It is with a bit of sad regret that I write my last Simply Fresh post for the season. I do hope my articles have been useful, informative, and interesting. Most of all, I hope my passion and enthusiasm for our wonderful CSA bounty has challenged and inspired you to find creative, delicious and nutritious uses for your weekly CSA share. Please send me feedback, as it is difficult to judge how best to serve you when I don’t have many comments. You can either respond by commenting on this post.
I have one last tip for the year, which I am embarrassed to say I am just coming around to learning about myself—the value of juicing!
CSA TIP—Juice up your overflow
As I near my 50’s I have found myself becoming interested in nutritional methods for preventing chronic illness and living a vital second half of life. This has brought me to the increasingly popular method of juicing. People juice for different reasons, but all are attempting to maximize their nutritional intake in a very busy world. For me, learning about the vital importance of micronutrients not only to everyday health but also to the prevention of chronic disease has stimulated me to try this practice for myself. Because the fiber is removed from the produce during juicing, your body gets an incredibly absorbable, quick dose of fresh micronutrients that it can use right away. Of course, fiber is essential to the diet, which is why I use juice as a supplement rather than a meal substitute. I think of it like my high-powered daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
I have had such fun experimenting with juicing. I find it especially great as a CSA member because I have discovered juicing to be a fantastic way to use up some CSA items that might otherwise not get consumed, especially green tops like radish, celeriac, and kohlrabi leaves, and stems like chard and broccoli. Some of my favorite items to use in juice blends are cucumber, spinach, chard, beetroot, celery, cabbage, broccoli stem, tomato, kale, and carrots. I have even enjoyed a bit of more bitter greens in my juices like arugula and mustard greens (I recommend newbies start very small and work up to larger amounts according to your taste). For beginners, try adding in an apple, pear, or orange to give the juice some sweetness and mask some of the “green” flavor. Accents like a piece of fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, lemon, lime, and herbs can add great flavor and tons of added micronutrients to your juice. I particularly love adding lemon and parsley (you can include small amounts of citrus peel, like perhaps a quarter of a lemon). See below for a juice recipe for the daring.
Of course, in order to juice, one needs a juicer. There are many on the market today that are quick and affordable. Just remember, though, that unless you are investing in an expensive slow masticating or twin gear juicer, your juice will oxidize and lose nutrients quickly, so only make as much as you are going to drink immediately.
Finally, instead of throwing away the pulp after juicing, throw it in your composting pile or try one of the many ways you can use it in the kitchen, such as in creating homemade crackers, raw pizza crusts, dog treats, or even DIY facial scrubs (http://www.vegetariantimes.com/blog/what-do-i-do-with-leftover-juice-pulp/)
Celeriac and I have only known each other for a couple of years. It’s not exactly that I was leery of the hairy brown knobby bulb; I mean it is kind of funky and fun, but I just didn’t know what to do with it. So I never purchased it. It wasn’t until the farm started growing it a few years ago that celeriac and I had to become more intimately acquainted. I can honestly say I have overcome any hesitancy with this great vegetable and cherish it whenever I can get my hands on it.
Celeriac is a variety of celery also known as celery root. It is cultivated for its warty looking but nonetheless delicious root, although it’s stalks and leaves are edible, resembling celery leaves and shoots. Its flesh beneath the hairy brown exterior is crisp, white and looks a bit like a turnip, whereas its taste is like mild celery, with nutty undertones. Celeriac is quite popular in Europe, but is beginning to find its fans here in the U.S. as well.
Celeriac is delicious both raw and cooked. In cooking it is often substituted for potatoes because of its similar texture and color when cooked. However, celeriac has about one third of the total carbohydrates of a potato. This makes it a great alternative for folks trying to watch their starch intake.
Celeriac is wonderful raw in vegetable or grain salads. It can be grated, thinly sliced, julienned or cut in thicker slices for crudité. See below for a tasty lentil salad using raw carrot and celeriac.
