Aley Chubeza #317, December 12th-14th 2016

‘Tis the season for the renewal of wonderful products to add to your boxes. This week we introduce the delectable dates of Neot Smadar. 

neot-smadarThe southern-situated Kibbutz Neot Smadar is home to a large, diverse organic farm with fruits, vegetables, herbs, a goat herd and a vineyard. In addition, the kibbutz members operate a vineyard, olive press, an olive grove and a dairy where they produce various organic products from their farm.

This is a short clip about the Kibbutz’s agricultural farm and its various production sectors

The kibbutz also created a fruit cultivation center where they produce date honey, date delicacies, jams, juices, nectars, dried fruit rolls, organic sweets and dried fruits, all primarily based on the homegrown fruit in the area. From this week, the Chubeza family can order excellent organic date honey (100% dates of course, no sugar or any additives) and health bars (truly healthy, comprised of fruit and grains, free of sugar or other additives), delivered in your boxes.

Order via our order system

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The “Derech Hashatil” nursery is a small nursery in Shoham specializing in organic vegetable plants, working with the Shekel non-profit organization and employing only special-needs individuals. In their hothouse, the nursery produces excellent quality organic plants for your vegetable patch, placing top priority on the quality and health of the plants.

This winter they are now offering a planting kit for a winter vegetable garden containing an impressive selection of 60 winter plants: white and red cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, arugula, dill, scallion, parsley, coriander, lettuce, bok choy and more. The price of this kit is only 56 NIS. More details can be found here.

derech-hashtil-erka

What a perfect opportunity to grow your own crops while supporting great people and partnerships. Please place your orders by emailing us. We will collate all the orders for the nursery and send you your winter garden kit in the very near future.

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Sliding Doors

The apple season has come to an end, and Tomer and Chamutal will be taking a break from preparing apple juice from Kibbutz Tzuba’s orchards, in their small factory in the Jerusalem hills. Their delicious cider, fruit jams and apple vinegar are preserved and will remain available throughout the winter. But we bid farewell to the fresh juice.

However, the calving season at the “Iza Pziza” Goat Farm is at its peak, and back comes fresh goat’s milk. By next week, we will also have labane spread and fresh yogurt. The rest of the products will gradually return. Welcome back!

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Reminding you that we now have a new sprout grower: Udi from Moshav Achituv, who has been grnevatim-harvestowing organic sprouts over the past four years under the label “Udi’s Sprouts“. From one tray of broccoli sprouts, he gradually grew to become a supplier of fresh sprouts to fine organic farms and health stores throughout the country. Among his products: kale sprouts, mustard sprouts, broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower, wheatgrass, sprout mix and more.

Here’s to sowing and reaping every day, with great love!
Udi’s Sprouts are available in packages of 1/2 liter (10 NIS) or 1 1/4 liter (18 NIS). Check out the entire assortment in our order system.

nevatim-packages-edited

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The Power of the Flower

This week we will continue to tell cauliflower tales, beginning with praise for its health and nutritional values. As a member of the Cruciferae family, cauliflower is packed with cancer-fighting components (along with its relatives the green and purple cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, rashad, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes). The primary anti-cancer elements they contain are sulforaphane and an indole compound.

Interestingly, sulforaphane is produced in the vegetables only when they are cut or bitten into, i.e., when an animal consumes them. Sulforaphane is an efficient antioxidant, but it also raises the level of certain protective enzymes in the body which act as “policemen” that capture the cancer-causing elements and send them into the bloodstream to be washed out of the body. These enzymes are also excellent antioxidants, and unlike regular antioxidants, they are not consumed while they work.

The indole compound in cauliflower and its fellow Cruciferae family members protects against breast cancer by influencing the estrogen hormone, although in various forms this hormone can actually encourage the development of breast cancer. Yet, on the one hand the indole compound activates the production of less active estrogen, the kind that does not encourage breast cancer, while on the other hand it reduces the production of a more harmful estrogen type. In order to reduce the threat of cancer, it is recommended to consume at least 2-3 weekly servings of vegetables from the Cruciferae family.

