Stillman's Blog

Zucchini

Seasonality

Varieties

Zucchini
Romanesco
Cousa: tiny seeds in these super fat summer squash
Golden Zucchini

Varieties we grow and love: Don’t forget that zucchini are still summer squashes, so there is plenty of cross over when identifying what’s what. The easiest thing to remember is all the tender skinned squashes harvested in the summer are interchangeable and really all summer squash 😉

  • Elite – a dark green, very smooth squash with sweet flavor
  • Golden zucchini- a bright golden skinned squash
  • Costata Romanesca- medium green, somewhat mottled or speckled skin with pronounced ridges
  • Cousa- a pale green, Middle Eastern type zucchini (or summer squash), kind of rounder and fatter than long like the Elite, typically dryer than zucchini and more flavorful than the yellow summer squash

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

Fresh summer squashes do not store well…they are so full of moisture you will notice the ends desiccate quickly and they also can become bitter.  It is good to note that in drought conditions, sometimes the end does not swell as much and looks a little deformed. These are still fine to eat, they just don’t meet the standards of wholesalers to supermarkets. Store zucchinis and summer squashes in the refrigerator, wrapped in paper towels and plastic. They will keep like this for several days. to be honest, I have tossed a bag of squashes in the crisper, forgotten about them and had them be just fine after a week 🙂

Sadly, zucchini do not lend themselves well to freezing. Having said that, all baked good with zucchini freeze beautifully so our freezer is usually well stocked with zucchini squares, breads and cakes. You can also dry squashes by slicing thinly and dry until brittle in your dehydrator or 125 degree oven. Store in airtight container.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • Sautée
  • Soups
  • Quick-breads
  • Stuffed
  • Spiralized for veggie noodles
  • grilled

Tips for preparing: Handle with care, the skins bruise and scratch SO easily. Wash gently and trim ends. Summer squashes are very moist, so if you are going to fry or grate for baked goods, let them drain on paper toweling for 15 minutes or so.

For  first timers: slice your squash 1/8″ thick, sprinkle with salt, drain on towels, pat dry-ish. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat, add a couple sliced or minced garlic cloves, toss in squash and sautée until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper and if you have favorite herbs, by all means stir those in. Basil or chives are naturals!

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Winter Squash

Seasonality

Varieties

Butternut, acorn, delicata squashes
Butternut squash
Spaghetti squash
Carnival, Kubocha, butternut squash

Varieties we grow and love: It is good to note that winter squashes are really just a designation for squashes harvested late in the season, generally with thicker skin, cured and able to be stored. All the squashes are cucurbits (also cucumbers, melons…) Many of the squashes are even the same species, so we tend to categorize them by form/appearance.

  • Acorn- dark green/black skin, golden yellow flesh, yes, shaped like ribbed acorns. Perfect for halving and baking. The delicata, dumplings and spaghetti squashes are all the same species! So are pumpkins! So are summer squashes!
  • Butternut- pale tan skin, orange flesh, elongated neck with seed cavity in the bulbous part
  • Honeynut- basically a baby butternut
  • Buttercup- dark green skin, sometimes with gray stripes,  squatty turban shape with golden flesh. Drier than butternut
  • Carnival- Multicolored sweet dumpling with white, green and orange stripes and flecks, yellow flesh
  • Delicata- yellow and green striped skin, cylindrical, yellow flesh. Very sweet.
  • Hubbard- Most widely known is the Blue Hubbard, but also comes in red, orange, gray and green flavor. Flesh is always yellow-gold. Generally huge, elongated top-shape, but we grow a baby Hubbard that is easier to deal with. These are best after storage as they sweeten up with the starches converting to sugars.
  • Jarradale- beautiful pearly-blue skin, pumpkin shape, bright orange to red flesh, very smooth texture cooked
  • Kabocha- sisters to the buttercup squash, some looking very pumpkin-like can have blue, gray, black or bright red skin, deep orange flesh. Wonderful smooth, creamy flesh. Our favorites are the Sunshine (bright red), Speckled Pup (gray and black mini kabocha), black kabocha
  • Kuri- Orange or red skinned, bright orange very smooth textured flesh, great for pies and purees. These tear shaped squash could be considered a baby red hubbard and is the same species.
  • Spaghetti- Yellow melon shape with yellow flesh, When cooked, scrape the flesh out with a fork to make strands of spaghetti. Also be aware that canary and crenshaw melons look very similar – smelling them should help make the distinction. Please cut in half before cooking if you are unsure 😉
  • Sweet Dumpling- squat acorn shape, creamy yellow skin with green stripes. Basically a single serving size of Delicata
  • Triamble- beautiful gray-blue, ribbed skin, triangular pumpkin shape

Not sure what you’ve got? Check out the “pumpkin page” too.

