November 13th-15th 2017 – A peppery tale

After our longing and pining away for them, the “Neot Smadar” health snacks have returned! Wonderful organic non-gluten delicacies, with no added sugar (sweetened with organic apple concentrate), these are ideal for dessert or for any time of the day or night.

 

The snacks contain a variety of organic nuts and seeds in the following flavors: date, coconut-date, apricot and plum. Each box contains four snacks

Yummy! Enjoy!

____________________________

A reminder: Beginning this week there is a new guy on the block who you can invite to join your veggies – Lechem Pele (Wonder Bread) – naturally leavened bread made from grains and legumes, gluten free! Moshav Hogla’s Shirley Rohel’s breads are super-delicious and filling, contain vegetal protein and a sourdough culture for leavening, and are handmade with no yeast, sugar or oil.

Why then are they “wonder breads”? Well, because they contain only gluten-free whole grains, sprouted legumes and flax, ground by millstone and kneaded and fermented in traditional ways. This amounts to nutritious, delicious bread, high in full vegetal protein, containing low glycemic-level dietary fibers.

Purchase Lechem Pele today via our order system.

________________________________

Derech HaShatil is a small nursery in Shoham that grows organic vegetable plants, working together with the Shekel Foundation, employing only people with special needs. In the hothouse, the nursery cultivates organic high-quality plants for vegetable gardens, fastidiously maintaining the plants’ quality and health.

As winter approaches, Derech HaShatil is offering a planting kit for your winter vegetable garden with an assortment of 45 organic plants: red cabbage, kohlrabi, New Zealand spinach, parsley, coriander, red lettuce, bok choi, arugula. Price: only 50 NIS!

What a great chance to help plants, food and people grow!

You can order this planting kit via an email message to Chubeza, or add it to your boxes beginning next week via our order system (under the category of “Chubeza Vegetables).”

______________________________________

Pecks of Pickled Peppers, Anyone?

The faithful peppers have been with us for a few good months by now. Each time, their starring Newsletter role is eclipsed by an account of an exotic or new or other exciting vegetable. Well, this week as an amazing array of multi-color peppers roll into your boxes, this is our cue to clear the stage for them. Here they are in full glory:

The pepper we know and eat in its sweet or spicy varieties, in red, yellow, green or orange (also available in purple, black and brown…) actually received its name by mistake. The word “pepper” originally referred to the pepper spice, and only later was lent to the chili and green pepper vegetables.

The black pepper spice (a member of the Piperaceae family, whose black, green or pink seeds—at various stages in the maturation—produce the savory black and white ground pepper condiment) originated in India, and its name is derived from the Sanskrit “Pipali.” Europe was already well-acquainted with pepper, as well as its relative, the Piper longum, which was also used as a very piquant spice. The name was translated via commerce into the Latin “Piper,” from there to the old English “Pipor,” German “Pfeffer,” French “poivre,” Dutch “peper,” and other languages. At the same time, the word was translated from Sanskrit to Persian to Aramaic, becoming known by the ancient Jewish sages as “Pilpelin” or “pilpelet.” Its spicy flavor became synonymous with a quick tongue and a sharp brain (thus, in Hebrew, a Talmudic – or other – discussion is termed hitpalpalut).

When Christopher Columbus attempted to discover a shortcut to the Indian spice route, he was unwilling be confounded by the fact that he found something totally different.  He bestowed the spicy vegetable he met in the Caribbean (from the Solanaceae family) the same name as the fiery Indian spice he had met, thus confusing the world forever after. There is absolutely no botanical connection between the two plants. Yet the American pepper was as spicy as the Indian one, and Columbus was a merchant and sophisticated marketing man who was hoping to sell it for a pretty penny in his mother continent, so he gave them the same name. In his journal, Columbus noted that “the pepper which the local Indians used as spice is more abundant and more valuable than either black or melegueta pepper.” His enthusiasm helped the spicy vegetable travel via Spanish and Portuguese maritime routes to Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and India, and of course, to Hungary, where the ground dried pepper became the national spice, aka paprika.

Soon enough, it was discovered that this spicy vegetable has a little sibling which tastes sweet (actually a bunch of sweet siblings), but the name was already given and would not be changed. So these were coined “sweet peppers.”

In Central America, the vegetable has a long and ancient history. Petrified peppers have been found in archeological digs in Central America dating back over 2000 years, and they appear in Peruvian embroidery relics from the first century. The Olmecs, Toltecins and Aztecs were only some of the cultures known to raise pepper and use it in culinary endeavors. Together with the spicy pepper types, the sweet varieties were brought to Europe. By the beginning of the 17th century, the Europeans discovered the rich variety of the peppers we know today, all raised and grown over the years by habitants of Central America.

