Farmers’ Market Recon: Feb. 2

Posted on February 1, 2013

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general-market-pic2-300x225Here’s looking ahead to first Forsyth Farmers’ Market of 2013. I’m here to give you a heads up on what’s in season, and what you can do with it!

Things you’ll see a lot of:

  • Collards and kale
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuces and salad greens
  • Brussels sprouts (that’s really how you spell “Brussels”, I looked it up)
  • Turnips and other roots
  • Mini, baby and young versions of the above (just like in the 80s. remember baby corn?)

Why aren’t there tomatoes and peas and peaches? Why do we have to eat all these tough root vegetables this time of year?

Because it’s good for our bodies and, not so coincidentally, the earth. In winter, in the colder months and days, our bodies crave the satiety and warmth provided by these slow-growing, hearty roots and brassicas. Whether you’re into Ayurveda, or mindful eating, or good old seasonality, these are the foods your body needs right now.

It makes sense nutritionally, as well. Each fruit or vegetable is only at its peak nutritional profile during its appropriate season. It’s true that the more colorful produce, what with all the talk about eating the rainbow and antioxidants, do have superb nutritional profiles and are a lot more appetizing and eye-catching, these humble winter crops, at their peak, provide just the nutrients our bodies need in these hibernating days.

So! What DO you do with so much of these supposedly lackluster veggies? Luster ’em up! Here are some ideas:

EAT FRESH: Winter salads

IMG_0742

Start with a bed of salad greens, some diced red onion, and shredded radish, rutabaga or turnip.

Add any combination of the following, all of which you can find at the FFM:

  • Pecans
  • Crumbled bacon from pastured pigs
  • Brie
  • Roasted root veggies (see below)
  • Fresh dill, basil, parsley, cilantro
  • Dressing made from honey, olive oil, fresh citrus juice, black pepper
  • Fried egg
  • Cooked, shredded free-range chicken
  • Roasted butternut or acorn squash

EAT THIS WEEK:  Roasted Roots

rootsLucky for us, most of these root vegetables cook at similar rates if cut into uniform pieces.

  • Enlist a friend or a kid for the chopping (1/2-1″ cubes is pretty easy)
  • Throw some olive, sesame, or coconut oil in a roasting pan
  • Add your mixed, cubed roots (sweet potato, potato, turnip, carrot, rutabaga, beets, etc., peels on (except for rutabaga))
  • Add some fresh herbs or spices (rosemary, dill, garlic, ginger, sage, bay, cumin seeds, etc., not all at once, silly)
  • Toss ’em around with salt and pepper
  • Roast in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes, stirring every 12-15 minutes

EAT LATER: Sauerkraut

fermenting thingsIf you start making this on Saturday, you won’t have your own kraut ready in time for Super Bowl brats, but you WILL have some ready for a pretty killer  consolation dinner later on that week.

Sauerkraut is lacto-fermented cabbage, meaning it’s a product of the same biological process as yogurt and kimchi, and making it both nutritionally dense and more easily digestible than cabbage alone.

Feel free to experiment with add-ins and other leafy vegetables, so long as you cut them into uniform and comparatively sized pieces.

A basic recipe:

  • 1 head unwashed cabbage, outer leaves removed (save these to make cabbage rolls, which I guess now will be next week’s recipe!)
  • 1-2 T. Sea salt or kosher salt 
  • Glass or ceramic container/crock. Don’t buy one; somebody you know has a big pickle jar or something they’re not actually using.
  • A plate or something similar that will fit inside your crock and cover most of the contents
  • A weight (i.e. a big can ‘ beans or a mason jar of water or a brick or something)]
  • Tea towel
  1. Shred the cabbage, which is usually easier if you quarter it first. Use a big, sharp chef’s knife.
  2. Layer the shreds and salt in the crock and leave to stand for an hour or two while the salt draws the moisture out of the cabbage.
  3. Stir the mixture and press down firmly (as hard as you can push is just fine) so that the accumulated liquid rises above the level of the cabbage. If there’s not enough liquid, add a little salt water (1 T. salt : 1 c. water) until the water is comfortably above the cabbage.
  4. Place the plate and then the weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged. Please explore your creative side in this endeavor!
  5. Cover the whole situation with a tea towel to keep unwelcome guests out.
  6. Leave it in a cool, indoor location.
  7. Check on it every day or so, pressing the weight down and checking that the cabbage is submerged.
  8. You may see mold or scum on the surface, which is normal and perfectly fine. You can skim it off as you see it, or leave it where it is.
  9. Check the flavor after 5ish days. Whenever it has just the right flavor for you, scoop it out and store it in the fridge. Or you can leave it to ferment at room temperature for 3-4 weeks if you wish.
  10. Use the old kraut juice to start your next batch!

Hey, thanks for reading, y’all, and let me know what you think!

Shub

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Posted in: farmers market