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September 25th, 2012 FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter

FarmShare, C.S.A. Newsletter for 25 September 2012

What’s in this week’s boxes?


Apples: Macoun, Gala, Macintosh


Apple Cider


Sweet 100/Sungold mix cherry tomatoes

Mountain Fresh tomatoes


Zucchini + Carnival Squash


Tricolor Beans


Storage, handling and general cooking tips


Storage + Handling

Take care when handling your raspberries – they are very fragile and perishable. If you do not plan to eat your berries today, store them unwashed in your refrigerator on a plate. Raspberries will keep in the refrigerator for one or two days. When you are ready to enjoy your berries, give them a gentle wash and pat dry. To help prevent spoilage, keep berries out of the sun and do not leave out on the counter for more than two hours.

Raspberries freeze very well. Wash them gently and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, pop them in a labeled freezer container. They will keep for one year.

Raspberries are chock full of vitamins C and K as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Add some berries to your morning yogurt or pancakes!


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.


Apple Cider

Storage + Handling

Hurrah for the official state beverage of New Hampshire! Applecrest’s apple cider is pressed here on the farm each week from apples culled from our very orchards. To make our cider, we wash and grind our apples into a mash, then wrap this applesauce-like mash in cloth and place it on wooden racks. A press then squeezes the layers together, pressing the juice out and into a waiting tank for bottling. Our cider is unfiltered, unsweetened, and unpasteurized – although we do add a smidgen of potassium sorbate (an odorless, flavorless, colorless preservative) to extend the cider’s shelf life. The sweetness of the apple cider depends on the sugar content and variety of apples that were pressed that day.  The natural yeasts found in the cider will cause it to ferment over time, but it should last for a few weeks.


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.


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

Kale is very nutritious – chock full of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins A and C, plus 13 different antioxidants. You should eat these leafy greens once a week!

Kale is also very perishable, so enjoy it soon after pickup. It can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three days. The leaves can be eaten raw, like beet greens and spinach, or cooked. Before cooking, separate the leaves from their large center rib/stem. The easiest way to do this is to fold the leaf in half along the stem and then just slice the rib off. Next, rinse the greens under cold running water. Do not soak it as this will result in the loss of water-soluble nutrients. Dry the leaves. Now the kale can be covered or bagged in plastic and refrigerated for a few hours until needed. Kale greens can be parboiled, steamed, baked, or sautéed. They are wonderful with pasta, in omelets, frittatas, soups, or lasagna.

If you hate to throw anything away, rest assured, you can also eat the stems! One easy way to prepare them is to slice the stems into 3-inch chunks, boil in salted water for 5 minutes or so, then bake in a 400-degree oven with butter, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese for 20 minutes.

Kale freeze well after blanching. Blanch for 2 minutes then immediately immerse the leaves in a cold-water bath for 2 minutes. Dry the leaves and pack them into freezer containers, leaving no headspace or air. Leaves last for up to one year in the freezer. Don’t forget to date your storage bags. And when cooking veggies that you have blanched and frozen, always bring them back (cook) in butter.


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.


Storage + Handling Tips

Zucchinis respire through their skins, so they need to be refrigerated as soon as possible.  Store them unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable bin, or refrigerate them in a sealed plastic container lined with a towel.  In the refrigerator, they keep for about a week. Before eating, rinse the veggies under running water to remove any dirt, then slice off the stem and blossom ends.  They can be cut into rounds, quarters, or chunks.

Zucchini is great grilled. Slice the veggies lengthwise, then top with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving add some slivers of basil or pesto. You can also cube them and put them on a kabob with cherry tomatoes, meat, and peppers before grilling. If you don’t want to fire up the grill, zucchini also fry well. Just slice and put in a sauté pan over medium heat with butter or olive oil. When almost done, reduce heat to medium-low, top with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and cover pan until the cheese melts. Your side dish is done!

Carnival Squash

Storage + Handling Tips

Like a pumpkin, the Carnival Squash is yellow-and-orange skinned with green markings on its hard, thick skin. Its yummy yellow interior tastes a bit like sweet potatoes and butternut squash and can be baked or steamed and seasoned with butter and fresh herbs. It can be stored in a cool, dark spot for up to a month.  Cut pieces can be stored in plastic in the refrigerator for up to five days. Squash can be baked, roasted, steamed, or pureed.

If you don’t plan to eat your squash, it also makes a lovely table decoration with a selection of fall gourds and mini pumpkins. Or, slice it in half, hollow out and float candles in it!

Tricolor String 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.

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.


Pork Chops with Grated Apples


Bone-in pork chops, thick

Onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

2 apples, peeled, cored and grated

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup cider

salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion in butter until tender. Add pork chops and brown on both sides. Stir in grated apples and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add flour, cider, salt and pepper and stir. Cover and continue to cook until pork is done (internal temp 145 degrees) – about 5 minutes.


Carnival Squash Stuffed with Kasha and Apple

* From The Apple Lover’s Cookbook


3 large carnival squash

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3 tablespoons salted butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

5 ounces button mushrooms, stems trimmed, finely chopped

¼ cup roughly chopped cashews (unsalted and unroasted!)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup uncooked kasha (gluten-free roasted buckwheat, found by flour or cereal!)

1 egg, beaten

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick cubes

½ cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

1/3 cup chopped pitted dates

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 ½ cups cider

1 ½ ounces cheddar or gruyere cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Prepare the squash cups: Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, then trim the bottom of each squash just enough so it sits upright. Do not cut so deeply that you lose the bottom. Brush the squash cup and rims with half the oil, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and put cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30-40 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, mushrooms, cashews, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook until the moisture from the mushrooms evaporates, the cashews are toasted, and the onion is lightly golden (about 8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir the kasha with the egg until evenly coated; add to skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and stir until fragrant (3-5 minutes). Add the apple, cranberries, dates, broth and cider, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the kasha and dried fruit absorb the liquid (about 10 minutes).


Remove the squash cups from the oven. Turn right side up, then fill with kasha mixture, top with cheese and return to oven for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.


Cajun Corn and Kale Salad

*From Farmer John


2 quarts water

4 ears corn

1 bunch kale (stems removed)

2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 each large red & green bell pepper, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 sweet onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp cajun spice seasoning


Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add the corn. Turn off the heat and let coark soak for 5 minutes. Set aside the corn and reserve the water. When cool, slice the kernels off the ears of corn with a sharp knife. Bring the water back to a boil and add the kale and 2 tsp salt. Cook until tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool. When cool, squeeze out excess liquid and finely chop. Toss the kale with the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and toss to comine. Season with salt and pepper.



From The Silver Palate Cookbook

2 cups olive oil

4 pounds of eggplant, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

2 teaspoons salt

1 ½ pounds white onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

7 medium zucchini, washed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2-inch strips

2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ inch strips

2 medium green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ inch strips

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 cans (16 oz. each) Italian plum tomatoes, drained

1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

¼ cup fresh dill, chopped

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried basil



Preheat the oven to 400. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil and pour in 1 cup olive oil. Add the eggplant, sprinkle it with salt and toss well. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the eggplant is done but not mushy (35 minutes). Uncover and set aside.


In a large skillet heat the remaining oil. Saute the onions, zucchini, red and green peppers, and garlic over medium heat until wilted and lightly colored (about 20 minutes). Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add the eggplant mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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 |