Today there are hundreds of pepper varieties which span the taste gamut from sweet, bittersweet, and spicy to sweet-and-spicy, etc. There are also a host of combinations in their shape: large and elongated; square and bell-shaped, hence the name “bell pepper;” small, long and heart-shaped like the Spanish pimiento pepper; long and yellow like a banana, or tiny, like those used for pickling. And, of course, there are the hot ones, long and narrow, small and triangular, thin as a shoelace, and more. The colors also vary: they come in green, the original pepper shade, and then range in hue from light to dark green, but not only. When I worked in California, we grew a pepper that started out purple on the outside and green on the inside! As it ripens, the pepper changes shades, similar to the process the tomato undergoes where the level of sugar (or spiciness) is raised and it turns a warmer hue. The most popular peppers are the yellow, orange, and of course, red, but they also come in black and dark red! The sweet-and-spicy peppers are harvested at different stages of their growth – from the green to red stage, thus we get to enjoy a wide range of flavors and color.

  

In the past, we begin harvesting the peppers when they were still young and green. The pepper harvest is in fact a harvest and thinning out at the same time. As we harvest the green peppers, we pick from the denser parts of the bush to allow breathing space and growing room for the remaining vegetables. This year, the first ripening was scarce and diffused, thus we did not need to do any thinning and we did not harvest green peppers in the beginning of the season. Upon ripening, the green peppers start turning red, first one cheek, then the other, and slowly become completely blanketed under a cover of red. This process takes about three weeks. Now when we harvest peppers, we choose only the ones that are almost entirely red. At the end of the harvest there are still green and half-red peppers awaiting full blush, preparing for harvest.

The ripening process takes about three weeks. In warm temperatures, the reddening occurs faster and consecutively, similar to that of the tomato. But during these weeks, as the temperatures drop and the nights grow longer, peppers stay green for a longer while, which creates a perfect opportunity to deliver peppers in two different colors to you.

      

The hot pepper gets its powerful flavor from an organic compound called capsaicin. In fact, the spiciness has nothing to do with the taste buds, but rather to your sense of touch… This is not, in fact, a flavor but a burning sensation. The capsaicin works on the heat receptors in sensitive parts of your bodies, making the body respond as if it has been exposed to very high temperatures. The spiciness encourages sweating, which in turn encourages body cooling. Hence, the popularity of hot, spicy food in warm climates worldwide.

All peppers are very rich in Vitamin C, making them natural anti-aging agents which also fight to prevent heart and blood vessel ailments as well as different types of cancer. Peppers are vital for immune system function, and they improve intestinal iron absorption. Peppers also contain Vitamin A, an anti-oxidant which protects the body and cell tissues from oxidation, helps prevent cancer and heart and blood vessel diseases, and also contains the anti-aging component. Vitamin A promotes good night vision and is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, cells, tissue, mucoid and skin.

Red peppers also contain lycopene, considered a very powerful antioxidant. The green pepper contains chlorophyll, which assists in the healing of tissues and apparently contributes to protection from the cancerous material in red meat. This week, your boxes contain green, red and peppers yellow peppers as well.

To cook the pepper or not to cook? Like the tomato, the process of cooking reduces the level of vitamin C, but doubles the amount of lycopene in the red peppers, another very important anti-oxidant. Bottom line: both are fine.

Anxiously awaiting some rain, and wishing us all a pleasant autumn week,

Alon, Bat Ami, Dror, Yochai and the Chubeza team

_________________________________________________

 WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S GREEN BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, kale, tomatoes/cherry tomatoes, baby radishes/daikon/radishes, kohlrabi/fennel/beets, sweet potatoes, red/green bell peppers. Small boxes only: cabbage/carrots. And, a special gift: mizuna/ arugula/tatsoi.

Large box, in addition:  Yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichoke/eggplant, winter spinach, cabbage and also carrots.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, Swiss chard/kale, New Zealand spinach/winter spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, sweet potatoes/onions, red/green bell peppers. Small boxes only: baby radishes/daikon/radishes. And, a special gift: mizuna/ arugula/tatsoi.

Large box, in addition:  Yard-long beans/Jerusalem artichoke/okra, eggplant/beets, cabbage/broccoli, celery.

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy and goat dairy too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. On our order system there’s a detailed listing of the products and their cost, you can make an order online now!