May 18th-19th 2021 – Pump (that) kinship

In these painful and dismaying times, this is, in fact, the right timing to introduce you to our new local and excellent tahini maker Kamel Hashalmon of Al Yasmin Tahini and Halva restaurant in Abu Ghosh. Kamel worked as a chef in many celebrated restaurants, yet he was never able to find the perfect Tahini. Leaving the world of restaurants, he then decided to learn the art of sesame grinding and become an expert in the field.

Al Yasmin’s millstones where they grind the sesame seeds were tailor-made by a traditional stonemason artist. They import quality tahini from Ethiopia and grind various types of Tahini in small quantities:

White Tahini – made from peeled sesame seeds lightly roasted; whole sesame Tahini made from whole sesame seeds in their peel; roasted Tahini made of peeled sesame seeds, roasted on low heat for 9 hours; black tahini made of black sesame seeds.

Aside from the tahini, a local producer from Abu Ghosh specially manufactures Dibas – grape honey made of concentrated fruit only without any additives – for Al Yasmin.

For some time now, we have been planning to make your hearts rejoice by offering the excellent Al Yasmin tahini – that has received rave reviews – straight to your door. Now we are delighted to finally make this dream come true. Add it to your vegetable boxes via our order system today!!

Bon Appetite!

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I feel uncomfortable writing a newsletter about vegetables and the field, while chaos, violence and hate surround us. And yet, we insist on persevering with our small growths, and perhaps we will be to provide some distraction even temporarily.

This week we began harvesting the first of our pumpkins. Here at Chubeza, when we say pumpkins we mean that slice of pumpkin you already got in your boxes, orange on the inside, light colored on the outside, as well as the smaller squash varieties – the Provence pumpkin, orangish-brown on the outside; the Napoli pumpkin –  long and banana-shaped with a green shell; the elliptic spaghetti squash – yellow and smooth; the green acorn squash (resembling a pinecone); the delectable Japanese squash, and of course the familiar creamy butternut. This year the pioneers are the butternut and spaghetti squash.

The bigger and smaller pumpkins (also known as winter squash), as well as summer squash, among them the zucchini, belong to the same botanical category, and even to the same species. The differentiation between squash and pumpkins is artificial, having to do with the stage at which they are picked and how they are used. All varieties are seeded (in an open field, in their natural season) from the end of winter/beginning of springtime, and they all grow from spring to summer.

However, we pick the “summer squash” early, before they ripen, when their shell is thin and their seeds are not developed, sometimes as early as 40 days from seeding. Since we pick the fruits off the plant before it had time to produce fertilized seeds, the plant makes additional attempts, yielding more and more seed-bearing fruit in order to fulfill its aim in plant-life (and animal-life): to spread its genes. Thus we are granted a long harvest season from a plant that just keeps on yielding. These squash do not keep for long, which is why in the past they were only eaten during their natural season, summertime, hence their name. Today, squash are also grown in wintertime in hothouses, so they aren’t really seasonal.

Pumpkins (large and small), however, are picked as they ripen and mature, when their shell is thick and hard and their seeds are quite large. Since we wait till the complete ripening, they are harvested three to five months from seeding day. Our Tripolitanian pumpkin is large, and often requires a wait of six months.

In places where winter is long and hard and pumpkins are seeded in the middle of springtime, they only arrive at a full ripening at the end of summer. Their hard shell allows them to keep nicely, sometimes up to six months (depending on the variety), enabling them to be eaten in wintertime. This presents a particularly significant advantage in the pumpkin’s ancestral home of North America in those areas where it is too cold to grow food during the winter. Pumpkins were easily stored in warehouses, offering sweetness and a summery zest to the cold wintery days which is how they received the title winter squash.

This week we will begin the pumpkin parade by introducing you to the wonderful acorn squash and spaghetti squash.

The acorn squash originated in Mexico and the U.S. where the Native Americans cultivated earlier species. The dark green type which we grow, (resembling the shape of a pinecone) was introduced in 1913 by the Iowa Seed Company, where it arrived from Denmark or North Dakota (there is a controversy about this). It was received enthusiastically, thanks to its excellent taste and also because of its small size and thin shell, a source of relief for those battling the huge, hard pumpkins. In the U.S., and especially for those dining alone, it made a good serving-for-one as well as a great stuffed vegetable.

The first round of seeding took place in March when it was still quite chilly, thus we covered the seeds and young sprouts in clear plastic to warm up the earth and their growth environment. The plastic is removed once the plants grow and the temperature rises. Usually, from seeding to ripening takes three months. We know it’s time to harvest when the green acorn shell sports a yellow stain. Upon harvesting, the squash keep for two months (more or less) and its best not to store them in refrigeration. These acorn beauties, joined by their girlfriends appearing soon in your boxes, will be a lovely sight to place in a bowl and adorn your kitchen table or counter.

The acorn squash’s skin is less moist than regular squash, and it has a sweet and nutty taste, which gave it the brilliant name “acorn squash.” Due to its sweetness, it goes very well with salty flavors as well – olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, as well as sweet flavors – a gentle brush of honey or date honey. The cracks lining the fruit make it somewhat difficult to peel, but the good news is that you really do not have to! It tastes great in its shell. And if you still need to eat this squash shell-less, remove the shell only after baking or cooking when it’s so much easier to slip off.

Vegetable marrow, golden macaroni, spaghetti marrow, spaghetti squash, and vegetable spaghetti — all names for one of the most distinctive squash we grow. Its uniqueness is expressed by the fact that after cooking, its flesh can be ferreted out with a fork, and then comes the magic: the cooked flesh separates into thin “noodles,” not unlike very thin spaghetti. Their flavor is a cross between a pumpkin and a squash, not as sweet as a pumpkin or butternut, but sweeter than zucchini. This is why the “spaghetti noodles” can be eaten just like you would eat pasta: with tomato sauce, olive oil and herbs, pesto, Parmesan (preferably not a heavy Bolognese), etc.

