February 11th-13th 2019 – The Onion: Nothing to Cry Over…

The Onion/ Wisława Szymborska

The onion, now that’s something else.
Its innards don’t exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a coverup
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there’s only onion
from its top to its toe,
onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity…

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh (A Large Number, 1976)

The onion is a fundamental vegetable in our kitchen, our culture and probably in human existence. We attribute it to having an inner essence cloaked in hiding, associate it with tears and sorrow, courage, audacity and eternal life. And on the other side of the onion – simplicity, the elementary basicness of the common people. Of course, the onion has no clue of this. He’s totally indifferent to the big fuss, absorbed in tending to his own growth, making every effort to just be… well, an onion…

One of the most ancient of cultivated plants, the humble onion originated in Western Asia. There is even evidence that it was raised in ancient Egypt. The Israelites craved it: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the … onions and garlic.” In ancient Egypt, onions received special treatment, posing as models in Egyptian art and serving as offerings for the gods, alongside being a basic staple of the common folk. For the Egyptians, the revered onion with its many layers represented eternal life, thus earning it a place in the tombs of the Pharaohs. (Archaeologists found traces of small onions in the eye sockets of Ramses IV.) In ancient times, a basket of onions was considered a popular, respectful funeral offering.

Conflict has always existed between the onion’s pungent odor and its taste. The aristocracy pinched their noses at the odor (but devoured the tasty onion nonetheless), while in India the Brahmins abstained as the common people consumed it greedily. Hammurabi’s Code notes a monthly allocation of onion and bread for the needy.  Alexander the Great viewed the sharp fumes of the onion as a sign of its power. An enthusiastic proponent of the “you-are-what-you-eat” school of warfare, he fed his warriors a steady diet of pungent onions to fortify their strength and courage.

Our very own national poet Hayim Nahman Bialik sings the onion’s praises in his famous composition Knight of Onions and Knight of Garlic, as being the ultimate element to spice up a meal.

onions-growing

In the very early days at Chubeza, we grew lots of onions in one round, but the endless weeding was traumatic to the system. When other complications piled in as well, namely battling the onion fly and futilely coaxing the seeds that simply would not yield, we entered several years of taking stock about the onion. Should we grow it or not? How much of it and when? Upon gaining some maturity and shedding some anxiety, we reached a level of confidence to slowly, systematically expand the rounds of onion planting. This year we were finally able to create a clear, consecutive schedule geared to enable us to grow onions nearly all year round.

We start planting and seeding the onion at the end of the summer. The first onion variety, Beit Alfa, is planted from bulbils (small onion bulbs) at the end of August/beginning of September. As the temperatures start to drop, we sow the Ori autumn variety, homemade seedlings we sow ourselves! As summer draws to a close, we sow a crowded “nursery” of Ori seeds and at the beginning of October we pull out the young seedlings and replant them in the spacious beds of their permanent homestead. In the middle of November, it’s time to sow the Shahar variety and conclude with the Orlando Summer variety, seeded at the end of January, harvested during summertime and scheduled to remain with us till the beginning of the following autumn.

This year we were not able to obtain the Beit Alfa bulbils to plant them at the end of summer, which created a great “no onion” gap from November. We are now pulling out the first of the Ori’s, planted at the beginning of October. These yummy onions are young and juicy, distributed to you fresh and moist, complete with their long green shoots for you to enjoy!

As you can see, some onions we plant and others we seed. The plants are actually more expensive to buy and require extra energy if prepared on our own, but they’re quite advantageous: they can be spaced accurately while planting, allowing the onion a better growth process and sparing us the task of thinning the crop. Planting eliminates certain difficulties of seeding, especially during wintertime when sprouting is harder and seeds can be whisked away by heavy showers. The plants also come in stronger to confront the onion fly, or rather Mrs. Onion Fly, who loves laying her eggs on the roots of the tiny bulbs. When the hungry onion maggots emerge, they nibble the little onions to death. However, once the onions are approximately pencil length, they are stiff enough to lose the attraction of the female flies. For this reason, the onion plants, which hit the pencil-length Finish Line much sooner, are preferable to their seeded comrades.

Still, in order to protect the gentle sprouts from these “femme fatale flies,” we cover all the new saplings sowed at the end of October till the end of January with thin white Agril covering, blocking the flies from reaching the baby bulbils and allowing the onions time to grow and strengthen. Once the plants reach the age where they can fend for themselves (i.e., pencil diameter), we remove the cover to give them some fresh air and direct sunlight, and then face the big bad outside world on their own.

Over the next few weeks you will be receiving onions – “heads and tails” included. Use them both! The fresh, moist onion is the same onion whose beautiful (and yummy) green leaves we have been ignoring over the past weeks, allowing them to dry on the field. We harvest the “to be dried” onions after they droop slightly, thus placing them in the field, covered from the sunlight, to dry up a little more. This process allows the liquid in the green leaves to descend into the onion bulb as the onion develops dry layers of peeling to keep it preserved for many months.

onion2.jpg

We do this in summertime as well, but this winter onion yield is harvested for you fresh and green. The onion bulb has almost no dry skin, and it is juicy and truly fresh, distinctive and wonderful. Another advantage is that it includes green leaves! So other than using its bulb in your cooking or sliced fresh into a salad (best ever!), use its leaves just as you would scallions. Though onion greens are thicker, they are absolutely delicious! Store fresh onions separately by removing the bulb and keeping as you would a dry onion. Then place the green leaves in a plastic bag and store them in the fridge, just like scallions.

