Onions

Onion (Allium cepa)

The onion is a native of west-central Asia has been cultivated since prehistoric times. They were believed to have curative powers by the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Egyptians. Indeed, onions, garlic and chickpeas reportedly made up the bulk of the food ration given to the 100,000 laborers of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Onions' internal layers were considered a symbol of eternity-an idea espoused by Russian architects, who constructed onion-shaped towers hoping to ensure that the buildings would stand forever. Onions are high in vitamin C.

Storage Tips:

 

  • Bulb onions will store for several months in a cool, dry ventilated place. Warmth and moisture will cause sprouting.
  • Store onion in the refrigerator in an air-tight container to avoid transference of flavors to other foods.
  • Store chives or scallions wrapped in a damp towel or plastic bag in hydrator drawer of fridge for 2-3 days.

Parsnip

Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa)
 

Parsnips are native to Europe and western Asia. They have been cultivated for their yellowish, carrot-shaped roots since the time of the ancient Greeks. Parsnips were introduced to North America at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and their use spread rapidly among Native Americans. Now, the vegetable gets as many quizzical looks as absolute raves. Their taste is best only after the frost, so we wait until the bitter end to harvest these. If you are unfamiliar with them, wash, peel them, steam them, and mash them for an amazingly sweet, distinctive taste. Parsnips are rich in vitamin C.

If you are unfamiliar with them, wash them, peel them, steam them, and mash them for an amazingly sweet, distinctive taste.

Storage Tips:

 

  • Trim off parnsips tops and refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag for up to two weeks.
  • For longer term storage, bury in moist sand and keep in a very cool but not freezing location.
  • Parsnips may be frozen. Blanch 1" chuncks for 2-3 minutes. Run under cold water. Drain and pack into airtight containers. Parnisp puree freezes well also.

Peas

Peas (pisum sativum)

Peas are most certainly a seasonal treat! Savor them fresh while they last! Peas are as ancient a cultivated food as wheat, barley, and garlic. They have been found in famous excavations dating back to 7000 and 10,000 PC. Perhaps originating in northern India, peas moved to the Near East, the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the British Isles, and England.

Peas have much to offer nutritionally. They are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and the Bs. They are also high in the minerals iron, potassium, and phosphorus. All of this in a high protein, high carbohydrate, high fiber package!

Storage Tips:

Snow, snap, or shelling peas:

Clean peas in cold water and remove stems (or pods for shelling peas). Place into pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from water and immediately place in cold clean water for 2 minutes. When peas feel cooler remove from water. Shake out water. Place into plastic bag, twist, suck out excess air, twist-tie, and put in the freezer.

When you go to use these in the middle of winter, thaw in the morning to use at night. Slow thawing helps to keep them from getting too mushy. One pint-sized bag of frozen peas will be enough for a meal for 1 - 3 people.

Potato

Potato (Solanum tuberosum)

Potatoes are the fourth most important crop in the world (after rice, wheat, and maize). They were domesticated in Peru some 10,000 years ago, and were a staple of the Andean diet. These ancient Peruvians grew hundreds of varieties of potatoes-sweet, bitter, red, blue-which were baked, boiled, and even eaten for dessert. Now, in America, 65% of the potatoes we grow are used to make processed products-potato chips, French fries, hash browns, etc. Potatoes plus milk make a complete protein-which is why the crop has historically been so important to the world's poor. In America they are a leading source of vitamin C, and are also rich in potassium, niacin, iron, and B6.

 

Storage Tips:

You may find that you get too many potatoes to eat in one week - no problem. Just keep them in a paper bag, in a dry and cool (40 F) part of the house - the garage is good until it freezes at night, then the basement is usually good - away from the furnace.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin (cucurbita pepo)

Cultivation of the cucumber dates back 9,000 years ago to its native regions in South and Central America. Naturalized to the eastern United States, the Native American tribes in the New England area cultivated pumpkins and other squashes as staples of their diet long before the arrival of the Europeans.

Pumpkins are an important winter vegetable for the seasonal eater, providing the greatest vitamin A of all common fruit and vegetables. They are also high in iron, potassium, and phosphorus. They offer excellent nutrition as well!

