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History of Vegetables and Herbs
Rather than fill up the weekly newsletter with facts, history and background of the veggies and herbs that we grow, we decided to add a page just for that information. There will also be links to other websites that contain information that you might find helpful.
Swiss Chard is in the beet family, although it is grown for its leaves rather than its root. In Europe, they prefer the stalks to the leaf while here the leaf is primarily used. The stalks can be white, red, yellow or, in the case of peppermint Swiss Chard, white with pink stripes. It is believed that Swiss Chard was first cultivated in Sicily.

To store: store the unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Wash before cooking/serving.

Life Span: use within 2 to 3 days, the stalks may be kept longer if separated from the leaves.

Freezing: Yes, freezes well. Wash, separate leaves from stalks, drop into boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, drop into ice water bath for 2 minutes. Drain well and pack in plastic zip lock bags, squeeze all the air out and freeze. Good for 1 year.

Canning: No

Eating: Raw in salads; added to mixed greens to cook; added to any dish you might put spinach in.
Bok Choy has been grown in China for over 6000 years. It is also called white cabbage or Chinese cabbage. It was introduced to Europe and the US in the mid-1800s. Bok choy has dark green leaves and white stems.

To store: store the unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Wash before cooking/serving.

Life Span: use within 1 week.

Freezing: Yes, freezes well. Wash, separate leaves, drop into boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, drop into ice water bath for 2 minutes. Drain well and pack in plastic zip lock bags, squeeze all the air out and freeze. Good for 1 year.

Canning: No

Eating: Add to salads; eat raw; cut in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and grill; add to stir fry.
Spinach originated in Ancient Persia (modern day Iran) and migrated to Sicily in the 7th century, making it to France and England in the 14th century and the US in the 19th century. It is high in iron and calcium. The US is the 2nd largest producer of spinach in the world (China is the first).

To store: store the unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Wash before cooking/serving.

Life span: use within 7 to 10 days

Freezing: Yes, freezes well. Wash, remove stems from leaves, drop into boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, drop into ice water bath for 2 minutes. Drain well and pack in plastic zip lock bags, squeeze all the air out and freeze. Good for 1 year.

Canning: No

Eating: Raw in salads; added to mixed greens to cook; add a layer of fresh spinach in pasta dishes
Spinach Mustard is a variety of spinach with a pungent, peppery taste. It can be used any way that regular spinach is used, but is very popular in dishes from the Punjab region of India. Try mixing regular spinach and spinach mustard together. Spinach originated in Ancient Persia (modern day Iran) and migrated to Sicily in the 7th century, making it to France and England in the 14th century and the US in the 19th century. It is high in iron and calcium. The US is the 2nd largest producer of spinach in the world (China is the first).

To store: store the unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Wash before cooking/serving.

Life span: use within 7 to 10 days

Freezing: Yes, freezes well. Wash, remove stems from leaves, drop into boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, drop into ice water bath for 2 minutes. Drain well and pack in plastic zip lock bags, squeeze all the air out and freeze. Good for 1 year.

Canning: No

Eating: Raw in salads; added to mixed greens to cook; add a layer of fresh spinach in pasta dishes
Lettuce (leaf lettuce, crisphead (iceberg) lettuce, romaine lettuce, butterhead (bibb and boston) lettuce) is believed to originated in the Mediterranean region and it is thought that cultivation began as early as 4500 BC. Depictions of romaine lettuce have been found in Egyptian tombs. Lettuce has been cultivated in China since the 5th century. Christopher Columbus brought lettuce to North American in 1493 and it was first planted in California in the 17th century.

Crisphead lettuce was renamed iceberg lettuce in the 1920s when California began shipping large quantities of lettuce buried under heaps of ice to keep them cool during transport.

To Store: unwashed in the crisper drawer. NOTE: Try not to store your leaf lettuce with apples, pears or bananas in the same area. These fruits release ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent, that will cause the lettuce to develop brown spots and decay quickly.

Life Span: 4 - 7 days

Do not try to can, freeze or dry. It just doesn’t work!

Eating: Salads; add to sandwiches, either in the sandwich or if you don’t want bread, wrap your sandwich filling with the leaves.
Kale is in the cabbage family and was one of the most common vegetables eaten in Europe until the Middle Ages. It is considered to be one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world with high concentrations of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K and moderately rich in calcium.

To Store: Store unwashed in plastic bags and use with 5 days.

Note: the longer Kale is stored the more bitter its taste becomes.

Freezing: Yes, freezes well. Wash, separate leaves from stalks, drop into boiling water for 2 minutes, remove from water, drop into ice water bath for 2 minutes. Drain well and pack in plastic zip lock bags, squeeze all the air out and freeze. Good for 1 year.

Canning: No

Eating: raw, steamed, in stir fry, in salads - check online because there are many, many ways to use kale in your cooking.
Radishes are believed to have originated in India and were cultivated in Egypt as early as 2780 BCE. The first radishes were black, then white varieties appeared while red radishes as we know them now were developed in the 1700s. Radishes are high in vitamin C and a good source of folic acid and potassium.

To store: Remove the greens and store separately. Greens are good for 2 to 3 days while summer radishes are good for 5 to 7 days.

Freezing, Drying: No

Canning: Yes, can be pickled.

Eating: Raw, salads, soups, grilled.

NEW: Lime Basil is a new variety of basil that has a tangy lime flavor and fragrance.

To store: Wrap in slightly dampened paper towels, place in a plastic bag and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or place stem down in glass of water, cover with a plastic bag and store for up to 2 weeks (change water every couple of days). Or chop in blender with small amount of oil, put in ice cube trays and freeze.

Freezing: Yes (see above)

Drying: Yes, tie stems together and hang by stems

Canning: No, but add 4 sprigs to a bottle of white wine vinegar, seal the bottle and sit in sunny place for two weeks and you will have herb vinegar.

Uses: raw, in salads, soups, sauces, entrees. Burning basil is believed to keep mosquitoes away.

Pesto: use a cup of basil leaves (single variety or mix), put in blender with garlic cloves, parsley, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, handful of roasted pine nuts, salt and blend.

J&T Todosciuk Farms & Greenhouses LLC
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