April 8th-10th 2019 – A Family Matter

No deliveries on Chol Hamoed, so you will not be receiving your vegetables on Monday, April 22 and Wednesday, April 24. But… if the vegetables don’t come to you, you can come to them!

On Wednesday, April 24, don’t miss our traditional Pesach Open Day in the field between 2pm-6pm. Stay tuned for more details!

_______________________________

Many of the excellent products available through our Order System to be added to your boxes are Kosher for Pesach, including: honey, olive oil, spices, dates, tahi-na, date honey, gluten-free crackers and even some of Dani and Galit’s cookies. Contact us for further details.

________________________________

All-of-a-Kind Family

After this blessedly abundant winter (which is most probably not over yet….), the whole world is blooming around us. However busy you may be these days, it’s worth taking advantage of any small break from your chores to step outside, breathe in all of the amazing “green” that abounds, and take in the remarkable blossoming that covers our surroundings. This is also the very short time of year when two members of the Cistus (commonly known as Rockrose) family bloom at the same time: the Sage-Leaved Rockrose with its smooth white blossom and early rising, and the Soft-Hairy Rockrose blooming in a wrinkled pink flower several weeks after its brother. I love the legend about the two Rockrose brothers being invited to a party. The Sage-Leaved Rockrose shaved, got dressed and arrived promptly at the party, while his less time-efficient Soft-Hairy brother threw on his clothes in such a rush that he slid into the party wearing a very wrinkled shirt. When he caught sight of his well-groomed brother, he blushed in shame…

When I tell my daughters this story, I usually end it by saying: this is what family is all about. Composed of people who are different from one another, each with his or her own way to live their lives and with their own unique perspectives. And hey, there’s room for everyone! In the family I come from, similar to the family I have raised with my partner, we each have very different opinions and traits, preferences and choices (including politics, of course). Obviously, this diversity is not always simple and demands patience and flexibility (specifically during elections….) but that’s the general idea – always keep your door and heart open to family.

Throughout this lavish winter, we have enjoyed many a visit from many a member of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Pesach celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much swifter than it once was, but 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 choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/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 wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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 cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest 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, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began 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, wo/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. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. 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 personal tastes, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

One last thing – a great tip from Jerusalemite Michal to the extended Chubeza family. Here it is in her words and photos:

I buy fresh garlic from Mahmud in Machane Yehuda, and he recommended I grind the green garlic leaves in a food processor with a metal blade, after removing the external and harder leaves. Add fresh lemon juice and a generous amount of olive oil. You can then freeze the mixture in small cubes or containers and defrost when desired. It’s perfect for cooking or baking fish and can be used with meat as a chimichurri-like spread.

Wishing us all a week of respect and concern for all members of Israeli society, in all their wonder and diversity.

Shavua Tov!

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

_____________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Beets/baby radishes, green garlic/leeks, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/chubeza (mallow)greens, parsley root/celeriac, fresh fava beans/peas, parsley/coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition:  Zucchini/turnips, cabbage/fennel/kohlrabi, carrots

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, Clementinot, apples.

Wednesday: Beets, green garlic/leeks, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale/Swiss chard/chubeza (mallow)greens, parsley root/celeriac, carrots, fresh fava beans, parsley/coriander/lettuce.

Large box, in addition:  Zucchini/peppers, cabbage/fennel/kohlrabi, turnip/baby radishes

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, avocadoes, Clementinot, apples.

November 26th-28th 2018 – The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

חוביזה פברואר 095

Eat Your Broccoli…

The Battle of the Broccoli fought between mother and child has been here from time immemorial. But it’s always interesting to note that fathers, too, have paid some attention to their children’s eating habits, even in days of old. Rumor actually has it that Drusus, son of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, loved broccoli so much that he ate broccoli and only broccoli for over a month. After his urine turned green and his father scolded him, Drusus was forced to take a sad leave of absence from his favorite veggie.