In Knight of Onion and Knight of Garlic, upon conducting a thorough (and hilarious) inspection of this new foreign vegetable, one of the wise old men sums up its benefits saying:

The bitterness of its spiciness,
Spiciness of its bitterness
The softness within hardness
And hardness within softness
From the inner skin and the skin within.
Its fragrance is not cinnamon, flavor unlike cumin
Discharged from the radishes nor even arriving at horseradish
When the Mishkan is discussed
Its glory goes unmentioned.
Neither dry nor moist, cold nor hot
And in my opinion, though an expert I am not
It is good for stomach pain
Or back pain
Or any pain
Or …

(translation: Aliza Raz)

I fully agree.

The onion has always been a primary component in natural medicine. It is a good source of Vitamins C and B1, chromium and dietary fibers. The organosulfur compounds grant the onion very strong healing powers, as does the quercetin antioxidant. Here is a brief look at some of this fella’s therapeutic properties:

Diabetes: the onion’s organosulfur compound reduces the blood sugar level. It raises the level of insulin available to deliver glucose to the cells, thus lowering glucose level in the blood. The onion’s significant chromium content influences the stability of blood sugar levels (the body’s chromium level depletes as a result of eating processed sugar and white flower).

Heart disease: the onion’s chromium content contributes to the reduction of “bad” cholesterol and boosts the good cholesterol levels. The organosulfur compounds reduce the probability of heart disease, obstructions and cardiac arrest by preventing arteriosclerosis and lowering blood pressure. The onion simulates the action performed by aspirin, thinning the blood and dissolving blood clots.

Viruses and infections: the onion serves as a natural antibiotic to fight bacteria (such as bacilli, salmonella, E. coli and others), worms, viruses and the common cold. Onion is recommended to treat excess phlegm and coughing. It reduces the swelling of arthritis and decreases the potency of asthma-causing allergens.

Chronic ailments: the onion contains antioxidants which fight free radicals, thus lowering the risk of cancer by destroying cancerous cells. Among these components are various phytochemicals including quercitine, which reduces the risk of intestinal and ovarian cancer, as well as prostate cancer.

Osteoporosis and bone strengthening: the onion contains amino acid compounds (or GPCS) that prevent the development of cells which break down bone tissue.

More details of the onion’s components and their attributes can be found in this article by dietitian Merav Mor-Ophir, with some recipes (Hebrew).

Several old-fashioned onion remedies:

For phlegm and coughing: Chop an onion to small pieces and mix with two tablespoons honey. Let stand for two hours. The resulting liquid is an excellent antibiotic syrup to alleviate phlegm and hoarseness, and ease coughing and asthma. (Note: This syrup is potent for only one day!)

Pain killing and relief of chronic infections and swelling: Slice an onion, add some salt, and apply to the aching area in a compress.

To eliminate worms: Drink onion juice (the worms will flee for their lives…)

For earaches: Drip onion juice into the ear, mixed with olive oil or almond oil.

Some tips:

* Onions keep well outside the fridge in a cool, dry place. Ventilation is important. Ideally, they should be placed in a wicker or plastic basket.

* Many people store onions with potatoes, but this is not a great combination (for either vegetable). The potatoes contain moisture and emit a gas which expedites onion rotting.

* As mentioned, store both parts of the fresh onion separately:  cut off the greens just above the onion, store the onion as you would a dry onion and place the greens in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag, as you would store scallions.

To conclude, we are overjoyed to celebrate the birth of Yochai and Orin’s brand-new daughter, Nachal Edna, and wish them peaceful nights, gentle days and lots of hugs and quality time. Mazal Tov!

Wishing you all a week of health, rain showers and only good news,

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

_________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Snow peas or garden peas, celeriac/celery, cabbage/cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens/broccoli greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, potatoes, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke. Small boxes only: Fresh fava beans.

Large box, in addition: Fresh onions, turnips/beets, lettuce, parsley/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocadoes, pomelit, oranges, lemons.

Wednesday: Snow peas or garden peas/fava beans, cabbage/cauliflower, Swiss chard/kale/chubeza (mallow) greens/broccoli greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, potatoes, broccoli/Jerusalem artichoke, lettuce, turnips/beets.

Large box, in addition: Celeriac/celery, Fresh onions/leek, parsley/parsley root.

FRUIT BOXES:  Bananas, avocadoes, pomelit/clementines, oranges, lemons.

January 29th-31st 2018 – Happy Tu B’Shvat!