All spaghetti squash recipes start with the same instructions: First cook, steam or bake till the flesh softens (to the point a fork penetrates easily), then wait 15 minutes till it cools enough to comfortably handle. (Spaghetti squash is really hot when it comes out of the oven or pot. But that’s nothing compared to how really, really hot it gets inside when baked or cooked whole. Do be careful).

Here are a few techniques for basic preparation before you check out the recipes.

  • Baking whole: Puncture the peeling with a fork, pre-heat oven to moderate temperature and bake the vegetable for an hour.
  • Baking in halves: Slice the squash lengthwise (to create two ellipses), remove seeds, heat oven to moderate temperature, and place the squash in a baking dish face down. Bake for one hour.
  • Steaming: Puncture the peeling with a fork, place small amount of water in pot, insert a vegetable steamer tray and bring to a boil. Place squash on the steamer, seal lid tightly, and steam for 30 minutes.
  • Cooking: Bring enough water to cover squash to a boil, then place whole squash inside and cook for around half an hour.
  • Microwaving: Slice the squash lengthwise (forming two ellipses). Remove seeds and place face down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Cover dish and bake for 7-12 minutes.

Once the squash is soft, let it cool. If prepared whole, slice lengthwise and remove seeds. With a fork, gently separate the pulp into thin noodles and place them in a bowl.

Usually, the squash produces a surprisingly large amount of “spaghettini,” much more than you would expect from the looks of the outside. Apparently, sometimes the parts really are greater than the whole…

Make a sauce for your “spaghetti,” such as tomato, pesto, aglio e olio or olive oil and fresh herbs. You can even sprinkle parmesan on it, or simply season and consume with pleasure.

As this unique vegetable has made its way into the realm of haute cuisine, complex gourmet recipes have been added to the repertoire. You can find some in our recipe section, or simply experiment with preparing it in quiches, vegetable fritters, sweet/sour/spicy/Asian/Mid-Eastern seasoning, etc.

The whole squash will keep whole for over a month in a cool place. If cut, cover with plastic food wrap and keep in the fridge for two to three days. Cooked “spaghetti” should be kept in a sealed container for the same amount of time. You can also freeze cooked spaghetti squash dishes by placing them in freezer bags or sealed containers. Before serving, partially defrost and steam for five minutes till it’s warm, but not soggy.

Wishing us all peaceful and quiet days,

From all of us at Chubeza

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Tuesday: Zucchini, green leaf lettuce/lettuce hearts, parsley/coriander/dill, onions/garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, Swiss chard/kale, acorn squash/spaghetti squash/slice of Napoli pumpkin

Large box, in addition: Cabbage/melon/bell peppers, fakus/turnips, New Zealand spinach.

FRUIT BOXES: Green apples, avocados, bananas/lemons,loquats (shesek).

Wednesday: Zucchini, lettuce, parsley/coriander/dill, cabbage/onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, beets, Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, acorn squash/spaghetti squash. Small boxes: carrots/melon.

Large box, in addition: Carrots and melon, slice of Napoli pumpkin/garlic/scallions, bell peppers/fakus.

FRUIT BOXES: Green apples, avocados/nectarines, bananas/lemons,loquats (shesek)

July 6th-8th 2020 – Squish-Squash

Each year, the summer months brings a bevy of new vegetables, among them a wide array of tempting varieties of Chubeza’s squash and pumpkins. This ensemble comes in green, yellow, orange or beige, dotted and striped, smooth and coarse, round, elongated, pear-shaped, pine-cone shaped, sharp, flat, small and large, and even some in extra-large sizes. What a field day for the curcurbitas (Latin for “gourds”), all so beautiful and tasty!

This year we grew five different squash varieties, from the huge Tripolitanian pumpkin which can definitely serve as transportation for a shoeless princess, through the middle-sized Napolitano pumpkin, the familiar butternut squash, the oh-so-orange and textured Amoro squash, all the way to the compact, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand green acorn squash. This variety is different outside and in, varying from yellow to salmon to dark orange, and in taste – a neutral gentle flavor, or nutty or sweet, and in texture: moist and juicy, dry and starchy or long and thin spaghetti-style.

Over the coming weeks you will be inundated with delightful small pumpkins coming almost every week. We remind you that you needn’t use them right away. We’d rather send them to you now, because here, crowded by the hundreds, they have so little breathing space. But in your homes, on your kitchen counter or in a wicker basket on the living room table, they’ll keep beautifully while enhancing your décor with a flair. If you keep them dry and ventilated, they’re good for another month or even two! If they start growing a thin spider-like web, just wipe it away with a dry cloth to prevent rotting.

The squash-trickle began over the past few weeks:   first the butternut squash, a pair of green acorn squash, and the orange-hued Amoro pumpkin arrived. Soon to come: a sumptuous slice of Napolitano pumpkin will grace your boxes. After that, it’s time to greet the big mama – the immense Tripolitanian pumpkin that’ll remain with us all the way to winter.

The bigger and smaller pumpkins (also known as winter squash) as well as summer squash (including zucchini) belong to the same botanical category and even to the same species. The differentiation between squash and pumpkins is artificial, having to do with the stage at which they are picked and how they are used by human beings. All varieties are seeded (in an open field, in their natural season) from the end of winter/beginning of springtime, and they all grow from spring to summer.

We pick the “summer squash” early, before they ripen, when their shell is thin and their seeds are not developed, sometimes as early as 40 days after seeding. Since we pick the fruits off the plant before it had time to produce fertilized seeds, the plant makes additional attempts, yielding more and more seed-bearing fruit in order to fulfill its aim in plant-life (and animal-life): to spread its genes. Thus we are granted a long harvest season from a plant that just keeps on yielding. These squash do not keep for long, which is why in the past they were only eaten during their natural season, summertime, hence their name. Today, squash are also grown in wintertime in hothouses, so they aren’t really seasonal.