Enjoy this nutrition packed vegetable: high in carotenoids, winter squash if a perfect source of alpha and beta-carotenes, lutein, and several other carotenoids for helath support

Storage

Unlike my boilerplate comment about fresh produce, winter squashes are most delicious after reaching full maturity and curing for a while. Once cured, store at 50-60 degrees with good circulation. Check weekly and use immediately if you find any soft spots. If you have cut one open or prepped for cooking, be sure to store wrapped in the fridge.

All the winter squashes freeze perfectly if in a fully cooked, whether mashed, cubed or in a recipe. I make a lot of puree every year and freeze for sides, soups, pies and muffins. Pumpkins

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • classic side dish of pureed squash
  • soup
  • quickbreads
  • baked either in halves or slices
  • all sorts of baking

Tips for preparing: I cannot stress enough how careful you must be when working with hard vegetables. Please be sure to stabilize any rolling squashes and not keep your fingers where the knife with cut them if the squash rolls. If I need my butternut halved the long way, I hold onto the long neck part, piercing the flesh halfway down, cutting through the entire bulbous part, then I turn it around and holding onto the bulbous end, cut through the dense neck. If it is all getting cut up, go ahead and cut crosswise to make rings or to stand up on flat end and halve.

you’ll figure it out, it’s not hard, but an awful lot of people hurt themselves or complain about how difficult it is to prep squash…don’t be one of those people;)

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Watermelon

Seasonality

Varieties

watermelon pile
Watermelon radish 😉

Varieties we grow and love:

Crimson Sweet – Oblong, striped, red flesh with seeds
Sugar Baby- round, black, red flesh with seeds

Yellow Doll- roundish, striped, yellow flesh with seeds

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

Watermelon keep for weeks in the refrigerator. We harvest them ripe, and yes, they will keep easily on the counter too, but if it is really hot, or they are really ripe, they can start to spoil. Certainly if you have cut the melon open, it must be wrapped and refrigerated.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • naturally perfect raw, right off the rind
  • fruit salads
  • drinks

Tips for preparing:

MOST of our watermelons have seeds. You can avoid some of them if you cut both ends off the melon, then make cuts about 3-4″ through the rind, the long way, along the paler green line, if you remove this long wedge, you can scrape off the seeds. then you can cut the long wedge crosswise to have smaller triangles way to eat and manage.

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Enjoy cubed watermelon drizzled with balsamic and mint!
Puree and enjoy with seltzer of lemonade

I’ll try to get some of my salad recipes up here 🙂

Turnips

Seasonality

Varieties

White and purple turnips
Red Viking Turnips with Greens

Varieties we grow and love:

  • Hakurei- white salad turnips, sweet, fruity, crisp and perfect raw
  • Scarlet Queen- red salad turnips, beautiful white flesh, sweet and spicy
  • Purple Top- classic purple shoulders, white below the soil line, best cooked

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

The saladette turnips do not store for too long. Be sure to remove green tops, if there are any, and store them separately because the greens will sap the roots for water. Wrap the greens in plastic and they will be fine for a couple days. The roots will keep for over week with no trouble.

The Purple Tops will keep much longer. Again, be sure to remove the greens if there are any and store separately. They will keep for several days in the fridge. The roots will keep for months in cold storage, so no worries if you are starting a collection in your crisper. Sometimes you may see little white hairs forming on hte ends of the turnips, especially after a while in plastic. This is fine and will wash of or be removed when you cut off the actual root end.

Keep all in the coldest part of the fridge for maximum storage

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • salads
  • slaw
  • roasted
  • boiled and mashed
  • pickles

Tips for preparing:

Again, be sure to separate the bottoms from tops. Clean the tops by holding the stems and plunging the leafy tops up and down in cold water.
Clean the root by trimming the top and bottom – sometimes a good rinse is all you need, other times (especially with the Purple Tops) a scrub brush in order. No need to peel, unless you find yourself in winter with tough skins on the Purple. A regular vegetable peeler will do nicely 🙂

All the turnips are delicious roasted! Simply cube or wedge (in the case of the salad turnips), toss with olive oil or other oil of choice, sprinkle with S&P, roast in glass dish if you have one, or any pan will do, 400 degrees until tender (about 15 minutes)

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Slaw, Classic or Signature?

