I mustache you, how’d you like your box today?
Today’s CSA Box Contents:
Lemons (A gift to you from a friend’s overbearing tree)
Red, Yellow, and Purple Potatoes
Rainbow Swiss Chard
How about those beans! You received two different kinds today: Musica Pole Beans and Ura Pole Beans. The longest measured in at 9 inches long! Someone had the brilliant idea of planting the pole beans so they could trellis up the corn. Talk about camouflage! While I played I-Spy with the beans Chris had enough time to harvest the entire rest of the box.
By far the most unfamiliar item this week will have to be the Nopales, or Prickly Pear Cactus Paddles. Who needs meat when you have CACTUS! Nopales are the youngest pad segments on the Prickly Pear and are typically the tastiest in the spring. They contain fiber, calcium, anti-oxidant properties, and anti-inflammatory properties. Nopales are also said to stabilize blood sugar, counteract the effects of alcohol consumption, and protect against gastric ulcers. Store Nopales wrapped in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Whatever you do, don’t touch your eyes while preparing the Nopales!
How to Prepare Nopales (Check out this YouTube for additional info):
- Wear dishwashing gloves and remove spines by rubbing down with a regular kitchen scrubber; use a knife to remove any clinging spines
- Trim off the base and lightly trim the edge (the goal is just to remove the spines, the skin is edible). You can always peel the skin entirely with a vegetable peeler if you feel more comfortable.
- Do a final rub down with the kitchen scrubber.
- Chop and put raw into salad, add to a stir fry, top a pizza with it, grill them or fry them up in a pan to make traditional huevos con nopales, tacos de nopales, or carne de nopales. Try out this recipe for Grilled Cactus and Corn Salad.
New this week: Colorful Swiss Chard. Store it the same way as other salad greens, collard greens, and kale: in a loosely sealed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. (For more information on how to store your veggies check out my unsolicited advice from last week.) Here’s our favorite way to eat Swiss Chard, taken from the cookbook Simply in Season.
Chard Cheese Bake
1 pound Swiss chard or spinach (chopped)
Cook and thoroughly drain.
4 eggs (beaten)
1 cup milk
1 cup Swiss cheese or another cheese (shredded)
1 cup bread (cubed) or substitute breadcrumbs
1/2 cup green onions
1/4 cup Parmesian cheese
Combine with cooked greens. Pour into a greased 2-quard baking dish. Cover and bake in preheated oven at 375f until set, 25-30 minutes.