In addition to the photochemicals it shares with its powerful family, the cauliflower contains other photochemicals such as phytosterols and glucaric acids that contribute to the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood. Another cholesterol fighter comes from the dietary fibers so rich in the cauliflower, which aid digestion and prevent constipation as well as slowing down the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from food. Of course, we cannot forget the venerable Vitamin C! One hundred grams of cooked cauliflower contain half of the daily-recommended portion of vitamin C.

The Cruciferae family has another connection to cancer prevention, one that is unique because it once again indicates why nature is so much more complex than simplified classifications of “good” “bad” “useful” and “harmful.” A perfect example is one of the family’s most famous pests: the cabbage butterfly. The female butterfly lays her eggs on the Cruciferae plants, and hungry caterpillars feed from the leaves of this prevalent family. They also swallow very spicy matter found in the leaves (mustard glycocids) and isolate it in their bodies. When the caterpillar grows, it uses this matter as a defense mechanism: if attacked by a predator insect, the caterpillar secretes concentrated glycocids which cause an irritation in the mouth, esophagus and stomach of the attacker. When it is pupated, the cabbage butterfly defends itself using an interesting toxin: pierison. This toxin destroys cells by breaking their DNA. All the cells die and renew themselves, except for cancerous cells. Research has indicated that pierison caused nine types of cancerous cells to “commit suicide.” Thus indirectly, by hosting the caterpillar that tortures it and eats its leaves, the martyred Cruciferae family takes an important role in battling cancer.

The cauliflower we know and love is white, and I told you how much effort we put into keeping it that way. But there are also cauliflowers that come in such diverse colors as purple, orange (rich in beta carotene) and green:

cauliflower in colors

And a weird-looking variety as well, bearing a resemblance to a UFO:

cauliflower romanesco

Despite their different shapes and florescent colors, these cauliflower varieties are not the product of genetic engineering. They were developed in the traditional method of selecting plants of various types and crossing them with plants of other types until a colorful one is produced. Creation of this kind of species usually takes years, even decades. The result is amazing, even somewhat psychedelic. There are those who shy away from the vivid “unnatural” colors (which remain even after cooking, by the way); others delight in adding impressive new hues to the dinner table.

It is recommended to store any type of cauliflower in the refrigerator, wrapped in an unsealed plastic bag (the sulphur needs to escape, otherwise the cauliflower is tainted and rots), with the stem downwards in order to prevent moisture accumulation on the inflorescence. Stored correctly, cauliflowers can keep for two to three weeks, but are tastiest during the first several days. Afterwards the sweetness subsides.

Wishing you a great wintery week, with thirst-quenching showers. May you weather the storm well!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/bok choy/mizuna, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, beets/fennel/green bell peppers, sweet potatoes, cucumbers/Dutch cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli/cabbage, daikon/ radishes/turnips, tomatoes, carrots/Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes/pumpkin.

Large box, in addition: Cauliflower/kohlrabi, celery/celeriac, scallions.

Wednesday: Beets/fennel/kohlrabi, broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, cucumber/red bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes/pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bok choy/mizuna, daikon/ radishes/turnips, carrots/Jerusalem artichokes.

Large box, in addition: Garden peas/snow peas/scallions, celeriac, parsley

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, sprouts, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, apple juice, cider and jams, dates silan and healthy snacks 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!

 

Aley Chubeza #316, December 5th-7th 2016

The month of festive lights began with saturating, healing showers and some happy news: an invitation from Iza Pziza for a Chanuka visit, and the arrival of  a new sprout grower to join Chubeza’s circle of associates – Udi from Moshav Achituv.

Here are the details:

Iza Pziza Invites YOU!

iza-pziza-gdiJust like the Hanukah candles, we get a new young goat every day!

Here, the holiday has already commenced, and the goat families are growing… Our Iza Pziza was so excited that she bore 5 sweet little kids – an all-time record…

We cordially invite one and all to come to visit with your families. All ages are welcome to enjoy an unforgettable experience: a Circassian cheese-making workshop, very easy to prepare at home, along with a tour of our pen, petting and feeding the goats, and of course, a chance to personally welcome our new baby goats.

