Week 12: Break even! July 23, 2014

Congratulations, CSA members! This week’s box brings the total retail value of goods distributed so far this year to $882. That means that you have now broken even on the price of your 2014 CSA, with more than a month’s worth of distributions still to go! As Emmett Snead said, “Everything from here on out is free.” Enjoy!

In this week’s box:

2 pints blueberries

1 half-pint raspberries

1 flat peaches

1/2 dozen eggs

1 bushel corn

2 bags tomatoes

2 ambrosia cantaloupes

3 seedless watermelons

2 pints cherry tomatoes

(Please note: all of the below pick-your-own opportunities are for CSA MEMBERS ONLY.)

4 half-pints OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own raspberries on July 23 (CSA pickup day) from 8 a.m. until noon

1 bouquet OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own sunflowers on July 23 (CSA pickup day) from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

4 half-pints OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own raspberries on Sunday, July 27 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

1 bouquet OPTIONAL BONUS pick-your-own sunflowers on Sunday, July 27 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $133.50

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $882

Emily’s notes

What a bounty of corn. If it’s more than your family can eat, remember that there are many others in our community who can use it. Consider your neighbors, co-workers, church food pantry, area food bank or other worthy kitchens if you find yourself with more than you need.

Corn also freezes well, if you’d like to save some for later in the year. You’ll want to dunk husked ears into boiling water for about 4 minutes, cool them in ice water for the same amount of time you cooked them for, and then cut the kernels from the cobs, to be sealed in airtight bags with as much air removed as possible. They’ll last for up to a year. For a nice illustrated step-by-step on freezing corn, click here.

While we’re talking about freezing, a flat of peaches presents opportunities for preservation, as well. First, you’ll need to peel the peaches. The method for doing this is the same as for peeling tomatoes, a task you’ll want to do if you plan to make sauce out of this week’s box. Using a paring knife, carve a shallow X in the bottom of your peach or tomato. Get a big pot of water boiling, and have a large bowl of ice water ready right beside the pot. Dunk the peach or tomato into the hot water for about a minute, then transfer to the ice water for the same amount of time, then to a dish towel to wait until all of your blanching is complete. You should then be able to pull off the peels by hand. Cut the peaches away from the stone and slice them. Place in a bowl with about a tablespoon of sugar per 4 peaches (or more , but you do need some sugar to help preserve the fruit), and a little vanilla if you like. Toss in this mixture and allow to sit for a few minutes, then lay the peaches out  in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze them like this until they are solid, and then place the frozen peaches into Ziploc bags. I have found this method makes it easier to remove the frozen peaches for later use than just spooning the entire peach-and-sugar mixture directly into a bag to freeze.

Want to save your blueberries? Wash them and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bag them after they are frozen and you’ll have some delicious, icy smoothie ingredients ready for months to come.

If you have an ice cream maker, there’s nothing like peach ice cream in the summer. Here is a recipe I made a few years ago that worked well. Don’t throw the egg whites out when making this. You can freeze them in a Ziploc bag and use them later, like when you are really craving macaroons.

PEACH ICE CREAM

recipe from Epicurious.com

  • 2 pounds ripe peaches
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cut an X in bottom of each peach, then blanch in boiling water 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel peaches and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with lemon juice and 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar in a large bowl. Let macerate, covered and chilled, at least 8 hours.

Whisk together cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Add cream and milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Add to yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly, to temper, then pour mixture back into saucepan.

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes (mixture will be thick). Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl and stir in extracts. Chill custard, its surface covered with parchment paper (to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least 4 hours.

Transfer 2 cups peaches with slotted spoon to a bowl.

Purée remaining peaches and liquid in a blender until smooth. Add purée to custard and freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to a bowl and stir in reserved peaches.

Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, about 2 hours.

Another peach recipe I’m excited to try is this delicious-looking recipe for grilled peach “splits” from Smitten Kitchen.

If you’re grilling, don’t forget that corn can be great cooked on the grill. There are several ways to do this, and I like this post from Serious Eats comparing them.  You might also want to place some of your cherry tomatoes on a skewer, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them alongside your meat for 6-8 minutes, just enough to heat through and absorb some smoky flavor and char.

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