Pumpkins (large and small), however, are picked as they ripen and mature, when their shell is thick and hard and their seeds are quite large (and crackable). Since we wait till the ripening is complete, they are harvested three to five months from seeding day. Our Tripolitanian pumpkin is large, and often requires a wait of six months. Its hard shell allows it to keep nicely for several months, enabling it to be eaten in wintertime as well. This presents a particularly significant advantage in the pumpkin’s ancestral home of North America in those areas where it is too cold to grow food during winter. Pumpkins were easily stored in warehouses, offering sweetness and a summery zest to the cold wintery days. Hence their name – winter squash.

Here are some family members that you have already met this season:

The acorn squash originates in Mexico and the U.S. where Native Americans cultivated earlier species. The dark green type which we grow was introduced in 1913 and enthusiastically received, thanks to its excellent taste as well as its small size and thin shell, a source of relief for those battling the huge, hard pumpkins. In the U.S., and especially for those dining alone, it makes a good serving-for-one as well as a great stuffed vegetable.

The acorn squash really does taste delicious. Its skin is less moist than regular squash, and it has a sweet and nutty taste, which gave it the brilliant name “acorn squash.” Due to its sweetness, the acorn squash goes very well with piquant flavors – olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, as well as sweet flavors – a gentle brush of honey or date honey. The ridges lining the fruit make it somewhat difficult to peel, but the good news is that you really do not have to! It tastes great in its shell. And if you still need to eat this squash shell-less, remove the shell only after baking or cooking when it’s so much easier to slip off.

The acorn contains more vitamin C and calcium than other squash varieties, and less vitamin A. If you treat it kindly, it will keep for a few months, decorating your tabletop, but its flavor will ebb. So let it decorate your countertops for a week or two, and then whisk it straight to the oven and onto your plates!

דלוריתThe butternut squash was most likely developed in the 1940s by an amateur gardener (not a farmer or scientist) named Charles A. Leggett who was experimenting in species cultivation in a small quarter-acre garden near his house in Stow, Massachusetts. Eventually, Leggett took the fruit of his experiment to the nearby Waltham Field Station to show them what he’d developed. They loved it! He named his baby “butternut” because he thought it was smooth as butter and yummy as a nut. It arrived in Israel in the 1980s, and received the cutesy name “dalorit.

The butternut squash is usually fond of hot, humid tropical weather. More than her sisters, the butternut really can’t take cold weather, which is why it is the most popular of Israeli squash varieties. The first species of this type were chubby-looking (with seed-filled bellies) and had long, sometimes curved necks. Over the years, other variations were developed, some with chubby and shorter necks to provide a uniform vegetable demanded by the market. Like zucchini, butternuts can also be picked at an earlier stage, and they’re very tasty when young (some say even more than regular squash). They’re fun to grow in a home garden, where you can pick some to be used as summer squash and allow others to ripen till they become the genuine butternut.

The butternut’s smooth rind makes it easy to peel with just a regular vegetable peeler. It is sweet and its pulp becomes soft after cooking, although there are those who claim that baking makes it better. The butternut is very rich in vitamin A, and under good conditions can be kept for six months (but how could you resist?).

amoroThis next girlfriend, Amoro(whose name must have been coined by a love-struck fella or gal) is an orange, round and flat squash boasting a proud little rump. She belongs to a prominent group we already know: the Kabocha’s, or Japanese pumpkins (which some call Hokkaido).  Their defining characteristics are that they are all thick and lumpy on the outside, very hard to peel, and have relatively dry flesh.

Kabocha” is Japanese for any type of squash. The origin of the name comes from the squash’s journey from Mesoamérica to Japan. After the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in America and discovered the new fruits and vegetables of the land, they began distributing them at the next stops on their sailing itinerary. The squash probably arrived in Japan in the mid-16th century via Portuguese sailors who brought it from Cambodia. It was named Cambodia abóbora, which was eventually shortened to become kabocha. And thus, every squash in Japan is a kabocha, and that is what this little group is called.

Its orange flesh color testifies to its wealth of beta carotene (vitamin A), which supplies a generous quantity of iron, vitamin C and potassium. It is similar in taste to the small green acorn squash, but hard to carve, which is why it should be softened first by steaming or baking slightly (first punch holes in the rind to allow the steam to escape). Then it can be easily cut and seeded for you to proceed and prepare it to your liking.

What’s green on the outside, orange on the inside, cylinder-shaped and very long with pumpkin seeds? Meet the Napolitano squash! We have grown it for some years — it’s sweet and tasty and can be sliced widthwise into thick slices, a little like a loaf of bread…

This is a good old vintage squash which has not ceased to please despite the many years it’s been around. Napolitano is widely grown in Europe and Israel. It’s Italian in origin, as you may have already guessed (and as such can also be used as a gangster weapon when the need arises). It’s been around forever, appearing in the illustrated Vegetable Garden by Vilmorin dating back to 1856, which describes the popular vegetables of the era. Napolitano is well-loved in south Italy where it is cooked together with spicy pepper, eggplant, tomato, pears and plums in a seasonal soup called Giambotta, or fried and served with various dressings. The seeds are noshed on roasted and salted.

Its shape resembles a huge butternut squash – with a wide bottom and narrower bottleneck, but sometimes it can reach one meter in length! Napolitano weighs between 7-15 kg and the texture is similar to the butternut: smooth and more condensed than a regular pumpkin, with a gentle sweetness. Its inside looks like the butternut, with a thicket of fiber and seeds. If your slice landed up coming from the seed section, use them well, but if you received a piece of “neck,” this is seed-free. Both are super nice!

The multi-varied shapes and colors of pumpkins are an example of Nature’s paintbrush. At times, human beings take it one stroke further – So for your dessert, enjoy this beautiful, crazy pumpkin statue created by Japanese pumpkin-lover artist Yayoi Kusama.

Wishing you a squash of flavor, and bon appetite!

Alon Bat Ami, DRor, Orin and the Chubeza team

______________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Zucchini, lettuce, corn, melon/watermelon, cucumbers/fakus, tomatoes, Amoro pumpkin/ butternut squash/acorn squash/slice of pumpkin, yellow string beans/Thai yard-long beans, basil/coriander, eggplant/bell peppers/potatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.