The Onion/ Wisława Szymborska

The onion, now that’s something else.
Its innards don’t exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a coverup
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there’s only onion
from its top to its toe,
onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity…

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh (A Large Number, 1976)

The onion is a fundamental vegetable in our kitchen, our culture and probably in human existence. We attribute to it an inner essence cloaked in hiding, associate it with tears and sorrow, courage, audacity and eternal life. And on the onion’s other side – simplicity, the elementary basicness of the common people. Of course, the onion has no clue of this. He’s totally indifferent to the big fuss, tending to his own growth, making an effort to just be… well, an onion…

It is one of the most ancient of cultivated plants. It originated in Western Asia, and there’s even evidence that it was raised in ancient Egypt. The Israelites craved it: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the … onions and garlic.” In ancient Egypt, onions received special treatment, serving as models in Egyptian art and offerings for the gods, in addition to being a basic staple of the common folk. For the Egyptians, the revered onion with its many layers represented eternal life and was thus placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs. Traces of small onions were found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV, and a basket of onions was considered to be a popular and respected funeral offering.

Conflict has always existed between the pungent odor of the onion and its taste. Aristocracy pinched their noses at the odor (but ate the onion nonetheless, while in India the Brahmins abstained while the common people consumed it greedily. Hammurabi’s Code notes a monthly allocation of onion and bread for the needy.  Alexander the Great viewed the strong scent of the onion as a sign of his strength. An enthusiastic proponent of the “you-are-what-you-eat” school of warfare, he fed his warriors a steady diet of pungent onions to fortify their strength and courage.

onions-growing

In the very early days at Chubeza, we used to grow lots of onions in one round, but were traumatized by the endless weeding. After other complications, namely battling the onion fly and plantings that simply did not yield, we entered several years of confusion regarding the onion: should we grow it or not, and how much of it and when… After gaining some maturity and shedding some anxiety, we reached a level of confidence to slowly, systematically expand the rounds of onion planting in a clear, consecutive schedule geared to enable us to grow onions almost all year round.

We start planting and seeding the onion at the end of summertime. The first onion variety, Beit Alfa, is planted from bulbils (small onion plants) at the beginning of September. As the temperatures start to drop, it is time for the autumn variety, Ori. At the beginning of October we sow a crowded “nursery” of Ori seeds and in the middle of November we pull out the thin sprouts and replant them in spacious beds. The next round, “Riverside” of the Orlando summer variety, is seeded in December, harvested during summertime and scheduled to remain with us till the beginning of autumn.

As you can see, some onions we plant and others we seed. The plants are actually more expensive to buy and require extra energy if prepared on our own, but they have many advantages: they can be spaced accurately while planting, allowing the onion a better growth process and sparing us the task of thinning the crop. Planting eliminates certain difficulties of seeding, especially during wintertime when sprouting is harder and seeds can be whisked away by heavy showers. The plants are also stronger to confront the onion fly, or rather Mrs. Onion Fly who loves laying her eggs on the roots of the tiny bulbs. When the hungry onion maggots emerge, they nibble the little onions to death. However, once the onions are approximately pencil length, they are stiff enough to no longer be attractive to the female flies. For this reason, the onion plants, which hit the pencil-length Finish Line much sooner, are preferable to their seeded comrades.

Still, in order to protect the plants and sprouts from these “femme fatale flies,” we cover all the new saplings planted from the end of October till the end of February with thin white Agril covering, preventing the flies from reaching the baby bulbils and allowing the onions time to grow and strengthen. Once the plants reach the age where they can fend for themselves (i.e., pencil diameter), we remove the cover to give them some fresh air and direct sunlight, and then face the big bad outside world on their own.

This season, prepare to receive Chubeza’s fresh onions, sometimes coined “moist.” The fresh, moist onion is the same onion whose beautiful (and yummy) green leaves we usually ignore, allowing them to droop somewhat, then fold them downwards so their liquids drain into the onion bulb to fortify it. After a few days or weeks, the dry onions are harvested and placed in the field, covered from the sunlight, to dry up a little more, allowing the liquids in the green leaves to descend into the onion bulb as the onion develops dry layers of peeling to be preserved for many months.

onion2.jpg

We do this in summertime as well, but this winter onion yield is harvested for you fresh and green. The onion bulb has almost no dry skin, and it is juicy and truly fresh, distinctive and wonderful- especially chopped into a salad.

The onion has always been a primary component of natural medicine. It is a good source of Vitamins C and B1, chromium and dietary fibers. The organosulfur compounds grant the onion very strong healing powers, as does the quercetin antioxidant. Here is a brief look at some of this fella’s therapeutic talents:

Diabetes: the onion’s organosulfur compound reduces the blood sugar level. It raises the level of insulin available to deliver glucose to the cells, thus lowering its level in the blood. The onion’s significant chromium content influences the stability of blood sugar levels (the body’s chromium level depletes as a result of eating processed sugar and white flower).

Heart disease: the onion’s chromium content contributes to the reduction of “bad” cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol levels. The organosulfur compounds reduce the probability of heart disease, obstructions and cardiac failure by preventing arteriosclerosis and lowering blood pressure. The onion simulates the action performed by aspirin, thinning the blood and dissolving blood clots.

