Last week we forgot to attach the file. Our apologies! So here at last is the updated pricelist for the various additional products. Please check it out. Prices are effective from Wednesday, January 1, 2004.
In honor of the upcoming Tu B’Shvat celebration, Melissa of “mipri yadeha” is renewing her tradition of offering a delectable assortment of leather bits, organic dates, whole chubby carobs, local unshelled nuts (almonds and pecans), naturally sun-dried raisins and dried fruits, dates, carobs, and unshelled nuts for 60 NIS per basket. Please hurry and make your order (you can email us ahead of time) to give Melissa ample time to assemble the packages.
And right on time for Tu B’Shvat, the raisins are back!! Raisins from Israeli grapes, naturally sun-dried, with no sulfur. Dark raisins in 200 gr/1 kg packages can now be ordered via our order system (dry fruits and fruit leather tab)
Looking Right Through the Green Onion
It’s so common and natural that we take it for granted. We dice and cut and slice and add it to our salads with no fanfare, use it to garnish dishes, a mere wallflower. But, hey– when it’s gone, we sure miss it! So this week’s Newsletter is paying a heartfelt tribute to this all-time great but humble green. Ladies and gentlemen, the scallion!
We grow the common onion once a year only, because it doesn’t last long and we lack long-term storage. However, his green cousin and other relatives the garlic, leek and chives are frequent visitors. They are all Alliums, belonging to the Lily family. The bulb and green onions as well as scallions are Allium cepa. They develop a multilayered bulb like other onions, though most of their energy is invested in their green leaves while ignoring their “oniony” designation.
The onion and its cousins are among the most ancient cultivated plants. Onions originated in Western Asia, and there is even evidence that they were raised in ancient Egypt. The Israelites craved it, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the … onions and garlic.” In ancient Egypt, onions received special treatment, serving as models in Egyptian art and offerings for the gods, in addition to being a basic staple of the common folk. For the Egyptians, the revered onion with its many layers represented eternal life and was thus placed in the tombs of the Pharaohs. Traces of small onions were found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV, and a basket of onions was considered a popular and respected funeral offering.
There has always been a conflict between the onion’s pungent odor and its taste. The aristocracy pinched their noses at the odor (but ate it nonetheless), while in India the Brahmins abstained and the common people consumed it greedily. Hammurabi’s Code notes a monthly allocation of onion and bread for the needy. Alexander the Great viewed the strong scent of the onion as a sign of his potency. An enthusiastic proponent of the “you-are-what-you-eat” school of warfare, he fed his warriors a steady diet of pungent onions to fortify their strength and courage (perhaps this was another reason the enemies fled his army…).
The onion is a geophyte (a bulb or onion plant whose propagation buds are underground). In order to create the bulb, the common onion (like the garlic) needs long days, and therefore it is seeded in Israel in the winter and thickens its bulb as the days grow longer. Young onions can be planted in autumn and harvested as mature onions in wintertime. The scallion, however, has no plans to thicken its bulb, which is why it can be planted or seeded all year round and consumed fresh and green without any storage. The advantage of planting the scallion as opposed to seeding it is connected to weeds: the onion does not develop a thick foliage, which is why weeds just love its bed, enjoying generous portions of sun when in its proximity. However, if they are planted (the plants come in groups of thin, green onion strings), you can preempt the weeds.
The scallion has many names: In Australia it’s “shallot,” in England “spring onion,” in the southern US “green shallot” and in English “scallion.” This is an interesting name for Israelis, as it’s associated with the city of Ashkelon, the tumultuous port city that’s passed from hand to hand throughout history, always an important and flourishing commercial center. The green onion, originating from Asia Minor and the East, must have arrived in Ashkelon along with other merchandise via the ocean or another commercial route, where it was adopted by the local farmers, who must have done an excellent job. The Romans loved the skinny Ashkelon onions, which they coined Askelonia, and the Crusaders adored their delicate flavor. Upon returning to Europe, the French termed them “eschalogne,” a title later shortened to eschalot. In Medieval England they were called scaloun, and later scallion. Their early botanical title was Allium ascalonicum, in reference to the Philistine port city.
