chilled damage. In the fridge, put them in a dry plastic bag with a paper towel to soak up any moisture. They also should be kept dry as they have thin skins. Cut eggplant should be used immediately.

Medical: Eggplant is rich in dietary fiber and potassium with a very low calorie count. It is high in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, particularly nasusin which protects the brain.

Fact: Eggplant, botanically a fruit, is also called Aubergine so if you’re looking through cookbooks, don’t forget to look through the A section if you don’t see eggplant under the E’s! Eggplant contains a toxic substance called solanine so always cook it!! do not eat it raw.

Cooking: Eggplants do not need to be peeled.  There seems to be some debating on bitterness and salting of eggplants. If frying, eggplant will soak up less oil, making it healthier, if you cut it into the desired slices and sprinkle with salt then sit in a colander to drain for up to an hour. Rub with lemon juice to prevent the flesh turning color from the air exposure. Rinsing it will then remove most of the salt. The salt, is not only known but not proven to reduce bitterness, but also causes the cell walls to collapse as it draws out the water and the oil easily soaks into the air pockets that make the flesh so spongey. Unsalted will keep the flesh a bit meatier, but they only need to be salted if frying the eggplant. Because eggplants soak up the oil, make sure that you use really good olive oil and they will be a great team!  Eggplant can be baked in the oven at 400F for 30-40 minutes, let cool then scoop out the flesh (Eggplant also can explode in the oven, so be sure to prick it with a sharp knife a couple times before!); sauteed in oil until hot, tender, and browned; grilled (brush the skin with oil so it doesn’t dry out) with other vegs in some tin foil or on kebab skewers.



Storing: Remove any smushed blueberries to prevent the other ones from rotting. Only wash the berries as you will eat them, as water moisture will promote a faster degradation. Blueberries can be frozen for 3-6 months without any loss to their antioxidant content. Wash and dry them first, then place on a cookie sheet to freeze individually before clumping them in a bag.

Medical: Eating raw blueberries off the most nutritional impact. They are known to improve memory. With a low Glycemic Index, blueberries are the perfect fruit for someone watching their blood sugar levels.

Fact: Blueberries are native to North America and are the most popular fruit in the US second only to strawberries.

Cooking: Frozen blueberries are a great snack on a hot day and great in ice tea, lemonade, cocktails as mini ice cubes. Mini ice-bluebs. They are great thrown into salads.

Swiss Chard


Storage: Put chard in a plastic bag, or wrap it in a damp towel and put it in the veggie bin of your fridge. Chard is at its best when used as soon as possible, but it will keep for 2 to 4 days in the fridge. Wash your chard before using by separating the leaves and giving them a water bath removing any soil. Chard can be kept and frozen if blanched and dried beforehand.

Medical: Swiss chard is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables in the world, making it one of the most healthy. The deep green leaves are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cooking: like spinach or beet greens, swiss chard can be sauteed, boiled, braised and steamed. It can be added to omelets and frittatas with sausage and cheese; toss it with cooked whole wheat penne pasta either with simple olive oil and lemon juice or mix it in with the tomato sauce; add it to curries, stews or bean soups; braise it with golden currants, pine nuts, and feta cheese; I took advantage of the colorful rainbow chard and sauteed it with different colored bell peppers with some red onion and garlic.


Storing: Try to cook and eat the beans as soon as possible as they will lose moisture after being picked and will quickly show signs of wilting. Keep for about 4 days or in the fridge for a week max. They freeze well, so wash and trim, blanch for 3 minutes, dry and freeze in a labeled plastic bag up to 12 months (un-blanched frozen peas will have that rubbery, squeaky mouthfeel to them when thawed.)

