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August 21st, 2012 FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter

FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter for 21 August 12

What’s in this week’s share?


Savor melon


Yellow + White Peaches


Green cabbage

Green Beans

Pickling Cukes



Storage, handling and general cooking tips

French Savor Melon

Storage + Handling

The Savor melon is small, usually 1 or 2 pounds. It boasts a smooth gray-green rind with dark green stripes. Its deep orange flesh is aromatic and deliciously sweet.

Give your melon a thump. If it sounds hollow, it is ripe. If not, let the melon sit on the counter at room temperature to soften. When ready to eat, wash your melon well, then cut it in half. Scoop out the interior seeds and webbing with a spoon. Slice melon flesh off of the rind and serve. Cut melon can be refrigerated for 4 days or so.


Storage + Handling

Apples should be kept uncovered or in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Warm temperatures will cause apples to lose their crispness and flavor, so if they are kept out of the refrigerator, make sure it is in a cool, ventilated place far from direct sunlight. To prevent cut apples from turning brown, sprinkle with lemon juice or soak them in a bowl of ½ cup water and 2 tbsp lemon juice.


Storage + Handling

Peaches, like tomatoes, are climacteric, which means they will continue to ripen after they are picked. Leave them on the counter to soften to your liking before eating or stick them in a paper bag with a banana to quicken to ripening process. If your peaches are already at the softness you desire, store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. They should last up to a week. But please do not put under-ripe fruit in the fridge as it will dry out the flesh and turn mealy. When testing for ripeness, be gentle, never squeeze or press hard on the peach. Peaches blemish and tear easily. Wash peaches in cool, soapy water just before you intend to use them. To remove the peach stone, slice the fruit lengthwise around the pit, down to the stone. Then, twist each half in opposite directions to release the peach from the stone. Peaches are chock full of vitamins A and C and potassium.

If you plan to cook with your peaches, peel the skin first. To do this, cut an X with a sharp knife at the bottom of the peach and pop in boiling water to blanch for a couple seconds, 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. You can just pare it with a knife.

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

Green Cabbage

Storage + Handling Tips

Cabbage grows with its own clever package, so just pop your unwashed cabbage in the refrigerator to store for up to a month.  Rinse the cabbage under cold running water just before use.  Pat dry and peel away any limp or yellow outer leaves. Begin by cutting the cabbage in half through the stem end.  Next, lay it flat and quarter it, again through the stem end.  Then balance each section upright and slice away the triangular core that is exposed at the base.  From there you can chop, sliver, or grate the quarters.

Cabbage deteriorates rather quickly once the head is chopped, so plan on using it within a day. If you only need half a head, place the remaining half in a plastic bag and shake a few drops of water onto the cut side. Close the bag and refrigerate. The cut half should last another few days.

Cabbage can also be frozen. Cut cabbage into coarse shreds and blanch leaves for 2 minutes in boiling water. Remove, drain, and chill. Pack into airtight containers and freeze up to one year. Once thawed, frozen cabbage works well in soups and other cooked dishes.



Storage + Handling Tips

Tomatoes bruise easily, so handle them with care. They are best stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, stem-side down. Keep them away from your bananas and onions to avoid decay and icky taste. Never refrigerate tomatoes! The cold renders tomatoes mealy and flavorless. Eat them within a few days.

You can also freeze tomatoes. There is no need to peel or blanch them beforehand. Once thawed, the tomato skins will slip easily off. Simply rinse and dry the tomatoes thoroughly, then place in freezer bags. You can suck any air out of the bag with a straw. Frozen tomatoes are great for cooked dishes.

Fresh tomatoes are yummy sliced and layered with mozzerella cheese, basil, olive oil and salt. They work wonders for burgers, wraps, pastas and salad.


Storage + Handling Tips

Corn is best when eaten right away, before the sugars turn to starch, and diminish its sweet taste. This is mostly true for eating corn right off the cob, but after 4 days, corn will still be edible and tasty enough to cook with. Corn should be refrigerated with the husks still on. The husks will preserve that milky moisture in the kernels. Keep them in the crisper drawer without any strong smelling foods, as corn will easily absorb those odors.