Romans have always been the most loyal and ancient broccoli consumers.  The vegetable’s name is derived from the Latin brachium, meaning branch or arm, which aptly describes the way broccoli flower heads branch out. Broccoli has resided in Italy from the 8th century BC, i.e. almost 3,000 years, but it actually originated in Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region. The Etruski (an ancient nation that hailed from Asia Minor and settled in Italy) farmers in Asia Minor raised crops from the Brassica family. We have no written history about them, which is why their culture and faith remain somewhat of a mystery to this day, save for several facts like their love for the Brassica family… The Etruskis bequeathed this affinity to all the nations in the region with whom they conducted commerce: the Greeks, Phoenicians, Sicilians, Corsicans, Sardinians, and of course the Romans, who immediately fell in love with broccoli and continued to develop its family.

In Roman cuisine, broccoli was a desirable gourmet platter, otherwise known as “the five green fingers of Jupiter.” However, the early broccoli varieties were leaner, forming less of a “head.” They were also purple and turned green in cooking. Over time, the Calabrese specie was developed, sporting a larger flower head, and remaining popular and widely grown to this day.

On the European continent, broccoli proliferation took more time. Only in the 16th century did broccoli stamp its passport at the French border upon entering with the prestigious entourage of Katherina De-Medici who emigrated to France to marry His Royal Highness Henry II. Turns out the French were not impressed with the green immigrant: the esteemed chefs must have turned up their noses, exclaiming (read with a pronounced French accent): “Shame on him, that Levantine greenhorn! No class whatsoever! All those green curls out of control! Mon Dieu!!”

Broccoli is in fact a plant that arrives at the beginning of its blossom, and we essentially eat the young flower buds. If you leave the broccoli growing peacefully in the field rather than harvesting it, it’ll actually bloom. His head will spread open, and yellow and white florets will bloom from the dense green buds we eat. The flavor of these florets is sweet and spicy, but the stalks are fibrous and hardly suitable for cooking and eating. Here’s an example of a broccoli that passed its prime and is about to blossom (thank you, Chana, for all these beautiful photos):

 חוביזה פברואר 044  חוביזה פברואר 045

Not all broccoli flower heads are suitable for eating. Here in the Middle East, it’s not common to eat broccoli leaves, but overseas in Italy or the Far East, for example, there are broccoli species grown for their greens, like Rapini broccoli or Chinese broccoli. Usually they are species which do not grow a dense scalp like the broccoli flower head we know, but rather bloom immediately, a gentle bloom, and their greens are harvested when they are young and tender. They are very popular additions to pasta or stir-fries. The mature broccoli greens are used in a similar way to kale. Their nutritional value is quite high, and they are rich in vitamins (A, B-complex, C) and minerals (iron and calcium). This week, indeed, some Chubeza boxes will contain broccoli greens as an alternative to kale, Swiss chard or spinach.

Meanwhile, back to our initial question: is it really so important to eat your broccoli? Once again, Mom (and maybe Dad) is right. Big time. Broccoli is rich in Vitamin A, i.e. beta carotene, evident in its strong green color, as well as folic acid, calcium (a cup of cooked broccoli is equivalent to the calcium value of half a cup of milk) iron (10% of your daily recommended consumption) absorbed in the body with the help of Vitamin C (one cup of broccoli equals one orange, Vitamin C-wise!).  In addition, broccoli contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

But aside from its nutritional value, broccoli is gaining recognition for its important contributions to good health. For one, broccoli lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Broccoli (as well as onion, carrot and cabbage) contains pectin fiber which binds to acids in the body, thus depositing more cholesterol in the liver and allowing less to be released into the bloodstream. Research has found that its effectiveness is equivalent to certain cholesterol-lowering medications. Broccoli is also rich in the mineral chromium which improves the function of insulin in adults who have a tendency towards type 1.5 diabetes.

And there’s more! It is common knowledge that certain members of the Cruciferae family, those responsible for the bitter flavor section of the family, are warriors in the cancer prevention battle. Recent research indicates that when chewing the plant, the Glucosinolates break down to important phytochemicals. Two have been particularly well researched: Indole and Sulforaphane. Both these compounds, which surface upon slicing, chewing or tearing apart the vegetable, have been found to delay the growth of cancerous stem cells. Their course of action is similar to other anti-cancerous components that are used clinically, by actively disturbing cell redistribution. Sulforaphane and Indole are even more prominent in broccoli sprouts. (While we’re on that subject, you can order broccoli sprouts and other excellent sprouts from Udi at Achituv via our order system).