Fact: fresh seeds are called “flageolets” and dried ones are called “haricots.” String beans are actually part of the shell bean family (kidney beans, black beans – any seeds you eat out of the pod) but because these beans are eaten immature, the pods are still edible.
coffee “beans” are actually the twin stones of a fruit, not a legume and vanila “beans “are the fruit of an orchard not a legume.
Medical: rich in protein, fiber, iron, and Vitamin c and a. some potassium and folic acid aaand omega-3’s! They are rich in beta carotene which is associated with carrots mostly but because of the dense amount of chlorophyll we don’t see it. Apparently you can lower your cholesterol levels by 12% from eating a cup of beans a day! Avoid green beans if you have digestion problems such as gallbladder or kidney stones.
Cooking: When cooked, green beans will turn a deep green as the cell walls break slowly down but they will eventually turn an olive hue when acid (such as vinegar) is added while cooking. The best way to avoid the beans turning to a dreary color, is cook with a lot of water (so that the chemicals changing the colours are diluted); after adding the beans to the boiling water bring back to a boil as quickly as possible so that the cooking time isn’t prolonged; and to dunk the beans into a bowl of icy water to stop the cooking actions. Make sure to cut off the stems – the tips can be cut off or left on. Wash the beans when ready to be used.
They can be cooked al dente in salted, boiling water for about 6 minutes – don’t cook them until they droop. Don’t add the dressing until ready to be served as the acid, as said before, will change the color.


Slice wedges of melon or peaches and wrap in Serrano or Parma ham and top with a basil leaf. Secure with a toothpick.

Grilled Peach Salad

2 1/2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and Pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1 oz Parmesan, freshly grated

2 large peaches, halved, pits removed
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 frisee or mixed greens, washed and dried
small bunch of fresh mint leaves

Put the goat cheese in a pestle and mortar with sea salt and pepper – easy on the salt because the cheese will already be salty. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and mix. Add the Parmesan and mix again, but not for too long.

Put the halved peaches cut down on a hot griddle pan or on the grill to char them on both sides. Remove from the heat and either place them on a platter or between four plates. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, toss the frisee leaves with the goat cheese dressing, tossing together gently. Place next to the peaches on the plate and grate over some Parmesan. Finish the plate with some freshly cut mint leaves scattered over the top. Feel free to add some chopped walnuts or some bits of salty cured meat like Spanish Jamon, Italian Parma ham or Speck.

Alina’s Mom’s Zucchini Blueberry Bread

3 eggs
1 cup veg oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 med zucchini, grated and drained
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl. Stir in oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in the raisins and blueberries. Spoon onto a well greased 8 X 5 X 3″ loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until done. Cool in pan on a wine rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Are you a localvore?

Here are some ideas of what to use with your Good Loaf bread

Torn Croutons

(I made it with the Sharp Cheddar, Fresh Basil, and Cracked Pepper Sourdough – I couldn’t keep my fingers away!)

Tear day-old bread into bite size pieces. Pour enough oil into the bottom of a large pan to cover the bottom and add 3 garlic cloves. Heat until hot and then add the bread in a single layer. If you hear sizzling, the heat is too high and the croutons will become too dry – the key is to slow cook them for about 20 minutes so that the croutons absorb the garlicky oil and become crisp and golden brown on all sides. Delicious on top of soup and in salads!

Top slices of your baguette rubbed with garlic and cut up tomatoes for a simple bruscetta or make a caponata with your eggplant and tomatoes:


Heat up a couple glugs of olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped up eggplant and sprinkle with oregano. allow the eggplant to soak up the olive oil until it has become a golden color, adding more olive oil if needed. Add one finely chopped red onion and a couple minced garlic. Include capers, green olives and parsley. Add a couple splashes of red wine vinegar and when that has pretty much evaporated, add some chopped up tomatoes and allow the flavors to aromatize and the ingredients to simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Top on top of slices of toasted baguette.

Sources and Inspiration from Veg, Fruit & Herb Encyclopedia, Russ Parsons, Thomas Kellar, Jamie Oliver, Alina’s mom, Applecrest’s seasonal produce.


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Applecrest Farm | 133 Exeter Road (Rt.88) | Hampton Falls, NH 03844 | Phone 603.926.3721 |