At the end of the workshop (1.5 hours), we will spoil you with a taste of our dairy’s delectable cheeses and yogurts. Each family will receive their own cheese recipe and certificate of participation, including a special a discount on our dairy orders and cheese-making equipment.

You’re welcome to stay and hang out at the nice warm Visitor’s Center, before or after the workshop, and enjoy a meal of goat cheeses, breads, dips and vegetables, and coffee/tea or wine. We also have a cheese delicatessen and a beautiful boutique store where you can purchase great delicacies for your home: goat cheeses, jams, olive oil, honey, dips and more.

When are we open? Every day of Hanukah (and school vacation) between 8:30-16:30 (closed on Shabbat)
When do the workshops take place? Every day of the Hanukah vacation, at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00
Advance Registration: Register in advance by phoning or  08-6102876 or  052-2589900 or e-mail  izapzizadairy@gmail.com. Pay upon arrival.
Fee: 36 NIS per participant. No charge for children under age 3. Cash or credit.
How do we get there? Put in עיזה פזיזה in your WAZE app, or head out to Moshav Tal Shachar. Just before the gate to the moshav, turn left towards the Dor Alon gas station, and follow the signs to our parking lot.
How do we contact you? 08-6102876, 052-2589900, izapzizadairy@gmail.com, or via our website www.izapzizadairy.com. Please like us on Facebbok: עיזה פזיזה מחלבת עיזים

We look forward to seeing you! Happy Hanukah greetings to all!
The Iza Pziza crew – Meshek Tzaban, Moshav Tal Shachar

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Welcome, New Sprouter! 
Introducing Udi, and his special message:

nevatim-harvestHi, I’m Udi from Moshav Achituv. Over the past four years I have been growing organic sprouts under the label “Udi’s Sprouts.” We started with one tray of broccoli sprouts, and have now grown to the point where we supply fresh sprouts to fine organic farms and health stores throughout the country. Among our products: kale sprouts, mustard sprouts, broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower, wheatgrass, sprout mix and more.

Here’s to sowing and reaping every day!
With great love,
Udi N’vatim

Udi’s Sprouts are available in packages of 1/2 liter (10 NIS) or 1 1/4 liter (18 NIS). Check out the entire assortment in our order system.

nevatim-packages-edited

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No wallflower

In the past, I only remembered her at the end of winter, after she had been visiting in your boxes diligently, modestly, quietly. This year, I finally decided to treat her with the respect she deserves and make her the star of a two-part Newsletter to continue next week. Because there’s so much to say about her, and she’ll be with us for awhile, all through winter.

Ladies and gentlemen: may I present:

12-dec-cauliflower-small

THE CAULIFLOWER

Her name indicates familial relations: the flower of cabbage (Caulis in Latin), and rightfully so. Apparently, cauliflower was developed from the wild cabbage during the Roman Empire somewhere  in the Mediterranean Basin (Greece/Italy/Turkey–it is unclear exactly where). From there it traveled to European countries, the Middle East, India and China. When I say “developed,” I mean developed by human beings, almost like a modern agricultural start-up, only much, much slower. Some of the most incredible changes in the field of species development didn’t occur as part of a budgeted, constructed research, but rather due to the very simple act of collecting and saving seeds from the plants favored by the farmer and preferring them over seeds from lesser-loved plants. This simple act of propagating one plant and not another had a tremendous influence on the improvement and evolution of a given specie or crop.  Long before man understood the genetics of plants, his actions caused slow, small changes in the cultivars that accumulated with time, yielding genuine results.

The cauliflower and broccoli owe their lives to the farmers (or perhaps the farmers’ wives and children who were growing bored with cabbage quiche) who developed a craving for the undeveloped flower buds of the cabbage. They chose the plants that produced large blossom heads, producing seeds from these plants which they then planted the next season. And this was how cauliflower and broccoli were born, both different variations of an embryonic florescence of cabbage. The proper name of the cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster” (broccoli, developed in Italy, received the title var. italica).

