Aley Chubeza #165, June 1st-3rd 2013

Another month has come to an end. Over the past week we billed you for your June purchases.

Remember, you are now able to view your billing history in our Internet-based order system. Simply click the new 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. Our thanks!!

Note: The invoice title is standard for all bills. It reads: “Vegetables, fruits, dates.” This does not mean we bill you for something you did not purchase. If you only received vegetables, you will only be billed for vegetables. Not fruit or dates…


A message from Maggie, the “sprouter” par excellence:

Due to a temporary shortage in organic alfalfa and fenugreek (chilbeh) seeds (Maggie is waiting for a license to import them, because there simply are not any in Israel!), Maggie will be using seeds which are not organic certified. Of course, these are seeds which are not treated and are intended for human consumption. They will be sprouted the same way the organic type is grown, in her house, same tools, and watering via drinking water.

The broccoli sprouts will not be available at this time either. They are very delicate and tend to go bad in summer. So after a few disappointing weeks, they are out for a temporary summer vacation. For more information, ask Maggie directly: 054-7536106  02-5700796 [email protected]


Eight little pumpkins sitting in a shed…

Against the backdrop of this Israeli summer’s scorching heat, our warehouse is merrily filling up with an array of colors and shapes: it’s The Pumpkins. When we say pumpkins, we mean that piece of pumpkin you already got in your boxes, as well as the smaller hard squash– the elliptic spaghetti squash (orange, yellow or striped), the small green acorn squash, the orange kury squash that resembles a flattened droplet, the wonderful green kabocha, the light-orange-inside and outside mini Pam squash , and of course, the yummy creamy butternut.

Pumpkins, hard squash (also known as winter squash) and summer squash, among them the zucchini, belong to the same botanical category, and even 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. 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. And when the diabolical lesser pumpkin fly takes his time coming, like this year (tfu tfu tfu), 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 they 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. The pumpkins that were seeded in the middle of springtime are only harvested 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.

In the early days of Chubeza, we used to seed our pumpkins at the end of winter towards springtime, and the hard squash in June (which I’d learned from my pumpkin-raising experience in California). This timing is right for the Americans who need their ripe pumpkins in time for October pumpkin fairs. But year after year, the Israeli reality would inspire a variety of viruses that attacked the gourds and celebrated wildly throughout the summer. As our crops dwindled and our dismay deepened, we grew fewer and fewer varieties of squash every year. From seven the first year, we grew four the second year, and fewer as time went on. Only after several of these failed attempts, we figured it out: our timing was altogether off. So instead of waiting and seeding these squash late, subjecting them to a life of suffering and battling viruses, we decided to seed them earlier like their sibling the great pumpkin. The decision turned out to be wise, and finally we are blessed with a fine yield.

This year we are growing eight different small squash varieties. We already discussed the spaghetti squash, but you will be visited by other friends over the next few months. This week and next, I would like to tell you a little about the beautiful range of squash in our field:

This week you will hear about two Japanese sisters:

The kabocha is a green squash, hard on the outside and sweet and orange inside. “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 to 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.

The round green type portrayed in the picture above (who, like the kury squash from last week, belongs to the buttercup squash group) was developed and originally marketed primarily to Japan, which is why these types of squash were termed kabocha. Its orange flesh color testifies to its wealth of beta carotene (vitamin A), and it supplies a generous quantity of iron, vitamin C and potassium. It is similar in taste to the small green acorn squash. It is sweeter and drier than a regular squash or buttercup, and some describe it as a combination of squash and sweet potato, with a chestnut-hazelnut taste. Either way, it’s best to stop talking and start nibbling on it. It is 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.

The other squash you’ve already met in your boxes is the orange squash, resembling a plump raindrop. This is the Japanese squash called “kury,” Japanese for chestnuts. In France it’s called potimarron, and the Brits call it onion squash.  It belongs to the buttercup group developed in North Dakota at the end of the 1920′s for the northern housewife to substitute for sweet potatoes (in pre-global village life). After a few years of cultivation of this specie, Home Ec departments ran a battery of cooking tests, and a prominent panel of judges graded the texture, taste, color, sweetness, etc. Chemistry departments calculated its content of dry mass, compared to popular species. Our friend buttercup won with flying colors. Its flesh is drier, sweeter and very rich, reminiscent of a cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato. It contains more protein than other winter squash and is rich in vitamins A and C. It can sit patiently in the pantry for two to three months.

Over the next few months we will begin to slowly “dispense” interesting and unique squashes and pumpkins. You need not use them up immediately. Place them on your kitchen counter for an ever-changing colorful parade of shapes and sizes. But once you cut a pumpkin, it must be stored in the fridge.

More next week!

May we all have a wonderful, summery, happy week. May our children enjoy a great summer vacation with lots of sea, sunshine and happiness!

Alon, Bat Ami, Ya’ara and the entire Chubeza team




Monday: Lettuce, parsley, Kabocha/kury squash, tomatoes, melon/watermelon, beets, fakus/cucumbers, chives/mint (nana), potatoes, corn.  Small boxes only: eggplant

In the large box, in addition: Swiss chard, zucchini, green or yellow beans, cherry tomatoes

Wednesday: parsley, nana/chive, cucumbers/fakus, cherry tomatoes, beets, lettuce, corn, melon, kuri pumpkin, eggplants, tomatoes

In the large box, in addition: Swiss chard/New Zealand spinach, zucchini, potatoes



Sweet and spicy roasted kabocha squash

Kabocha Squash (Pumpkin) Cheesecake with Graham-Lime-Walnut Crust

Red Kuri Squash Gratin

Baked Kuri Squash and Apple Maple Pudding (vegan!)

Red Kuri Squash

Red kury squash gratin

Red kury squash risotto

Red kury squash pie

Thai green curry with red kury squash