Shuck corn only before using by pulling down, breaking off the stem, and removing the silky threads by hand. If there is some worm damage – no fear – just cut out that part, the rest of the corn is still good. Wash the corn in cold water. To remove the kernels, place the corn vertically in a large bowl and run a sharp knife down along its length. If making a soup, or if you want some extra milky juice, run the knife down the length of the corn again, but with the dull back of the knife to avoid shaving off the cob. To freeze corn, blanch in boiling water for about 5 minutes, cool and drain, then wrap in plastic.

Tip from Thomas Keller: After you have removed the kernels from the cob into a bowl, place a smaller bowl of water next to it. Swirl your hand around the corn and the silk will stick to your hand. Remove the silk from your hand by dipping it into the bowl of water. Or running water would work too, I’m sure.

Try eating your corn raw – when it’s fresh like this, it’s yummy! My kids love to pick an ear off the stalk, shuck it in the field, and chomp away. To cook your corn, boil it in water for about 4-6 minutes, depending on how soft you like it. Last night, I cooked it for just 3 minutes then let it steam in the pot until the rest of dinner was ready a few minutes later. It was perfectly cooked and just popped off the cob! Corn is best when eaten simply: boil, slather with butter, and sprinkle with salt. Do you twirl your corn and eat around the cob or lengthwise like a typewriter? In our family, I’m the typewriter.

Corn is also delicious grilled. Pull back the corn husks without removing them fully, remove the silks, then pull the husks back up and soak for at least 15 minutes in water. Grill corn in its husks (maybe brush some pesto on the corn before pulling up the husks), turning occasionally until charred about 20 minutes.  Corn is super versatile. Think: creamed corn, corn bread, corn chowder, salsa, succotash, or as a topping to salad.

Pickling Cucumbers

Storage + Handling

Just-picked cucumbers dehydrate faster than the waxy supermarket variety, so be sure to put them in the refrigerator right away.  If you store unwashed cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin, they should hold for at least a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus fruits, as these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. Pickling cukes are best pickled of course. (see recipe from last week!)



Storage + Handling

Eggplants can be kept in a cool space on the counter or in the fridge for up to one week. They don’t particularly like cold temperatures – brown areas are signs of chilled damage. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.  Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.

Before cooking, rinse eggplant in cool water and cut off the stem.  Eggplants do not need to be peeled, but they do need to be cooked before being eaten.


There seems to be some debate surrounding the salting of eggplants. Many people like to salt and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor. With our farm fresh veggies, salting is generally not necessary as bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while.  Salting does positively affect the texture of your dish though, it helps make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent when cooking as salt breaks down the eggplant’s cell walls. So, it’s your call whether to salt or not. Why not experiment?

Pierced (don’t forget this step or you may have an eggplant explosion in your oven!), whole eggplant can be baked at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Allow it to cool, then scoop out the flesh. Eggplant can also be cubed and put on kabobs for the grill.

Did you know that botanically-speaking, eggplant is a fruit? It is rich in dietary fiber and potassium with a very low calorie count. It is high in vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, particularly nasunin, which protects the brain.

Green Beans

Storage + Handling

Store dry green beans in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. They are best eaten soon after picking, but can keep for 5 days or so. Wash beans thoroughly in cool water before eating.

Beans can be cooked whole, cut crosswise, diagonally, or French-cut (sliced along the length of the bean). Many say that preparing beans with a French-cut yields the most tender and sweet taste. Perhaps that’s true, but remember that beans retain the most nutrients when cooked uncut. Green beans are rich in protein, fiber, iron, and Vitamins C and A. They are also high in beta carotene, which is most commonly associated with carrots. Some say you can lower your cholesterol levels by 12% just by eating a cup of beans a day!

The easiest way to prepare beans is to steam them. First trim the ends of the beans. I like to have my son do this step. He just snaps the ends with his fingers. It gets him involved in the meal and he ends up eating a few along the way! Next, steam the beans for about 8 minutes, or until they have turned bright green and are just tender. Drain and place in a bowl to toss with butter and salt and pepper.

Many people like to stir-fry green beans. This method retains more nutrients than other cooking methods. Stir fry beans with garlic and some cherry tomatoes for a beautiful and tasty side dish. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember to cook beans as little as possible, using the least amount of water possible, as beans release nutrients into the water. If you boil your beans, why not re-use the bean water to cook rice and thereby regain some of those nutrients?

Green Beans also freeze well. Wash and trim the ends of your green beans, then leave whole or slice as you like. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the beans for 2 minutes. Immediately plunge beans into a bowl of ice water. When cool, dry beans and place in a labeled freezer container. Use your frozen green beans within 8-10 months.


Green Bean Slaw Recipe

Adapted from

There is a lot of chopping here, so to make things easier the day you will be serving this slaw,  make the dressing and the croutons and slice the green beans a day ahead of time.


2 small handfuls (about 1/2 cup) golden raisins


yolk of one hard-boiled egg
3 tablespoons sour cream or heavy cream
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 a small cabbage, cored and shredded very finely
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 big handfuls green beans, very thinly sliced and cooked in a pot of boiling salted water for 20 seconds, drained (well) immediately, and cooled under cold running water.

A big handful of arugula, roughly chopped

2 handfuls (about 3/4 cup) toasted walnut halves

2 handfuls of torn rustic bread, pan-toasted until golden in a big splash of olive oil

A bit of shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese


To make the dressing, mash the yolk of the egg in a small bowl. Gradually mash and stir in the sour cream. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you do so. Whisk in the vinegar and the salt. Adjust to your tastes.


Toss the cabbage and the white wine vinegar together in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, add raisins, green beans, arugula, and most of the walnuts. Toss. Add about 2/3 of the dressing and toss again. Add more dressing if you like. Add most of the croutons and most of the pecorino cheese, toss again. Serve topped with the remaining walnuts and pecorino. Serves 6-8.


Cold Cream of Tomato and Peach Soup

from The New York Times


1 onion, chopped

2 TB butter

2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped

½ pound peaches, peeled and chopped

½ cup cream

tarragon, chopped (optional)


Cook the onion in butter for five minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and peaches. Simmer until the tomatoes break up. Add the cream, puree in a blender, then chill. Garnish with tarragon.


Melon, Mint and Cucumber Smoothie



2 cups melon, chopped

1 cup cucumber, chopped

12 fresh mint leaves

2-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon local honey


Puree ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serves 2.


Stacked Polenta

From Vegetarian in Paradise

1 medium eggplant, sliced 1-inch thick
2 medium zucchinis, angle sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 medium onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste

3 1/2 cups water
1 cup soymilk (or milk if you are not a vegan)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup medium-coarse cornmeal or cornmeal labeled polenta
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb  mozzarella cheese, cut into 12 slices


Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil 3 baking sheets.

Arrange eggplant and zucchini on one baking sheet, and the onions on the other. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until fork tender and lightly browned. The third baking sheet is reserved for the polenta.


While vegetables are roasting, heat water to boiling in a 4-quart saucepan. Add soymilk, salt, and cornmeal/polenta, and simmer gently over medium heat, stirring frequently with a whisk, for about 10 minutes. Add nutritional yeast (if using) and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches the consistency of very thick oatmeal, about 15 to 20 minutes. Pour out onto the third baking sheet, spreading to a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Chill until ready to assemble.


Put tomatoes into a deep skillet and sauté over high heat for about 3 or 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.


Assemble: On a clean baking sheet, arrange the polenta cut into 6 even servings. Place eggplant slice on top of polenta. Layer next with zucchini slices, then sliced onions, then top with cheese.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.


To serve, warm tomato sauce. Remove plastic from polenta stack, and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Pour tomato sauce over cheese. Serves 6.


As always, if any questions, always feel free to email us or give us a call!

All the Best,

The FarmShare Team
Applecrest Farm Orchards
133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls NH 03844

Tel: +1 603 926 3721

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