Viruses and infections: the onion serves as a natural antibiotic to fight bacteria   (such as bacilli, salmonella, E. coli and others), worms, viruses and the common cold. Onion is recommended to treat excess phlegm and coughing. It reduces the swelling of arthritis and decreases the potency of asthma-causing allergens.

Chronic ailments: the onion contains antioxidants which fight free radicals, thus lowering the risk of cancer by destroying cancerous cells. Among these components are various phytochemicals including quercitine, which reduces the risk of intestinal and ovarian cancer, as well as prostate cancer.

Osteoporosis and bone strengthening: the onion contains amino acid compounds (or GPCS) that prevent the development of cells which break down bone tissue.

More details of the onion’s components and their attributes can be found in this article by dietitian Merav Mor-Ophir, with some recipes (Hebrew)

Several old-fashioned onion remedies:

For phlegm and coughing: Chop an onion to small pieces and mix with two tablespoons honey. Let stand for two hours. The resulting liquid is an excellent antibiotic syrup to alleviate phlegm and hoarseness, and ease coughing and asthma. (Note: This syrup is potent for only one day!)

Pain killing and relief of chronic infections and swelling: Slice an onion, add some salt, and apply to the aching area in a compress or bandage.

To eliminate worms: Drink onion juice (the worms will flee for their lives…)

For earaches: Drip onion juice into the ear, mixed with olive oil or almond oil.

Some tips:

* Onions keep well outside the fridge in a cool, dry place. Ventilation is important, so ideally they should be placed in a wicker or plastic basket.

* Many people store onions with potatoes, but this is not a great combination (for either vegetable). The potatoes contain moisture and emit a gas which expedites onion rotting.

* The remainder of an onion you’ve sliced can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container with some water (to reduce the odor).

After our wonderful rainy spell, we welcome this week of shiny wintery sunshine. Wishing us all a wintery week of health, light and happiness,

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

___________________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES (BESIDES ONIONS)?

Monday: Parsley/dill/coriander, broccoli, leeks/onions, cucumbers, Swiss chard/spinach/kale, tomatoes, carrots, beets/baby radish, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, fennel/kohlrabi, cabbage/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: Celery/celeriac, red or green bell peppers/eggplant, fava beans/garden or snow peas.

Wednesday: Parsley/dill/coriander, broccoli, leeks/onions, cucumbers, Swiss chard/spinach/kale, tomatoes, carrots, beets/fennel/kohlrabi, lettuce/arugula/mizuna, , red cabbage/cauliflower, celeriac.

Large box, in addition: Green bell peppers/eggplant/Jerusalem artichoke, fava beans/garden or snow peas, baby radish.

Aley Chubeza #319, December 26th-28th 2016 – Farewell 2016

This Wednesday there will be no bread and pastry baking as Manu is on a short Chanuka vacation.

_________________________

Arik and Asaf, the excellent grain grinders of Hadera’s Minchat Ha’aretz, are adding more varieties of flours and products, right in time for your Chanuka latkes: teff flour and red lentil flour. In addition, they are now offering thick and thin rolled oats. Add these to your boxes now via our order system.

______________________________________

The Onion/ Wisława Szymborska

The onion, now that’s something else.
Its innards don’t exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood
fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.

Our skin is just a coverup
for the land where none dare go,
an internal inferno,
the anathema of anatomy.
In an onion there’s only onion
from its top to its toe,
onionymous monomania,
unanimous omninudity…

Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

(A Large Number, 1976)

The onion is a fundamental vegetable in our kitchen, our culture and probably in human existence. We attribute it with qualities of covering up and hiding, associate it with tears and sorrow, courage, audacity and eternal life. And on the onion’s other side – simplicity, the elementary basicness of the common people. Of course, the onion has no idea we put so much on him. He’s totally indifferent to the hubbub, tending to his own growth, making an effort to just be himself… which is why I thought the Szymborska poem is so great. In an onion there’s only onion/from its top to its toe…

The onion is one of the most ancient of cultivated plants. It originated in Western Asia, and there’s even evidence that it was raised in ancient Egypt. The Israelites craved it: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the … onions and garlic.” In ancient Egypt, onions received special treatment, serving as models in Egyptian art and offerings for the gods, in addition to being a basic staple of the common folk. For the Egyptians, the revered onion with its many layers represented eternal life and was thus placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs. Traces of small onions were found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV, and a basket of onions was considered to be a popular and respected funeral offering.

There has always been a conflict between the pungent odor of the onion and its taste. Aristocracy pinched their noses at the odor (but ate it nonetheless), while in India the Brahmins abstained while the common people ate it greedily. Hammurabi’s Code notes a monthly allocation of onion and bread for the needy.  Alexander the Great viewed the strong scent of the onion as a sign of his strength. An enthusiastic proponent of the “you-are-what-you-eat” school of warfare, he fed his warriors a steady diet of pungent onions to fortify their strength and courage.

onions-growing

In the very early days at Chubeza, we used to grow lots of onion in one round, but were traumatized by the endless weeding. After other difficulties, namely taking on the onion fly and plantings that simply did not go, we entered several years of confusion regarding the onion: should we grow it or not, and how much of it and when… After gaining some maturity and shedding some anxiety, we reached a level of confidence to slowly, step by step, expand the number of onion planting rounds. This year we finally reached a clear, consecutive schedule which will hopefully enable us to grow onions all year round.

We start planting and seeding the onion at the end of summertime. The first onion variety, Beit Alfa, was planted from bulbils (small onion plants) at the end of August/beginning of September. As the temperatures started to drop, it was time for the autumn variety, Ori. At the beginning of October we planted Ori bulbils and at the end of that month, Ori seeds were planted in the ground. Then once again, in the middle of November, in went Ori bulbils. This year we prepared our very own nursery to recycle these bulbils – in September we seeded numbers of onions crowded together, and in the middle of November we pulled them out to replant in spacious beds. The next round, Orlando, is scheduled to be seeded in two rounds at the end of January. Orlando is a summer variety which will be with us till the beginning of next autumn.

As you can see, some onions we plant and others we seed. The plants are actually more expensive to buy and require extra energy if prepared on our own, but they have many advantages: they can be spaced accurately when planting, allowing the onion a better growth process and sparing us the task of thinning the crop. Planting prevents the difficulties of seeding, especially during wintertime when sprouting is harder and seeds can be whisked away by heavy showers. The plants are also stronger when confronting the onion fly, or rather Mrs. Onion Fly who loves laying her eggs on the roots of the tiny bulbs. When the hungry onion maggots emerge, they nibble the little onions to death. However, once the onions are approximately pencil length, they are stiff enough to no longer be attractive to the female flies. For this reason, the onion plants, which hit the pencil-length Finish Line much sooner, are preferable to their seeded comrades.

Still, in order to protect the plants and sprouts from the female flies, we cover all plants with thin white Agril which separates the flies from the baby bulbils, allowing the onions time to grow and strengthen. Once the plants reach the age where they can fend for themselves (i.e., pencil diameter), we remove the cover to let them get some fresh air and direct sunlight, and then face the big bad outside world on their own. This year, we’re experimenting with the Agril by covering some beds and leaving others exposed so as to check out the variations in fly damage and growth. Stay tuned for our conclusions….

This season, prepare to receive Chubeza’s fresh onions, sometimes coined “moist.” Over the next few weeks, they’ll be arriving in your boxes in full glory, greens attached. With this bonus, you can use it all —bulbs and greens!

The fresh, moist onion is the same onion whose beautiful (and yummy) green leaves we usually ignore, allowing them to dry up so their liquids drain into the onion bulb to fortify it. Once the green leaves have dropped somewhat, the dry onions are harvested, after which we place them in the field, covered from the sun, to dry up a little more, develop a dry peeling and be preserved for many months.

onion2.jpg

We do this in summertime as well, but this winter onion yield is harvested for you fresh and green. The onion bulb has almost no dry skin, and it is juicy and truly fresh, distinctive and wonderful. Plus, the green shoots are a bonus! So besides the bulb that you can use cooked or fresh (especially great chopped up in salad), you can also use its greens exactly as you would the scallion. They are a little thicker, but still excellent and very tasty. Keep the two parts separate, however. Cut off the onion, store it as a dry onion, and then place the greens in a plastic bag and refrigerate, like scallions.

The onion has always been a primary component of natural medicine. It is a good source of Vitamins C and B1, chromium and dietary fibers. The organosulfur compounds grant the onion very strong healing powers, as does the quercetin antioxidant. Here is a brief look at some of this fella’s therapeutic talents:

Diabetes: the organosulfur compound reduces the blood sugar level. It raises the level of insulin available to deliver glucose to the cells, thus lowering its level in the blood. The onion’s significant chromium content influences the stability of blood sugar levels (the body’s chromium level depletes as a result of eating processed sugar and white flower).

Heart disease: the onion’s chromium contributes to the reduction of the “bad” cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol levels. The organosulfur compounds reduce the probability of heart disease, obstructions and cardiac failure by preventing arteriosclerosis and lowering blood pressure. The onion simulates the action performed by aspirin, thinning the blood and dissolving blood clots.

Viruses and infections: the onion serves as a natural antibiotic to fight bacteria   (such as bacilli, salmonella, E. coli and others), worms, viruses and the common cold. Onion is recommended to treat excess phlegm and coughing. It reduces the swelling of arthritis and decreases the potency of asthma-causing allergens.

Chronic ailments: the onion contains antioxidants which fight free radicals, thus fighting cancer by destroying cancerous cells. Among these components are various phytochemicals including quercitine, which reduces the risk of intestinal and ovarian cancer, as well as prostate cancer.

Osteoporosis and bone strengthening: the onion contains amino acid compounds (or GPCS) that prevent the development of cells which break down bone tissue.

