HARVEST GUIDE - WEEK 7 - JULY 11, 2013
Week seven! More cucumbers, summer squash, and carrots! We’ll also be harvesting sweet onions and Thai basil. Keep reading to learn more!
Last week some of you got basil while others got parsley. Don’t fret! It will all even out, and there will be plenty of basil to go around soon. But this week we’ll be giving out Thai basil! You will notice right away that Thai basil looks different from the type of basil we’re used to eating in the United States, with its narrow leaves and purple stems. Native to Southeast Asia, Thai basil is also able to withstand higher cooking temperatures than Mediterranean-style basil. This makes it a good choice for Asian stir fry dishes. In last week’s harvest guide I mentioned a few methods for storing basil, and Thai basil can be stored in the same ways. It can be pureed and frozen or kept in honey or olive oil. However, neither type of basil holds up well to drying. While Thai basil isn’t as sweet as Mediterranean basil, its nutrition content is similar. Basil is high in Vitamin A and magnesium, both of which contribute to good cardiovascular health. So cheers to heart health and fresh summer ingredients!
THAI BASIL SALAD WITH LIME AND RED CURRY DRESSING
1 head of lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon fresh Thai basil, cut into thin ribbons, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Peel the cucumber, then use the peeler to slice the cucumber into long ribbons, stopping when you get to the soft seeded center. Discard the seeds.
Toss the cucumber with the lettuce, Thai basil, and cilantro.
To make the dressing, whisk the lime juice, red curry paste, sesame oil, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. Toss the salad with the dressing and enjoy!
Walla Walla onions--what a fun name! This is the first variety of onions out of several you’ll be receiving this season. Walla Walla onions are a sweet onion named after Walla Walla county in Washington where they were originally grown, selected year after year for their large size and sweet flavor. Luckily, Walla Walla onions won’t make your eyes water up as much as the more pungent varieties when sliced. This is due to a lower sulfur content. A good rule of thumb is to use the sharpest knife in your kitchen when slicing onions, as a sharper knife will slide right through an onion, releasing less sulfuric acid into the air. As I mentioned in week two when we first handed out scallions, all onions have natural antibiotic properties. So maybe instead of the proverbial apple a day, it should be “An Onion a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” Looking for a new idea? Try making the versatile sweet onion jam, as seen below:
SWEET ONION JAM
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 pounds sweet onions, thinly slices, and slices quartered
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dark red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large skillet melt the butter with the olive oil; when hot, add the onions. Stirring frequently, saute onions on medium-high heat until they begin to brown and caramelize. When ready, set aside.
In a nonreactive pot (not a cast-iron skillet) add the remaining ingredients and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and then add the onions. Continue to cook until the mixture begins to thicken.
Ensure pH is below 4.3 before ladling onion jam into sterilized jars, topping off with extra liquid if necessary to ensure solids are covered before sealing. Invert for two minutes.
The onion jam is good on burgers or simply served over goat cheese with crackers.