cauliflower

In the case of cauliflower, like broccoli, we actually eat the immature flower curd composed of densely clustered flower buds and stalks that thickened and became meaty. As the cauliflower grows, this head is surrounded by a dense circle of leaves that close themselves and cover it, similar to cabbage. The inner leaves bend a bit inwardly, protecting the developing cauliflower and preventing sunrays from penetrating, thus blocking the production of chlorophyll and retaining its white color. This is why when we farmers select a variety of cauliflower, we give preference to choosing one whose leaves close well over the inflorescence. Sometimes, when the farmer notices that the leaves are not doing their job, he or she walks through the field and ties the outward leaves with a rubber band so that they cover the cauliflower and protect it from the sun. Unlike broccoli, which develops additional heads on its side after the main head is harvested, the cauliflower only produces one, in the center of the plant, and does not continue to yield after this single harvest. Usually the cauliflower is picked when it reaches its maximum size, still maintaining its density and solidity (or when we notice the leaves beginning to open, threatening cauliflower “sunburn”). If we leave it in the field, the inflorescence will begin opening and separating, preparing for the blossoming of  tiny yellow flowers, like a great big bouquet.

cauliflower-seeding

When I wrote about the cauliflower a few years ago, I received an email from Eitan of Tel Aviv: “I beg to differ over one thing. I have been raising cauliflowers for two years in a row. I did not pull out last year’s plants, and sure enough, they bloomed this year as well. In addition, the cauliflower produced many branches that yielded a nice crop of cauliflowers. I pick the heads but do not pull out the plant.”

Eitan’s words reminded me that I did indeed read about the cauliflower’s ability to produce two years in a row if it is not uprooted, but because I was not experienced with this (as farmers, it is not recommended to leave vegetables for the next year because this usually reduces crop size), I asked Eitan for full details on the second-year cauliflowers. This was his response: “The cauliflower is smaller in the second year, but still tastes sweet. The advantage is that in the second year, a bunch of cauliflowers emerge. Branches extend from the bottom part of the plant, looking like cauliflower transplants from the nursery, and the inflorescence starts there. Since I have a small garden, the cauliflowers were watered over summer, but did not bloom, although I covered them with a 50% shade net. In any case, there was no evident change in the cauliflower over the summer. I recommend that whoever has enough space should leave the cauliflower and broccoli to grow a second year. These plants are bi-annuals. By the way, the broccoli, too, remained from last year, and it continues to supply me with very handsome “baby broccolis.”

So for the farmers among you, try this at home (in your garden). Keep the cauliflowers growing a second year, protect them in the summer from radiation and heat, and tell us how this works. Thank you, Eitan!

Like the rest of her Brassicaceaes family, the cauliflower consumes a great deal of nitrogen. For this reason, it’s important to grow cauliflowers in fertile soil, fortified with compost, and precede its planting with the growth of legumes or “green manure” that enrich the ground with nitrogen. Following a crop of cauliflower and other Brassicaceaes, we try to grow only cultivars that require less nitrogen and can deal well with the earth that must recover from the previous high level of nitrogen consumption. The gourd family (pumpkins) that grows in springtime and summertime, after the Brassicaceaes season, are a good example of a “crop rotation” after the Brassicaceaes.

Cauliflower grows in cool seasons. We used to plant it over two rounds, once in autumn (September- November) and then at the end of wintertime/beginning of springtime (February- April). But after some experimenting, we realized the cauliflower is happiest in our field during wintertime. The autumn and winter cauliflowers yielded beautiful plants, whereas the February harvests had a hard time growing, became too hard, was attacked by insects, got blotched with stains, and didn’t really thrive. On the other hand, we learned to bring up the planting to August, and over the past few years we have begun planting cauliflowers continuously from August to December. In August, we plant species that do well in the heat and from September we plant winter species.

Tune in next week for More About Cauliflower!

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Meanwhile, it’s time for some special greetings:

On Monday, December 5th, our Thai workers celebrated The King’s Birthday, which began in honor of the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, “Rama IX,” who died just two months ago. We wish all of our workers a great holiday!

And, for two members of the Chubeza family:

*Mazal tov to Muhamed on his 51st birthday! May you enjoy long, happy years to come, blessed with family, happiness, and fulfillment. Best wishes from us all!

