Vegetable Guide- Storage, Uses, & Pictures
This page provides storage tips and culinary tips for produce that may be included in your box at some point during the CSA season. Be sure to visit our Recipes page for ideas for dinner tonight!
* Add small tender greens to lettuce for a spicy addition to salad.
* Make an arugula salad by adding a soft cheese, dried fruits, grated carrots, and walnuts tossed in your favorite vinaigrette.
* Add to sandwiches and omelettes.
* Quickly braise or sauté and add to your pasta with grated parmesan.
* Add cooked arugula to quiche and lasagna.
* STORAGE: Wrap arugula tightly in a plastic bag and refrigerate for no more than a few days.
* Enjoy raw or steamed or blanched.
* STORAGE: Although they taste best if used right away, green beans can be refrigerated in a sealed plastic bag for up to five days.
* EDIBLE GREENS! The greens can be steamed, sautéd, and mixed with pasta with cheese.
* Raw beets can be grated into a salad.
* Toss grated beets with grated carrots, apples, oil and vinegar dressing. A touch of plain yogurt makes for a wonderful color transformation.
* Bake the beets to enhance their natural sweetness. Slice the washed and unpeeled beets into ¼ inch thick slices. Arrange slices on a lightly oiled baking pan and season with thyme or tarragon. Add a small amount of water or apple juice and cover with foil. Put in 350° oven for 25 minutes until fork-tender.
* Beets can also steamed and boiled. Scrub beets clean but leave skins on until after cooking to minimize color and flavor loss. Run whole, cooked beets under cold water and rub off the skins. 1 ½ inch beets take 30 minutes to cook in steam and 15-20 minutes in boiling water. Serve whole, sliced or grated.
* STORAGE: Cut the greens from the roots, leaving an inch of stem attached, and place the different parts in separate plastic bags and refrigerate. Beet roots will last at least a month. Wash and spin greens and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Greens are best when eaten within 3 days.
Bok Choy (also called Pac Choi)
* For stir-frying separate green leaves from the white stalk. Chop stalks into 1 inch wide diagonal chunks. Cut leaves into small pieces.
* The stem needs to be cooked a few minutes longer than the leaves.
* Bok choy makes a great stir-fry. First sauté onions until they begin to soften. Then add the pac choi stems, tofu chunks, soy sauce, and grated ginger root. Add the pac choi leaves last. Serve with rice or noodles.
* Sauté or steam bok choy and toss with a favorite marinade.
* Toss cooked bok choy with a light coating of toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.
* STORAGE: Wrap in a damp towel or put it in a plastic bag and store in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. Store for up to one week. Leaves will wilt if allowed to dry out. Separate stalks from main stem and rinse leaves and stem. Pat dry.
* Broccoli will take 8-15 minutes to steam, 4-8 to blanch. Test for doneness by piercing the stalks with a knife point. The knife will pierce easily, but the broccoli should remain crunchy.
* The stalks and stems of the broccoli are edible, too. They cook in the same amount of time if you peel the outer skin. Insert a paring knife blade under the skin at the base and pull up. The skin pulls off easily, breaking off at the buds. Cut stalks into thick julienne strips or diagonal slices for soups or sautés.
* Can be eaten raw. Can also be steamed and even better, roasted (drizzle olive oil and salt & pepper and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes....easy AND delicious!).
* For easy basic side dish, combine cooked broccoli with garlic and olive oil, sprinkle with cheese.
* Add to pizza, quiche, and pasta dishes.
* STORAGE: Keep in the refrigerator in a ventilated plastic bag for up to four days.
* Toss steamed broccoli raab with sautéed garlic and soy sauce.
* Add sautéed broccoli raab to mashed potatoes, omelets, quiches, and casseroles.
* STORAGE: Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week. If any greens look slightly wilted from being in your CSA box on a hot day, simply re-hydrate them (i.e., put them in a sink with cold water), shake off excess moisture, and store in fridge. Once re-hydrated they will be good as new!
