This week's CSA offerings

This week's CSA offerings

I am crazy in love with the turnips that we get from our CSA.  They are the white things on the right, a little bigger than the radishes.  If your only experience with turnips involves the overgrown purple and white root vegetable that has been sitting in the bin at the grocery store too long, I ask you to set aside your preconceived notions of the turnip.  This week was our first vegetable pick up of the season.  We have been members of the Sauvie Island Organics CSA (Community Supported Agriculture to learn more about community supported agriculture or to find a farm near you click on the link) for about 5 years now.   They do a bang up job of raising the most delicious, nutritious, variety of vegetables that come straight from the farm to us every tuesday from May to late November.  The first year we became members it was a challenge for my family of four (two teenaged boys) to eat all the vegetables every week.  I actually (gasp) started eating vegetables for breakfast!  Instead of a vegetable side dish at dinner we would have two or three different veggies.   We all know that as confusing as nutrition advice can be, everyone agrees on one thing:  Eat More Veggies! Now, five years later we easily consume our weekly treasure chest of fresh, organic vegetables.  And can I put in a plug here for feeding kids local, organic, real vegetables as opposed to slimy, “baby” carrots and bags of prewashed salad greens?  Organic, farm fresh food actually tastes better people!  Kids will eat it!    And when vegetables are as fresh and vibrant as these are, you really don’t need to doctor them up too much when you cook them.  A little olive oil, a sqeeze of lemon and some good salt (you know how I feel about that) is the only “recipe” you need!

Is it not true however that most things in life can be improved with bacon?  And that is my favorite thing to do with the Hakurei Turnips!  Sautee up a couple of pieces of bacon which has been cut into small pieces with kitchen shears.  Add some onions or leeks if you like.  Quarter the turnips and add them to the bacon.  Let them cook for a while in the bacon fat, stirring occasionally.  After about 10 minutes or so add a splash of vinegar.  Sherry vinegar, or red wine vinegar.  (As an aside, I keep dried burdock sliced soaking in a jar of red wine vinegar and use it for salads and things like this.  The burdock adds little flavor, but I feel I am adding a wonderful herbal tonic for my liver and blood whenever I use it!)  Cover the turnips with a lid of some sort and let them steam in the vinegar for a few minutes.  Then uncover and keep cooking until they are browned and fork tender.  Depending on the size of your turnip slices you may need to steam them in a little water also to get them cooked all the way through.  But be sure to brown them up a the end of the cooking time.  Salt and pepper to taste.   And don’t forget that the greens are delicious too!  Cook them up separately or throw them in near the end of the cooking time of the turnips.  Nutrition facts for turnips can be found here.   Turnips are a cruciferous root vegetable, a member of the brassica family and share similar health benefits to cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower.  They are low in calories (so don’t feel guilty about the bacon), high in vitamin C, and fiber.

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