Aley Chubeza #329, March 6th-8th 2017

funny-beet-fennel-pineapple-41833365Purim-related Changes:

Sunday and Monday are Purim! In order to allow our office crew and delivery staff to prepare for Monday deliveries, the order system will close for changes (for Monday deliveries) on Thursday evening. Please make your changes by Thursday at 8:00 pm.

Monday deliveries for Mevasseret, Modi’in and Ramot will arrive on Tuesday, March 14th!

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“Is it not for this very moment that you became queen?!”megila close 2016-reduced

In honor of Purim, Mipri Yadeha is delighted to present Megillat Esther: all-natural fruit leather scrolls in select flavors, perfect for holiday food exchanges and a sweet reminder of what one brave woman can do! (Only 10 NIS apiece!) place your orders via our order system.

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“Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come…” The team at Minhat Ha’aretz is already gearing up for the month of Nisan and their unique Matzah baking.

Whole spelt matza– Shmura L’mhadrin from the time of harvest!!! 195  Nis per kg (15-17 pieces)

matza spelt

Organic Israeli whole wheat matza– Shmura L’mhadrin from the time of harvest!!! 135 NIS per kg (15-17 pieces)

matza wheat

This is a limited run, so please make your orders on time. Email or text us with your orders by Purim. Final deadline to place your order: This Friday, March 10

The matzah will be sent to you over the two weeks preceding Pesach (last week of March, first week of April).

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Beeting to Its Very Own Drum

beet-it

One of my most Purim-associated vegetables is the beet. In our childhood theatrical days, when we faked a bad injury, the wound would ooze beet juice. Or a blood-loving vampire would appear on stage, beet juice streaming from the sides of his/her mouth. A princess would dab a sliced beet on her lips for lipstick. And for our innocent “reality shows,” one of my first childhood memories is having beets for lunch and then gathering together all my kibbutz kindergarten classmates in the bathroom with our heads huddled together to marvel at our red urine…

So this week, in honor of the upcoming Purim festival and this wonderful vegetable returning to your boxes after a short break, it’s time for some beet flattery. In the spirit of the day, this week’s Newsletter will be illustrated by some unbeetable slogans.

beauty-and-the-beets

The first half of the annals of Beet History is actually the history of Swiss chard, its immediate relative and possibly even its older brother. Their common ancestor is probably the wild beet which grows along the Mediterranean area, whose leaves and stems were gathered as an early source of food. Naturally, the first farmers to deal with the beet attempted to cultivate a plant that yields large leaves and wide chubby stems, i.e., the Swiss chard. These farmers were probably Greeks and Romans living along the Mediterranean shore, and one hypothesis holds that the family received its name “beta” because its seed pod resembles the Greek letter Beta. Hebrew for beet, Selek, derives from the Arabic Salak.

The beet root became edible around the second or third century. The first beet root recipes for the Roman kitchen appeared around that time, some touting such praise as “better than cabbage!” In the beginning, only young wild beet roots were gathered and cooked, and only in the 16th century do documents appear attesting to the existence of a genetic mutation in the seeds that arrived from Italy to Germany and created: the beet root. To this day, one of the beet’s nicknames is “Roman beet.” Still, even during this time, it was a scarce vegetable in Europe. At the start, it was only used medically. The red beet was known to be beneficial in treating amebic or bacterial dysentery, internal wounds, nasal congestion and hepatitis. Only in the 19th century did its culinary virtues gain recognition.

chard

The Chenopodiaceae family seeds deserve a few words as well: the beet or Swiss chard seed is in reality a collection of seeds tucked close to one another inside the dry fruit. Thus when seeded, it will grow a number of sprouts at once, meaning they must be thinned upon sprouting (some seed companies separate the collection of seeds and offer single seeds in order to allow accurate seeding and reduce the need to thin. But we go with nature…). Where there is no opportunity to thin the sprouts, the immediate results will be 10 cm-high plants whose leaves are ready to be cooked or placed in a salad. Usually the seeds sprout slowly, each with its own rhythm, over a long period of time, creating beets of various age and size. Thus, when we harvest them, we basically scan the entire bed and pull out the biggest roots, allowing more space for the remainder of the crop to grow.