Large box, in addition: Cherry tomatoes, parsley, scallions/onions.  

FRUIT BOXES: Plums, apples, grapes, mango

Wednesday: Zucchini, corn, melon/watermelon, cucumbers/fakus, cherry tomatoes, Amoro pumpkin/butternut squash/acorn squash, yellow string beans/Thai yard-long beans, basil/coriander, eggplant/bell peppers/potatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, scallions/onions/leek/garlic.

Large box, in addition: Tomatoes, parsley, lettuce/slice of pumpkin.  

FRUIT BOXES: Plums, apples, grapes, mango.

June 24th-26th 2019 – Squish-Squash

After waiting for sooooo long, a new stock of Tamir’s Honey has finally arrived!  “D’vash Mibeit Abba” (“Honey from Father’s House”) from Moshav Sha’al on the Golan Heights, in wildflower (dark honey) and blueberry blossom (light honey) flavors, is available in kilo-size jars. This honey is fresh from the hive, thus still liquid. In time and in cool temperatures, it will solidify.

Order this fresh, sublime sweet treat today from our Order System.

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Each year, the month of June brings a bevy of new vegetables, among them a wide array of tempting varieties of Chubeza’s squash and pumpkins. This ensemble comes in green, yellow, orange or beige, dotted and striped, smooth and coarse, round, elongated, pear-shaped, pine-cone shaped, sharp, flat, small and large, and even some in extra-large sizes. What a field day for the curcurbitas (Latin for “gourds”), all so beautiful and tasty!

This year we grew five different squash varieties, from the huge Tripolitanian pumpkin which can definitely serve as transportation for a shoeless princess, through the middle-sized Napolitano pumpkin, the familiar butternut squash, the oh-so-orange and textured Amoro squash, all the way to the compact, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand green acorn squash. This variety is different outside and in, varying from yellow to salmon to dark orange, and in taste – a neutral gentle flavor, or nutty or sweet, and in texture: moist and juicy, dry and starchy or long and thin spaghetti-style.

Over the coming weeks you will be inundated with delightful small pumpkins coming almost every week. We remind you that you needn’t use them right away. We’d rather send them to you now, because here, crowded by the hundreds, they have so little breathing space. But in your homes, on your kitchen counter or in a wicker basket on the living room table, they’ll keep beautifully while enhancing your décor with a flair. If you keep them dry and ventilated, they’re good for another month or even two! If they start growing a thin spider-like web, just wipe it away with a dry cloth to prevent rotting.

The squash-trickle began over the past few weeks:   first the butternut squash, a pair of green acorn squash, and the orange-hued Amoro pumpkin arrived. Soon to come: a sumptuous slice of Napolitano pumpkin will grace your boxes. After that, it’s time to greet the big mama – the immense Tripolitanian pumpkin that’ll remain with us all the way to winter.

The bigger and smaller pumpkins (also known as winter squash) as well as summer squash (including zucchini) belong to the same botanical category and even to the same species. The differentiation between squash and pumpkins is artificial, having to do with the stage at which they are picked and how they are used by human beings. All varieties are seeded (in an open field, in their natural season) from the end of winter/beginning of springtime, and they all grow from spring to summer.

We pick the “summer squash” early, before they ripen, when their shell is thin and their seeds are not developed, sometimes as early as 40 days after seeding. Since we pick the fruits off the plant before it had time to produce fertilized seeds, the plant makes additional attempts, yielding more and more seed-bearing fruit in order to fulfill its aim in plant-life (and animal-life): to spread its genes. Thus we are granted a long harvest season from a plant that just keeps on yielding. These squash do not keep for long, which is why in the past they were only eaten during their natural season, summertime, hence their name. Today, squash are also grown in wintertime in hothouses, so they aren’t really seasonal.

Pumpkins (large and small), however, are picked as they ripen and mature, when their shell is thick and hard and their seeds are quite large (and crackable). Since we wait till the ripening is complete, they are harvested three to five months from seeding day. Our Tripolitanian pumpkin is large, and often requires a wait of six months. Its hard shell allows it to keep nicely for several months, enabling it to be eaten in wintertime as well. This presents a particularly significant advantage in the pumpkin’s ancestral home of North America in those areas where it is too cold to grow food during winter. Pumpkins were easily stored in warehouses, offering sweetness and a summery zest to the cold wintery days. Hence their name – winter squash.

Here are some family members that you have already met this season:

The acorn squash originates in Mexico and the U.S. where Native Americans cultivated earlier species. The dark green type which we grow was introduced in 1913 and enthusiastically received, thanks to its excellent taste as well as its small size and thin shell, a source of relief for those battling the huge, hard pumpkins. In the U.S., and especially for those dining alone, it makes a good serving-for-one as well as a great stuffed vegetable.

The acorn squash really does taste delicious. Its skin is less moist than regular squash, and it has a sweet and nutty taste, which gave it the brilliant name “acorn squash.” Due to its sweetness, the acorn squash goes very well with piquant flavors – olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, as well as sweet flavors – a gentle brush of honey or date honey. The ridges lining the fruit make it somewhat difficult to peel, but the good news is that you really do not have to! It tastes great in its shell. And if you still need to eat this squash shell-less, remove the shell only after baking or cooking when it’s so much easier to slip off.

The acorn contains more vitamin C and calcium than other squash varieties, and less vitamin A. If you treat it kindly, it will keep for a few months, decorating your tabletop, but its flavor will ebb. So let it decorate your countertops for a week or two, and then whisk it straight to the oven and onto your plates!

דלוריתThe butternut squash was most likely developed in the 1940s by an amateur gardener (not a farmer or scientist) named Charles A. Leggett who was experimenting in species cultivation in a small quarter-acre garden near his house in Stow, Massachusetts. Eventually, Leggett took the fruit of his experiment to the nearby Waltham Field Station to show them what he’d developed. They loved it! He named his baby “butternut” because he thought it was smooth as butter and yummy as a nut. It arrived in Israel in the 1980s, and received the cutesy name “dalorit.