The bitter (and spicy) characteristic of the broccoli and its relatives is also a result of the Glucosinolates, and more accurately – the mustard oil within it. These vegetables  most probably developed this feature as a form of self-defense: when a harmful creature or insect attempts to assault the vegetable plant by chewing, cutting or injuring it, one taste of the sharp, piquant flavor is enough to send the aggressor fleeing. Here’s one comic example of this kind of reaction from a common “human cub” in this hilarious flick. Fortunately, as we grow older, our taste buds develop the ability to deal with bitterness and even enjoy it (coffee, beer, broccoli…) Good thing, too, as broccoli and its family members are super vegetables that are tasty and healthy.

So as not to harm broccoli’s very valuable components, take care not to overcook. Though light cooking does have the advantage of making  more broccoli segments edible, it’s best to consume your broccoli raw, steamed or very lightly cooked (3-5 minutes). Check our recipe section (in Hebrew) for excellent broccoli salads.

Hey, listen to your mother sometime.

Tips

  • Broccoli fares well in the fridge. Store it there in a plastic bag to protect its nutritional value, especially the Vitamin C. Another possibility, albeit less popular, is to immerse the broccoli stalk in deep ice water (like a bouquet of flowers), covering the inflorescence with a loose plastic bag, and change the water daily.
  • Do not wash the broccoli before you refrigerate. Moisture will damage it.
  • When you cook/steam/lightly sauté the whole broccoli, begin with the stalks. They are harder and need more cooking time. Add the florets and leaves later (broccoli leaves are delicious and definitely worth a taste!).
  • Go easy on the cooking so the broccoli remains solid and its flavor is stronger. Best to steam, not to cook.

חוביזה פברואר 162

Wishing you a good week, with lots of good news and happiness. Enjoy that winter-lit sun with more satiating rainfall over the weekend! Inshalla!

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

__________________________________

WHAT’S JOINING THE BROCCOLI IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Potatoes/sweet potatoes, lettuce, kohlrabi/turnips/beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach/totsoi, arugula/coriander/parsley, Swiss chard/ kale. Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichokes/Thai yard-long beans. Special gift for all: mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Radishes/daikon, celery, cabbage/fennel, green bell peppers/eggplant.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocados, apples, oranges, clementinas.

Monday: Radishes/daikon, lettuce, kohlrabi/turnips/beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach/totsoi, dill/coriander/parsley, Swiss chard/ kale. Small boxes only: Jerusalem artichokes/Thai yard-long beans. Special gift for all: mizuna/arugula.

Large box, in addition: Potatoes/sweet potatoes, celery/celeriac, cabbage/fennel, green bell peppers/eggplant.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas/pomelo, kiwi, apples, clementinas.

 

April 23rd-25th 2018 – Pleasant surprises

A tale of nematodes and a bonus on our plates

Over the next weeks, we will be blessed with two unexpected guest stars – the cauliflower and some broccoli! Their tale this year is a nice one, for it originates with an attempt to find a solution to an altogether different problem and concludes with a very happy answer to a problem we thought we were never going to solve.

And thus it goes:

The cauliflower and broccoli are cousins, members of the wintery brassicae family. True, there are countries where winter prevails most of the year, and the brassicaes flourish accordingly, but in our warm Mid-Eastern land their season is very short. We try to stretch it as long as possible, which is why they are planted beneath shade nets as early as August, when winter is a faraway wish. Try as we may, we never succeeded in stretching their yield all the way to the other end of the season.

Year after year we attempted to grow them in April and May, with minimal luck. The yields were small and the vegetables sad… The cauliflower was a dreary purple and the broccoli turned up brown. Their message to us was clear: hey, we did our jobs over the cool season. Leave us alone already so we can rest!

So we did. Though we were itching to try again. Our friends Eyal and Einat from the Shorashim farm, excellent organic farmers who grow their crops in the “Ayanot” Youth Village by the sea, were able to grow cauliflower and broccoli all the way to June, thanks to the moderating effect of the ocean-side climate. And we wanted what they had! But after a few years, we had to give up. Realizing the great significance of each area’s microclimate, we understood that we needed to focus our efforts on yields that work well in our farm, and avoid what apparently does not suit our microclimate. So for some years now, the cauliflower and broccoli have ended their term at the end of March, and we pine away for them till the next winter blows in.