Don’t forget to use the greens in these salads too. Sample them first to see how strong they taste to you then use them accordingly. The greens work great used like you would celery leaves, cutting celery, or an herb. Mince them and add them at the last minute to give a punch to soups, stews, or salads, or blend it with other herbs like parsley to make a tasty chimichurri or pesto. Finally, add them to your juice blends—they will give you great flavor and loads of added vitamins (especially C).
Celeriac can also be steamed, sautéed, fried, baked, roasted, grilled, or braised. It adds a wonderful element to roasted root vegetables medleys and is terrific in soups. Try a simple creamed celeriac and potato soup by simmering celeriac and potatoes in just enough broth to cover until tender. Blend until smooth and season.
A popular way to serve celeriac is mashed, like potatoes, either in combination with potato, or on its own. I am looking forward to trying a carrot and celeriac mash this week when we receive our first share of celeriac for the season. I have also heard that celeriac chips are delicious, which can be baked or fried (see celeriac chips). See below for a fantastic baked celeriac fry recipe.
Celeriac is a terrific source of vitamin C and phosphorous. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, and Manganese. It is also quite low in calories.
Pick celeriac with crisp bright green leaves and roots with no cracks or holes. Once you get your celeriac home, cut the greens from the roots and store them separately. The leaves will last a few days, while the celery root will keep up to a few weeks. To prepare the root, first cut off each end. Stand the root up on one end. Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the hairy brown covering from top to bottom, turning the root as work your way around. Don’t try using vegetable peeler, as the hair and knobs get in the way.
Celeriac browns quickly, so if not using it immediately, keep it in acidulated water (i.e. water with lemon juice) until you are ready to use it.
Once fall hits I start to crave lentils. I decided to try a lentil salad with celeriac and carrots and was very pleased how well the textures melded. I love the soft bite of the lentils with the pleasing crunch of the vegetables. Make sure that your carrots and celeriac are cut small enough that you can get a bit of everything in each bite.
Lentil and Celeriac Salad Serves 4
– 1 cup French green lentils, picked over
– 3 cups homemade vegetable broth
– 1 bay leaf
– 4 medium carrots, diced small
– 2 medium celeriac, peeled and diced small, held in water with a bit of lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– Zest of half lemon
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tablespoons minced celeriac leaves
- In a medium pot, boil lentils and bay leaf in vegetable broth until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain lentils and discard remaining broth and bay leaf. Allow to cool.
- Using a hand-held blender, blend lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon, garlic, and olive oil until mixture emulsifies. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Drain celeriac. In a medium bowl, toss cooled lentils, carrots, drained celeriac, lemon dressing, and celeriac leaves until well mixed. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.
The title of this recipe says it all…
Addictive Baked Celeriac Fries Serves 1
– 1 large celeriac bulb, ends cut, peeled from top to bottom with knife.
– 1 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
– 1 teaspoon season salt
Preheat oven to 400℉. Cut celeriac into thin shoestring fry shapes. Place in a bowl and toss with coconut oil. Sprinkle with season salt and toss well to distribute salt evenly over fires. Place on a pizza pan with holes or on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet (these will allow air to reach both sides of the fries, ensuring a crisper result). Bake for 10 minutes. Flip fries and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until browned and somewhat crispy (they won’t be as crisp as deep fried fries). Watch that they don’t burn. Serve hot.
This juice recipe is for the true veggie lover. If you are concerned it may taste too green, try adding an apple or pear and cut out the black pepper.
Note that I used purple kale for this recipe which is why it developed a beautiful purple hue. With regular kale it will be reddish in color.
Purple Power Juice Serves 1
– 1 large ripe tomato
– 4 small carrots, trimmed
– 1/3 large bunch kale leaves with stem
– 1/3 large bunch celeriac stems and leaves
– 1 large red beetroot, washed and trimmed
– ¼-1/2″ piece fresh ginger root, peeled
– 2 small cloves garlic
– Freshly ground black pepper
Wash all ingredients well. Juice ingredients (except pepper) according to manufacturer’s direction for your juicer. Season with pepper. Drink immediately.