How to Turn a CSA Share into Meals – Part 1

This year has been the first full calendar year that my husband and I have lived together in one place for an entire year.  This isn’t really ground-breaking news since we’ve only been married for about 15 months.  Knowing we would be in one place for an entire year allowed us to join a community supported agriculture farm, aka a CSA.

It still almost didn’t happen.  The first farm I contacted was sold out for the year.  Then I got an email from the Center for a Livable Future about the CSAs they participate in as a drop off point.  I looked up the farm, found a really convenient pick up location, and sent in our check!  Every week we now receive a half share of organic fruits and vegetables from One Straw Farm.

Being a part of the CSA means that my husband and I are essentially shareholders who receive fruits and vegetables as our dividends instead of money.  From our experience this has been mostly good.

Pros:

  • Fewer items on the grocery list
  • I know it’s all organic, even the watermelon!
  • Exposure to new vegetables I hadn’t heard of before
  • Guaranteed variety

Cons:

  • Harder to plan meals in advance*
  • What in the world is a kohlrabi?
  • How many different kinds of greens are there??

*For some this might not be a big deal because they don’t plan meals in advance anyways.  For others, this could be a deal breaker.   I have chosen to view it as a new an interesting challenge.  Each week I am confronted by an unknown army of vegetable adversaries who dare me to dice, saute, steam, bake, or blend them into something new and delicious.  Lucky for me my husband is mostly ok with being subjected to these battles and we all survive unscathed.   And we know know the difference between mustard greens, kale, dinosaur kale, chard, rainbow chard, beet greens, and turnip greens.

This week’s CSA share looks like this: butternut squash, sweet potatoes, corn (for popping, I believe?), green peppers, red onions, and a kohlrabi.

 

Kohlrabi.  Also known as a German turnip, this is a relative of cabbage, and a test tube baby in that it has been bred by artificial selection.  It’s taste is something between broccoli and cabbage, which makes sense because they are all cousins.  (All of this learned from Wikipedia).

This is a vegetable that were it not for the CSA, would likely never have appeared in my fridge, much less my dining table.  After some light internet research, I decided the safest bet was a slaw.  I actually can’t recall the inspirational recipes that I referenced, but I’m pretty sure what I ended up with didn’t actually closely resemble any of them, so I don’t feel I’m breaking any copyright laws here.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1-2 apples  (I had one good one and one half rotten)
  • 1 baby red onion (see the photo)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup black beans
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
For the dressing:
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (mine happened to be lemon flavored…)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or ~1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Shred or finely julienne the kohlrabi and the apples.  Thinly slice the red onion.  I did all of these on a mandolin, which saved lots of time!  Add the seeds, beans, and dried cranberries.

2. In a small bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid, combine all the dressing ingredients.  Whisk or shake until they are all incorporated.  (The mustard forces the oil and vinegar to combine without separating again.  I add mustard to all salad dressings since I learned this.)

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss or stir until coated.  The orange juice in the dressing will help prevent the apples from browning, so make sure they are coated.

This makes a delicious lunch and lasts in the fridge much longer than a regular lettuce salad.

What’s the weirdest fruit or vegetable you have ever worked with?  And what should I do with the second kohlrabi in my fridge right now?

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