The butternut squash is usually fond of hot, humid tropical weather. More than her sisters, the butternut really can’t take cold weather, which is why it is the most popular of Israeli squash varieties. The first species of this type were chubby-looking (with seed-filled bellies) and had long, sometimes curved necks. Over the years, other variations were developed, some with chubby and shorter necks to provide a uniform vegetable demanded by the market. Like zucchini, butternuts can also be picked at an earlier stage, and they’re very tasty when young (some say even more than regular squash). They’re fun to grow in a home garden, where you can pick some to be used as summer squash and allow others to ripen till they become the genuine butternut.

The butternut’s smooth rind makes it easy to peel with just a regular vegetable peeler. It is sweet and its pulp becomes soft after cooking, although there are those who claim that baking makes it better. The butternut is very rich in vitamin A, and under good conditions can be kept for six months (but how could you resist?).

amoroThis next girlfriend, Amoro(whose name must have been coined by a love-struck fella or gal) is an orange, round and flat squash boasting a proud little rump. She belongs to a prominent group we already know: the Kabocha’s, or Japanese pumpkins (which some call Hokkaido).  Their defining characteristics are that they are all thick and lumpy on the outside, very hard to peel, and have relatively dry flesh.

Kabocha” is Japanese for any type of squash. The origin of the name comes from the squash’s journey from Mesoamérica to Japan. After the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in America and discovered the new fruits and vegetables of the land, they began distributing them at the next stops on their sailing itinerary. The squash probably arrived in Japan in the mid-16th century via Portuguese sailors who brought it from Cambodia. It was named Cambodia abóbora, which was eventually shortened to become kabocha. And thus, every squash in Japan is a kabocha, and that is what this little group is called.

Its orange flesh color testifies to its wealth of beta carotene (vitamin A), which supplies a generous quantity of iron, vitamin C and potassium. It is similar in taste to the small green acorn squash, but hard to carve, which is why it should be softened first by steaming or baking slightly (first punch holes in the rind to allow the steam to escape). Then it can be easily cut and seeded for you to proceed and prepare it to your liking.

What’s green on the outside, orange on the inside, cylinder-shaped and very long with pumpkin seeds? Meet the Napolitano squash! We have grown it for some years — it’s sweet and tasty and can be sliced widthwise into thick slices, a little like a loaf of bread…

This is a good old vintage squash which has not ceased to please despite the many years it’s been around. Napolitano is widely grown in Europe and Israel. It’s Italian in origin, as you may have already guessed (and as such can also be used as a gangster weapon when the need arises). It’s been around forever, appearing in the illustrated Vegetable Garden by Vilmorin dating back to 1856, which describes the popular vegetables of the era. Napolitano is well-loved in south Italy where it is cooked together with spicy pepper, eggplant, tomato, pears and plums in a seasonal soup called Giambotta, or fried and served with various dressings. The seeds are noshed on roasted and salted.

Its shape resembles a huge butternut squash – with a wide bottom and narrower bottleneck, but sometimes it can reach one meter in length! Napolitano weighs between 7-15 kg and the texture is similar to the butternut: smooth and more condensed than a regular pumpkin, with a gentle sweetness. Its inside looks like the butternut, with a thicket of fiber and seeds. If your slice landed up coming from the seed section, use them well, but if you received a piece of “neck,” this is seed-free. Both are super nice!

Wishing you a squash of flavor, and bon appetite!

Alon Bat Ami, DRor, Orin, Yochai and the Chubeza team

______________________________________________

WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Amoro pumpkin, lettuce, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley/coriander, eggplant, watermelon. Small boxes only: Acorn squash, garlic/leeks/scallions

Large box, in addition: Fakus, corn, zucchini, cherry tomatoes/green string beans, butternut squash

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, melon, cherries, apricots.  Large boxes, in addition: nectarines

Wednesday: Amoro pumpkin, lettuce, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley/coriander, eggplant, watermelon/melon. Small boxes only: Acorn squash, garlic/leeks/scallions

Large box, in addition: Fakus, corn, zucchini/cherry tomatoes, green string beans, butternut squash/Napoli pumpkin.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apricots, peaches.  Small boxes: watermelon. Large boxes: cherries.

June 11th-13th 2018 – Squish-Squash

This week your boxes include a get-acquainted sampler from the wonderful bakery Ish shel Lechem (A Man of Bread), a Chubeza associate. The “Man” is Iddo, Carol is his assistant, and together they bake excellent sourdough bread, cookies and granola. They’ve prepared a nice variety of their product for you to taste. You’ll love them! Check out their great website!

You can order Iddo’s amazing bread, cookies and granola via our order system. He also offers catering services. Contact Iddo for more details: ishelehem@gmail or search Facebook for “ishelehem”.

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Each year, the month of June brings a bevy of new vegetables, among them a wide array of tempting varieties of Chubeza squash and pumpkins. This ensemble comes in green, yellow, orange or beige, dotted and striped, smooth and coarse, round, elongated, pear-shaped, pine-cone shaped, sharp, flat, small and large, and even some in extra-large sizes. What a field day for the curcurbitas (Latin for “gourds”), all so beautiful and tasty!

This year we grew five different squash varieties, from the huge Tripolitanian pumpkin which can definitely serve as transportation for a shoeless princess, through the middle-sized Napolitano pumpkin, the familiar butternut squash, the oh-so-orange and textured Amoro squash, all the way to the compact, fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand green acorn squash. This variety is different outside and in, varying from yellow to salmon to dark orange, and in taste – a neutral gentle flavor, or nutty or sweet, and in texture: wet and juicy, dry and starchy or long and thin spaghetti-style.

Over the coming weeks you will be inundated with delightful small pumpkins coming almost every week. We remind you that you needn’t use them right away. We’d rather send them to you now, because here, crowded by the hundreds, they have so little breathing space. But in your homes, on your kitchen counter or in a wicker basket on the living room table, they’ll keep beautifully while enhancing your décor with a flair. If you keep them dry and ventilated, they’re good for another month or even two! If they start growing a thin spider-like web, just wipe it away with a dry cloth to prevent rotting.

