We're getting into the height of the harvest season here at Lone Oak, and I thought I would take some time to introduce you to the things we're growing this year that may be a little different from what you usually eat or grow yourself! I found some recipes to go along with some info about each piece of produce on the list; if you try them out let us know what you think! We are always looking for new ways to prepare what we grow.
Tomatillos are a Mexican fruit that can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways. This season marks our first time trying them and everyone on the farm loves them! They keep really well both in the fridge and the freezer and have a wonderful and distinct tart taste.
Here is a list of 15 different ways to eat tomatillos:
Image source: http://modernfarmer.com/2013/09/delicata-squash-cant-believe-butternut/
This interesting squash offers a nice alternative to butternut in the fall. It is also known as "sweet potato squash" because of its brown sugar-type flavor. It stores decently well and can be used in a variety of recipes.
Here is a recipe for simple roasted delicata squash:
Image source: http://www.rareseeds.com/assets/1/14/DimRegular/Squash-Zuccino-Rampicante-LSS-000_4560.jpg
This versatile squash can be harvested in mid- to late summer for a summer squash taste (with a softer outer skin) or later in the fall for more of a tough outer skin and a winter squash taste and texture. It can be used in just about any squash dish and its fun appearance is always a talking point.
Here is more information about what rampicante squash is, along with how to eat and store it, plus a recipe for rampicante with sausage, beet greens, and goat cheese:
Image source: http://transplantingtraditions.com/1111-2/unusual-vegetables/lettuce-greens/sorrel/
Sorrel is a leafy green with a lemony kick, and is one of my favorite new discoveries. When it is harvested as a baby green, it is great in salads as it is a little milder. When it matures, it has more of a bitter tang to it that makes it a great addition to a wide variety of soups and sauces.
We are growing a red-veined variety this time around as well, and we are excited to see how it compares to the standard green variety!
While my favorite way to eat sorrel so far is plain in a salad, here are 10 other ways to eat sorrel complete with recipes:
This year is our first experience with Veronica cauliflower and so far we are really enjoying watching its progress! It has the same great taste of standard white cauliflower, but stays green and grows in really interesting patterns that almost remind me of a kaleidoscope.
Image source: http://cdn.gurneys.com/images/475/64603.jpg
Here is a recipe for simple roasted Veronica cauliflower:
It can also be very easily substituted into any other recipe that calls for broccoli or cauliflower.
Moon and Stars Watermelon
Last year was our first experience with this variety of watermelon, and we loved it so much we decided to plant as much as we could for this season! It has a distinctive yellow flesh (as opposed to the standard red flesh inside most watermelon) that is sweet and has a great texture. It gets its name from the yellow spots on its outer layer- they usually have one large spot (a moon) and several smaller spots (stars).
Here is a recipe for a colorful red and yellow watermelon salad:
Image source: http://www.the-gardeners-calendar.co.uk/Plant_Database/images/Scorzonera.jpg
This strange and rare root has a odd flavor that not everyone will appreciate- it is said to taste like a cross between oysters and asparagus. Many people use it to make mock oyster stews. We have yet to try it (it won't be ready for harvest until late fall), but we are looking forward to seeing if the rumors about its distinctive tastes are true!
Heirloom Purple Beans
Our heirloom variety of purple string beans are eye-catching to say the least! Unfortunately, they don't retain their purple coloring when cooked and instead turn green. They taste wonderful to eat raw or cooked and have a sweet, earthy flavor.
Here is a great informational article about various ways purple beans can be prepared:
Black or Purple Carrots
Image source: http://nutrawiki.org/blackcarrot/
These carrots add an interesting color to any dish; they taste somewhat similar to "regular" orange carrots, but are often sweeter and sometimes include a hint of peppery flavor. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and make yummy additions to everything from salad to soups.
Here is a recipe for roasted purple carrots:
Strawberry and Black Popcorn
Image source: http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2013/09/22/growing-and-harvesting-popcorn-popcorn-picking-time-at-the-farm/
Image source: http://www.rareseeds.com/assets/1/14/DimLarge/Corn-Dakota-Black-Popcorn-LSS-000_5083-LR-effects.jpg
Nothing beats fresh popcorn, and this year we are growing two eye-catching varieties! Both the strawberry and black popcorn can be used for beautiful fall decoration and then later popped for delicious popcorn. Both varieties pop white.
Here are some ideas for fall corn decorations:
And here is a list of 50 different popcorn flavorings to make at home:
Image source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/30/sorghum-syrup-grain-super_n_6063016.html
Sorghum is can be used in a number of ways and is a popular ingredient in Southern cooking. We are growing a sweet variety this year that can be used to add some sweetness to any dish.
More information about how to use sorghum in your dishes:
Baby Butternut Squash
Image source: http://spoonfedbaby.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/DSC_3993.jpg
These squash have a sweet taste that some say is similar to that of a pumpkin. They are a versatile ingredient and also store incredibly well. Around the farm, we like to cut them in half (like you see in the picture), roast them in the oven, and eat them just like that!
If simple roasting is too plain for your taste, maybe one of these 10 butternut squash recipes will strike your fancy:
Image source: http://www.johnstonplants.com/images/peppers/butchT.jpg
These peppers are currently some of the hottest peppers known! Those people who have been brave enough to try them say they also have good flavor to go with the heat. Handle these with care, and use them to add a punch to your hot sauce or salsa!
Here is a salsa recipe that includes scorpion peppers:
I hope you come out to the farm or stop by our table at the farmers' market to see what new and different produce we have to offer. There's something for everyone (and every dish), and adventure is after all the spice of life! In the meantime, I'll be chowing down on tomatillo salsa and sorrel salads.