Week 3 of CSA Summer 2016
June 22nd CSA Share Contents:
Share items may be subject to change.
Summer Sweets: Strawberries
Fresh summer strawberries are one of the most popular, refreshing and healthy treats on the planet. Wild strawberries have been popular since ancient Roman times and were used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes such as alleviating inflammation, fever, kidney stones, bad breath, gout and more.
Today there are over 600 varieties of strawberries. The sweet, slightly tart berries rank among the top 10 fruits and vegetables in antioxidant capacity. Their deep, rich hue supplies their high flavonoid content, a topic of research in many studies supporting the health benefits attained by consuming strawberries on a regular basis.
The flavonoid quercetin, contained in strawberries, is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in animal studies.
Strawberries are a low glycemic index food and high in fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable by avoiding extreme highs and lows. Strawberries are a smart fruit choice for diabetics, as they have a lower glycemic index than many other fruits do.
Folate may also help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. Excess homocysteine interferes with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate not only mood, but sleep and appetite as well.
Picking fresh strawberries is also a great way to get outside and enjoy some family time. There are pick your own patches all over. Some local places to look would be Jolivettes in West Salem and Comstock in Black River Falls. There is nothing sweeter than a “just picked” berry!
The Superfood: Kale
The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around. Although it can be found in markets throughout the year, it is in season from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste and is more widely available.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. It is easy to grow and can grow in colder temperatures where a light frost will produce especially sweet kale leaves. There are several varieties of kale; these include curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance. The scientific name for kale is Brassica oleracea.
Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and one way to be sure to enjoy the maximum nutrition and flavor from kale is to cook it properly. We recommend Healthy Steaming kale for 5 minutes. To ensure quick and even cooking cut the leaves into 1/2″ slices and the stems into 1/4″ lengths. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting qualities before steaming.
Recipes To Try With This Share
Warm Kale Tomato Dip
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeded as desired
- 3 lg ripe tomatoes (about 1 -1 1/2 lb) chopped
- 1 pound ( 2 bunches) kale, chopped
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp each salt and black pepper
In large skillet heat oil and cook onion and jalapeno about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cook another 10 minutes. Add kale, lemon juice, salt and pepper. (add up to ¼ cup water if needed) Saute until kale is tender, about 10 more minutes. Serve with flatbread, garlic toast, or cornbread.
Creamy Chard Pasta
- 1 bundle chard (10 ounces)
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ C chopped onion
- ½ C milk
- ½ C sour cream
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed (or 2 tsp dry garlic minced)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 ounces (dry) angel hair pasta, cooked to package directions.
Rinse and chop chard, using both stalk and leave. Heat oil in large skillet, add chard, garlic, and onions, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add remaining ingredients except pasta, and heat through. Toss with cooked pasta and top with Parmesan or Romano and serve hot.
** Amazing to make leftover chicken a brand new meal! Add shrimp or scallops with the garlic for a delicious and easy seafood dinner. Serve with tasty herb or hard bread.
Spring Rolled Meatloaf (click for step-by-step instructions)
- 2 lb ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices toast, cubed
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 1 C chopped greens (kale, collards, spinach)
- 1 C mozzarella, swiss, provolone, ect
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine beef, eggs, and toast. On a large piece of wax paper, roll the meat mixture to a 1 inch thick slab, as wide as your pan and as long as possible. Spread the chopped onions, greens, and shredded cheese over the meat. Using the wax paper roll up the meat to a loaf and drop into your pan. Bake covered for 35 minutes and uncovered for 10.
LEFTOVERS: slice cold loaf into patties and reheat for burgers.
GRILLING: Flash freeze in the wax paper for 20 minutes. Slice raw loaf into patties and grill for beautiful pinwheel burgers!
VARIETY: add peppers, mushrooms, olives, whatever you like!
Stir Fry Sauce of the Week: Sweet ‘n Sour
- 1 C Chicken Broth
- ½ c Soy Sauce
- ½ C Cider Vinegar
- ¼ c brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cornstarch
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together well. Heat well. Use an additional tsp of starch to thicken if desired. Double or triple the recipe and refrigerate in a mason jar for up to 2 weeks for future use.