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Blessings in abundance

Happy Thanksgiving! We are so grateful for the bounty we had this year at the CSA. The last stock up boxes were amazingly stocked with goodness. But what to do with some of these items? What are these jerusalem artichokes? What are Yacon? What do I do with all these carrots, radishes, beets, and sweet potatoes?


Mystery Tubers

So maybe you found these weird root veggies in your stock up box - Sunchokes (or jerusalem artichokes), and Yacon, which kind of looks like a sweet potato but... not.

Let's talk about what they are!


Sunchokes


The Jerusalem artichoke, also called sunroot, sunchoke, wild sunflower, topinambur, or earth apple, is a species of sunflower native to central North America. It is cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable. They almost look like ginger root.

Jerusalem artichokes are sweet, nutty, with a hint of vanilla, and have a delicate artichoke flavour. They are actually incredibly versatile and have been celebrated by chefs in both savoury and sweet recipes.

Jerusalem artichokes are very versatile. You can eat them raw or cooked. They can be mashed, roasted or sautéed. They can even be dried and ground into flour. But let's eat them!

If you are new to sunchokes, I'd recommend roasting them! It brings out the sweeter creamy feeling, and leaves a great texture you will love.


To roast them: Toss them in about 2 tbsp of olive oil for a pound of sunchokes. Season with salt and pepper and even a little garlic powder. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan, let each sunchoke have contact with the pan in a single layer, so you will get the crispness.


Here are other ways to enjoy Sunchokes!



Yacon


Yacon is a relative of our friend we just described below - the Jerusalem artichoke. The flavor couldn't be more different however. According to foodprint.com, Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a plant that gives and gives. Above the ground, the plant produces sunflower-like flowers. The root below has two distinct elements: On top is a bunching of reddish rhizomes which look similar to young ginger and underneath are brown, edible tubers that look like sweet potatoes or sunchokes. They have a crisp, fresh bite, similar to water chestnuts or jicama, and taste like a cross between apple, watermelon, celery and pear.

Also called sweet-root, Peruvian ground apple, Bolivian sunroot and pear of the Earth, the plant is native to the Andean region of South America — today’s Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. It has been cultivated in the region for hundreds of years — the Incas called the vegetable water root, thanks to its refreshing flavor — and is still a staple crop in South and Central America today.


Storing: Like other root vegetables, yacon does well stored in cool, dry areas. Store it in a dry shed, garage or basement. It can stay fresh for several months and will sweeten over time. Do not wash the yacon before storing, as it will go moldy once damp.

Cooking

The crisp texture and refreshing flavor of yacon makes it a great snack, eaten peeled and sliced. It’s also a good addition to salad bowls; try it in the traditional South American fruit salad salpicon, or grated into coleslaw. It can also be added raw into smoothies.

It can also be cooked like other tubers, used in curries and soups or cut into slices and fried (like potatoes). Thanks to its fruity sweetness, the vegetable is also a great addition to desserts, such as puddings, cakes and pies.


Preserving

A popular way to preserve yacon is making syrup, which is often used as a calorie-free sweetener. You can also dehydrate yacon slices then pulverize the dried vegetable into a powder. Yacon can also be cooked down into an applesauce-like preserve.


There are so many ways to enjoy Yacon. I'd start by nibbling on some, fresh, peeled and cut. You can eat as a snack or toss in a salad! From there you can try soups, or a yacon sauce like applesauce, or yacon syrup!


You can even make Yacon chips, as a delcious alternative to potato chips! (Remember those root veggie chips you can buy in the store?)


Here are amazing recipes for yacon, from chips, to soup to desserts!

It even includes a recipe for yacon carrot salad with wasabi! Amazing way to use up. your carrots from the CSA too!

There's even a stir fry, and a citrus salad, as well as curries!

Recipes here!




Carrots

Got lots of carrots in your CSA box? Never fear! Carrots last a long time in the fridge or in cool, dry storage.

What to do with all these carrots?


  • peel and grate them, and keep in a ziplock bag to add to salads, tacos, and sandwiches and wraps all week long!

  • Make carrot fritters!

  • Roast them! An easy side dish for the holidays and gatherings that will not only tickle your guest's fancies, but also use up a couple pounds of carrots at once! Pro tip: roast baby rainbow carrots and transform a simple dish into a fancy delicacy!

