Cabbage


There are three major types of cabbage: green, red and Savoy.
The color of green cabbage ranges from pale to dark green while red cabbage has leaves that are either crimson or purple with white veins running through. Both green and red cabbage have smooth textured leaves. The leaves of Savoy cabbage are more ruffled and yellowish-green in color. Savoy cabbage generally has a more delicate taste and texture than its counterparts.

Nutrition:
1 cup, chopped (89 grams) has 22 calories 0 fat, 2 g fiber and 1 g protein. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Storage:
Keeping cabbage cold will keep it fresh and help it retain its vitamin C content. Put the whole head in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep this way for about 2 weeks while Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 week.

If you need to store a partial head of cabbage, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Use within a couple of days to retain nutrition.

Origin:
Cabbage has a long history of use both as a food and a medicine. It was developed from wild cabbage, a vegetable that was closer in appearance to collards and kale since it was composed of leaves that did not form a head.

Cooking tips:

Red and green cabbage are similar flavored and can be used raw in salads or cooked. Because the pigment of the red cabbage may color other foods, the green cabbage is a better choice for slaw and for cabbage rolls.
If you notice any signs of worms or insects, which sometimes appears in organically grown cabbage, soak the head in salt water or vinegar water for 15-20 minutes first. To preserve its vitamin C content, cut and wash the cabbage right before cooking or eating it. Since phytonutrients in the cabbage react with carbon steel and turn the leaves black, use a stainless steel knife to cut.
For an impromptu quick version of stuffed cabbage, spoon some leftovers such as rice salad or a vegetable mixture onto the center of a cabbage leaf and roll into a neat little package. Bake in medium heat oven until hot. Braise red cabbage with a chopped apple and red wine.
Combine shredded red and white cabbage with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings such as turmeric, cumin, coriander and black pepper to make coleslaw with an Indian twist.
Sauté cabbage and onions and serve over cooked buckwheat for a hardy side dish.
Use shredded raw cabbage as a garnish for sandwiches.

Equivalents:
1 medium head = 1.25 – 1.5 lbs
1 lb raw = 4 cups shredded
1 lb cooked = 1.5 – 2 cups shredded

Recipes

Brussels Sprouts


Brussels sprouts look like little miniature cabbages. The little round vegetables grow along a long tall stem.

Nutrition:
1 cup (88 grams) has 38 calories, 0 fat, 3 g fiber and 3 g protein. Brussels sprouts are rich in many valuable nutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K.

Storage:
Keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Stored in a plastic bag, they can be kept for 10 days. If you want to freeze Brussels sprouts, blanch them first for between three to five minutes. They will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

Origin:

While the origins of Brussels sprouts are unknown, they are thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near its capital, Brussels. They remained a local crop in this area until their use spread across Europe during World War I. Brussels sprouts are now cultivated throughout Europe and the United States. 

Cooking tips:

Wash them well to remove any insects that may reside in the inner leaves.
Brussels sprouts are usually cooked whole. To allow the heat to permeate throughout all of the leaves and better ensure an even texture, cut an “X” in the bottom of the stem before cooking.
Sliced thinly, raw brussels sprouts also make a nice addition to cold salads.

Braise Brussels sprouts in liquid infused with your favorite herbs and spices.
Combine quartered cooked Brussels sprouts with sliced red onions, walnuts and your favorite mild tasting cheese such as a goat cheese or feta. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an exceptionally healthy, delicious side dish.

Substitutions:

Fresh broccoli tips

Equivalents:
1 lb fresh = 4 cups cooked
1 quart = 1.25 lbs = 5 cups cooked
10 oz frozen = 18 – 24 sprouts = 1.5 – 2 cups cooked

Cauliflower


photo via
muffet

The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is at its best from December through March when it is in season and most plentiful in your local markets. It has a compact head (called a “curd”), usually about six inches in diameter that is composed of undeveloped flower buds.

Nutrition:
This vegetable is high in potassium, iron, and zinc. 1 cup (100 g) has 25 calories, 0 fat, 3 g dietary fiber and 2 g protein. One cup of boiled cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C(91.5% of the DV), folate (13.6% of the DV), and dietary fiber (13.4% of the DV). That same amount of cauliflower also serves as a very good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids

Storage:
Store uncooked cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week. To prevent moisture from developing in the floret clusters, store it with the stem side down.
Origin:
A member of the cabbage family, Cauliflower originated from China.

Cooking tips:

Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. However, the stem and leaves are also edible and are especially good for adding to soup stocks.
To cut cauliflower, first remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks.
Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. Some phytonutrients may react with iron in cookware and cause the cauliflower to take on a brownish hue. To prevent this, add a bit of lemon juice to the water in which you blanche the cauliflower.

Sauté cauliflower with garlic, minced ginger and tamari.
For cauliflower with a vivid yellow color, sauté with a spoonful of turmeric or generous pinch of saffron.

Puree cooked cauliflower, add fennel seeds and your other favorite herbs and spices and serve as soup.

Or just eat raw.

Substitutions:
broccoli

Equivalents:
1 lb = 1 small head = 1.5 c chopped = 7.5 oz cooked = 10 oz frozen = 2 cups chopped

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a vegetable related to a gourd, in the same family as the watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash.  Most are thin skinned and juicy with a crisp texture and a delicate flavor.

Nutrition
Cucumbers are a very good source of Vitamin C and the mineral molybdenum. They are also a good source of vitamin A, potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber and magnesium and contain the important mineral silica.
The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. The cucumber’s skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium.