More details of the onion’s components and their qualities can be found in this article by dietitian Merav Mor-Ophir, with some recipes (Hebrew)

Several old-fashioned onion remedies:

For phlegm and coughing: Chop an onion to small pieces and mix with two tablespoons honey. Let stand for two hours. The resulting liquid is an excellent antibiotic syrup to alleviate phlegm and hoarseness, and ease coughing and asthma. (Note: This syrup is potent for only one day!)

Pain killing and relief of chronic infections and swelling: Slice an onion, add some salt, and apply to the aching area as a compress or a bandage.

To get rid of worms: Drink onion juice (the worms will flee for their lives…)

For earaches: Drip onion juice into the ear, mixed with olive oil or almond oil.

Some tips:

* Onions keep well outside the fridge in a cool, dry place. Ventilation is important, so ideally they should be placed in a wicker or plastic basket.

* Many people store onions with potatoes, but this is not a great combination (for either vegetable). The potatoes contain moisture and emit a gas which expedites onion rotting.

* The remainder of an onion you’ve sliced can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container with some water (to reduce the odor).

Wishing us all a week of health, light, happiness and fun family times,

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

_______________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

The recent weeks have brought a shortage of cucumbers. One of our younger cucumber beds failed to bloom, leaving us in short supply and unable to include this cool green vegetable in every box. We are making efforts to purchase cucumbers from other organic farms, but these days there is an overall cucumber shortage in both the general and the organic market. Thus, your boxes have been visited by the Saran-wrapped Dutch cucumber (grown in the north of Israel), and this week’s boxes will contain either cucumber or bell peppers. We are in hopes to soon be able to readily purchase cucumbers to supplement our supply. Please bear with us! And for those of you who don’t receive cucumbers in this week’s box, we hope you enjoy the bell peppers…..

Monday: Bok choy/mizuna/arugula, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, beets, cucumbers/bell peppers, parsley/coriander/dill, kohlrabi/turnips, tomatoes, carrots, celery/celeriac. Small boxes only: broccoli/snow peas/fresh onions.

Large box, in addition: Scallions, fennel, cabbage, baby radishes/radishes/daikon, potatoes/ Jerusalem artichokes.

Wednesday: fresh onions/scallions, fennel, kohlrabi/turnip, kale/Swiss chard/spinach, bell peppers/cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, celery/celeriac, coriander/dill, broccoli/snow peas. Small boxes only: baby radishes/radishes/daikon.

Large box, in addition: parsley, beets, Jerusalem artichokes/eggplants, bok choy/mizuna/arugula.

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 #285, March 28th-30th 2016

This week marks the end of March, and we will be charging your credit cards for this month’s purchases. As mentioned, your February 29th delivery will be added to this bill. 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!

Beginning this month, we have a new billing system. The invoices you will receive this week are from “Green Invoice” which produces one comprehensive invoice that includes all your monthly purchases instead of the two you have been receiving. It’s still us, don’t worry. Only our garments are new…

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Dry-Moist-Wet: A Tale of Confusing Weather and Delightful Bulbs

Did we actually encounter heatwaves and did we greet the hot Israeli spring, or was this merely a dream? Because once again, a load of showers dropped upon us, temperatures plunged, and we’re rubbing one gloved hand to another to keep warm. Fat drops are pouring from the heavens, our shoes are still muddy – hey, it’s winter! And then the clock changes to “summer time,” but the packing house is dreary and grey….This morning I realized that had the second month of Adar not been tacked on, we would now be celebrating the spring holiday, Passover, in pouring rain.

Our field is hugely influenced by the longer days, and despite two days of winter, the field is dressed up as spring and preparing for summer. The first zucchinis have been harvested, the onions are thickening and ripening, and we have begun gathering them from the field. The garlic bulbs are also beautiful. They’re big and they smell great and ready for harvest. This season, prepare to receive Chubeza’s fresh onions and garlic, sometimes coined “moist.” Over the next few weeks, they’ll be arriving in your boxes in full glory, greens attached. With this bonus, you can use it all — garlic and onion bulbs, plus their greens!

The fresh moist onion is the same onion whose beautiful (and yummy) green leaves we usually ignore, allowing them to dry up so their liquids drain into the onion bulb to fortify it. The dry onion is harvested after the green leaves have dropped a little, after which we place them in the field, harvested and covered from the sun, to dry up a little more, develop dry skin and be preserved for many months. We do this in summertime as well, but this end-of-winter-beginning-of-spring onion yield is harvested for you fresh and green. The onion bulb has almost no dry skin, and it is juicy and actually fresh, distinctive and wonderful.

Another advantage is that along with the onion are the green leaves! So besides the bulb that you can use cooked or fresh (especially great chopped up in salad), you can also use its greens, exactly as you would the scallion. They are a little thicker, but still excellent and very tasty. Keep them separate. Cut off the onion, store it as a dry onion, and then place the greens in a plastic bag and refrigerate, like scallions.