* For salad or coleslaw thinly slice the cabbage & toss with a vinaigrette or make a creamy dressing with plain yogurt, vinegar, honey, dill, and salt. Add grated carrots or other veggies.
* For steaming cut wider slices & cook for 5-6 min. Top with butter or grated cheese.
* Sliced cabbage sautes and stir-fries well. Adding sliced onions or apples helps reduce the gaseous qualities of cabbage.
* Finely shredded red cabbage is a colorful addition to green salads.
* Boil cabbage for 5 min with chopped onion & add to mashed potatoes.
* STORAGE: Do not remove the outer leaves before storage. Trim off outer wilted leaves and quarter the head. Then remove the core. Once the cabbage has been cut store in a plastic bag.
* Tops/greens are edible! Add to soups, or simply leave them intact when cooking. Just be sure to remove them is you plan to store them in your fridge for a few days.
* Twist off tops and refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag.
* Scrub carrots under running water. Peeling removes the nutrients located just under the skin.
* Eat carrots raw to receive the most nutrients, cut into sticks or grate into many types of salads.
* Slice and steam for 5-10 min or saute in butter, top with maple syrup for a sweet dish.
* Add to soups, stir-fries, stews, & casseroles.
* Steam and puree carrots add cream, onions, leeks, freshly grated ginger, or soy sauce for a simple soup.
* To roast carrots, cut in large chunks, dot with butter and place in an oven-proof dish. Cover and bake in a 350° oven for 40 min.
* STORAGE: Remove tops.greens for storage because they can affect the root's moisture and flavor.
* Remove tough outer leaves and cut out core for even cooking. The head can be left whole or cut into pieces.
* Steam the whole head for 15-20 minutes or 5-10 minutes for florets. Cook until tender but not soft. Stop the cooking process by running under cold water.
* Marinate steamed cauliflower in a favorite dressing along or with other veggies. Serve chilled. Top with grated cheese.
* Cut up raw florets and serve with dip.
* Use cauliflower puree for a creamy soup base or soup thickener.
* STORAGE: Cauliflower does not store well. When wrapped tightly in plastic, cauliflower heads can be refrigerated for three to five days.
* Celery root, also called celeriac, is harvested in the late fall. This ugly duckling has a distinct, refreshing flavor reminiscent of a cross between celery and parsley. The green stalks that sprout from the root aren't for snacking -- they're more pungent and not as crisp as regular celery -- but are wonderful simmered in soup or stock.
* STORAGE: Wrap celery root loosely and store in the produce drawer or the fridge for up to two weeks.
* Collards are a staple in many Southern dishes and add healthy nutrients to any meal. Traditionally, collards are paired with ham hocks and other pork for flavor and richness, but there are plenty of delicious vegetarian options.
* Slice out the main rib and slice it into chunks. Slice the leaves into strips.
* Sauté garlic in olive oil, add sliced collards with a bit of water, cover and braise until collards become bright green, about 10 min. Top with tamari, balsamic vinegar, or toasted sesame oil.
* Add collards to stir-frys.
* STORAGE: Store in a plastic bag in your fridge. Will keep well for a couple weeks, but best when fresh. If any greens look slightly wilted from being in your CSA box on a hot day, simply re-hydrate them (i.e., put them in a sink with cold water), shake off excess moisture, and store in fridge. Once re-hydrated they will be good as new!
* Add cucumber slices to a sandwich.
* Add cucumber slices to a glass of water- unbelievably refreshing on a summer day.
* Put cucumbers in a blender with ice & fresh lime juice for a refreshing summer drink.
* Use grated cucumbers in ranch dressing.
* Toss sliced cucumbers with plain yogurt or mayo, fresh dill or dried and salt and pepper.
* Toss sliced cucumbers with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.
* STORAGE: Refrigerate unwashed and wrapped in a plastic bag up to 1 week. Sliced cucumbers deteriorate very quickly.