*Mazal tov to our super-translator Aliza on her 21 ½ birthday (on each side). A Chubeza wish for a year of sunshine, gentle breezes, nourishment, growth, and beauty!

Wishing all of you a sunny, lovely week and a great winter to come!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/parsley/dill, kale/Swiss chard, beets/turnips/fennel, sweet potatoes, cucumbers/Dutch cucumbers, cauliflower, arugula/lettuce/bok choy, daikon/baby radishes, tomatoes, carrots/potatoes. Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichokes/pumpkin.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli/cabbage, Thai lubia/peas/green bell peppers/eggplant, New Zealand spinach/winter spinach, celery/celeriac.

Wednesday: Pac choi/lettuce/mizuna, turnip/fennel/beets, cauliflower/kohlrabi, Swiss chard/kale, cucumbers/Dutch cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots/potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsley/arugula, radish/small radish/daikon. Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichokes/pumpkin.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli/cabbage, Thai lubia/peas/green onions, New Zealand spinach/winter spinach, celery/celeriac.

 

in the meantime, enjoying the winter showers and the sunny days that follow…

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

Aley Chubeza #273, December 28th-30th – bye bye 2015

This week marks the end of December as well as 2015.  At the end of this week we will be charging your cards for this month’s purchases and will update your bill on our order system by the end of next week. Make note that this month had five Wednesdays, so your bills will most likely be higher than usual. 

You may view your billing history in our Internet-based order system. It’s easy. Simply click the tab “דוח הזמנות ותשלומים” where the history of your payments and purchases is clearly displayed. Please make sure the bill is correct, or let us know of any necessary revisions. At the bottom of the bill, the words  סה”כ לתשלום: 0 (total due: 0) should appear. If there is any number other than zero, this means we were unable to bill your card and would appreciate your contacting us. We always have our hands full, and we depend on you to inform us. Our thanks!

Reminder: The billing is two-part: one bill for vegetables & fruits you purchased over the past month (the produce that does not include VAT. The title of that bill is תוצרת אורגני, “organic produce”). The second part is the bill for delivery and other purchases. (This bill does include VAT. The title of the bill is “delivery and other products.”)

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 A Family Tale

Last week we experienced the sudden loss of my father-in-law, Shlomo. Shlomo was a man of many faces, but most prominent were his tenacity and determination to always stand by the decisions he made, patiently, diligently and over many years, stemming from faith in himself and in the power of small steps in order to make that great leap towards the final goal.

His death made me think a lot about differences and development, learning how much patience, time and slow rhythmic pace must be devoted to the changes we undergo as human beings, specifically those dealing with repair: growth, opening up, connecting and healing. It seems so often that destructive actions are fast and immediate, while building and repairing require placing stone upon stone, moment by moment, demanding diligence and perseverance as well as faith and hope.

These thoughts brought to my mind a newsletter I wrote a decade ago about the beloved Brasiccae family that is in our boxes throughout the entire winter. It dealt with the transformations that the Brasiccae underwent over many years, thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers. So here is The Brasiccae Newsletter, in an End-of-2015 version:

Every once in a while, we hear about the scientific creation of a new vegetable or other edible plant. It’s possible that the pace of change is much faster now than in the past, yet even in the distant, primitive past, farmers constantly refined their crops. Actually, many of the most amazing changes in species development came not as a result of structured research, but rather out of the simple act of a farmer’s choosing and collecting seeds from the plants he favored over seeds from less-desired plants. This straightforward action of promoting one plant over another had a huge effect on the improvement and change of a specific harvest or species. Long before man understood the genetics of plants, his actions caused small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they brought about actual results.

The Brassicaceae family (or “cabbage family”) is a perfect example. All family members derive from one wild plant, the brassica oleracea, which originated in the Mediterranean area and resembles the canola in appearance. At some point after the plant was domesticated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the biggest leaves. As a result, those leaves became bigger and bigger, eventually creating the plant we now know as kale or collard. Kale’s botanical name is var. acephala, translating to “a headless cabbage.”

