CSA – How We Eat It All

I think the most frequent question I get about our CSA share is if we use it all and how we use it all. I seem to be getting the question even more this year so I thought I’d try to share my answers with everyone. The first thing is that when you are in a CSA you start to learn what produce needs to be used quickly and what can languish in the fridge for a little while. For example, in what we got this week we’ll need to use the basil and chard especially quick, before the weekend really. On the other hand, the potatoes, garlic, and onion will be fine in the fridge for a few weeks. Things like the beets, eggplant, and squash fall somewhere in the middle. Knowing how quickly your veggies will be inedible helps you plan your meals accordingly.

Dinner

When there is an abundance of some things I usually freeze some for use in the winter. We have a separate chest freezer that we use for additional cold storage. Like this week we got a whole bunch of okra. The only way we’ve found that we like okra is in gumbo. We’ve had gumbo every week for the last few weeks and we’ll have it again this week but we have enough okra that I’ll be making extra gumbo to store in the freezer for sometime when I can’t cook. When the tomatoes really start coming in I oven roast them and freeze them and some ingredients I just chop and freeze like fennel, celery, and herbs. My best advice is to freeze these types of ingredients in usable amounts — 1/4 cup for the veggies and a tablespoon or two for the herbs — that way you don’t have to defrost 2 cups of chopped chives to get the little bit you need to garnish your soup.

Lunch

A lot of recipes, especially older recipes, call for ingredients that are in season at the same time. We’ll be having ratatouille this week because it’s a meal made with eggplant, peppers, onions, squash, garlic, and tomatoes. In fact when I picked up our share this week it just about shouted ratatouille to me. Finding dishes that use a whole bunch of ingredients from a CSA share is actually easier than you might think.

One Local Summer - Week 7

Another quick way to use up some veggies is to sauté up whatever you’re trying to use in some olive oil with onions or shallots if you have them and use it to top pasta, rice, or pizza. We love halved cherry tomatoes with corn, summer squash with red onions, green beans with garlic. This is a great way to use up the odds and ends the day before your next CSA share arrives.

One Local Summer - Week 6

Probably our last resort is to give food away or compost it. I have a neighbor who loves beets. We have yet to prepare them in a way that is palatable to anyone in the house — though we did like them at the solstice dinner — so this weeks beets will probably be a gift to her. She’ll love them and I’ll be happy they don’t go to waste. Sometimes our chard ends up in the compost bin. I really try to avoid this but we just don’t like chard that much. If I’m thinking ahead I chop it, blanch it, and freeze it for use in a lasagna later but often it’s too far gone before I’m ready to deal with it.

One Local Summer - Week 3

So there you go, that’s how we eat through our CSA share each week. Believe it or not we head to the farmer’s market every Saturday morning too. Admittedly, we buy mostly fruit, cheese, and meat on Saturdays but we do get more veggies too. Each week our share is a bit like a puzzle and we just have to figure out which pieces to put together for the best meals all week.

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14 Responses to “CSA – How We Eat It All”


  1. 1 amy July 30, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Try this with your chard (we call it silverbeet in Australia)… honestly gozleme is one of the tastiest things EVER, especially if you consider yourself a bit of a foodie!

    Seriously try it, you won’t be disappointed!

    http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipe/172/Gozleme

    Amy

  2. 2 amy July 30, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    and here is another recipe

    http://www.43things.com/entries/view/444662

    google images and you’ll find a good picture of what it should look like… sorry i’m quite passionate about gozleme, those turkish ladies know how to make a tasty snack!

  3. 3 melissa bridgman July 30, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    This was great, Jennifer!
    I love chard- and I’ve found if I keep mine wrapped in a paper towel and keep it in a plastic bag, it will last and last. I just found some in the fridge that I had forgotten about (I might have gotten it 4 weeks ago). It went into a leek/chard/kohlrabi saute. It freezes well. I’m going to get extra when I’m next at the market specifically to slice into ribbons and freeze.

  4. 4 Liz July 30, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Just looking at all of your wonderful photos is making me hungry.

  5. 5 Courtney July 31, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I’ve had some wonderful beet salads this summer, maybe you could google that? They were on top of greens with a light vinaigrette, maybe with some blue cheese, toasted pecans or something. I can’t even remember, but they were delish!

  6. 6 Courtney July 31, 2009 at 7:48 am

    here’s the description of one of them from the menu–

    Beet Salad
    Thinly sliced red & golden beets, seasoned & paired with a mixed green salad (certified organic & locally grown from Blue Dog Farms) tossed in a vinaigrette limón & topped with imported Asiago.
    small $8.50

  7. 7 rouxhauser July 31, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I was visiting a friend with a lovely veggie garden. I looked around to see tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini all side by side. I called it her ratatouille garden. Yum.

  8. 8 Heather August 1, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Wow..all that looks so good! It’s been so hot here that I hate to admit that we’ve consisted mainly on ice pops, cold cereal and 5 dollar pizza. No wonder i feel like crap! Time to get back into the veggies. And I do LOVE Beet salad.

  9. 9 sara August 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Hi- just checkin out your blog from the season’s exhcange blog list. I wanted to say that if you have never tried beets raw, I highly recommend it. I know some people have never heard of it, even a grower at a farmer’s market I went to once, but that is how they were introduced to me and that is how I have always loved them. We just grate them on top of a green salad and they are especially good with grated carrot. My most favorite way to eat them though is to grate them (the food processor makes it super easy) and make a vinagrette of flax oil (olive oil could be used), apple cider vineagar (I think a 2-1 ratio), a bit of mustard and salt and then just pour that over the beets and let them marinate for awhile. It actually will keep for a few days in the fridge and I will just eat them as a side for lunch every day or what not. I bet this is similar to the salads mentioned above, you can do the same thing to thinly sliced beets (the marinade actually softens them). I just think it is easier to grate and I love em that way.
    Swiss chard is good in fruit smoothies as well. If you just blend one or two leaves, you won’t even taste it though it may alter the color.

  10. 10 erin August 3, 2009 at 9:53 am

    this is a great post, jennifer. we do a lot of the same things around here, especially the gifting of veggies when we aren’t going to use them or don’t particularly like them.

  11. 11 Stefani August 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    So, I’ve already eaten but dang if I don’t feel hungry now. And i really REALLY want to live at your house. Everything looks so healthful and delicious.

    I laughed when I read Heather’s post because it sounds so like what’s going on here. I can’t seem to bring myself to cook anything edible in this heat. Cereal, cold sandwiches, popcorn, pretzels with cream cheese, popsicles, and mojitos… that’s about the extent of our summer menu. Yours sounds SO much more appetizing!

  12. 12 amandajean August 18, 2009 at 9:33 am

    thanks for sharing this…it’s so interesting to read…sounds like you are a pro at the CSA thing. 🙂

  13. 13 chez danisse August 24, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Some good tips–thanks! We were doing something similar to a CSA, but it was called a “Mystery Box” and the biggest differences were that it was available every other week versus weekly and you opt in and out, you don’t sign up for a subscription. It is always a crazy race to get through everything. It’s a great deal and we get a ton of food, but we can’t always keep up and get through everything. That being said, I know we eat healthiest when we are in that race. Thanks for some new ideas.


  1. 1 One Local Summer – Week 10 « mama urchin Trackback on August 10, 2009 at 7:42 am
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