* Eggplant comes in a range of shapes and colors. Globe eggplants are the largest and most common. The smaller Japanese eggplant is long and narrow, with fewer seeds, thinner skin, and a milder, less bitter flavor than the globe variety.
* Eggplant can be peeled but isn't necessary, especially with the skinny Asian varieties.
* Slice eggplant and lightly salt. Let sit for 10-15 min. then squeeze out excess liquid. This reduces the amount of oil needed to cook the eggplant.
* Top pasta with sauteed eggplant.
* Grill slices of eggplant with other vegetables.
* Dip chunks of eggplant in flour or in eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs. Saute in hot oil until lightly brown. Season with herbs, garlic, grated cheese, etc.
* Add to stir fries or pasta sauce.
* STORAGE: Whole eggplant will keep up to a few days in a cool place. Avoid storing in the refrigerator, as this will damage the eggplant's texture.
* One medium clove of garlic is equal to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
* Roasting garlic produces a mellower flavor. Cut of tops of garlic bulbs to expose the cloves, brush with olive oil and bake for 1 hour at 350°. Squeeze garlic out of the skins and spread on a good bread.
* For garlic butter use ½ cup of softened butter mashed with four minced cloves of garlic.
* Sauté garlic only until translucent as it will burn quickly and produce a bitter flavor.
* STORAGE: Garlic bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place for quite a few months. Do not store bulbs in the refrigerator.
* To prepare, break off the top of the bean at the stem end.
* Best when blanched or steam for 5-10 min.
* Beans are done when the color begins to brighten and become tender (not soft or mushy).
* If you serving the beans cold in a salad, cook them less so they stay crisp.
* Flavor with butter, lemon juice, sauted onions, or herbed vinaigrette.
* Storage: Although they taste best if used right away, green beans can be refrigerated in a sealed plastic bag for up to five days.
* If any greens look slightly wilted from being in your CSA box on a hot day, simply re-hydrate them (i.e., put them in a sink with cold water), shake off excess moisture, and store in fridge. Once re-hydrated they will be good as new!
* Cut out the tough mid-rib.
* Chopped kale leaves take about 7-10 min to steam and slightly longer to sauté.
* Toss steamed kale with sautéed garlic and tamari.
* Add sautéed kale to mashed potatoes, omelets, quiches, casseroles, and as a pizza topping!
* STORAGE: Keep kale in the coldest part of your refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. If any greens look slightly wilted from being in your CSA box on a hot day, simply re-hydrate them (i.e., put them in a sink with cold water), shake off excess moisture, and store in fridge. Once re-hydrated they will be good as new!
* Part bulb, part bundle of greens, kohlrabi may seem intimidating because it may be unfamiliar. But it offers a unique combination of tastes. As described by a food editor, "It’s got the texture of a radish and the sweetness of jicama, with a slight hint of broccoli... and the edible leaves are like a milder version of collards." It is packed with vitamin C and potassium.
* It should keep for 1-2 weeks at home.
* Cut off the "antenna" and peel the kohlrabi.
* Chop it into chunks or sticks and boil for up to 10 minutes, until it's just soft.
* Add it to stews, soups or casseroles, where it does a brilliant job of bulking things up, whilst absorbing the flavors.
* STORAGE: Cut off leaves & wrap them in a damp paper towel, and place in plastic bag. Leaves can be refrigerated for 3-4 days, and the bulbs for several weeks.
* Leeks are a member of the onions family. In general, leeks can be substituted for onions in most dishes using onions for flavoring. Unless you use a very mild sweet onion or perhaps green onions, substituting onions for leeks will result in a much stronger flavor which might be detrimental to the intent of the original dish.
* Leeks have a delicate, sweet flavor.
* Wash well, as dirt can get between the layers
* Raw leeks may be sliced thin and added to salads.