In popular medicine called like cures like” (similia similibus curentur), the belief is that plants represent their medicinal use by their shape, color or resemblance to body parts. The red beet is considered a remedy for treating blood circulation. Contrary to the purple color of other vegetables (cabbage, onion, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, basil, etc.), the purple in the beet is quite unique. Its origin is in the purple pigment category “betalain,” which contains strong antioxidant qualities and excellent capacities to battle cancer and heart disease. The beet also contains salicylic acid, an aspirin-like compound which is anti-inflammatory and contributes to the health of blood vessels and the heart. The beet is considered one of the “cleansing” vegetables which is highly beneficial for the liver, kidneys, and even swollen legs and constipation.

heartbeet

Unlike the internal cleansing qualities of the beet, the external experience is quite the contrary. The beet cells are unstable and they “leak” when you slice or peel the root. Cooking stabilizes the cells, which is why cooking the beet within its peel will reduce the staining. These pigments stabilize under acidic conditions, thus making pickling your beets a good (mess-preventing) idea. But beets color things other than your hands. We all know the red beet-dyed horseradish. Natural coloring extracted from beet is used as a popular food dye for pizza “tomato” sauce, pink lemonade or edible ink (the kind you might use to print on slices of meat).

Beets are usually round and red, but not exclusively. They come in many colors and shapes, ranging from striped to yellow, white, and purple. And you’re already acquainted with the elongated Chubeza beet alongside its roly-poly brother.

Despite the fact that it is a vegetable with high sugar value, and perhaps because of that fact (even higher than carrots and sweet corn), the beet is a good friend of weight watchers, containing only 30-40 calories. In addition, it is rich in folic acid, vitamin C and potassium.

Another relative is a white-root beet – the sugar beet. From the time that the Crusaders returned from their journeys, they craved the sweet flavor of the sugar they knew and loved. But sugar was an expensive commodity, imported to Europe via sea dwellers or roaming merchants. In 1747, German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf succeeded in extracting a small quantity of sugar from a beet root, then used as animal fodder. However, the process was highly labor-intensive, and the sugar content in beets was low. One of his students, Franz Achard, was more practical. He realized that if you want to extract more sugar from your beet, you just have to create sweeter beets. He then crossbred white beets and created the father of the modern sugar beet:

Tips:

  • To store beets: trim any greens (the greens pump the root dry of its liquids, like the carrot or radish), allow three centimeters of the stem, and do not cut the root. Store the beet in the vegetable drawer of a sealed container and wrap the greens in a towel and plastic.
  • In order to prevent “bleeding,” don’t cut or peel the beet prior to preparation. After cooking, steaming or baking, it will peel very easily.
  • Adding some vinegar to the cooking water reduces the smell of cooking beets and allows them to keep their color. The cooking creates a clear beet stock which can be used for food coloring (like for rice,p’titim or couscous). Beets are naturally high in sodium, thus no salt need be added when cooking.
  • When baking beets: to prevent staining, wrap in aluminum foil. It is best to add some kind of preferred seasoning, i.e., garlic, lemon slices, cumin or coriander seeds. The flavor penetrates and enriches the beet as it bakes.
  • Beets can also be microwaved: pierce an unpeeled beet with a fork (to allow the steam to escape), place in a microwavable bowl, add a bit of water and heat uncovered for 4 minutes per beet, till soft.
  • After the beets are prepared: to clean your hands of beet stains, rub with wet salt and lemon juice, then wash with soap and water.
  • When our beets come with greens, don’t trash them! Use the greens like spinach or Swiss chard for a great semi-sweet flavor.

——­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­——————————

And on a more serious note, we send our sincere condolences to Mohammed, Ali and Majdi on the death of Mohammad’s father and Ali and Majdi’s grandfather. May you know no further sorrow.

Wishing you a wonderful week and a joyous Purim!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Parsley/coriander, lettuce, beets/kohlrabi, cucumbers, cabbage/ broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas/ fava beans, fresh onions, potatoes, carrots.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/scallions/fresh garlic, kale/ spinach/Swiss chard/broccoli leaves, celeriac.

Wednesday: Parsley/coriander, lettuce/mizuna, beets/kohlrabi, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli/cauliflower, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes/fava beans, fresh onions, potatoes, carrots.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/celeriac, kale/ spinach/Swiss chard/broccoli leaves, peas.