The scallion is rich in vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin C. It supplies potassium, calcium, silica, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, sulfur and selenium. Scallions contain five to seven times more selenium than other vegetables. Selenium is an important mineral, where even a small amount is enough to strengthen the immune system, helping to protect the body from cancer and heart diseases. The onion’s aroma originates in the sulfuric chemical compound it contains. For instance, the allicin typical of the onion family is an anti-bacterial material that fights germs, viruses and fungus, as well as assisting to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. And lest we forget, aside from it being an onion, the scallion is also green, and herein lies its uniqueness: it goes both ways! It contains healthy components from the Liliaceaes as well as green leaves that provide dietary fibers, vitamins and phytochemicals (lutein, beta carotene, vitamin K) characteristic of health-beneficial herbs.
And for (Newsletter) dessert, try some old fashioned remedies:
At the first sign of a runny nose, drink a scallion infusion: take a scallion, slice the white part, boil for a few minutes, and drink.
For diarrhea and bad stomach aches, use a scallion-onion compress: chop 1/2 kg scallions, mix with 1/2 kg salt and warm in a pan. Put the warm mixture into a bag and place on lower abdomen twice daily. Watch out for burns!
For a decorative scallion flower: Remove the root, place the onion on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make some slices along the white part of the onion, keeping a distance of 1-2 cm from the green part of the scallion. Make the slices as close to each other as possible. Cut off the green leaves, leaving some of the uncut part to tie and hold the onion from falling apart. Place in ice water, which will curl the cut-parts to form a flower shape.
Pickling a scallion: Wash the onions and remove the roots. Cut off the green leaves, leaving a few centimeters. Place in jar, together with the pickling spices of your choice. Fill the jar with a solution of two parts apple vinegar to one part water. Seal the jar and place in a dark cupboard for around a month.
Grilled scallion: The scallion develops a juicy sweetness when grilled. Wash and remove the roots from a bunch of onions, sprinkle with olive oil and place on a greased baking sheet. Grill at 150°-175° for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula. Cover with foil to prevent drying.
This week we send a Mazal Tov greeting to my Abba, who arrives weekly to assist in packing and delivering, who invented and built machinery and various appliances to ease the work at Chubeza, who really, really loves scallions, oh- and… is celebrating his 70th birthday. Many hugs and warm wishes for many more years of happiness, creation, work and love. Happy Birthday!
May we all have a good, healthy and wonderful week!
Alon, Maya, Dror, Bat Ami and the Chubeza team
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: cilantro/parsley, lettuce/arugula, kohlrabi/fennel, tomatoes, broccoli, daikon/radishes, scallions, cucumbers, carrots, kale/Swiss chard, cauliflower
In the large box, in addition: Celeriac, leeks, Jerusalem artichoke
Wednesday: kale/broccoli greens, daikon/radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, kohlrabi/fennel, cauliflower/cabbage, leeks, tomatoes, cilnatro/dill – in small boxes, potatoes/Jerusalem artichole – in small boxes.
In the large box, in addition: green onions, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke/garden peas/snow peas, parsley/arugula, yellow peppers
This week, we’ll be including broccoli greens in your boxes. Usually we only pick the broccoli heads and leave the leaves in the field. Now, after the broccoli’s harvested, we’re sharing some of its fresh greens with you.
Here it’s not customary to eat broccoli greens, but in Italy or in the Far East, there are broccoli varieties grown specifically for their leaves, their leaves are picked when they are young and tender. They are frequent additions to pasta or stir-fry dishes. The broccoli greens in your boxes are mature leaves. Use them as you would use mustard greens or Swiss chard, but note that they are thicker and must be cooked longer (similar to kale). They are highly nutritious, rich in vitamins (A, B-complex and C) and in minerals (iron and calcium).
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, bakery products and pomegranate juice 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!