Others preferred plants that produced small, denser and more delicate leaves in the center of the plant at the head of the stem, hence advancing plants with those characteristics. Over the seasons, the process of compacting became more and more prominent in those plants. Over the years, it grew and evolved into a real “head of leaves” which we call cabbage. Its actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time, in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short and thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, in choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, caused the former cabbage to alter its greatly-thickened stem. This turned into kohlrabi, which earned the name var. caulorapa, meaning “a stem turnip.”

Over the past thousand years, man also developed a passion for the undeveloped flower buds of the cabbage, and chose the plants that produced large-bloom heads. This is how we got cauliflower and broccoli, both different variations of an undeveloped cabbage plant. The cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. The broccoli, which was developed in Italy, earned the title var. italica.

And, as for the last member of this extended family: we each have our own taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assembly of dense leaves along the stems. They chose and re-chose plants that produced this sort of leaf shape, and thus brought the world Brussels sprouts, titled var. germmifera “the cabbage with gems.”

In summary, this long, winding familial tale demonstrates that without a systematic education in genetics or plant propagation, but via a simple process of seed selection and a lot of patience, more than six distinctive vegetables have developed over the past 7000 years. It happens in the best of families. 

Wishing us all a week of wonder and variety, of stubbornness, faith and determination.

Enjoy the dry sunny days till the blessed rain returns, hopefully soon!

We wish you all a happy new 2016 year!

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

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WHAT’S JOINING THE BRASICCAE FAMILY IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Broccoli, coriander/parsley/dill, tomatoes, Chinese cabbage/lettuce, fennel/daikon/red radishes, kale/spinach/ Swiss chard,  cucumbers, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage/cauliflower. Small boxes only: celery stalk/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi, arugula/red mizuna/totsoi, beets, Jerusalem artichokes.

Wednesday: red/yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, cilantro/parsley/dill, Swiss chard/spinach/kale, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce/Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, beets/daikon/turnips, cabbage/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichoke, fennel, celery/celeriac

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products 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!

 

“Rumanian Kohlrabi Soup – from the book “The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook-Healthy Traditions from Around the World by Debra Wasserman

Rumanian Kohlrabi Soup

Ingredients:
2 kohlrabies, peeled and chopped
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Small onion, peeled and thinly chopped
½ c. dill, finely chopped
½ c. parsley, finely chopped
2 T. oil
½ t. thyme or basil
salt and pepper
1 T. cornflower
11 cups water
½ c. lemon juice
425 gm. tomato paste

Preparation:
–   In a large pot, sauté kohlrabi, cauliflower, carrot, onion, dill and parsley at medium-high heat for around 5 minutes. Season.
–   Dilute cornflower in a cup of water and add. Add 10 more cups of water and bring to boil. Lower flame and cook covered for an additional 30 minutes.
–   Add lemon juice and tomato paste, and continue cooking on low heat for an additional 15 minutes

Aley Chubeza #237, March 2nd-4th 2015

In honor of Purim, Melissa of Mipri Yadeha is offering delectable Scrolls of Esther fashioned from fruit-leather. These Purim delights come in an array of flavors and are packaged majestically.

You can add them to your order via our internet order system, at only 10 NIS per scroll.

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The Power of the Flower

This week we will continue to tell cauliflower tales, beginning with praise for its health and nutritional values. As a member of the Cruciferae family, cauliflower is packed with cancer-fighting components (along with its relatives the green and purple cabbage, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, rashad, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes). The primary anti-cancer elements are sulforaphane and an  indole compound.

Interestingly, sulforaphane is produced in the vegetables only when they are cut or bitten into, i.e., when an animal consumes them. Sulforaphane is an efficient antioxidant, but it also raises the level of certain protective enzymes in the body, which act as “policemen” that capture the cancer-causing elements and send them into the bloodstream to be washed out of the body. These enzymes are also excellent antioxidants, and unlike regular antioxidants, they are not consumed while they work. The indole compound in the cauliflower and its relatives protects against breast cancer by influencing the estrogen hormone (in various forms this hormone can actually encourage the development of breast cancer). On the one hand, the indole compound activates the production of less active estrogen, the kind that does not encourage breast cancer, while on the other hand it reduces the production of a more harmful estrogen type. In order to reduce the threat of cancer, it is recommended to consume at least 2-3 weekly servings of vegetables from the Cruciferae family.