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 #265, October 26th-28st 2015

At the end of this week we will be charging your cards for October purchases and will update your bill on our order system.

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

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

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wheatThe organic spelt flour has returned!

This week we welcome back the reasonably-priced organic spelt flour of Minhat Ha’aretz: whole spelt for 18 NIS and 70% spelt (30 % of the spelt is sifted) for 21 NIS. We will discontinue the sale of non-organic spelt in order to avoid mistakes and confusion.

To your good health and good harvest!

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It’s not easy being green…

At the start of the week, the weather forecast predicted local showers. Sure enough, dark clouds decorated the skies in the morning and a vigorous wind scattered dry leaves from the grapevines to stir up a green wave in our vegetable beds. Just moments later, showers poured across our field. Welcome!!

The last of our summer crops are celebrating their final weeks in the field. We will soon bid farewell to our eggplants, black-eyed peas, okra and peppers. The corn, too, is striking its final chords. Meanwhile, across the field, the Brassicaceae’s have burst joyfully onto the scene to take over, sending us their first representative (kohlrabi). For their part, the beets, radishes and turnips are skipping happily over to the packing houses, with the carrot and fennel  not far behind.

I always know its wintertime when my green-o-meter shows a dozen emails with the common subject, “What are the green leaves in my box this week?”  Indeed, winter generates a broad variety of greens dotting the Chubeza clods, filling up your boxes. Some of you are very happy with the plethora of greens over the winter, and even request we avoid removing the beet and turnip leaves so as to make use of them as well. Yet others of you are a bit overwhelmed, and wonder what can be done (again) with all those greens.

For those who are still wondering, I am proud to present:

“Chubeza Winter Greens – A Guide to the Perplexed”

Swiss Chard

A sibling of the beet, differing by growing huge leaves instead of a thick root. Perfect in soup, quiches, and stuffing, as well as steamed or tossed, and even used fresh in a salad.

Here are all sorts of recipes.

 

Tatsoi (Spinach mustardSpoon mustard, or Rosette bok choy):

A traveler from the Far East, member of the choy or soy family, belonging to the Brassicaceae dynasty. Its flavor is just slightly bitter, not spicy, but very distinctive. Goes perfectly with piquant flavors (mustard and black pepper), ginger, sesame and the sweetness of fruit.

Like mustard greens or Swiss chard, tatsoi can be used fresh in salads, tossed or cooked, in soup, quiche, omelets, etc.

Here are some thoughts about tatsoi, and a recipe. Scroll down and you’ll find some links to other recipes.

New Zealand Spinach

As indicated by its name, its origins are in Australia and New Zealand. Discovered by Captain Cook on the beaches of New Zealand, this green was harvested, cooked and even taken on journeys to fight diseases resulting from a vitamin C deficiency. New Zealand spinach is suitable for our local climate because it loves warm weather. It sprawls and spreads, and its leaves are small and meaty.

New Zealand spinach can go with any recipe calling for mustard greens, but is definitely suitable as a Swiss chard replacement. To prepare for cooking, one must remove the leaves from the stem which is hard and inedible. Unlike regular mustard greens or Swiss chard, it is not recommended to eat raw, but rather first soaked in hot water for a few minutes, then washed with cold water.

Recipes for New Zealand Spinach

Arugula

This yummy green goes by many names: arugula, rucola, roquette and rocket lettuce. Its flavor is piquant, typical of the Brassicaceae family. Like spinach, arugula can come in many forms, from huge and meaty to small and dainty.

The arugula leaves are spicy, but they have their own distinctive type of piquant flavor which can make them an interesting addition to a salad, even together with sweet fruit. Cheeses go quite well, and a very light cooking can temper the spiciness a bit.

You can find many recipes if you conduct an internet search for “arugula” or “rocket lettuce.”

Kale

A green belonging to the Brassicaceae family, considered to be one of the healthiest foods around. An acquired taste, but definitely worth getting used to and falling for.

Due to its relatively rigid texture, kale is usually cooked or added to a green shake, but you can make chips from it or eat fresh in a salad—-it’s great!