The squash-trickle began over the past few weeks, starting with the butternut squash, a sliver of Napolitano pumpkin, a pair of green acorn squash and soon the Amoro will be gracing your boxes in its orange grandeur. After that – big mama – the immense Tripolitanian pumpkin that’ll remain with us all the way to winter.

The bigger and smaller pumpkins (also known as winter squash) as well as summer squash (including zucchini) belong to the same botanical category and even to the same species. The differentiation between squash and pumpkins is artificial, having to do with the stage at which they are picked and how they are used by human beings. All varieties are seeded (in an open field, in their natural season) from the end of winter/beginning of springtime, and they all grow from spring to summer.

We pick the “summer squash” early, before they ripen, when their shell is thin and their seeds are not developed, sometimes as early as 40 days after seeding. Since we pick the fruits off the plant before it had time to produce fertilized seeds, the plant makes additional attempts, yielding more and more seed-bearing fruit in order to fulfill its aim in plant-life (and animal-life): to spread its genes. Thus we are granted a long harvest season from a plant that just keeps on yielding. These squash do not keep for long, which is why in the past they were only eaten during their natural season, summertime, hence their name. Today, squash are also grown in wintertime in hothouses, so they aren’t really seasonal.

Pumpkins (large and small), however, are picked as they ripen and mature, when their shell is thick and hard and their seeds are quite large (and crackable). Since we wait till the ripening is complete, they are harvested three to five months from seeding day. Our Tripolitanian pumpkin is large, and often requires a wait of six months. Its hard shell allows it to keep nicely for several months, enabling it to be eaten in wintertime as well. This presents a particularly significant advantage in the pumpkin’s ancestral home of North America in those areas where it is too cold to grow food during winter. Pumpkins were easily stored in warehouses, offering sweetness and a summery zest to the cold wintery days. Hence their name – winter squash.

Here are some family members that you have already met this season:

The acorn squash originates in Mexico and the U.S. where Native Americans cultivated earlier species. The dark green type which we grow was introduced in 1913 and enthusiastically received, thanks to its excellent taste as well as its small size and thin shell, a source of relief for those battling the huge, hard pumpkins. In the U.S., and especially for those dining alone, it makes a good serving-for-one as well as a great stuffed vegetable.

The acorn squash really does taste delicious. Its skin is less moist than regular squash, and it has a sweet and nutty taste, which gave it the brilliant name “acorn squash.” Due to its sweetness, the acorn squash goes very well with piquant flavors – olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, as well as sweet flavors – a gentle brush of honey or date honey. The ridges lining the fruit make it somewhat difficult to peel, but the good news is that you really do not have to! It tastes great in its shell. And if you still need to eat this squash shell-less, remove the shell only after baking or cooking when it’s so much easier to slip off.

The acorn contains more vitamin C and calcium than other squash varieties, and less vitamin A. If you treat it kindly, it will keep for a few months, decorating your tabletop, but its flavor will ebb. So let it decorate your countertops for a week or two, and then whisk it straight to the oven and onto your plates!

דלוריתThe butternut squash was most likely developed in the 1940s by an amateur gardener (not a farmer or scientist) named Charles A. Leggett who was experimenting in species cultivation in a small quarter-acre garden near his house in Stow, Massachusetts. Eventually, Leggett took the fruit of his experiment to the nearby Waltham Field Station to show them what he’d developed. They loved it! He named his baby “butternut” because he thought it was smooth as butter and yummy as a nut. It arrived in Israel in the 1980s, and received the cutesy name “dalorit.

The butternut squash is usually fond of hot, humid tropical weather. More than her sisters, the butternut really can’t take cold weather, which is why it is the most popular of Israeli squash varieties. The first species of this type were chubby-looking (with seed-filled bellies) and had long, sometimes curved necks. Over the years, other variations were developed, some with chubby and shorter necks to provide a uniform vegetable demanded by the market. Like zucchini, butternuts can also be picked at an earlier stage, and they’re very tasty when young (some say even more than regular squash). They’re fun to grow in a home garden, where you can pick some to be used as summer squash and allow others to ripen till they become the genuine butternut.

The butternut’s smooth rind makes it easy to peel with just a regular vegetable peeler. It is sweet and its pulp becomes soft after cooking, although there are those who claim that baking makes it better. The butternut is very rich in vitamin A, and under good conditions can be kept for six months (but how could you resist?).

amoroThis next girlfriend, Amoro(whose name must have been coined by a love-struck fella or gal) is an orange, round and flat squash boasting a proud little rump. She belongs to a prominent group we already know: the Kabocha’s, or Japanese pumpkins (which some call Hokkaido).  Their defining characteristics are that they are all thick and lumpy on the outside, very hard to peel, and have relatively dry flesh.

Kabocha” is Japanese for any type of squash. The origin of the name comes from the squash’s journey from Mesoamérica to Japan. After the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in America and discovered the new fruits and vegetables of the land, they began distributing them at the next stops on their sailing itinerary. The squash probably arrived in Japan in the mid-16th century via Portuguese sailors who brought it from Cambodia. It was named Cambodia abóbora, which was eventually shortened to become kabocha. And thus, every squash in Japan is a kabocha, and that is what this little group is called.

Its orange flesh color testifies to its wealth of beta carotene (vitamin A), which supplies a generous quantity of iron, vitamin C and potassium. It is similar in taste to the small green acorn squash, but hard to carve, which is why it should be softened first by steaming or baking slightly (first punch holes in the rind to allow the steam to escape). Then it can be easily cut and seeded for you to proceed and prepare it to your liking.

What’s green on the outside, orange on the inside, cylinder-shaped and very long with pumpkin seeds? Meet the Napolitano squash! We have grown it for some years — it’s sweet and tasty and can be sliced widthwise into thick slices, a little like a loaf of bread…

This is a good old vintage squash which has not ceased to please despite the many years it’s been around. Napolitano is widely grown in Europe and Israel. It’s Italian in origin, as you may have already guessed (and as such can also be used as a gangster weapon when the need arises). It’s been around forever, appearing in the illustrated Vegetable Garden by Vilmorin dating back to 1856, which describes the popular vegetables of the era. Napolitano is well-loved in south Italy where it is cooked together with spicy pepper, eggplant, tomato, pears and plums in a seasonal soup called Giambotta, or fried and served with various dressings. The seeds are noshed on roasted and salted.

