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Foraging

Let’s admit it.

2020 is a crazy, stressful year for many of us, and it is only halfway done! How are you handling this year’s shifting landscape and the variety of challenges that go with it?



I’ve thought about how so many new CSA members joined this year, and that is wonderful. For the first time, some people, spurred by the pandemic, are seeking healthy, organic food grown close to home from a trustworthy source. Others, myself included, have also planted gardens.

In a sense, the prickly, painful nature of Covid-19 has paradoxically produced blossoms.


(Photo by Susan Barry)

What blossoms you might say? Well, it certainly seems many positive things have bloomed in the last few months. Look closely.

(Photo by Gloria Weg)


During a forced period of quarantine, many discovered the restorative power of rest that eluded many prior to the virus. Having extra time also helped people to research how to nurture the body, mind and soul. Others reconnected with family and the outdoors, breathing in fresh air and taking in sunshine while some appreciated the slower pace of things and a sense of going back to the basics of a simpler lifestyle. Search for the beauty within the chaos and you will find it.

So, let’s talk foraging.



Our ancestors gathered or foraged their food in the wild. Today, some people enjoy finding edibles on their property or during a hike. A good plant identification book and excellent observation skills are critical when foraging.


A few years ago, when the beautiful film “Into the Wild came out, I became interested in amateur foraging. I discovered a wild cherry tree on our property, and my family consumed the best cherries we ever had for a few weeks. I also shared them with my neighbors because we had so many.



Today, we safely forage in our gardens, at farms and supermarkets. The act of foraging gives us an appreciation for the fleeting seasons as we recognize that different plants have their unique schedule and time to shine. The seasonality helps us to consider how to best take advantage of produce that is here for a limited period of time.


Do not freak out if you see an insect on your veggies or fruit. That is a good sign that your food is safe and wholesome. Simply remove the visitor and carry on.

Let’s see what our CSA members have been cooking up this past week.

Michelle Steffens used the fresh peas and garlic scapes to make a gourmet hors d’oeuvre. Try her recipe!

Fresh Pea Purée with Ricotta on Crostini

1 pound of peas in the shell*

2 tablespoons of chopped garlic scapes or shallots

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese

1 tablespoon fresh mint

1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

*You can use defrosted frozen peas, if fresh aren’t available

Ricotta cheese

Crostini

1. Shell peas and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling salted water, drain and shock (put in ice water to stop cooking) drain and dry off.

2. Sauté garlic scapes or shallot in 2 teaspoons of EVOO until tender, just a few minutes. Add everything to food processor, except EVOO and chop.

3. Slowly add in EVOO while processor is running.

4. Taste and adjust seasonings and herbs if needed.

5. Put ricotta on crostini, top with pea purée and enjoy!



(Photo by Michelle Steffens)


Marianne Wagner baked the kohlrabi we received this week using a recipe from the fantastic book, “Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook,” by Mi Ae Lipe. This book is available at a discount for CSA members.

Marianne tweaked the recipe by substituting lemon pepper panko breadcrumbs for the regular ones.

Parmesan-Baked Kohlrabi

2 tablespoons lemon pepper panko breadcrumbs

3 medium kohlrabis, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick round slices

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2. Butter an 8-inch round pan and dust with ½ tablespoons of the breadcrumbs.

3. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the kohlrabi slices until they become just tender, about 7 minutes; drain. Toss with the melted butter.

4. Place the kohlrabi in the prepared pan and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, the remaining breadcrumbs and pepper.

5. Bake for about 1 hour or until browned.



(Photo by Marianne Wagner)


I leave you with this lovely quote: “If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor” (Eleanor Roosevelt).


Send me a recipe, photo or idea at: jerseyeditor@gmail.com.

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