Songs of praise and kale recipes to be found here

Mizuna

A green member of the Brassicaceae family, otherwise known as Japanese spinach or Brassica rapa. Mizuna sports long, thin leaves with serrated edges and a gentle, sweet-like flavor. The plant was cultivated in Japan back in ancient times, but probably originated in China.

Mizuna’s flavor is neutral, which is why it goes well as a decorative addition and basis for appetizers and main dishes, as well as a great salad herb. It tends to star in the “baby” mixes (ours as well), but also stands on its own and even is great stir-fried.

Mizuna salads recepies from Mariquita Farm

and a stir-fry option

Mustard Green /Chinese Cabbage

Abounding with medicinal and flavor value, mustard greens are among the healthiest of foods. They aid in cleansing toxins from the body, boast anti- inflammatory components, and are very rich in Vitamins B, minerals and iron. Mustard greens are used to heal the common cold, pneumonia and to reduce mucus. As an airway cleaner, mustard greens and honey are great to ease a hoarse throat.

Mustard greens run the gamut from very spicy varieties to those with a lightly delicate flavor. There are the coarse types, the smooth, the stiff and soft, and green and purple. In the past we grew the purple spicy Osaka variety. This year we attempted a new type, the Tokyo bekana with green, pale leaves, similar to lettuce, and quite mild. It is great in a salad, sandwich, or even tossed or as a stuffing.

Here are some Tokyo bekana recipes from Tucson CSA

As for the “baby leaves” (mesclun mix), re-read our Newsletter from three weeks ago for all the fascinating details.

All vegetable greens like being connected to their roots and the earth. When you want to store them after harvesting, you should aim to prevent two side effects: drying up and rotting. There are a several methods for long-term storage. First, in order to prevent rotting, avoid wetting the greens, and only wash them prior to use. To keep them moist, large leaves like lettuce, Swiss chard, tatsoi, spinach and mustard greens should be wrapped (unwashed) in cloth or paper and placed in a plastic bag in order for the moisture to be absorbed without actually drying up.

But for all this green abundance to actually grow, we desperately need winter showers! After this week’s good start, don’t forget to keep up your prayers (from the 7th of Cheshvan), practice the steps to your rain dance, etc.

That’s all for now! I hope the green picture is a bit clearer for you all. But never fear. Should an unrecognizable guest arrive in your boxes, we are just a phone call away for clarification. You are always welcome to pose questions by phone (054-653-5980, although often it’s hard to get ahold of us) or by email (csa@chubeza.com).

May we all enjoy a week of good fortune, health and growth!

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

The tomato plants are gettin’ there…..Hopefully we will very soon be able to restore their honored place in your boxes.

Tuesday: Lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill/mint (nana), slice of pumpkin, Thai beans/ okra/Jerusalem artichokes, leeks/scallions, Swiss chard/kale/mustard greens, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, baby greens (mesclun mix)/mizuna/totsoi, corn, turnips/beets.

Large box, in addition: Arugula, tomatoes/kohlrabi, eggplant

Wednesday: Lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill/mint (nana), slice of pumpkin, Thai beans/ okra/Jerusalem artichokes, Swiss chard/kale/New Zealand spinach, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, pac choi/mizuna/totsoi/arugula, corn, potatoes/carrots/tomatoes, small boxes only: white turnips/red beets.

Large box, in addition: Leeks/scallions, mustard greens, green bell peppers/eggplants, kohlrabi/radishes

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 products too! You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. Our order system also features a detailed listing of the products and their cost.  Make an order online now!

Aley Chubeza #235, February 16th-18th 2015

That Beets All!

Sometimes, when something is so common in one’s life, we simply take it for granted and no longer get excited about its existence. This week, I was surprised to find out that so much time has passed since we dedicated a newsletter to the beet, that faithful red fella who’s with us annually for a long stretch lasting from nearly fall to spring, who strengthens us, sweetens our cold days, and is always ready to be “noshed on” or even star as the meal’s main course. So to correct this slight and give proper respect, this week’s Newsletter is devoted to that valued, red-faced occupant of your boxes.