This year was not going to be any different. Until in one of our cultivation tunnels (growth structures covered with plastic in the wintertime and a shade net in summer,) we encountered a pesky nematode problem in our cucumber beds. On the surface, we saw cucumber bushes whose development had halted till they finally dried up and wilted, but the real battle scene was taking place underground upon the roots of the plants.

The nematode is in fact a huge and varied field in the kingdom of organisms. Humankind knows of over 28,000 types of nematodes out of an estimated one million species, most of which are yet unknown. The nematodes are microscopic threadlike worms (Nematoidea is Greek for threadlike) which live in the earth and water (in the ocean, sweet water and in intestines of animals and people). Many of the nematode species are in fact beneficial, such as carnivorous nematodes nourished by pest’s larva and eggs. Also, the tiny nematode motions in the earth contribute to its texture and help spread mycelium and other beneficial bacteria.

Within the nematode species known to man, there are some 16,000 parasites. The ones which head straight for our field are, of course, the vegetarian parasite nematodes. They reside within the earth and they have a proboscis/thin vessel which they insert into the roots of the plant. This is how they cling to the plant and nourish off its cells, damaging the absorption of its water, food and fertilizer. In addition, they are liable to bring about diseases and viruses which penetrate the wound created by the nematode, eventually killing the plant.

Conventional treatment of nematodes is by highly toxic pest control. In the past, it was methyl bromide, which is no longer used due to its high level of toxicity, and others were developed instead. Organic agriculture tries various solutions such as planting nematode-resistant varieties, using solar disinfection prior to planting (sometimes adding chicken fertilizer, which contains nitrogen that assists in fighting the nematodes) and biologic pest control using bacterium (baciluus firmus) that damages the nematodes. But the vegetarian critters, which reproduce rapidly and are never happy to leave, remain the worst pests.

And this is where the Brassicaceae’s come into the picture. Members of this family are able to cleanse the earth and purify it of diseases and fungi. It’s still unclear exactly how this process, termed “biological disinfection” or “biofumigation” occurs, but apparently when the green content of the Brassicaceae decomposes inside the earth with the help of enzymes, some volatile matter is released that is poisonous to pathogens and reduces them. In order to enjoy these advantages, you can combine the Brassicaceae in your seeding rounds and upon harvest, plow them under the earth, growing them as green-manure cover crops (i.e., without harvesting, but rather stuffing the whole plant into the soil) or even use the remains of plants that grew in a different bed and were plowed into the earth, in order to cleanse the earth before growing an exceptionally vulnerable crop.

This is a process that occurs naturally, as part of the amazing ability of nature to unbalance the balanced and stabilize conditions. It’s no wonder that we see mustard bushes taking over every available piece of earth. They must be in charge of cleaning, purifying and restoring the earth with its powers and living forces. As farmers, we know we do not work the way nature does. Farming is forever an artificial act forced upon the earth, and yet, as organic farmers we try to learn as much as we can from nature in how to tone down the extreme and restore some balance.

Which is why, after we encountered the cucumber-in-the- tunnel nematode problem, we decided to grow broccoli and cauliflower in the now-vacated soil. We didn’t expect to harvest them. They were there only because these were the only plants available in the gardening nursery (our emergency order consisted of 1,000 cauliflowers and 200 broccoli), and we wanted them to cleanse the earth in preparation for upcoming crops.

Okay, we admit, perhaps we were kindling a tiny spark of rebellion that still wished to attempt to grow these kind vegetables at the end of spring, hoping maybe in the tunnel they would succeed thanks to its protected, cleaner environment as well as the sunshade (which we put up at the beginning of March, when the heatwaves made their surprise appearance). So we planted the total cauliflower and broccoli order, watered them, and waited patiently.

Lo and behold, our emergency crops, the cauliflower and broccoli, grew from day to day and turned into beautiful bushes. We smiled inside, but were careful not to verbalize too much… But when tiny scalps began emerging, developing into baby cauliflowers and broccoli, our smiles expanded. And when the babies eventually turned into pretty heads in white or green, springy and fresh, we finally broke into our happy dance at the thought of placing them in your boxes at the end of spring, just before Lag B’omer. Joy!