Storage
Store in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cooking tips
Cucumbers can be sliced, diced or cut into sticks. They do not need to be peeled. The seeds are also edible (and nutritious), though many recipes call for removing them. They are easiest removed by cutting the cucumber lengthwise and using the tip of a spoon to gently scoop them out.

Substitutions
Japanese or English cucumber

Equivalents
1 small to medium =  1 cup chopped
1lb = 2 1/2 to 3 cups peeled, sliced/chopped, or 2 medium

Recipes

Cilantro

General Facts
Cilantro grows wild in South East Europe and had been cultivated in Egypt, India and China for thousands of years. Spanish conquistadors introduced it to Mexico and Peru.
Cilantro/coriander is believed to be named after “koris”, the Greek word for “bedbug” as it was said they both emitted a similar odor. The Chinese used the herb in love potions believing it provided immortality. It is also thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. The 1,000+ year old book, The Arabian Nights, tells the tale of a merchant who had been childless for 40 years and but was cured by a concoction that included cilantro. Cilantro was also known to be used as an “appetite” stimulant.

AKA
Coriander

Nutriton
1/4 cup of cilantro has 2 calories. It is a good source for niacin, folate, B6, Iron, and loads of other good vitamins and mineral.

Storage
Before you store cilantro, be sure to rinse and leave moist (but not wet) before placing in a plastic bag. It may be stored for up to 1 week.

Recipes

Eggplant


Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes. They grow in a manner much like tomatoes, hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. GEOF grows several varieties of eggplant, including long Asian, Rosa Bianca, and the traditional black/purple.

Nutrition:
Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper and thiamin (vitamin B1). It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
Eggplant also contains important phytonutrients, many which have antioxidant activity.

Storage:
Eggplant does not like severe cold, so store in the front part of the refrigerator where the temperature is around 46°F to 54°F. Eggplant is ethylene sensitive, so store it away from ethylene-producing produce such as apples.
If kept in a plastic bag (to retain moisture,) eggplants will last up to five days.

AKA:
Aubergine

Origin
The ancient ancestors of eggplant grew wild in India and were first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C. Eggplant was introduced to Africa before the Middle Ages and then into Italy, the country with which it has long been associated, in the 14th century. It subsequently spread throughout Europe and the Middle East and, centuries later, was brought to the Western Hemisphere by European explorers. Today, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, China and Japan are the leading growers of eggplant.

Cooking tips:
Eggplant can be eaten with or without the skin. However, the larger ones and those that are white in color generally have tough skins that may not be palatable.
To tenderize the flesh’s texture and reduce some of its naturally occurring bitter taste, you can sweat the eggplant by salting it. After cutting the eggplant into the desired size and shape, sprinkle it with salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. This process will also pull out some of its water content and make it less permeable to absorbing any oil used in cooking.
Simply rinse the eggplant after “sweating” to remove most of the salt.

Eggplant can be baked, roasted in the oven, steamed, grilled, fried, stewed or pureed into dips.
If baking it whole, pierce the eggplant several times with a fork to make small holes for the steam to escape. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 25 minutes, depending upon size. You can test for its readiness by gently inserting a knife or fork to see if it passes through easily.
Eggplant also make a very good meat substitute for vegetarian or vegan cooking.

Escarole


Escarole is a variety of endive whose leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family. Like radicchio, kale and chard, escarole is a hearty green that thrives late into the growing season. The heart of an escarole head is less bitter because the leaves haven’t gotten as much sunlight.

Nutrition:
Escarole is high in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K.

Storage:
Do not store greens in paper bags. Store unwashed with a dampened paper towel in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate. By changing the towel occasionally and keeping it damp, you’ll be able to store the greens for up to a week.
Freezing: These greens freeze well. Wash, then blanch for 3 minutes, drain and plunge into ice water. Chill for two minutes; drain. Pack in freezer containers or bags. Use within 6 months.

AKA:
Endive

Cooking tips:
Escarole can be eaten raw or gently cooked. It can be eated raw as a salad green, cooked and eaten as a vegetable side dish or added to soups.

Substitutions:
Raw: Curly endive or radicchio.
Cooked: Kale

Equivalents:
1 medium head = 7 cups torn = 4 salad servings

Recipes

Fennel


Fennel has a sweet, mild licorice flavor and is not to be confused with herb anise, which is grown for its seeds and sold as seasoning. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds.

Nutrition:
Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, folate, and molybdenum. In addition, fennel is a good source of niacin as well as the minerals phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper.

Storage:
Tightly wrap fresh fennel in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to one week

AKA:
Sweet Anise

Origin
Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.  Fennel’s esteemed reputation dates back to the earliest times and is reflected in its mythological traditions. Greek myths state that fennel was not only closely associated with Dionysus, the Greek god of food and wine, but that a fennel stalk carried the coal that passed down knowledge from the gods to men.

Cooking tips:
The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Cut the stalks away from the bulb at the place where they meet. If you are not going to be using the intact bulb in a recipe, then first cut it in half, remove the base, and then rinse it with water before proceeding to cut it further.
The best way to slice it is to do so vertically through the bulb. If your recipe requires chunked, diced or julienned fennel, it is best to first remove the harder core that resides in the center before cutting it. The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the feathery leaves can be used as an herb seasoning, like dill weed, to flavor soups and stews.

Substitutions:
Celery (more aromatic, cooks faster)
1 tsp fennel seed = 1 lb of fennel,
1 tablespoon Pernod (liqueur) = 1 lb of fennel
Bok choy stems

Equivalents:
1 lb fennel = 3 cups sliced

Recipes

Community Supported Agriculture in the 11104