The first half of the annals of Beet History is actually the history of Swiss chard, its immediate relative and possibly even its older brother. Their common ancestor is probably the wild beet which grows along the Mediterranean area, whose leaves and stems were gathered as an early source of food. Naturally, the first farmers to deal with the beet attempted to cultivate a plant that yields large leaves and wide chubby stems, i.e., the Swiss chard. These farmers were probably Greeks and Romans living along the Mediterranean shore, and one hypothesis holds that the family received its name “beta” because its seed pod resembles the Greek letter Beta.

The beet root became edible around the second or third century. The first beet root recipes for the Roman kitchen appeared around that time, some touting such praise as “better than cabbage!” In the beginning, only young wild beet roots were gathered and cooked, and only in the 16th century do documents appear attesting to the existence of a genetic mutation in the seeds that arrived from Italy to Germany and created: the beet root. To this day, one of the beet’s nicknames is “Roman beet.” Still, even during this time, it was a scarce vegetable in Europe. At the start, it was only used medically. The red beet was known to be beneficial in treating amebic or bacterial dysentery,  internal wounds, nasal congestion and hepatitis. Only in the 19th century did its culinary virtues gain acknowledgement.

The Chenopodiaceae family seeds deserve a few words as well: the beet or Swiss chard seed is in reality a collection of seeds tucked close to each other inside the dry fruit. Thus when seeded, it will grow a number of sprouts at once, meaning they must be thinned upon sprouting (some seed companies separate the collection of seeds and offer single seeds in order to allow accurate seeding and reduce the need to thin. But we go with nature…). Where there is no opportunity to thin the sprouts, the immediate results will be 10 cm-high plants whose leaves are ready to be cooked or placed in a salad. Usually the seeds sprout slowly, each with its own rhythm, over a long period of time, creating beets of various age and size. Thus, when we harvest them, we basically scan the entire bed and pull out the biggest roots, allowing more space for the remainder of the crop to grow.

In popular medicine calledlike cures like” (similia similibus curentur), the belief is that plants represent their medicinal use by their shape, color or resemblance to body parts. The red beet is considered a remedy for treating blood circulation. Contrary to the purple color of other vegetables (cabbage, onion, eggplant, lettuce, pepper, basil etc.), the purple beet is quite unique. Its origin is in the purple pigment category “betalain,” which contains strong antioxidant qualities and excellent abilities to battle cancer and heart disease. The beet also contains salicylic acid – an aspirinlike compound which is anti-inflammatory and contributes to the health of blood vessels and the heart. The beet is considered one of the “cleansing” vegetables which is highly beneficial for the liver, kidneys, and even swollen legs and constipation.

Unlike the internal cleansing qualities of the beet, the external experience is quite the contrary. The beet cells are unstable and they “leak” when you slice or peel the root. Cooking stabilizes the cells, which is why cooking the beet within its peel will reduce the staining. These pigments stabilize under acidic conditions, thus making pickling your beets a good (mess-preventing) idea. But beets color things other than your hands…One of my own memories from the days when beets were served for lunch in kindergarten, is all of us waiting excitedly for the red pee to come…  We also all know the red beet-dyed horseradish. Natural coloring extracted from beet is used as a popular food dye for pizza “tomato” sauce, pink lemonade or edible ink (the kind you might use to print on slices of meat.)

Beets are usually round and red, but not exclusively. They come in many colors and shapes, ranging from striped, yellow, white, and purple. And you’re already acquainted with the elongated Chubeza beet alongside its roly-poly brother.

 

Despite the fact that it is a vegetable with high sugar value, and perhaps because of that fact (even higher than carrots and sweet corn), the beet is a good friend of weight watchers, containing only 30-40 calories. In addition, it is rich in folic acid, vitamin C and potassium.

Another relative is a white-root beet – the sugar beet. From the time that the Crusaders returned from their journeys, they craved the sweet flavor of the sugar they knew and loved. But sugar was an expensive necessity, imported to Europe via sea dwellers or roaming merchants. In 1747, German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf succeeded in extracting a small quantity of sugar from a beet root, then used as animal fodder. However, the process was highly work-intensive, and the sugar content in beets was low. One of his students, Franz Achard, was more practical. He realized that if you want to extract more sugar from your beet, you just have to create sweeter beets. He then crossbred white beets and created the father of the modern sugar beet:

 

Tips:

  • ·         To store beets: trim any greens (the greens pump the root dry of its liquids, like the carrot or radish), allow three centimeters of the stem, and do not cut the root. Store the beet in the vegetable drawer of a sealed container and wrap the greens in a towel and plastic.
  • ·         In order to prevent “bleeding,” don’t cut or peel the beet prior to preparation. After cooking, steaming or baking, it will peel very easily.
  • ·         Adding some vinegar to the cooking water reduces the smell of cooking beets and allows them to keep their color. The cooking creates a clear beet stock which can be used for food coloring (like for rice, p’titim or couscous). Beets are naturally high in sodium, thus no salt need be added when cooking.
  • ·         When baking beets: to prevent staining, wrap in aluminum foil. It is best to add some kind of preferred seasoning, i.e., garlic, lemon slices, cumin or coriander seeds. The flavor penetrates and enriches the beet as it bakes.
  • ·         Beets can also be microwaved: pierce an unpeeled beet with a fork (to allow the steam to escape), place in a microwavable bowl, add a bit of water and heat uncovered for 4 minutes per beet, till soft.
  • ·         After the beets are prepared: to clean your hands of beet stains, rub with wet salt and lemon juice, then wash with soap and water.
  • ·         When our beets come with greens, don’t trash them! Use the greens like spinach or Swiss chard for a great semi-sweet flavor.

Mazal tov Alon, on your birthday! Wishing you many good and happy years in Chubeza and in all aspects of your life.

Wishing you a week where you take notice of those “regulars” in your life, gazing at them with renewed wonder,

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

_____________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Lettuce, leeks/green garlic/scallions, Swiss chard/spinach, tomatoes, celeriac/parsley root, garden peas/fava beans, cucumbers, thyme/parsley, beets, cabbage/cauliflower. Small boxes only: potatoes.

Large box, in addition: Broccoli, kale, fennel/kohlrabi, carrots

Wednesday: leek/green garlic, kale, tomatoes, carrots, fennel/kohlrabi, cucumbers, parsley/cilantro/dill, potatoes, parsley root/celeriac, small boxes: broccoli/cauliflower, small boxes only: peas.

Large box, in addition: scalion, beets, thyme/spinach/Swiss chard, cauliflower and broccoli

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!

Aley Chubeza #225, December 1st-3rd

Samar dates are here!

This monday afternoon we recieved the very much aticipated delivery of this season’s dates harvest from kibbutz Samar in the Arava.

Those sweet fellows come in three varieties: Barhi, Zahidi and Dekel Nur. You can add them to you order via the online order system.

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Get into the Green Scene…

Last week’s downpours quenched our earth in great measure. Melissa, our neighbor at Kibbutz Gezer, gave me the measurements taken by Lee Sigal chalking up some 120 mm rain in five days for us last week (most of it on Tuesday and Wednesday!).  Friday’s skies were already clear, but the earth is still muddy and the nighttime dew still serves up good quantities of moisture for the plants (and the hems of our pants…). Along with the great showers, the nice sunny days we are expecting this week will give another boost to our winter crops now abundantly filling your boxes. The last of the summer crops have been celebrating their final weeks with us. Soon we will bid farewell to the eggplants and black-eyed peas. We already parted from the corn and peppers, who all made way for the Brassicaceae family and lots of sweet, spicy, juicy, colorful roots, and…

Just as the color green is now everywhere in sight outdoors, your boxes are abounding in bright edible greens. To give you a new appreciation for the verdant vegetables, as well as a delicious host of serving ideas, we are proud to present Part 2 of the recently-begun action series (you can find part 1 here)

“Chubeza Winter Greens – A Guide to the Perplexed” – part 2:

Swiss Chard

 A sibling of the beet, differing by growing huge leaves instead of a thick root. Perfect in soup, quiches, and stuffing, as well as steamed or tossed, and even used fresh in a salad.

Here are all sorts of recipes.

Spinach:

Depending on the season, the bed in which it’s grown, and the timing of its harvest, spinach can sport huge leaves or resemble “baby” spinach.

It definitely tastes green (I used to be surprised when people described a flavor as “green”), just slightly bitter, and then just a little sweet, chockfull of rain and freshness flavors.

