The Month of August has ended. At the end of this week we will bill your cards for the month’s purchases and strive to update the payment by the beginning of next week. 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 and 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.”).
One of our more unique vegetables, which we have grown since the early-Chubeza era, is the green soy pod, aka “edamame.” Over the first years, we grew the variety I knew from my time in the U.S., keeping seeds from year to year. Due to a mishap, we were not able to conserve seeds from last year, and even contemplated forgoing the edamame crop. But advice from a friend led us to attempt to grow it from the seeds of dry soy, not the type originally intended for green soy. We had used this technique to grow green fava beans in the past, and decided to go for it.
However, the yield we received was by no means close to what we would have gotten from green soy. The results are small pods in small quantities. Thus, only a few of you will be able to enjoy it this week, and maybe a few more–but not many more– next week. We will try to learn from this experiment for the future and find a better source for edamame next year.
Nonetheless, in honor of its brief but welcome appearance, here is the traditional edamame newsletter for your enjoyment:
(Not a word about the weather this week…..)
OK, maybe one word. One vegetable that’s truly been enjoying the heat is our green soybean, the edamame. Unlike human beings, the edamame does not complain about the heat, but adjusts well to various types of soil, consumes relatively small amounts of water, and most important- does most of its own fertilization to improve the ground’s fertility for future crops. Thus it comes as no surprise that in Chinese culture the edamame has been considered one of the five most sacred types of grain for some 5,000 years, essential to Chinese culture (together with rice, wheat, barley and millet). It was actually deemed essential by the legendary Caesar Shennong, the divine farmer, who is considered the father of Chinese agriculture.
The edamame’s origins are in North China, from a wild plant named Glycine Ussuriensis. The process of soy domestication, probably one of the first crops to be cultivated by man, began many years ago around the 11th century BC. Soy is both food and a medicinal plant. By the first century, soy arrived to south and central China and to Korea. By the 7thcentury, it could be found in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal and North India. It took till the 18th century to arrive in the west.
It is amazing to ponder what this ancient crop had to endure from the time it was grown in Chinese fields over 5000 years ago, mainly to be used as green manure to improve the soil and improve the earth for future crops. Today soy is also used as glue, dye, synthetic fiber, soap, ink, candles, lacquer, a rubber substitute, and of course, bio-diesel. From a sacred and dignified seed to a genetically engineered, labeled, patented prisoner.
Like corn, almost everything we eat contains soy, from baby food formula to the popular soy oil, through meat and fish (soy is one of the components in animal and fish food), soy flour in various pastries, soy protein in milk substitutes, soy fibers and soy lecithin in almost every processed food that requires pasting, inflating and “modeling.” It is almost strange to say that food “contains” soy, as in actuality it contains various separated components, taken apart and processed to their final drop of protein. Can it actually be called soy? I don’t know. Too philosophical a question for me on these hot days (not a word about the weather). To me it sounds more like amputated, soul-less body parts…
But everything starts in the green fields. The soy belongs to the legume or Faboidae family, whose distinguished members include beans, peas, chickpeas, black-eyed peas and others. It takes around four months for the plant to fully ripen, harden, dry up and produce brown seeds that look like this:
At this stage they are picked to begin their final journey, during which they will be disassembled, extracted, bloated, fermented, ground, distilled and submitted to other tortures. Some of our plants in Chubeza will also be left to mature to this dry state, but for an opposite aim: to preserve the seeds and produce seeds for next year, which will be planted to yield more green elevated plants that will grow to take their part in improving the soil. Instead of sophisticated processing, we are preserving the simplicity. Instead of disassembling, we are promoting the wholeness of the plants.
But most of our little soy poles are picked when they are green and still deserving of the title edamame (eda- twig, mame- bean). Some of you may remember when we used to send the edamame on its branch, a trick Suwet taught us, based on how they are sold in the Far East. Like this:
Soybeans in their natural and original form have many advantages: they are rich in protein, containing 60% of the recommended daily consumption (and this protein is similar to the protein in meat). Such protein is responsible for stabilizing blood sugar levels, and assists in reducing the risk of diabetes. In addition, edamame contains vitamins C, A and K, and such minerals as iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It is rich in dietary fibers (40% of recommended daily consumption) that can latch onto toxins and cleanse them from the body. Soy contains lecithin, which assists in balancing cholesterol levels and can prevent arteriosclerosis. Lecithin is also an important component for weight loss, as it assists in breaking up fats. In addition, edamame contains choline and inositol, elements which improve memory function and the smooth transmission of receptors within the nervous system.
Soy protein also includes sapogenins, renowned for being effective in preventing cancer and cardiac diseases. Edamame is rich in isoflavones, the plant form of estrogen, and can improve such ause-related symptoms as hot flashes, heart disease and the loss of bone density, specifically in the spine and thighs. In addition, edamame includes a peptide called lunasin which reduces cholesterol levels in the body by both delaying the production of cholesterol and aiding to reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
Upon its arrival to western world, soy received a place of honor in the realm of natural food, and like many trends, became most admired and considered a “health bomb.” Can billions of Chinese be wrong?
Over the past several years, some controversy has developed between the soy advocates, supported by the good health of Chinese and Japanese (and lots of cash… over 50% of the soy in the world is produced by American companies; over 70% of the products in your local supermarket somehow contain soy) and the scientists who wonder whether so much hormone, even if it is vegetal, is indeed healthy. The latter blame soy for increasing various types of cancer, changes in the function of the thyroid gland, damaging fertility and brain activity in men, causing congenital defects and even the early sexual development of western girls. Some of the blame is placed on the genetic engineering of most of the soy grown worldwide (most of which is intended to bolster soy against various herbicides), and the excess spraying as a result. Although others claim that the fermentation process most soybeans undergo in the Far East to produce such products as tempe, tofu, miso, etc., destroys many of its naturally dangerous components, making it safer for use. The jury is still out on this debate, and the evidence is not conclusive enough to make the call.
And as we are left to ponder the problems of totality, extremism, exaggeration and wholeness, why not nosh on some delicious green soybeans, the Oriental snack, as we vote for moderation (of weather as well…)
Wishing fervently for a peaceful, safe and cool week, Alon, Bat Ami, Maya, Dror and the Chubeza team
What’s in this Week’s Boxes?
Monday: Butternut squash, zucchini/yard long beans, edamame/okra, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, leeks, cucumbers, corn/red and green bell peppers, scallions, potatoes. Small boxes only: parsley/coriander
Large boxes, in addition: Cherry tomatoes/eggplant, onions, mint/thyme, New Zealand spinach
Wednesday: potatoes, edamame/okra, tomatoes, slice of pumpkin, cucumbers, corn, red bell peppers, New Zealand spinach, Butternut squash, Small boxes only: parsley, Small boxes only: leek.
Large boxes, in addition: zucchini, yard long beans/eggplant, onions, mint, scallions/chive.
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, 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!
Edamame Recipes and more….
The easiest way to cook edamame is to blanch them for several minutes in boiling water (or, alternately, to steam them), sprinkle a bit of salt, and enjoy noshing away. But here are several more sophisticated recipes for those who desire to make a real effort: