Oh. My. Is anyone else simultaneously thrilled and overwhelmed by these generous shares of GREEN we’re getting? I thought about taking a photo of the first couple shares and wimped out because I couldn’t figure out how to style so much green. (Although, a number of you totally rocked shots of the haul on Instagram! If you share a CSA-related image, don’t forget to tag it #sunsetparkcsa so other members can find it; we’ll be sharing some member photos in the main feed as well.)
By the end of the first week, I found myself a little behind in consuming the produce. One date night out, a couple meals put together too hastily, and we hadn’t finished our first share to make room for the next. I felt a little panicked that beautiful produce might go to waste. That first week was a great reminder of the lessons I’ve learned over my years participating in CSAs. Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for managing your bounty so you get to enjoy the superior flavor and nutrition of this farm fresh produce.
Tips to Keep Up
Some weeks we find it so easy to keep up with the abundance; other weeks we get to Tuesday and aren’t nearly through. Here are some of the ways we’ve learned we can best manage the haul – and by “manage” I mean make sure we’re enjoying the taste and nourishment of these fresh vegetables.
- Prep ahead of time. The more you can wash and chop produce in advance, the more likely you’ll be able to quickly incorporate it into your next meal.
- Make a commitment to eating in. For us, the most common culprit for getting behind is dining out. You can’t use your produce if you’re not cooking at home.
- If you order takeout, add your own vegetable side. A lot of restaurant delivery is lacking in produce anyway, so save yourself some time by ordering most of your meal, but throw in a homemade side salad or some quickly sauteed vegetables to round out the meal.
- Add vegetables every meal. Don’t limit your vegetable consumption to dinner. Try throwing some greens into your scrambled eggs. Pack a salad for lunch or layer some vegetables onto your next sandwich. Slice up radishes or roast kale chips for a snack.
- Embrace unconventional combinations. Sometimes, I find myself challenged with what to make for dinner because the vegetables I have left either don’t go together or don’t go with whatever protein or starch we have on hand. I just have to let go and decide even if the meal isn’t cohesive that each component is enjoyable on its own. See above: scrambled egg tacos with a side of kale chips.
- Smoothies! During the CSA season, I find myself drinking more smoothies and fresh juices made from these sweet local veggies.
And When You Don’t Keep Up?
When Wednesday is fast-approaching and you’ve barely made a dent in your share, these ideas will keep your produce from snowballing and make room for the next round. For the beginning of the season, let’s focus on greens.
- Freeze it. Blanch or saute your washed greens and then throw them in the freezer to deal with later (as additions to casseroles, soups, and pastas). Alternately, you can freeze the greens raw (a huge time saver) to throw into smoothies.
- Pesto it. Greens + garlic + olive oil and blend. A pinch of salt or handful Parmigiano-Reggiano is nice too. I’ve included some pesto recipes below for your inspiration. Pesto can also be frozen.
- Invite over some friends! Anytime I feel overwhelmed by my fridge, I try to take a step back and realize how very lucky I am to be burdened with the “problem” of excess food. What makes that feeling of gratitude even better is to share the abundance with my neighbors. Invite over some friends to share a meal brimming with wholesome, vibrant vegetables.
Recipes for Greens
A few recipe ideas for the mustard greens, beet greens, mizuna, and kale that are so plentiful this time of year. Remember that, in most cases, different dark leafy greens can be swapped for one another.
Turnip Greens Tart (works with any dark, leafy green!)
Indian Style Creamed Spinach (shared by member Rosa)
Swiss Chard and Rice Casserole (shared by member Rosa)