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

Daikon Radish

Nutrition:
Daikon is very low in calories. A 3 ounce serving contains only 18 calories and provides 34 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Rich in vitamin C, daikon contains active enzymes that aid digestion, particularly of starchy foods.

Storage:
Keep wrapped in plastic or a sealed container in vegetable crisper and radish should last a decently long time (though best to enjoy within a week)

AKA:
Chinese turnip, giant white radish, Chinese radish, Japanese radish, icicle radish, lo bak, loh baak, loh buk, moolie, lo pak

Origin:
The name originated from the Japanese words dai (large) and kon (root), this vegetable is in fact a large radish with a sweet, tangy flavor. The daikon’s flesh is crisp, juicy and white.

Cooking tips:
Daikon radish can be eaten raw; however, they do have a hotter flavor than red radishes. Daikon radishes can be added to salads or shredded or grated for slaws or relishes, and are also commonly used in stir-fries. They are great pickled and are often seen grated and served with sashimi.

Substitutions:
Grated daikon – use jicama
Pickled daikon – use young turnip
Radish (not as hot)
Parsnips or turnips (in soups or stews)

Garlic

Nutrition
Garlic’s medicinal uses include digestive stimulant, diuretic, and antispasmodic. Additionally, many studies have been done to show the value of garlic when used to prevent certain forms of cancer as well as beneficial to heart health

Storage
Store in a dark, cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation and your garlic will last from several weeks to one year. That said, try to use fresh garlic within a few weeks and do not refrigerate unless the garlic has been peeled or chopped.

Origin

Part of the lily family, garlic is closely related to shallots, garlic-chives, and leeks. Garlic has been cultivated since ancient times. It was said that Egyptian masters fed garlic to the slaves to increase the worker’s physical power.
Garlic is arranged in a head, called the “bulb,” averaging about 2 inches in height and diameter consisting of numerous small separate cloves. Both the cloves and the entire bulb are encased in paper-like sheathes that can be white, off-white or pinkish. Golden Earthworm Organic Farm grows the less common hard-neck variety.

Cooking tips
Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. Pressed or pureed garlic releases the most oils and therefore provides the strongest flavor.
Crushed garlic is good in sauces when you want a strong garlic flavor.
Minced garlic releases more oils than chopped or sliced garlic, but less than pressed or crushed. Great for flavoring oil to be used for sautéing.
Chopped garlic does not extract a large amount of juice or oil. The amount of flavor obtained will depend on how small the garlic is chopped and allowed to dissolve in the cooking process. This method is good for use in salsas and stir-frys.
Sliced garlic won’t completely dissolve when cooked resulting in a lighter garlic flavor.
Garlic browned in oil yields a strong nutty flavor.

Good to know
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder is equal to approximately 1 minced garlic clove.
1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1 teaspoon Chopped =1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Substitutions

garlic scapes

Recipes

Garlic Scapes

Origin
Garlic scapes are the top of the garlic plant; the young unfurled seedpods that form on hard neck garlic plants in June. This delicious stalk has a taste that is milder than mature garlic. Garlic scapes are traditionally used in Southern, Eastern European, and Korean cuisine because of their subtle garlic flavor, tender-crisp texture, and nutritional potency.

Storage:
Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.

AKA: garlic stemps, garlic spears, garlic tops

Cooking tips:
Remove the top head (the bulbous lighter part). You can cook with it as you would regular garlic. But you can also use raw in everything from soups to salads to garnishes and stir-fries b/c the flavor is less intense than a garlic clove.

Substitutions:
Garlic

Recipes

Red Batavia Lettuce

General Facts
Batavia lettuce is a non-hearty lettuce with frilly leaves. Its crunchy nutty flavoured leaves grow upright to form a loose leaf head. Batavias are in the same family as iceberg and have an excellent shelf life, maintaining their crispness from the time they’re harvested until the time they reach the dinner table.
It is of French origin but is very popular all over Northern Europe. Here it is often found in home gardens and farmers markets.

Storage
Leaf lettuce should be washed and dried before storing in the refrigerator to remove their excess moisture. It should be stored either in a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in the refrigerator crisper.

Peppers


Peppers come from the colorful Capsicum family which splits into two main categories – sweet bell peppers and the spicy chilies, such as jalapenos. Chilies have capsaicin, sweet peppers do not.

General Facts
You can’t differentiate the sweet bell pepper varieties when they’re still young because they all look green. As they ripen, they’ll change color. Depending on the stage of ripeness and their variety, their colors range from orange, yellow, red, purple, brown, black, ivory or green, and so do their sweetness.

AKA
Sweet bell peppers are also known as capsicums, sweet peppers or green / red peppers.

Storage
Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Sources say they will stay fresh for about a week but we have seen them keep a couple weeks. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red ones.

Green Pepper Nutrition
One cup of chopped green pepper has 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and one gram of protein. It contains 200 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin C! It is also a good source of potassium and maganese.

Recipes

Community Supported Agriculture in the 11104