Like its cousin Swiss chard, spinach can go fresh in a salad or can be cooked, added to soup, a quiche, dumplings, an omelet or warm salads. They all work.

Here are some examples

New Zealand Spinach

As indicated by its name, its origins are in Australia and New Zealand. Discovered by Captain Cook on the beaches of New Zealand, this green was harvested, cooked and even taken on journeys to fight scurvy resulting from a vitamin C deficiency. New Zealand spinach is suitable for our local climate because it loves warm weather. It sprawls and spreads, and its leaves are meaty.

New Zealand spinach can go with any recipe calling for mustard greens, but is definitely suitable as a Swiss chard replacement. To prepare for cooking, one must remove the leaves from the stem which is hard and inedible. Unlike regular mustard greens or Swiss chard, it is not recommended to eat raw, but rather first soaked in hot water for a few minutes, then washed with cold water.

Recipes for New Zealand Spinach

Kale

A green belonging to the Brassicaceae family, considered to be one of the most healthy foods around. An acquired taste, but definitely worth getting used to and falling for.

Due to its relatively rigid texture, kale is usually cooked or added to a green shake, but you can make chips from it or eat fresh in a salad—-it’s great!

Songs of praise and kale recipes to be found here

Vegetable greens like being connected to their roots and the earth. When you want to store them after harvesting, you should attempt to prevent two side effects: drying up and rotting. There are a several methods for long-term storage. First, in order to prevent rotting, avoid wetting them and only wash them prior to use. To keep them moist, large leaves like lettuce, Swiss chard, tatsoi, spinach and mustard greens should be wrapped (unwashed) in cloth or paper and placed in a plastic bag in order for the moisture to be absorbed without actually drying up.

That’s all for now. I hope the green picture is a little clearer now. You are always welcome to question unrecognizable varieties in your boxes by phone (054-653-5980, although often it’s hard to get ahold of us) or by email (csa@chubeza.com).

May we all enjoy a week of good fortune, health and growth,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S GREEN BOXES?

Monday: Slice of pumpkin, kohlrabi, kale/spinach, tomatoes, fennel/daikon/turnips, cabbage/broccoli, parsley/dill/coriander, cucumbers, Swiss chard/totsoi/arugula, scallions/leeks. Small boxes only: beets

Large box, in addition: Celery, curly lettuce/mizuna, eggplant/Jerusalem artichoke, sweet potatoes

Wednesday: Slice of pumpkin, kohlrabi, spinach, tomatoes, fennel/daikon, cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower, parsley/dill/coriander, cucumbers, scallions/leeks, sweet potatoes/Jerusalem artichoke, beets

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard/totsoi/kale, arugula/mizuna, celery

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!

Aley Chubeza #178, November 25th-27th 2013

This is what the weather forecast looks like for this week. What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s so dry. Not even a doodle of rain or showers under the various sun and cloud combinations. So this week will be dry and the rain is still on hold, with temperatures almost scorching. It’s the end of November, for crying out loud, Chanukah week, but winter is taking its sweet time. We hope when it finally does feel like arriving, it’ll make a grand entry and stick around! Please join us in our encouraging cries to Mr. Winter—Please, hurry on up!

The greens are filling up Chubeza’s boxes. They love this season, with its cool-but-not-too-cool temperatures. They are not suffocating under the blanket of warmth, the insects are not torturing them like before, and they are not yet seeking cover from the frigid air, so they can look up at the smiling sun and get an even tan.

This week I would like to talk a little about Swiss chard, perhaps the most “Israeli” green of the greens, the most local for sure, uninfluenced by French trends (arugula) or American (kale) or Asian (totsoi). And it has a fascinating story and a name that reminds us of places that actually enjoy wintery winters!

It’s all about the name, Swiss chard. But in fact, Swiss chard is really not Swiss. Various sources claim it may have originated in Iraq or in the Mediterranean. Either way, it had to come from somewhere warmer than the Alps.

Swiss chard is a sibling to the beet. While the beet grows a thick, juicy root and as an afterthought sprouts long leaves, the Swiss chard concentrates its efforts on its very large leaves and its thick, crunchy leafstalk. The question is: why is this good for? Why have generations of farmers taken pains to select these big leaf plants? As you well know, the beet, too, has excellent cooking leaves. The answer is not in the leaves, which are indeed meatier, greater and stronger than the beet root leaves, but rather in the Swiss chard’s crunchy petiole (which can also be red, yellow or green).