* When cooking leeks as a side dish, it is important they not be overcooked. Overcooking will turn them into a slimy, unappetizing pile of mush. They should be cooked until tender but still exert a little resistance when pierced.
* The dark green trimmed leaves may be used to flavor stock or blanched and used as a wrapper for any variety of fillings.
* STORAGE: Refrigerate up to one week, loosely wrapped in plastic. Wait to trim the tops and roots until just before using.
* If you eat lettuce often, it's wise to invest in a salad spinner. Simply rinse the leaves and place in the spinner to remove the excess water.
* In addition to their most common use in salads, you can also braise, steam, sauté and even grill certain lettuce varieties to create a wonderful and different taste treat. Try halving a head of radicchio or romaine lengthwise, and brush on some extra virgin olive oil, and grill until they soften and just begin to brown-absolutely delicious.
* STORAGE: Store the lettuce in a plastic bag in the fridge. Storing the lettuce with a paper towel will often keep the lettuce from becoming soggy.
* STORAGE: Store whole melons in a cool spot. Cover wedges in plastic and refrigerate up to 4 days.
* Small leaves can be used in salads.
* Larger leaves can be sautéed or steamed.
* Chopped mustard green leaves take about 7-10 min to steam and slightly longer to sauté.
* STORAGE: Wrap unwashed mustard greens tightly and store in the refrigerator's crisper drawer for up to one week. Mustard greens tend to hold sand and dirt, so wash thoroughly before cooking. If any greens look slightly wilted from being in your CSA box on a hot day, simply re-hydrate them (i.e., put them in a sink with cold water), shake off excess moisture, and store in fridge. Once re-hydrated they will be good as new!
Napa Cabbage (also called Chinese Cabbage)
* You can either remove individual leaves and use them or just chop through the whole cabbage.
* It's a useful filler in Chinese food, such as spring rolls or stir fries.
* Its mild flavor means it works well in stews and soups, too.
* For a quick dish, chop a Chinese Cabbage and wash it. Dry well. Stir fry with a little sesame oil. Top with crushed sesame seeds and soy sauce.
* Serve with noodles for a quick lunch dish.
* STORAGE: Store in the fridge for 1 - 2 weeks.
* For ease in cutting onions, cut a bit off of both ends and cut onions in half from top to bottom. If necessary, cut out the core from the base. Peel skin off with the edge of your knife and lay the cut surface down on the cutting board. Keep the onion intact while you make length-wise slices from one side of the curved onion half to the other. Then rotate the onion a quarter turn and make crosswise slices. If you can manage to hold the form intact you will end up with a uniformly chopped onion.
* Many and varied are the dishes seasoned with onions: quiche, soup, stew, grain-based casseroles, and vegetable stir-fry.
* Save onion skins for the stock pot.
* Cut a whole onion into quarters and then half the quarters to make wedges. Bake these on an oiled baking pan with a bit of liquid (water, vegetable stock, apple juice) added to prevent sticking. Season with dried thyme or rosemary, cover with foil and bake at 350-400 F for 30 minutes. Alongside the onion wedges, prepare other root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes) and bake these together.
* STORAGE: Stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place, onions will keep for a month or longer.
* STORAGE: Keep parsnips loosely wrapped in the produce drawer of fridge and use within two to thrww weeks.
* Try raw as a snack, add to a salad, or steam or stir-fry.
* STORAGE: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
* Red, yellow, and orange peppers start out green. The color changes and their sweetness increases depending on how long they're allowed to ripen on the vine.
* For greatest nutrient retention eat peppers raw.
* Add raw strips to salads and sandwiches, eat strips with your favorite dip.
* Roast peppers, place red pepper over hot coals or an open flame on your grill. Toast it, turning often, until the skin is evenly blackened. Place pepper in a brown bag for 10 min. to steam. Skin will peel off easily with a knife.
* Marinate and grill peppers.
* STORAGE: Store in a paper bag in the crisper for a week.