In addition to the photochemicals it shares with its powerful family, the cauliflower contains other photochemicals such as phytosterols and glucaric acids that contribute to the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood. Another cholesterol fighter comes from the dietary fibers so rich in the cauliflower, which aid digestion and prevent constipation as well as slowing down the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from food. Of course, we cannot forget the venerable Vitamin C! One hundred grams of cooked cauliflower contain half of the daily-recommended portion of vitamin C.

The Cruciferae family has another connection to cancer prevention, one that is unique because it once again indicates why nature is so much more complex than simplified classifications of “good” “bad” “useful” and “harmful.” A perfect example is one of the family’s most famous pests: the cabbage butterfly. The female butterfly lays her eggs on the Cruciferae plants, and hungry caterpillars feed from the leaves of this prevalent family. They also swallow very spicy matter found in the leaves (mustard glycocids) and isolate it in their bodies. When the caterpillar grows, it uses this matter as a defense mechanism: if attacked by a predator insect, the caterpillar secretes concentrated glycocids which cause an irritation in the mouth, esophagus and stomach of the attacker. When it is pupated, the cabbage butterfly defends itself using an interesting toxin: pierison. This toxin destroys cells by breaking their DNA. All the cells die and renew themselves, except for cancerous cells. Research has indicated that pierison caused nine types of cancerous cells to “commit suicide.” Thus, indirectly, by hosting the caterpillar that tortures it and eats its leaves, the martyred Cruciferae family takes an important role in battling cancer.

The cauliflower we know and love is white, and I told you how much effort we put into keeping it that way. But there are cauliflowers that come in such varying colors as purple, orange (rich in beta carotene) and green:

And a weird-looking variety as well, bearing a resemblance to a UFO:

Despite their different shapes and florescent colors, these cauliflower varieties are not the  product of genetic engineering. I grew such cauliflowers in an organic field in California. They were developed in the traditional breeding method of selecting plants of various types and crossing them with plants of other types until a colorful one is produced. Creation of this kind of species usually takes years, even decades. The result is amazing (somewhat psychedelic). There are those who shy away from the stark “unnatural” colors (which remain even after cooking, by the way); others delight in adding impressive new hues to the dinner table.

It is recommended to store any type of cauliflower in the refrigerator, wrapped in an unsealed plastic bag (the sulphur needs to escape, otherwise the cauliflower is tainted and rots), with the stem downwards in order to prevent accumulation of moisture on the inflorescence. Stored correctly, cauliflowers can keep for two to three weeks, but are tastiest during the first several days. Afterwards the sweetness subsides.

This week we bid farewell-for-now to Maya as she takes a break in preparation of her upcoming birth. Yochai, my brother and our Jerusalem delivery person, will fill in for her and assist Dror in the office. Thank you, Maya, and looking forward to good news. And welcome, Yochai!

Wishing you a great, sunny week (other than the pesky raindrops always there to challenge Tuesday’s Purim costumes…)

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

* In season and in your boxes is lemon thyme (AKA citrus thyme). it is great as herbal tea and also to flavor cakes and sweets, but you can definitely use as an herb for cooking, here are some examples:

Potatoes with lemon thyme

More recipes ideas and some info about lemon thyme

Basically, in any recipe that calls for lemon and thyme can use the lemon thyme for the thyme ingredient.

Monday: Scallions, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, fennel/kohlrabi, broccoli, cucumbers, parsley/coriander/lemon thyme, “baby” greens/lettuce, cauliflower/cabbage. Small boxes only: Garden peas/fava beans.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/green garlic, carrots, beets, artichoke/radishes

Wednesday: peas/fava beans, scalions, kale/spinach/Swiss chard, tomatoes, carrots/potatoes, lettuce, fennel/radish, cucumbers, broccoli, parsley/cilantro/lemon thyme, parsley root/celeriac.

Large box, in addition: leek/green garlic, beets, cabbage/cauliflower

And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers: flour, fruits, honey, dates, almonds, garbanzo beans, crackers, probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, bakery products, pomegranate juice 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!