Storage Tips:

 

  • Store pumpkins in a cool, dry place. Pumpkins will last at room temperature for several weeks, and at 40-50 degrees for several months. Do not refrigerate unless cut open.
  • Pumpkin may be cooked, pureed, and packed into airtight containers and frozen for later use in soups or baked goods.

Radish

Radish (Raphanus sativa)

Radishes come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors besides our common round, red radish. In Eastern Europe and Russia, black radishes are commonly mixed into various dishes. The daikon radish of East Asia is grated and eaten raw, cooked into soups and stews, and pickled.

At the farm, we also grow a "watermelon" or "meat" radish which is white/green on the outside and pink on the inside.

Rutabaga

Rutabaga (Brassica napobrassica)

The rutabaga is a relatively modern vegetable that resulted from a cross between a Swedish turnip and a cabbage. The rutabaga's flesh is yellowish, and it's taste is milder than that of the turnip.

Storage Tips:

 

  • Rutabaga will store adequately at room temperature for up to one week, or refrigerated in plastic bag or hydrator drawer for up to one month
  • For longer term storage, rutabagas may be packed in moist sand and kept in a cool but not freezing location

Salad Greens

Salad Greens

 

A salad mix can be as specific and as satisfying as your grandmother's favorite dish, and the components of a salad mix are as variable as your imagination allows. Chicory, mustard, cress, endive, mizuna, kale, dandelion, arugula, tatsoi; plus your choice of lettuce(s) are all options to experiment with. Even some of our "favorite" farm weeds taste great in a salad; like purslane and amaranth.

Storage Tips:

This mix will have to be lightly washed before eating to ensure that it has no grit in it. Leave it out to dry (or put it through a salad spinner) if you plan to store it in the refrigerator for more than a couple of days.

Spinach

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

Spinach hails from southwestern Asia; it was given to China as a gift from Nepal in the first years of the T'ang Dynasty (early seventh century A.D.). Spinach spread slowly, finally reaching Europe with the invading Moors. It was popular on the Continent because it grew well in the early spring, when other fresh vegetables are still scarce. Popeye (who made his cartoon appearance in 1929) inspired a 33% increase in spinach consumption among children. Indeed, it is rich in beta-carotene, calcium, folacin, and various minerals.

Storage Tips:

 

  • Store spinach in a damp towel or plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • For longer term storage, spinach may be frozen. Blanch for 1-2 minutes, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain well and pack into airtight containers, such as zip-lock freezer bags.

Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers (Capsicum annuum)

Red, yellow, purple, orange, green, and black. Pimento, cubanelle, bell, banana, and mango. Peppers come in so many shapes and sizes that it's hard to keep track of them all. And, did you know-that all bell peppers are green at first, and we often pick and enjoy these "unripe" fruit. If left on their plants, peppers ripen into their different colors. Though sweet peppers originally hailed from the Americas, they are very important exports of the Netherlands and Hungary as well. Sweet peppers are a good source of vitamin C, and those that turn red are also high in beta carotene.

 

Storage Tips:

  • Refrigerate peppers in hydrator drawer unwashed for 1-2 weeks

     
  • Freezing sweet peppers is as easy as cleaning them, dicing them, and putting them in the freezer.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato (Solanum tuberosum)

Potatoes are the fourth most important crop in the world (after rice, wheat, and maize). They were domesticated in Peru some 10,000 years ago, and were a staple of the Andean diet. These ancient Peruvians grew hundreds of varieties of potatoes-sweet, bitter, red, blue-which were baked, boiled, and even eaten for dessert. Now, in America, 65% of the potatoes we grow are used to make processed products-potato chips, French fries, hash browns, etc. Potatoes plus milk make a complete protein-which is why the crop has historically been so important to the world's poor. In America they are a leading source of vitamin C, and are also rich in potassium, niacin, iron, and B6.

 

Storage Tips:

  • You may find that you get too many potatoes to eat in one week - no problem. Just keep them in a paper bag, in a dry and cool (40 F) part of the house - the garage is good until it freezes at night, then the basement is usually good - away from the furnace.

Tomatillo

Tomatillo (Physalis Ixocarpa)



Tomatillos are native to Central and South America, where they have been cultivated for centuries--even before the first tomatoes! Tomatillos, or 'husk tomatoes' as they're sometimes called, are important vegetables in authentic Mexican cuisine. Tomatillos are ready to harvest when they have filled out their papery shell--or just after they've fallen.

 

Storage Tips:

  • Store at room temperature, with husks on, for up to 2 weeks.
  • For longer storage, refrigerate in husks-but not in a plastic bag.

Turnip

Turnip (Brassica rapa)

Turnips, which apparently hail from Asia Minor, were eaten by hunter-gatherers millennia before they were cultivated. They can grow in poor soil, and are so cheap to cultivate that they have often been grown for animal feed. The roots can be baked, fried, boiled, and added to soups and stews. Turnip greens are quite popular in Europe, Eastern Asia, and the southern United States. Consumed by American slaves, turnip greens have become a vital component of the cuisine known as "soul food."

 

Storage Tips:

  • You can store turnips in a root cellar, moist sand, or the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator

Vitamin Green

Vitamin Green (Brassica rapa, Narinosa group)

Vitamin green is a tender stemmed cooking green with dark green leaves. It is free of the mustard flavor common to most brassica greens. Perfect for soup, stif-fry or any light cooking.

 

Storage Tips:

  • Store vitamin green in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer in the refrigerator.
  • Store for up to one week. Leaves will lose integrity and wilt if allowed to dry out.

Watermelon

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

 

Watermelons were originally domesticated in central and southern Africa where they served as an important water source in arid regions.  Watermelons are about 92% water and 6% sugar by weight.  They are rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and red varieties contain lycopene.

Brookfield Farm grows three different type of melons: Crimson Sweet (red), Sunshine (yellow), and New Orchid (orange).  We pick our melons ripe so any melon that comes with your share is ready to eat.

Storage Tips:

  • Melons will keep for a week or so if kept cool and uncut.
  • Once cut open, melons should be eaten within a few days

Winter Squash

Winter Squash (Cucurbita moshata and maxima)

Squashes are American natives and were cultivated to serve various purposes. Native Americans ate the shoots, leaves, flowers, and seeds of winter squash, and preserved the flesh in syrup. The yellow and orange flesh of winter squash is rich in beta-carotene. It contains goodly amounts of folacin and vitamin C as well.

 

Storage Tips:

  • If you do get squash that you don't want to use this week, you can store it by keeping it in a dry place that is as close to 50 F as possible. Under a bed in a back room, in the garage, or in a dry basement. Keep it away from moisture and all should be well for 4 - 5 months at least.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Zucchini is a summer squash that, like all squashes, descended from native related species originating in South America but is believed to have been developed in Italy. Zucchini has been popularized throughout North America most likely by Italian immigrants, their descendants, and their famous cuisine.



Summer squash is approximately 94% water, very low in calories, and a great source of vitamin A, C, potassium, and calcium.

Storage Tips:

 

  • Zucchini dehydrates quickly. Store in plastic bag in hydrator drawer of the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Damaged or bruised zucchini will deteriorate very quickly.
  • Cooked, pureed zucchini can be frozen in airtight containers for a great winter soup. You can also grate zucchini and freeze for use in breads and muffins.

Arugula

ArugulaBunch.jpg

Arugula (Eruca sativa)

a.k.a. "rocket," is a native of Europe and western Asia. It is a cruciferous plant; whose leaves resemble those of the radish and provide tender, slightly bitter, mustard-flavored greens for salads and then some.

Arugula is full of vitamins A and C and-like many greens-provides much iron and calcium as well.

Storage Tips:

 

  • Arugula is best used fresh.
  • You can keep arugula for a few days in the refrigerator. Wash arugula, let it dry (use a colander or spinner).
  • Place in a plastic bag and into the crisper drawer in the fridge.
  • A paper towel in the bag helps to keep excess moisture to a minimum as well.