  • Chop them up and roast, stir fry, and add to soup!

  • Dip in your favorite dip! I love carrots and hummus!




Beets

Beets also last a long time in the fridge or in cool, dry storage.

What to do with all these nutritional powerhouses?


Try this Beetroot Tarte Tartin. OMG, guys, I made it this week and I can't wait to make it again.

This will use your BEETS, SHALLOTS, and GARLIC that you got in your CSA box. Triple threat. Be prepared, this tarte will be wolfed down in a matter of minutes. Maybe make 2.


This recipe called for pomegranate molasses, which sounds scrumpotious but I don't have that just hanging about in my pantry. The recipe suggested balsamic vinegar as a substitute. I used aged syrupy balsamic and it was AMAZING.

Make this tarte. Make it now


What else can you do with beets?

  • Roast them or boil them and serve as a side dish. Sometimes, I cut the circle slices into little hearts, just for fun, and love.

  • Add these to your root veggie chips, along with the carrot and yacon!

  • Grate and top salads and sandwhices

  • Boil them until soft, slip the skins off when cooled a bit, and slice them, and use in mu favorite BEET SANDWHICH:

    • Toast whatever bread you want

    • add a schmear of hummus, or avocado, mayo, whatever you like

    • slap on some beet slices!

    • add lettuce, tomato, onion, grated carrots and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if you like! salt and pepper.

    • EAT and make yummy noises!

  • Beet reuben sandwhich... soooo good!

    • Prepare beets same as above

    • butter some slices of bread for grilling!

    • On the bottom bread, layer beets, sauerkraut, and even cooked bacon or swiss cheese if you like, and some thousand island dressing. (You can even make your own sauerkraut from the cabbage in your CSA box!)

    • top with the second slice of bread, heat up a pan, and grill the sandwhich like you would a grilled cheese.

    • Serve with pickles. Colleen makes and sells pickles, you can email her at collyo75@gmail.com


Parsnips


Ah, the humble parsnip. Everyone shys away, not knowing what to do with this weird looking thing. Is it a carrot? is it a turnip? Did they call it the depression because they only had parsnips to eat?

Not at all my friends. Not at all. The parsnip may become your favorite root veggie.



Try these Crispy Garlic Turmeric Parmesan Parsnip Fries, and not only will you be delighted, but you will be lamenting all the parsnips you gave away or let go to waste because you didn't know they were so secretly amazing.

Your family will ask for more of these - guaranteed!


Diakon Radish

Don't fear the diakon! it will keep a while in your fridge and can be used in so many different ways!

  • Eat raw in salads and bahn mi sandwhiches

  • Roasted

  • Pickled in a traditional sweet diakon pickle, used in or on the side of many dishes in asian cooking! It's delicious!

  • Cook in soups

  • use a veggie sheeter attachment from kitchen aid and turn that tuber into a wrap alternative and fill with all your favorite veggies and stuffings.



Lots of Recipes here!


Sweet Potatoes

Thank goodness sweet potatoes, like many other root veggies, last a long time in cool dry storage!

You can:




Celery root

What is Celery Root (Celeriac) and What Do I Do With It? Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a versatile root vegetable used for stews, soups, salads and as a substitute for potatoes in a healthy mash.


One of the reasons that celery root is becoming a fast favorite of many cooks is that there are so many ways to prepare it. You can grate it and have it on a salad, or in a veggie slaw. Also, you can cut it into cubes and roast it in the oven.

You can boil it and mash it alone or with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can dip it in batter and deep fry it – it’s great coated in tempura batter.

Small pieces or cubes of the root are great in a winter stew or a fall soup. You can even use your spiralizer and make noodles with it. The mild flavor makes it a great substitute for traditional pasta. The possibilities are endless.

Here is a link to lots of delicious possibilities with this amazing root!


Rutabaga

Besides the ol' "toss one into your holiday mashed potatoes" trick, who does what with rutabaga? Turns out this humble veggie can turn heads when prepared in different ways.

Fennel

Fennel has a licorice flavor when eaten raw, but mellows out to a delicious flavor when cooked!


Enjoy your CSA box! Until next time,

Colleen

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