This week we also harvest the garlic. It’s not the green garlic which is more delicate and small, but rather full-grown garlic that’s not yet been dried. It tastes a little like fresh garlic, but not quite, somewhere in between fresh and dry garlic. Garlic, too, is usually dried before marketing, but we are sending it to you fresh from the garlic bed. The “rusty” spots you sometimes see on the garlic stems are due to Rust disease, caused by a fungus which attacks the garlic every year. We usually send you the garlic when it’s tiny, at an earlier stage when it’s still “green” and before the fungus strikes. This year, to our delight, thanks to preventative measures we took, we were able to arrive at big beautiful garlic bulbs, but traces of Rust are sometimes still apparent on the stems.

Over the next few weeks you will be receiving garlic almost every week. We don’t expect you to use the whole quantity at once, but this way you will be able to get to know it from the fresh stage and dry it yourselves till the garlic reaches the dry stage. Drying does not require any special tools or actions. Simply place the bundle in a ventilated area (or hang it, if you wish) and let time and air do their job. In a few weeks, you will have your own DIY dry garlic (if you manage to restrain yourselves from using it all up beforehand).

The Alliaceae family, home of the garlic and onion, is a very prominent family not only in the realm of dry herbs but also for your health – the onion, leek, garlic, shallot, baby onions, scallions and chives are very good for balancing sugar levels in your blood, lowering blood pressure, decreasing the levels of bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol. They aid in preventing intestinal and prostate cancer (probably by protecting the intestine from cancerous material). They protect from viruses, ease the common cold and sore throats, and are considered to be “nature’s antibiotic.” So for those of you who caught a little cold from the unstable weather, slice an onion thinly and soak it overnight with 1 tsp of honey. When you wake up in the morning, devour the sweet-and-pungent mixture, and get well quick!

Wishing you good and strengthening days, despite the confusion, within the confusion, alongside the confusion….

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Green lettuce/curly lettuce, dill/parsley, tomatoes, Swiss chard/spinach/kale/nana (mint), cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, fava beans, leeks/fresh onions, fresh garlic, beets.

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/snow peas, cauliflower/artichoke/zucchini, celeriac/parsley root/radishes

Wednesday: Green lettuce/curly lettuce, dill/parsley/cilantro, tomatoes, Swiss chard/kale/nana (mint), cucumbers, potatoes, fava beans, leeks/fresh onions, fresh garlic, small boxes:  carrots/radishes, baby greens (mesclun mix).

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/cauliflower, artichoke/zucchini/radishes, celeriac, beets, carrots.

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!

 

Aley Chubeza #247 June 1st-3rd 2015

Ode To The Onion by Pablo Neruda

Onion,
luminous flask,
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
the miracle
happened
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
like swords
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
make you,
onion
clear as a planet
and destined
to shine,
constant constellation,
round rose of water,
upon
the table
of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
unmoving dance
of the snowy anemone

and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.

What a great poem! Worth growing onions for…

The onion begins its life wearing green trousers and standing on its head, similar to the scallion. We seed Chubeza onions in the shade in three rounds throughout the year, each time seeding a different variety depending on the season. In October it’s “Ori,” which we usually harvest fresh around April. The third and last round is in January, when we seed the “Orlando” which we harvest in June. The current onion in your boxes answers to “Shachar,” and it is seeded in the midst of November. By springtime we had rows and rows of willowy Shachar onion plants standing erect, their little heads not yet revealing future things to come. Slowly and diligently, as spring progressed and the days grew longer, the growth of the leaves slowed and the nutrients within them began descending and thickening, thus beginning the formation of the onion bulb.

We waited patiently.

Once the beds prolapse, it means the foliage has folded and bent, signaling that the time has come to remove the onions from the earth and dry them. Thus we pick them and lay them out neatly to dry in the beds. Summertime, when the onions ripen, is a great season to dry, thanks to the intense heat. On the other hand, it is crucial to protect the bulbs from sun damage, which is why they need cover. But how do we cover so many onions? Fortunately, nature’s taken care of that. The onions are laid out in the field in rows, with each row receiving cover and protection from the leaves of the preceding row. Oh, Nature, you think of everything!

This is how it looks:

During the week, the leaves dry and the moisture within them descends and collects in the onion itself, while the onionskin hardens. One week in the Mid-Eastern summer and the onions are quite dry and ready to be collected for storage. We trim the leaves off the onions (tearing them off with ease) and place them in crates. Many crates. Many heavy crates that we hauled to the storage room on a hot beginning-of-summer afternoon. It’s as exhausting as it sounds, all right, but our hard work results in a strong, unmistakable aroma wafting through the storage rooms: lots and lots of onions!

The onion is one of the most ancient cultivated plants. It originated in Western Asia and there is even evidence that it was raised in ancient Egypt. The Israelites craved it: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the … onions and garlic.” In ancient Egypt, onions received special treatment, as they served as models in Egyptian art and offerings for the gods, in addition to being a basic staple of the common folk. For the Egyptians, the revered onion with its many layers represented eternal life and was thus placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs. Traces of small onions were found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV, and a basket of onions was considered to be a popular and respected funeral offering.

