Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Boxed Organics - Box #2

Yesterday I picked up my second box from the CSA program that I enrolled in about 2 weeks ago, Boxed Organics. The first time, I wasn't able to physically go there myself, so my cousin picked up for me. But this time, I was able to go through the motions myself with his assistance of course. The pickup location is what seems to be a private residence's garage, which makes sense because it's a volunteer organization, right? And the honor system is in place to pick up the correct box (1 of 21). Easy as that. Pick up and go. And don't forget your eggs in the fridge!

This week's box included:

  • Yellow onions
  • Slicing cucumbers
  • Green cabbage
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Winter radishes
  • Purple sweet potatoes
  • Red potatoes
  • Fuji apples
  • Winesap apples
  • Blake's pride pears
  • Organic eggs

And again, I received an email with some helpful recipes that could be made using these freshest of vegetables and fruits. It's very likely that I'll make use of the recipes because I have no clue how to use cabbage (besides some kind of slaw) and purple sweet potatoes. One of the recipes is for a Raw Vegan Purple Sweet Potato Pie which sounds and looks amazing. I just might have to try that.

From the last box, the only thing I didn't completely finish were the yellow onions (just a couple left) and all of the gold potatoes. For one thing, I've been trying to stay away from starch. And for another thing, it's just such a heavy vegetable to eat. But if they are organic, I wonder if my body will process them better / easier? I'm so tempted to make baked potato chips from them. And since I don't like mashed potatoes that much (and don't want to physically mash them myself), my only other option would be to dice them to be roasted or included in a sauté of some sort. And now with more potatoes, finishing them might pose an even bigger problem.

That acorn squash that I got last time was probably the most challenging item. I looked up videos and recipes online and most of them said to just cut it in half and bake it in the oven with a glaze. That takes way too long and I wasn't necessarily a fan of the glaze. So I decided to experiment with it. Squash is a gourd. And although I'm not familiar with cooking gourds, I decided to treat it like a root vegetable, like a potato.

In my first attempt I diced it up, added some olive oil, fresh garlic, and rosemary and roasted it in the oven for 40 minutes. The result was quite good. It had a buttery sweetness to it and didn't take nearly as long as any of the online recipes. In another instance, I took the same mixture and sautéed it with chicken breast, onions, and broccoli. I had to make sure to cover the pan for a little while to develop a steaming effect to really cook through the diced squash, otherwise I don't think it would have cooked on an open pan. Another fantastic outcome though. I was probably able to make 4 dishes with that single acorn squash.

I tried to pay attention to the flavors and spot a difference in the taste of organically grown fruits and vegetables versus those that are not organic. I couldn't really identify major differences except for the eggs. Organic eggs have a completely different taste than any other eggs. Something about the yolk is different. I don't really know how to describe it, but you will for sure know the difference.

I heard something about eggs while we were abroad. While walking through many markets and grocery stores, we noticed that the eggs were just displayed on a regular shelf, not in a refrigerated section, but next to bread for example. Maybe I asked someone or maybe I looked it up online, but I found out that eggs (organic or not) in America are cleaned differently. Something about the process makes the shell thinner and therefore requiring refrigeration. In many other locales that we visited, the cleaning and disinfection process was probably not the same, hence the reason why they could store their eggs outside of refrigeration. Is this true? I'm not sure. There's plenty of reading material online that suggests other reasons, but it was an interesting tidbit that's worth looking into more.

Other than the freshness of all the fruits and vegetables, I can't say that I could clearly taste a difference in a blind taste test. But I'm happy that I'm participating in this program. I'm doing my part in helping out the farmers. I'm eating healthier. And I'm contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Have you thought about joining a CSA near you?

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