Its shape resembles a huge butternut squash – with a wide bottom and narrower bottleneck, but sometimes it can reach one meter in length! Napolitano weighs between 7-15 kg and the texture is similar to the butternut: smooth and more condensed than a regular pumpkin, with a gentle sweetness. Its inside looks like the butternut, with a thicket of fiber and seeds. If your slice landed up coming from the seed section, use them well, but if you received a piece of “neck,” this is seed-free. Both are super nice!

Wishing you a squash of flavor, and bon appetite!

Alon Bat Ami, Yochai, Dror and the Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

Monday: Fakkus, butternut squash/acorn squash, lettuce/Swiss chard, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, New Zealand spinach, zucchini, onions/leeks/garlic, parsley/coriander/dill.

Large box, in addition: Corn, Napolitano squash, cherry tomatoes

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, plums, plums, nectarines, avocado.

Wednesday: Corn/eggplant, butternut squash/acorn squash, lettuce, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, zucchini, leeks/garlic, parsley/coriander.

Large box, in addition: Fakkus, Napolitano squash, cherry tomatoes

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, melon, grapes, apples.

July 31st-August 2nd 2017 – A fresh look at squash

Chill out in these hot hot days – Eliezer and Roze from Shoreshei Zion promise to teach you how to make raw fermented foods:

Probiotic Workshops:

13.8 ~ Part I:  Cultured Probiotic Veggies  – Basics :  Sauerkraut, Kimchi.

20.8 ~ Part 2:  Probiotic Veggies – Advanced : Sour Dills, Roots & Sea Kraut, Fruit Kimchi & more!

27.8 ~ Probiotic Drinks : Kombucha, Jun, Ginger Beer, Rejuvelac.

Where & when: Shorshei-Zion place: 3 Hatzaba st., Beit Shemesh. 17:30-20:30.

To Register shoresheitzion@gmail.com

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The Day the Squash Moved from the Kitchen to Your Living Room

The hot summer months bring a bevy of new vegetables, among them a wide array of tempting varieties of Chubeza squash and pumpkins. This ensemble comes in green, yellow, orange or beige, dotted and striped, smooth and coarse, round, elongated, pear-shaped, pine-cone shaped, sharp, flat, small and large, and even some in extra-large sizes. What a field day for the curcurbitas (Latin for “gourds”), all so beautiful and tasty!

As usual, this year too we grew seven different squash varieties, from the huge Tripolitanian pumpkin which can definitely serve as transportation for a shoeless princess, through the middle-sized Provence pumpkin, the familiar butternut squash, the oh-so-orange and textured Amoro squash, all the way to the compact, palm-of-the-hand-size green acorn squash. This year we grew two new varieties: the white indented squash, resembling a star, and a small light-orange, round and smooth squash.  This particular type is different outside and in, varying from yellow to salmon to dark orange, and in taste – a neutral flavor, or nutty or sweet, and in texture: wet and juicy, dry and starchy or long and thin spaghetti-style.

How exciting! Over the coming weeks you will be continue to be inundated with delightful small pumpkins. We remind you that you needn’t use them right away. We’d rather send them to you now, because here, crowded by the hundreds, they have so little breathing space. But in your homes, on your kitchen counter or in a wicker basket on the living room table, they’ll keep beautifully while enhancing your décor with flair. If you keep them dry and ventilated, they’re good for another month or even two! If they start growing a thin spider-like web, just wipe it away with a dry cloth to prevent rotting.

Interestingly, the bigger and smaller pumpkins (also known as winter squash) as well as summer squash (including zucchini) belong to the same botanical category and even to the same species. The differentiation between squash and pumpkins is artificial, having to do with the stage they are picked and how they are used by human beings. All varieties are seeded (in an open field, in their natural season) from the end of winter/beginning of springtime, and they all grow from spring to summer.

We pick the “summer squash” early, before they ripen, when their shell is thin and their seeds are not developed, sometimes as early as 40 days after seeding. Since we pick the fruits off the plant before it had time to produce fertilized seeds, the plant makes additional attempts, yielding more and more seed-bearing fruit in order to fulfill its aim in plant-life (and animal-life): to spread its genes. Thus we are granted a long harvest season from a plant that just keeps on yielding. These squash do not keep for long, which is why in the past they were only eaten during their natural season, summertime, hence their name. Today, squash are also grown in wintertime in hothouses, so they aren’t really seasonal.

Pumpkins (large and small), however, are picked as they ripen and mature, when their shell is thick and hard and their seeds are quite large (and crackable). Since we wait till the ripening is complete, they are harvested three to five months from seeding day. Our Tripolitanian pumpkin is large, and often requires a wait of six months. Its hard shell allows it to keep nicely for several months, enabling it to be eaten in wintertime as well. This presents a particularly significant advantage in the pumpkin’s ancestral home of North America in those areas where it is too cold to grow food during winter. Pumpkins were easily stored in warehouses, offering sweetness and a summery zest to the cold wintery days. Hence their name – winter squash.

Here are some family members that you have already met this season:

The acorn squash originates in Mexico and the U.S. where Native Americans cultivated earlier species. The dark green type which we grow was introduced in 1913 and enthusiastically received, thanks to its excellent taste but also because of its small size and thin shell, a source of relief for those battling the huge, hard pumpkins. In the U.S., and especially for those dining alone, it makes a good serving-for-one as well as a great stuffed vegetable.

The acorn squash really does taste delicious. Its skin is less moist than regular squash, and it has a sweet and nutty taste, which gave it the brilliant name “acorn squash.” Due to its sweetness, the acorn squash goes very well with piquant flavors – olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, as well as sweet flavors – a gentle brush of honey or date honey. The ridges lining the fruit make it somewhat difficult to peel, but the good news is that you really do not have to! It tastes great in its shell. And if you still need to eat this squash shell-less, remove the shell only after baking or cooking when it’s so much easier to slip off.