There has always been a conflict between the pungent odor of the onion and its taste. Aristocracy pinched their noses at the odor (but ate it nonetheless), while in India the Brahmins abstained and the common people ate it greedily. Hammurabi’s Code notes a monthly allocation of onion and bread for the needy.  Alexander the Great viewed the strong scent of the onion as a sign of his strength. An enthusiastic proponent of the “you-are-what-you-eat” school of warfare, he fed his warriors a steady diet of pungent onions to fortify their strength and courage.

Aside from dealing with its strong scent, onion lovers must confront yet another obstacle in their quest of the heavenly flavor: peeling the onionskin, a simple but teary act. Onion juice contains organosulfur compounds. The substances that constitute sulfur, amino acids and sulfoxides are separated in the whole onion by membranes. When an insect begins nibbling on an onion, or when we slice it, these membranes rip and the substances meet. This meeting produces strong compounds which burn the eyes and cause them to tear. There are many methods of no-tear onion peeling, the best (but the least attractive) of which is to wear a gas mask. Other methods: peeling in water, peeling an onion that has been refrigerated, holding a match or pin in the mouth while peeling, wearing goggles or sunglasses, peeling from the root upward, holding your bread while peeling, etc. Some of these methods sound strange; others actually have a scientific explanation: running water washes off the irritating substance and decomposes it. A cold onion breaks down the irritating substance slowly, thus reducing the irritation level. You are welcome to try them all out, or just think of something sad while you’re peeling onions and embrace those tears.

But why did nature create these substances in the onion? The reason, of course, is to protect the precious onion bulb, where the nutrients of the plant accumulate and wait till next year. The onion is a biennial plant: during the first year, a storage body (or food bunker) bulb is created. Only in its second year does it grow a pole-like stem and produce flowers and seeds. The organosulfur compounds have antibiotic and anti-fungi attributes which protect the onion from rot and from greedy insects. We ourselves learned this when we had to combat the onion fly. In the beginning, the fly attacked the young onions, resulting in rotting produce and many onion fatalities. But once the plants began to grow and bulbs started forming at the base, the flies stopped biting and buzzed off in search of other victims (or perhaps they were driven off by the heat).

The onion has always been a primary component of natural medicine. It is a good source of Vitamins C and B1, chromium and dietary fibers. The organosulfur compounds grant the onion very strong healing powers, as does the quercetin antioxidant. Here is a brief look at some of this fella’s therapeutic talents:

Diabetes: the organosulfur compound reduces the blood sugar level. It raises the level of insulin available to deliver glucose to the cells, thus lowering its level in the blood. The onion’s significant chromium content influences the stability of blood sugar levels (the body’s chromium level depletes as a result of eating processed sugar and white flower).

Heart diseases: the onion’s chromium contributes to the reduction of the “bad” cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol levels. The organosulfur compounds reduce the probability of heart disease, obstructions and cardiac failure by preventing arteriosclerosis and lowering blood pressure. The onion simulates the action performed by aspirin, thinning the blood and dissolving blood clots.

Viruses and infections: the onion serves as a natural antibiotic to fight bacteria   (such as bacilli, salmonella, E. coli and others), worms, viruses and the common cold. Onion is recommended to treat excess phlegm and coughing. It reduces the swelling of arthritis and decreases the potency of asthma-causing allergens.

Chronic diseases: the onion contains antioxidants which fight free radicals, thus fighting cancer by destroying cancerous cells. Among these components are various phytochemicals including quercitine, which reduces the risk of intestinal and ovarian cancer, as well as prostate cancer.

Osteoporosis and bone strengthening: the onion contains amino acid compounds (or GPCS) that prevent the development of cells which break down bone tissue.

Some examples of old-fashioned onion remedies:

For phlegm and coughing: Chop an onion to small pieces and mix with two tablespoons honey. Let stand for two hours. The resulting liquid is an excellent antibiotic syrup to alleviate phlegm and hoarseness, and ease coughing and asthma. (Note: This syrup is potent for only one day!)

Pain killing and relief of chronic infections and swelling: Slice an onion, add some salt, and apply to the aching area as a compress or a bandage.

To get rid of worms: Drink onion juice (the worms will flee for their lives…)

For earaches: Drip onion juice into the ear, mixed with olive oil or almond oil.

Some tips:

* Onions keep well outside the fridge in a cool, dry place. Ventilation is important, so ideally they should be placed in a wicker or plastic basket.

* Many people keep onions with potatoes, but this is not a great combination (for either vegetable). The potatoes contain moisture and emit a gas which expedites onion rotting.

* The remainder of an onion you’ve sliced can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container with some water (to reduce the odor).

Wishing us all a week of health, calm and summer pleasures,

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

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What’s in the boxes?

Monday: Zucchini, melon, leeks/onions/garlic chives, lettuce, tomatoes, New Zealand spinach, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers/fakus, parsley/mint.  Small boxes only: parsley root

Large box, in addition: Butternut squash, beets/cabbage, green beans, Swiss chard

Wednesday: Zucchini, melon, leeks/onions/garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, New Zealand spinach, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers/fakus, parsley/mint.  Small boxes only: parsley root

Large box, in addition: Beets, green beans/butternut squash/eggplant, Swiss chard, cabbage

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!