Given how hot it has been and how little is growing in my own garden right now, I was totally surprised and impressed by such a variety of new produce in this week’s share. Sweet Sungold tomatoes, wax peppers, okra, and that big beautiful butternut squash—my favorite versatile vegetable.
I’m fantasizing about a recipe similar to this one, which makes a vegetable stew with this week’s butternut squash, eggplant, wax peppers, sweet onions, and okra. But I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
In the meantime, I’ve from so many of you about how you plan on using these vegetables in your meals. CSA member Summer Vinson says her family loves a simplified version of eggplant parmesan that is just tomato sauce baked over plain roasted eggplant. Lauren Klimetz says she has been roasting large batches of the peppers that have accumulated in her crisper to make roasted pepper soup, which she freezes. Will has told me that his favorite use for eggplant is simple, fried eggplant slices made into an EBT (Eggplant, Basil, and Tomato) sandwich. "Simple" is the mantra of one of the farm stand employees, who told me that in her opinion it’s hard to improve upon oven-roasted, cubed butternut squash sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. I can’t disagree there.
What have you been cooking with your share? Let me know at nativesonproduce [at] gmail [dot] com.
What’s My Share?
- butternut squash
- sweet onions
- quart of Juliet or Campari tomatoes
- quart of banana peppers
- pint of Sungold tomatoes
Store in a cook, dry place for up to six months—that’s right, six months! The seeds, when baked and seasoned, make a tasty snack. Probably the trickiest thing about butternut squash is how not to cut yourself while preparing it. Here’s is a very thorough tutorial about how to seed, slice and prepare it without injury.
Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Use within a couple of days. Do not wash until ready to use. To control okra’s potential for sliminess, use a quick cooking methods—sautéeing, grilling, frying —and cook with plenty of acid—vinegar, citrus juice, tomatoes—to keep it crunchy. If you prefer the “softer” side of okra, gumbo uses okra’s “slime factor” to its advantage to thicken the stew and add complexity and body to its flavor.
Store in the fridge in a paper bag, between sheets of paper towels, for up to five days. These mild, sweet peppers are great pickled, roasted, stir-fried, stuffed, baked in casseroles, and sliced up for salads and sandwiches. In my family, we often just eat them raw, as a tasty afternoon snack.
Like all tomatoes, store on the counter, away from direct sunlight and wash before eating. These tiny, sweet, fruity tomatoes don’t last long in my house, where they are called “sugar tomatoes.” My kids snack not hem by the handful—while they last.