The acorn contains more vitamin C and calcium than other squash varieties, and less vitamin A. If you treat it kindly, it will keep for a few months, decorating your tabletop, but its flavor will ebb. So let it decorate your countertops for a week or two, and then whisk it straight to the oven and onto your plates!

דלוריתThe butternut squash was most likely developed in the 1940s by an amateur gardener (not a farmer or scientist) named Charles A. Leggett who was experimenting in species cultivation in a small quarter-acre garden near his house in Stow, Massachusetts. Eventually, Leggett took the fruit of his experiment to the nearby Waltham Field Station to show them what he’d developed. They loved it! He named his baby “butternut” because he thought it was smooth as butter and yummy as a nut. It arrived in Israel in the 1980s, and received the cutesy name “dalorit.

The butternut squash is usually fond of hot, humid tropical weather. More than her sisters, the butternut really can’t take cold weather, which is why it is the most popular of Israeli squash varieties. The first species of this type were chubby-looking (with seed-filled bellies) and had long, sometimes curved necks. Over the years, other variations were developed, some with chubby and shorter necks to provide a uniform vegetable demanded by the market. Like zucchini, butternuts can also be picked at an earlier stage, and they’re very tasty when young (some say even more than regular squash). They’re fun to grow in a home garden, where you can pick some to be used as summer squash and allow others to ripen till they become the genuine butternut.

The butternut’s smooth rind makes it easy to peel with just a regular vegetable peeler. It is sweet and its pulp becomes soft after cooking, although there are those who claim that baking makes it better. The butternut is very rich in vitamin A, and under good conditions can be kept for six months (but how could you resist?).

amoroThis next girlfriend, “Amoro,” (whose name must have been coined by a love-struck fella or gal) is an orange, round and flat squash boasting a proud little rump. She belongs to a prominent group we already know: the Kabocha’s, or Japanese pumpkins (which some call Hokkaido).  Their defining characteristics are that they are all thick and lumpy on the outside, very hard to peel, and have relatively dry flesh.  “Kabocha” is Japanese for any type of squash. The origin of the name comes from the squash’s journey from Mesoamérica to Japan. After the Spanish and Portuguese arrived in America and discovered the new fruits and vegetables of the land, they began distributing them at the next stops on their sailing itinerary. The squash probably arrived in Japan in the mid-16th century via Portuguese sailors who brought it from Cambodia. It was named Cambodia abóbor, which was eventually shortened to become kabocha. And thus, every squash in Japan is a kabocha, and that is what this little group is called.

Its orange flesh color testifies to its wealth of beta carotene (vitamin A), which supplies a generous quantity of iron, vitamin C and potassium. It is similar in taste to the small green acorn squash, but hard to carve, which is why it should be softened first by steaming or baking slightly (first punch holes in the rind to allow the steam to escape). Then it can be easily cut and seeded for you to proceed and prepare it to your liking.

This year we grew two new, interesting squashes. The first is a small, round and light-orange smooth squash that hasn’t yet earned a name of its own, merely a serial number. Thus, Pump 7827 she is: orange inside and out, with very sweet flesh and easily carved and cookable.

And Pump 7827 stores a small unusual treasure, or rather lots of treasures, within. Its seeds are in fact shell-less: when you slice the squash in half you will find green, soft seeds which can be nibbled on raw, no roasting necessary. Or roast them and nibble some more. They’re delicate and delicious.

This squash is of the sort known as “sugar pie,” the renowned puree ingredient for the famous American pumpkin pie. Its trademark is the delicate filigreed lines which looks like they were painted on the shell, proving this squash is edible and sweet (uncharacteristic of most American pumpkins, which are mostly grown to be carved on Halloween and for other decorations).

Another newcomer is a starkly beautiful white squash, resembling a huge acorn squash in shape – with big slits which create the shape of a pinecone or star (if sliced in half.) It received the poetic name mashed potato, specifically because, like the acorn squash, its flesh is relatively solid and easy to puree. Unlike the acorn squash, it is not very sweet, which is why it goes well with more savory seasoning, just like mashed potatoes.

This white squash is more interesting, as it challenges our regular expectations of a squash to be orange and sweet. Here is an independent lily-white young miss, beautiful but not sweet, and yet – an honest-to- goodness squash, and just delicious. Enjoy!!

We’ll try to squash in some more on the subject, but for now, enjoy each and every one in all sizes, shapes, colors and flavors!

We are delighted to send hearty congratulations and happiness to Majdi and Seffa on the birth of their beautiful eldest daughter Salma, born this past Thursday. Congratulations to Ali, the proud uncle, and of course to Mohammed and Mohammedia, the proud and happy grandparents. We wish you many hours of sleep, happiness, laughter and a wonderful family life.

Wishing you good peaceful days and a fine week,

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

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S SUMMER BOXES?

The recent heatwave literally burned our cucumber bushes, and we are experiencing a cucumber shortage that is hitting the entire market these days. This dearth is felt everywhere, but even more in the organic market, and we are finding it hard to purchase supplementary cucumbers. For this reason, your boxes will contain a smaller quantity than usual in the cucumber department. We hope that our later-planted cucumber bushes will quickly grow and ripen so we can soon restore your usual quantity of bountiful, juicy summer cucumbers.

Monday: Coriander/parsley, acorn squash, yard-long beans/okra, cucumbers/bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, potatoes, cherry tomatoes/edamame. Small boxes only: leeks.

Large box, in addition: Parsley root, slice of pumpkin/butternut squash, New Zealand spinach, corn.

Wednesday: Coriander/parsley, acorn squash/round sugar pie pumpkin, yard-long beans/okra, cucumbers/bell peppers/zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, potatoes, cherry tomatoes/parsley root, edamame, New Zealand spinach.

Large box, in addition:  slice of pumpkin/butternut squash, corn, leeks.

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