So give the small bouquets of white and green in your boxes a hearty round of applause and thanks as they restore balance and inspire faith. Their leaves and stems will be chopped finely and inserted into the tunnel soil, patching up the balance and creating harmony within the earth. And as they deliciously decorate your plates, we hope they bring to your homes peace and tranquility, happiness, balance, and the potential of surprising and unexpected solutions to the seemingly impossible.

Wishing you a good week, full of pleasant surprises and the happiness of growth,

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

___________________________________________________

WHAT’S JOINING THE CAULIFLOWER & BROCCOLI IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Swiss chard/kale, fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce, cucumbers, leeks, tomatoes, parsley root/celery stalk, cauliflower/broccoli, zucchini, beets, cilantro/parsley/dill.

Large box, in addition: Carrots, onions, potatoes.

Wednesday: Swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers, leeks, tomatoes, parsley root/celery stalk, zucchini, beets, cilantro/parsley/dill, potatoes/cabbage, onions.

Large box, in addition: Carrots/fennel/kohlrabi, kale, cauliflower.

December 18th-20th 2017 – Once upon a long time span…

Iddo, our baker par excellence, has patiently and professionally developed a new gluten-free sourdough bread! This new guy on the (bread) block has aced great scores in top-level taste tests, a tribute to Iddo’s talents and his determination to reach the highest standards in product creation.

The new bread uses green buckwheat culture, millet and tapioca as its base, and contains teff flour, organic tapioca flour, organic green buckwheat flour, organic olive oil, salt, a trace sugar, yeast and xanthan gum.

Don’t wait! Add this super-bread today for delivery via our order system.

__________________________________________

The “Minhat Ha’aretz” flour grinders, firm believers in baking your own products for winter, hereby offer a very special deal for the next month. Over Tevet (beginning this week through the middle of January,) all local flours (whose seeds are grown in Israel) will be on sale, including: organic wheat flour, organic corn flour, organic chickpea and teff.

The discounted prices are updated in our order system. Enjoy your baking fiesta!

_______________________________________

All of a Kind Family

Now and over the upcoming weeks, it’s time to happily greet many members of Chubeza’s winter royalty: the Brasiccae’s. This diverse family runs the gamut of preferences and developments in plants: leaves, flower buds, and thickened stems. They all need fertile and fertilized earth, and in return they provide us with a heaping portion of health, nutrition and flavor. Not to mention beauty: take the cauliflower for example, with it shining white crown, or a purple or green rain-dotted head of cabbage, or Brussel sprouts which seem to be crawling up the stem to reach the top. This stunning pluralistic diversity is heartwarming – look at this family accepting each and every variation and tendency, manner of development, characteristic colors and precise flavor. With Hanukah celebrations upon us as we gather with our own varied family members, the Brasiccae family is worth a thought or two.

 

Granted, this branched-out developing took some time, during which each member of the family found the right rhythm to beat to. This happened mainly thanks to the curiosity and self-confidence of loyal farmers, during times when everything was much slower and patience was abundant (what other choice did they have?). Changes and developments were achieved by hard work and sweat of the brow, which perhaps led to a fuller, more significant satisfaction with the positive results.

Today’s pace of change and discovery is much speedier than it once was, but 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 choosing and collecting seeds from the plants s/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 wo/man understood the genetics of plants, their actions brought about small, slow variations in the crops, which compounded over time until they generated visible 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 cultivated, people began growing it for its leaves. Since they consumed the leaves, it made sense to choose the plants that produced the largest 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, whose actual title is var. capitata, meaning “a cabbage with a head.”

Around the same time in today’s Germany, farmers preferred short, thick-stemmed kale. They ate the actual stem, and gradually, by choosing plants with a tendency for thick stems, the former cabbage began 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, wo/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. Cauliflower is var. botrytis, meaning “cluster,” for its resemblance to a cluster of grapes. 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 individual taste, and apparently there were those (most probably the Belgians) who preferred plants that developed an assemblage 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. Small, everyday miracles. They happen in the best of families. 

A hearty mazal tov and best wishes for joy and happiness to Dror and Naomi as they greet their newest member of the family, a baby boy and a gift of Hanukah light.