Take a look at this “rainbow chard,” for example:

Swiss chard was developed to calm the craving for another, more venerable vegetable, the cardoon, brother of the artichoke. The cardoon has big leaves with a wide leafstalk, just like the artichoke, but its flowers aren’t as soft as the artichoke’s. It blooms with tiny, thorny flowers. Its main use as food is in the petiole, which from the days of the Roman Empire has been eaten raw, cooked, baked, steamed or fried. Every place the Romans invaded, they brought along their culinary world, including cardoon recipes. But the cardoon, sensitive to frost (like its sibling, the artichoke), simply could not travel north to more frigid areas. Northern Europe needed a substitute.

Cardoon:

The substitute for the southern cardoon is the Swiss chard. It, too, has a thick, juicy petiole that can be consumed raw, steamed, fried or baked. True, the taste is not alike. Cardoon tastes like artichoke while the Swiss chard leafstalk tastes altogether different. But as we all know, we first eat with our eyes, so when the cravings get the best of us, we fall for the substitutes. Thus cardoon gave its name to the “chard.”

But why is it Swiss? Some think it’s because a Swiss botanist named Coch gave the vegetable its scientific name, thus in tribute it was termed “Swiss.” Another story describes how when French chefs saw this northern substitute for their beloved cardoon, they ludicrously termed it “Swiss chard.” Either way, you won’t find much of it in Switzerland, but any Italian, Israeli or Moroccan cookbook is filled with options for this vegetable, its leaves and stems. And yes, do use the white parts. Do not toss them in the bin.

Chard is frequently used as a substitute for spinach. Indeed, they are cousins who both belong to the Chenopodiaceae family. But the chard is stronger. The delicate spinach will not germinate or grow well in summertime. Chard, however, will survive even now, when the rest of the greens (kale, mustard, totsoi and spinach) have long since blossomed and wilted. In wintertime, as we’ve said, chard grows well, even braving the frost, where it freezes a bit but basically hangs in there. In general, it’s a very resilient plant. If you have chard in your garden that was frostbitten or attacked by aphids in springtime, just cut it to the base, leaving only the stump. The chard will renew itself and grow fresh, green and rejuvenated.

And if we eat chard, we’ll be just like it: strong, healthy and sturdy. Similar to its cousin the spinach, chard also contains vast amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Among its other attributes, the leaves contain a high concentration of vitamin K, and a wealth of beta carotene (which becomes vitamin A in the body) and vitamin C. Chard boasts large amounts of magnesium, is rich in zinc and is a great source of iron, calcium, dietary fibers, manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.

If you’d like to keep chard for longer than just a few days, wrap it (unwashed) in a thick paper or cloth towel and place it into a plastic bag or airtight plastic box. The towel will absorb the moisture, the plastic will prevent it from drying up, and the chard will remain fresh and crunchy for a week or more.

May we enjoy a good week, of lights and festivities. May we have a Chag Sameach, and… Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!

Alon, Bat Ami, Maya and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Coriander/dill, sweet potatoes, cabbage/ eggplant, tomatoes, Swiss chard, lettuce, cucumbers, kohlrabi/turnips, carrots, arugula/kale. Small boxes only:  daikon/radishes

In the large box, in addition: Lubia/green beans/Jerusalem artichoke, corn/ pumpkin, beets, broccoli /leeks.

Wednesday: Swiss chard/spinach/arugula, lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage/broccoli, cilantro/parsley, sweet potatoes, carrots, radishes/daikon, kale, tomatoes, kohlrabi/turnip – in small boxes only.

In the large box, in additionLubia/Jerusalem artichoke, eggplants/peppers/pumpkin, beets, chive/leeks.

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

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A Host of Swiss Chard Recipes

Stuffed Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard Tart

Swiss Chard with Peppers and Garbanzos

Chard Feta Pasta

And….Three Recipes Using the Swiss Chard Stems!

Braised chard stems with oregano and chile

Baked Swiss Chard Stems Recipe with Olive Oil and Parmesan

Chard Stem and Potato Gratin