* It is not recommended that you freeze cooked potato dishes, as they tend to become watery after reheating. As the potato is 80% water, this water separates from the starch causing the reheated potato dish to be watery.
* 1 ¼ lbs (3 medium potatoes) = 3 cups chopped or sliced raw potatoes = 2 to 3 cups cooked mashed potatoes
* Potatoes are easier to prepare and healthier for you when cooked with their skins on. Alwyas rinse and scrub the potatoes thoroughly before using them.
* When you are using cut up potatoes in your cooking, preserve the color by place them in cold water. Limit the water soaking time to two (2) hours to retain the water-soluble vitamins.
* Boiled potatoes should be started in cold water rather than in hot water. This allows for a more even cooking and heat penetration from outside to inside during the relatively long cooking time required. Potatoes are never COOLED in cold water, unlike most vegetables. This would make them soggy.
* For fluffier boil potatoes, simply pour off all the water after they are boiled and cover the pot with a double thickness of paper towels, then cover with the saucepan lid. In ten minutes, steam will be absorbed by the towels and your potatoes will be dry and fluffy.
* Baked potatoes: Scrub well and pierce the ends with a fork or skewer so steam can escape. Never attempt to bake a mature potato without puncturing the skin - it might explode. For crisp skins, rub lightly with oil or butter (to prevent skin from cracking and to improve the taste). For more tender skins, leave dry. Place onto an oven rack in a preheated 400-degree oven and bake until done, approximately one hour. To test doneness, squeeze gently. Done potatoes will yield to gentle pressure. Aluminum-foil wrapped potatoes are not baked but steamed in their own moisture. The texture of a steamed potato is entirely different from that of a baked potato. Save yourself the trouble and expense of wrapping in aluminum foil and serve a better product.
* STORAGE: Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation (NOT refrigerator). The ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees F. At these temperatures, the potatoes will keep for several weeks.
(Left to Right: cherry, purple, French breakfast, watermelon, daikon)
* Radishes come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. They can be the size of a hazelnut or a carrot, and range in color from bold reds, pinks, and purples to starker white and black.
* Do not peel, just scrub clean.
* Slice or grate raw into salads.
* Use in soups, stews, or stir fried. Lots of braised radish recipe as well.
* Steam radishes for 8-12 minutes until tender but not mushy. Roll in butter and salt and pepper.
* EDIBLE GREENS! Use radish green like any other cooking green.
* STORAGE: Place radishes in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper. Those purchased with tops removed can be kept up to a week or 2. Radishes with leaves on should be used within a day or so because the greens don't stay fresh very long.
* Add to a salad for extra color and crispness.
* Try halving a head of radicchio lengthwise, and brush on some extra virgin olive oil, and grill until it softens and just begins to brown-absolutely delicious.
* STORAGE: Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
* Steam spinach for 5-8 minutes.
* 2-3 lbs of spinach cooks down to 2 cups.
* Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, diced garlic, fresh basil leaves, and feta cheese for a salad.
* Toss tender raw leaves into pasta.
* Add spinach to quiche, your morning egg sandwich, lasagna, pizza, and casseroles or other baked dishes.
* Substitute spinach for chard in other recipes.
* STORAGE: Store in a damp towel in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.
Squash, Summer (includes zucchini)
* Try raw summer squash cut into stick with your favorite dip or in salads.
* Cut into chunks add to summer soups and pasta sauce.
* Grill thick slices for 3-4 minutes over hot coals, then 5-8 minutes on the side of the grill. Baste with marinade.
* Sauté onions in butter or oil, add summer squash and sugar snap peas. Then top with parmesan cheese and serve over pasta.
* To remove excess water and prevent soggy, cooked dishes: Lightly salt the grated or thinly sliced squash. Place in a colander and let stand for 30 minutes. Some water will exude during the resting period. Much more will come out when squeezed or patted with paper towels. If you wish, rinse to remove the salt.
