In this week’s box:
1/2 dozen eggs
1 ambrosia cantaloupe
14 ears of corn
1/2 pint of blackberries
1 1/2 pints of raspberries
1 quart of okra
3 quarts of peaches and nectarines
1 quart of Concord grapes
1 bag of frying peppers
5 large peppers
Pick your own between 9am-12pm only
1 pint of raspberries
1 quart of Concord grapes
Total retail value of this week’s box: $100.50
Total retail value of goods distributed so far this season: $911
When you taste your Concord grapes, you’ll discover just how much more flavor grapes can have than the ones they sell at the grocery store. Concord grapes do have thicker skins than the grapes sold in the supermarket, and they have big seeds inside. So they’re not great for snacking for the little ones. The great thing is that they have a lot of natural pectin, so they will work well in jams and jellies (here is one recipe that does not use any added pectin).
Not into making jam? No problem, you’ll just have to make pie. To turn your grapes into a filling for a pie or cobbler, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the skins. To do this, hold a single grape with your thumb and first two fingers, with the end where the stem was attached pointed toward a bowl. Squeeze until the flesh and seed pop out, and save the skins in a separate bowl. Once you’ve skinned your grapes, you’ll boil the pulp, strain it to remove the seeds and add this to the skins. You will typically add about a cup of sugar, and possibly lemon juice, tapioca or flour to help thicken the filling. A couple of recipes I liked are this one from Allrecipes.com and this one from SAVEUR. You’ll need to make adjustments based on just how much grape pulp your quantity of grapes yields. Then you can use the filling with your favorite pie or cobbler crust. A nice crumb topping would be good, too.
If you’re looking for a new way to eat your peaches and nectarines, try throwing them on the grill. Before you grill them, halve them and remove the pit. Make a mixture of vegetable oil and cinnamon if you want to eat them as dessert with ice cream, or olive oil, salt, pepper, basil and thyme if you’d like to make them a more savory side dish.
We’ve been happy to get so many raspberries lately. Remember that these are the most fragile berries, and need to be eaten, frozen or otherwise processed quickly. To freeze them, simply lay them out on a cookie sheet, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours, until the berries are frozen, and then transfer them to zip-top freezer bags. They’ll be great this winter in smoothies, muffins, pastries and other recipes.
Okra and corn are great companions. I like the looks of this recipe for pan-roasted corn and okra from Food & Wine, but I would skip the step of boiling the corn first. Corn just doesn’t need to be cooked that much. Of course, you can always fry your okra. Here is one recipe for doing that. The Beach Fries food truck that parks at the Fredericksburg Farmers Market has deep-fried corn on the cob on its menu. That’s certainly an option, but I’ve never gone there.
Frying peppers are a wide category that includes peppers that aren’t hot, but aren’t bell peppers. They have thin walls, so they don’t usually hold up to roasting, something I like to do with bell peppers. They are best for just what the name says–frying. Slice them up and saute in olive oil and garlic until they’re soft and caramelize a bit (add salt and pepper to taste). A few ideas on what to do with these cooked peppers:
- Place them between two slices of crusty bread with some fresh mozzarella and make a panini.
- Layer them over Italian sausage on a toasted bun.
- Use them in a quiche, frittata or omelet.
- Use them as a pizza topping.
- Add some okra to the saute, then some chopped or crushed tomatoes (fresh or canned). When this mixture has stewed and reduced a bit, add some fresh corn. Serve as a side dish.