Wishing us all a week of wonder and diversity, of faith, determination and patience.

And may the very near future bring us the blessing of rain!

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

_________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/totsoi, tomatoes, cauliflower, fennel/ baby radishes/daikon, beets, scallions/leeks, broccoli/snow peas, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: eggplant/ green bell peppers. Special gift for all: arugula/mizuna.

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, Swiss chard/spinach, Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, cabbage.

Wednesday: Coriander/dill, lettuce, cucumbers, kale/spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, fennel/kohlrabi, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/cabbage, eggplant/Jerusalem artichoke/carrots, celery/celeriac. Special gift: arugula/mizuna/totsoi.

Large box, in addition: Baby radishes/daikon/turnip, beets, Swiss chard.

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, raw probiotic foods, dried fruits and leathers, olive oil, sourdough breads, gluten free breads, granola, natural juices, cider and jams, apple vinegar, dates silan and healthy fruit snacks, ground coffee, tachini, honey candy, spices 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 #322, January 16th-18th 2017

Good news from the Additional Products department:

* Neot Smadar proudly introduces yummy new coconut-date and apricot-flavored health snacks.

* The Izza Pziza goat dairy is back at full production of their entire line of products: milk, labane, medium-hard and hard cheeses, yogurts in various flavors and Dulce de leche (“ribat chalav”)

To order these and our rich range of additional products, use our order system.

In good health and happiness!

______________________________________

Sharing a great tip I received from Arik and Galit from Tel Aviv. You certainly may try this at home:

batzal yarok bahalon

“We placed an onion in a cup on the windowsill, snipped off a green leaf for our salad every day, and lo and behold, it grows right back!

___________________________________________

Eat Your Broccoli…

The Battle of the Broccoli fought between mother and child goes back in time to ancient lore. But it’s always interesting to note that fathers, too, have paid some attention to their children’s eating habits, even in days of old. Rumor actually has it that Drusus, son of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, loved broccoli so much that he ate broccoli and only broccoli for over a month. After his urine turned green and his father scolded him, Drusus was forced to take a sad leave of absence from his favorite veggie.

חוביזה פברואר 095

Romans have always been the most loyal and ancient broccoli consumers.  The vegetable’s name is derived from the Latin brachium, meaning branch or arm, which accordingly describes the way broccoli flower heads branch out. Broccoli has resided in Italy from the 8th century BC, i.e., almost 3,000 years, but it actually originated from Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea region. The Etruski farmers (an ancient nation that hailed from the area of Asia Minor and settled in Italy) in Asia Minor grew crops from the Brassica family. We have no written history about them, which is why their culture and faith remain somewhat of a mystery to this day, save for several facts like their love for the Brassica family… The Etruskis bequeathed this love to all the nations in the area with whom they conducted commerce: the Greeks, Phoenicians, Sicilians, Corsicans, Sardinians, and of course the Romans, who immediately fell in love with broccoli and continued to develop its family. In Roman cuisine, broccoli was a desirable gourmet platter, otherwise known as “the five green fingers of Jupiter.” However, in the beginning, broccoli varieties were leaner, forming less of a “head.” They were also purple and turned green in cooking. Over time, the Calabrese specie was developed, sporting a larger flower head, and remaining popular and widely grown to this day.

On the European continent, broccoli proliferation took more time. Only in the 16th century did broccoli stamp its passport at the French border upon its entry with the prestigious entourage of Katherina De-Medici who emigrated to France in order to marry His Royal Highness Henry II. Turns out the French did not fancy the green immigrant. In France, the esteemed chefs must have turned up their noses, exclaiming (read with a pronounced French accent): “Shame on him, that Levantine greenhorn! No class whatsoever! All those green curls out of control! Mon Dieu!!”

Broccoli is in fact a plant that arrives at the beginning of its blossom, and we actually eat the young flower buds. If you were to leave the broccoli to grow peacefully in the field rather than harvesting it, it’ll actually bloom. His head will spread open, and yellow and white florets will bloom from the dense green buds we eat. The flavor of these florets is sweet and spicy, but the stalks are fibrous and hardly suitable for cooking and eating. Here’s an example of a broccoli that passed its prime and is about to blossom (thank you, Chana, for all these beautiful photos):

חוביזה פברואר 045   חוביזה פברואר 044

Not all broccoli flower heads are suitable for eating. Here in the Middle East, it’s not common to eat broccoli leaves, but overseas in Italy or the Far East, for example, there are broccoli species grown for their leaves, like Rapini broccoli or Chinese broccoli. Usually they are species which do not grow a dense scalp like the broccoli flower head we know, but rather bloom immediately, a gentle bloom, and their greens are harvested when they are young and tender. They are very popular additions to pasta or stir-fries. The mature broccoli greens are used in a similar way to kale. Their nutritional value is quite high, and they are rich in vitamins (A, B-complex, C) and minerals (iron and calcium). This week, indeed, some Chubeza boxes will contain broccoli greens.

And, back to our initial question: is it really so important to eat your broccoli? Once again, Mom (and maybe Dad) is right. Big time. Broccoli is rich in Vitamin A, i.e., beta carotene, evident in its strong green color, as well as folic acid, calcium (a cup of cooked broccoli is equivalent to the calcium value of half a cup of milk) iron (10% of your daily recommended consumption) absorbed in the body with the help of Vitamin C (one cup of broccoli equals one orange, Vitamin C-wise!).  In addition, broccoli contains Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

But aside from its nutritional value, broccoli is gaining recognition for its important contributions to good health. For one, broccoli lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Broccoli (as well as onion, carrot and cabbage) contains pectin fiber which binds to acids in the body, thus depositing more cholesterol in the liver and allowing less to be released into the bloodstream. Research has found that its effectiveness is equivalent to certain cholesterol-lowering medications. Broccoli is also rich in the mineral chromium which improves the function of insulin in adults who have a tendency towards type 1.5 diabetes.

In addition, it is common knowledge that members of the Cruciferae family are warriors in the cancer prevention battle. Recent research indicates that a chemical component in broccoli can prevent the expansion of cancer cells. The primary anti-cancer element is sulforaphane which, under laboratory conditions, was found to delay the growth of cancerous stem cells. Its course of action is similar to other anti-cancerous components that are used clinically, by actively disturbing the cell redistribution. Sulforaphane is even more prominent in broccoli sprouts (and while we’re on that subject, you can order broccoli sprouts and other excellent sprouts from Udi at Achituv via our order system).

So as not to harm the very valuable components of broccoli, take care not to overcook. Best to consume it raw, steamed or lightly cooked (3-5 minutes). Check our recipe section for excellent broccoli salads.

Hey, listen to your mother sometime.

Tips

  • Broccoli fares well in the fridge. Store it there in a plastic bag to protect its nutritional value, especially the Vitamin C. Another possibility, albeit less popular, is to immerse the broccoli stalk in deep ice water (like a bouquet of flowers), covering the inflorescence with a loose plastic bag, and change the water daily.
  • Do not wash the broccoli before you refrigerate. Moisture will damage it.
  • When you cook/steam/lightly sauté the whole broccoli, begin with the stalks. They are harder and need more cooking time. Add the florets and leaves later (broccoli leaves are delicious and definitely worth a taste!).
  • Go easy on the cooking so the broccoli remains solid and its flavor is stronger. Best to steam, not to cook.

חוביזה פברואר 162

Wishing you a good week, with lots of good news and happiness. Enjoy that winter-lit sun!

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

WHAT’S JOINING THE BROCCOLI IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, broccoli greens/kale/Swiss chard/spinach, fennel, cucumbers/bell peppers, cabbage/red cabbage/cauliflower, broccoli, fresh onions, tomatoes, carrots. Small boxes only: celery/celeriac, scallions/leeks

Large box, in addition: Kohlrabi, daikon, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, beets/snow peas, Jerusalem artichokes/ fava beans.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, fennel, cucumbers/bell peppers, cabbage/red cauliflower/broccoli, fresh onions, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/daikon, celery/celeriac, lettuce/arugula/mizuna/pac choi. Small boxes only: scallions/leeks

Large box, in addition: Jerusalem artichokes/ fava beans/cherry tomatoes, beets/snow peas, broccoli greens/kale/spinach, cabbage.

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!