* STORAGE: Summer squash dehydrates quickly but DO NOT WASH until ready to use. Store in the hydrator drawer of your fridge for a few days and wash just before use.
(Left to right: butternut, delicata, spaghetti, orange hubbard)
* 1 lb of trimmed raw squash equals 2 cups cooked squash.
* Boil or steam 1-2 cubes for 15-20 minutes. You can peel before or after cooking, but let it cool first.
* Mash cooked squash with butter.
* Add chunks to stews and soups.
* Cut in half carefully lengthwise, scoop out the seeds. Place flesh down in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 60 minutes depending on size.
* Butternut squash are a good substitute for pumpkins in pie.
* Peel, seed, and shred butternut squash and add to stir fires.
* Add butter and maple syrup or brown sugar to bake squash.
* Cook squash chunks alongside roasting meats.
* STORAGE: Can be kept for up to three months in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate. Do not wash until right before use.
* Scrub well before cooking.
* The skin is edible so you don't need to peel them.
* Bake sweet potatoes whole at 350° until soft when pricked with a fork. Split open and add a pat of butter.
* Slice sweet potatoes into chunks and toss with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350° for about 45 minutes. Add chunks of potatoes and carrots for a winter root bake.
* Chop sweet potatoes into very small cubes. Heat butter in a sauté pan and add sweet potatoes. Add cinnamon and ginger and sauté until soft and tender. Serve with rice.
* Sweet potatoes go well with butter, cinnamon, orange, ginger, brown sugar, maple syrup, pecans, and walnuts.
* STORAGE: Keep sweet potatoes loose in a cool, dark place for up to one month. They should never be kept in the refrigerator, as their natural sugars will convert to starch, making them less sweet. Do not wash until just before you use them.
* If leaves are large & mature, remove the stem to cook separately. If the greens are young, cook whole.
* Steam large stem pieces for 8-10 min. and leaves for 4-6 min.
* Sauté the leaves in garlic butter or olive oil and garlic.
* Toss steamed leaves with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper OR with sesame oil, rice vinegar or soy sauce.
* Use in place of spinach in most recipes.
* Raw baby leaves are great in green salads.
* STORAGE: After a mild rinse, store chard in moistened paper towels in a plastic bag (with a few pinholes to allow air to circulate) in the refrigerator for two or three days. Chard is best if eaten within 5 days. * If any greens look slightly wilted from being in your CSA box on a hot day, simply re-hydrate them (i.e., put them in a sink with cold water), shake off excess moisture, and store in fridge. Once re-hydrated they will be good as new!
* Make sauces, salsas, and purees for winter eating.
* Sauté, bake, broil, grill, or eat them raw.
* Slice tomatoes and arrange on a plate. Drizzle with olive oil or a vinaigrette, chopped fresh basil or parsley and salt and pepper.
* Add tomato chunks to summer soups and pasta sauces.
* Sauté plum tomatoes and add to an omelet.
* Hollow-out partially, stuff and bake or grill.
* Roast halved tomatoes on a lightly oiled baking pan in a 250° oven for 3 hours (season with minced garlic and fresh, chopped basil before you pop them in the oven.
* STORAGE: Keep tomatoes at room temperature until ripe, and then use within a day or two. Don't refrigerate them, as it will affect their flavor. Not fully ripe tomatoes will continue to ripen stored out of the sun at room temperature. Cut tomatoes deteriorate quickly.
(Left to right: purple top, scarlet, hakurei)
* To clean, simply scrub with a vegetable brush under running water UNLESS you're baking them. When baking, there's no need to clean them first. Next, cut away the greens (optional -- the greens ARE edible).
* Turnips can be sliced, diced, chopped, or left whole depending on their size, and cooking technique you'll be choosing. They can also be grated to be used in salads or coleslaws.
* STORAGE: Cut any green tops down; wrap the vegetables in an airtight bag and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Use baby turnips within a few days; larger turnips will keep a little longer, some up to several weeks.