Lettuce Mix - Red & green lettuces, tatsoi, and mizuna Sorrel - Citrus tasting green. Chop and add to salads or top a sandwich to add pizzaz. Salad Turnips Shunkyo Radishes
Rutabaga - see vegetable spotlight and recipes in this newsletter Garlic - see recipe in this newsletter
Vegetable Spotlight on Rutabaga much of this information is from the FairShare Coalition's cookbooks: From Asparagus to Zucchini
A close relative of the turnip, maybe even a hybrid of it and the cabbage, rutabaga is a little richer and sweeter.
Rutabagas in a crate waiting to come in from the field to be washed.
First becoming popular in Sweden, the rutabaga appeared in the middle of the 17th century. In fact rutabaga comes from the Swedish word rotabagge meaning 'baggy root'. Also commonly referred to as 'Swedes' or 'Swedish turnips' or even 'bashed neeps' when mashed. They were among the first vegetables grown by colonizers in America as they began farming the untilled land because the large roots helped to break up poor soils. Rutabagas have never enjoyed wide popularity in this country, and have even fallen out of favor in middle Europe where it was one of few staples available post World War ll and was eaten to the point of monotony.
The rutabaga has many virtues, however, worthy of discovery by the seasonal eater. Available in late fall and winter, rutabagas offer great versatility and excellent nutrition to the reduced vegetable selections during these seasons. Rutabaga is high in carbohydrate, vitamins A and C, and some minerals, particularly calcium. Rutabagas belong to a handful of cruciferous vegetables believed to be effective in cancer prevention as well.
For maximum nutrition do not peel (unless you are preparing a commercially waxed rutabaga).
To make the rutabaga easier to cut, put it in the microwave up to a minute.
Rutabaga can be grated raw into salads. Try a winter slaw of grated rutabaga, celeriac, carrot, radish, and apple with chopped parsley and a lemon/oil dressing.
Steam 1 inch chunks for 30-35 minutes, or until thoroughly tender. Mash and serve with butter and a sprinkling of black pepper. Mash with other vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
Boil 1 inch chunks for 20-25 minutes, or until thoroughly tender. Add to casseroles or stuffing mixtures.
Bake 1 inch chunks brushed with butter or oil for 40-45 minutes or nestle along side roasting meats.
Dice or thinly slice rutabaga and sauté or stir-fry. Be sure to allow adequate cooking time to insure tenderness.
Grate rutabaga into a fritter batter.
Make rutabaga chips: Deep-fry 1/8 inch thick slices in vegetable oil until golden brown. Drain and sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning of choice.
Refrigerate in plastic bag or hydrator drawer for up to one month.
Creamy Rutabaga Casserole From Asparagus to Zucchini
4 medium rutabagas, peeled & diced
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Steam rutabagas until tender, about 30 minutes. Mash and set aside. Mix eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt, and bread crumbs. Combine the 2 mixtures; place in buttered 2 1/2 quart casserole. Dot with butter; bake until lightly browned, about 1/2 hour.
Gratin of Squash with Rutabaga serves 4
2 lbs peeled winter squash, seeds removed
1/2 lb peeled rutabaga
4 tablespoons flour
3-4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely crumbled fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan or combination of Parmesan & Swiss cheese
Chop squash and rutabaga into 1/2 inch cubes. (If rutabaga is old, blanch in boiling water 5 minutes to remove strong taste, drain and pat dry.) Toss with flour, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Spread in oiled 1 1/2 quart baking dish; press lightly. Drizzle oil on top; bake at 325 degrees F 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until top is crusty and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle cheese on top 30 minutes before done, if desired.
Blender Aioli Makes about 2 cups
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2-3 medium cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Put the lemon juice, salt, soy sauce, garlic, egg, and yolk in a blender. Whirl on high speed until smooth. Combine the oils and, with the blender running on medium speed, drizzle them very gradually into the egg-garlic mixture, stopping as soon as all the oil is added. Sauce should be creamy and thick. Serve with raw or steamed vegetables or grilled meats or fish.
On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures.
Lately field work consists of checking the plastic on our low tunnels and greenhouse to make sure the wind doesn’t tear or blow it off. We’ve found from experience that it is much easier to preventively tighten it all up than to repair a 10ft x 100ft piece of plastic flapping in a 20 mph wind.
Animal chores are a year round task for us. However, since we don’t raise meat animals in the winter, it doesn’t take long to feed and water the goats, laying hens and rabbits. The hens have cut back on production of eggs - typical of the time of year, or they have found a really good hiding spot. Even Aidan and Marlee, our expert nest finders, are stumped.
Other than harvesting and packing boxes twice a month, most of our farm work is being done in the house. We review the summer season by looking over member evaluations and revisiting our field notes. We discuss and contemplate both immediate and long-term direction of the farm. We also attend farming workshops and read about soil health and best growing practices.
This is also the time when we can turn more of our focus toward our children. We have more time to help them with their projects or to problem solve ways for them to gain experiences they wish for. Together we play games, read books, solve math problems, talk and even watch movies. It feels good to be mindful of our time with them. Well . . . most of the time. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that sometimes it can be challenging.
I enjoy conversations with our teenager on all kinds of topics from planets made out of diamonds (I didn’t believe it either, but it’s true – google it), to religious violence, immigration, climate change, and comedy routines. But sometimes I struggle under the weight of striking the balance between just listening and feeling responsibility to temper his strong opinions with other viewpoints. I want him to realize not much in life is black and white; gray, while more complicated, often makes a person more empathetic, wise, and caring. Influencing his opinions was easier when he was younger. He more readily accepted my slant on topics. Now on the verge of adulthood, he’s ready to verbally challenge me. I’m proud of his intelligence but not used to my sometimes untested beliefs being called out by him. It can make me uncomfortable and frustrated. I start to wish he would just put his headphones back on and wander off, listening to audiobook, when just moments before I was enjoying our conversation.
It certainly makes sense: he is becoming his own person with his own opinions (I suppose he’s been doing that his whole life). He is no longer content accepting our beliefs without researching and trying on other ones. It’s hard for me not to feel judged by that process and sometimes coming up short. The gig is definitely up, he’s on to me. Even though I’ve always told him his dad and I are human and make mistakes, I can see in his eyes he truly believes it now. That knowledge is both a relief and disappointing. I don’t want to let him and our other children down. Parenting is the most important thing I do; I want to give them my best.
As I write this, I think maybe I have to trust that’s what has been happening all along. In my imperfect way, maybe I have given the best I could at the time. And maybe children are forgiving enough of their parents missteps as long as we are honest and present with them. Maybe my discomfort in our conversations proves he has become the articulate, self-confident individual, willing to question commonly-held beliefs in an effort to hone his own, that he is supposed to be. After all life will present him with opportunities to see different sides of issues. Maybe I needn’t worry. Maybe I can just listen to his thoughts, recognize their importance to him and discuss them with him without worrying about him. The next time I start to get my ire up, I’ll take a deep breath and relax because it’s all good. Wish me luck!
Have a good week,
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