June 15th CSA Share Contents:
Share items may be subject to change.
Preserving Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are one of the easiest things to preserve. You can’t preserve tender lettuce, but hardier greens like Swiss chard and kale lend themselves perfectly to freezing. Here’s how to prepare hardy cooking greens so they’ll keep for later use.
- Rinse them..use cold water so they don’t wilt, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly. You can give them a rough chop if you’d like at this point, which will make them easier to work with later on.
- Blanch them… Bring a large pot of water to a boil—no need to salt it as you would for pasta, or for actual cooking. You’re just taking the raw edge off. Once the water’s boiling, add the clean greens and use tongs or a spoon to submerge them completely underwater. The water temperature will drop, so be sure to keep it at a boil by covering the pot or turning up the heat. Let the greens swim around in the boiling water for about 30 seconds.
- Shock ‘Em…Using tongs or a wire spider strainer, transfer the greens to a large bowl or pot of ice water. This should be cold, cold, cold—plain tap water won’t do. The near-freezing water will stop the greens from overcooking, and help them retain their vibrant green color. Let them swim around in the cold water, adding more ice as necessary, for two to three minutes.
- Squeeze ‘Em…Drain the water and ice, and gather the greens in your hands. Squeeze out as much water as possible—really put some muscle into it. Excess water will freeze, coating the greens with ice crystals that will degrade the flavor and texture as they sit in the fridge. It will take a few rounds of squeezing, so consider it your arm workout for the day.
- Pack ‘Em Tightly…Once the greens are pliable but dry, pack them very tightly into baseball-sized spheres, as if you were packing wet snow into a snowball. They’ll stick together thanks to the dampness, but try not to manhandle them too much.
- Freeze ‘Em…Space the balls of kale, chard, etc., out evenly on a sheet pan, maintaining their shape but not allowing them to touch. Cover the pan tightly with a sheet of plastic wrap; this will keep them from collecting ice crystals. Place it in the freezer for one to two hours, until the greens have frozen partially. Doing this rather then dumping them all in a bag will ensure that they stay separate and don’t form into one big lump. This is helpful when you remove them from the freezer at a later date; you can just take out as many or as few as you need.
- Package ‘Em…Once the greens have frozen partially, transfer them to heavy plastic bag; remove as much air as possible when you seal it. Store in the freezer, and remove the balls as needed. The balls are perfectly sized, so you never have to thaw an entire package (and waste half of it) again.
The Benefits of Bok Choy
Bok choy — also called Chinese white cabbage, pak choy and white mustard choy — is a mild, versatile vegetable with crunchy white stalks and tender, dark green leaves. It’s related to but not the same as Chinese cabbage. Its delicate flavor and texture benefit from bright Asian flavors.
The large bok choy resembles a bunch of wide-stalked, non-ribbed celery with long full leaves. Baby bok choy is a smaller version of this. Whatever variety you use, choose bunches with firm, white stalks topped with crispy green leaves. It should be refrigerated airtight for no longer than three to four days.
Bok Choy is very versatile. It’s used raw in a salad that will perk up any simple meal; stir-fried as a vegetable with red onion, a wonderful bed for grilled fish or served as a side with fish, meat or poultry; and then stir-fried in a medley of beef and broccoli served over steaming white rice.
If you’re lucky enough to grow or find hon-tsai-tai — yellow-flowering bok choy — these flowers can be sprinkled over the salad and the stir-fries as a colorful, tasty garnish.
Bok choy is one of the popular very low calorie leafy vegetables. Nonetheless, it is a very rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health-benefiting anti-oxidants.
100 g of bok choy carries just 13 calories. It is one of the recommended vegetables in the weight reduction programs falling under “zero calorie or negative calorie” category of food items, which when eaten would add no extra calories into the body but facilitate calorie burn and thereby reduction of body weight.
As in other Brassica family vegetables, bok choy too contains certain anti-oxidant plant chemicals such as thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Together with dietary fiber and vitamins, these compounds help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
Fresh bok choy is an excellent source of water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin-C. 100 g provides 45 mg or 75 % of daily requirements of vitamin C. Just 100 g of fresh Bok choy leaves provide 149% of daily-required levels vitamin A.
Bok Choy is a very good source of vitamin K. Vitamin-K has a potential role in the bone metabolism by promoting osteo-trophic activity inside bone cells. Vitamin-K also has been found to have an established role in curing Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
Fresh bok choy is vital source of B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Finally, this leafy vegetable is a moderate source of minerals, particularly calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium. Potassium is an important electrolyte inside the cells and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.
Bok Choy is a healthy versatile alternative veggie that can be easily incorporated into any family meal plan!!
Recipes To Try With This Share
- 1/2 pound artichoke heart, chopped
- ½ pound spinach, chopped
- 2 pkg cream cheese, softened, 8 oz each
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 ½ cup mozzarella, shredded (set aside ½ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish (1 ½ qt size) and top with reserve ½ cup mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
- 1 pound green beans, cut to 3” pieces
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Feta Cheese
In a frying pan melt butter and saute garlic, pepper, and green onions about 1 minute. Add green beans to pan and saute for approximately 3- 5 minutes just until they start to get tender. Sprinkle feta cheese overtop and serve. Optional grilling combine all into foil packets, sprinkle with cheese and serve.
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ginger, ground
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 pounds bok choy, split lengthways
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan combine all ingredients except bok choy. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce is syrupy, about 20 minutes. Toss bok choy with sauce and grill about 2 minutes per side. Salt and pepper to taste.
Stir Fry Sauce of the Week: Teriyaki Stir Fry
- ½ c Soy Sauce
- ¼ c sugar
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 ½ Tbsp flour
- 1 ½ tsp minced garlic
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together well. As an alternative use as a marinate, or brush on while grilling for a nice glaze.
- Beef or Chicken
- Great for grilling
- Add a bit of honey to sweeten more if necessary