Tomatoes

Seasonality

Varieties

Jetstar and Primo Red tomatoes
Mortgage Lifter tomato
Yellow Brandywine Tomatoe
Grape Cherry Tomatoes

Varieties we grow and love:

Too many I reckon. Firstly, Curtis Stillman of Still Life Farm, does all the cherry tomato growing. That’s been his specialty crop since he was little – and now it is a big production. He must have 15 varieties and they are all delightful.

The rest of the tomatoes are grown here, By Glenn, at the New Braintree farm. While we grow over 150 varieties of plants, we focus on these varieties for the fresh market and CSA:

  • Jetstar- our favorite red slicer, soft when ripe
  • Primo Red- a great red slicer, a little firmer than Jetstar
  • several BHN varieties, because you never put all your eggs in one basket
  • German Stripe- heirloom large golden yellow with red stripes and marbling, and simply deliscious, but maybe too sweet for a tomato sandwich
  • Cherokee Purple- dark maroon fruits with green shoulders, one of the best tasting tomatoes (if you like tomatoes)
  • Great White- a very pale yellow variety, mild flavor
  • Green Zebra- ripe when green! Pale yellow-green with dark green stripes, green jelly. Sweet, tangy, unique
  • San Marzano- a great paste variety, red, meaty
  • Speckled Roman- heirloom paste/plum, rich flavor
  • Brandywine- large pink heirloom with well rounded flavor, amazing in salad or on a burger
  • there’s more, there’s always more
Heirloom tomatoes

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

Store tomatoes on the counter. NEVER refrigerate an unripe tomato. If you need a tomato to ripen faster, you can keep it in a bag to consolidate the ethylene gas they produce. If, and only if, you have a perfectly ripe tomato that you wish to store, you can keep it unwrapped in the fridge for a week or more. Be sure to take it out and enjoy at room temperature 😉

Of course you can dry thinly sliced tomatoes and either pack in oil or store in airtight container. Use your dehydrator or spread out on baking sheets in very low oven (125) until rubbery and not moist at all.

I have frozen chopped tomatoes with the knowledge that they will only be used in soups and sauces. Just cut them up and freeze in plastic bag.

My preferred method is canning. Tomatoes are easy to preserve and you do not need a pressure canner to do it. I also like to do stewed tomatoes and TONS of salsa.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in: Gosh, is there anything better then a ripe tomato in July? If you don’t know, be sure to try one again 🙂

  • salad (how about JUST a tomato salad?)
  • sauce
  • chutney
  • salsa
  • casseroles

Tips for preparing:

Wash gently, some varieties have deeper stem cores than others, so cut that out if you want to avoid the harder pithy part. If you need to peel tomatoes for a recipe, you can either score one of those peelers for soft skinned fruits, or you can char the skin if you have a gas stove, keep turning the tomato on the fork until all the skin is bubbling a little, or you can drop the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute, then into cold water and they will peal easily. I find it is adequate to just poke the skin with a paring knife, no need ot make a fancy x or anything.

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Tomatillo

Seasonality

Varieties

Tomatillos

Varieties we grow and love:

We like the jumbo tomatillo from Harris Seeds, but we also grow a purple variety from time to time.

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.
Tomatillos store amazingly well. If still in their husks, it’s ok to keep them in plastic in the fridge for a week or so, if husked, they really are better off in a paper bag. Either way, you have plenty of time to figure out what to do with them. You can also cook them until soft in a little water or broth, cool and then freeze – liquid and all.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • sauces
  • gazpacho

Tips for preparing:

Husk the tomatillos by removing the papery covers, the stem, and wash off the sticky coating.

Sweet Potato

Seasonality

Varieties

Beauregard Sweet Potato
Bonita
Murasaki Japanese
O'Henry

Varieties we grow and love:

  • Beauregard – red-orange skin and orange flesh
  • Georgia Jet – purplish skin and orange flesh
  • Centennials – coppery skin and light red flesh
  • O’ Henry – white skin and cream flesh (golden yellow when cooked)
  • Murasaki- Japanese variety, dark red skin, starchy cream colored flesh
  • Bonita- white skin, golden flesh when cooked

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

Store sweet potatoes in a well ventilated, cool area. Do not store in plastic or in the fridge.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • roasted
  • baked
  • steamed and mashed

Tips for preparing:

You can peel before cooking, but keep in water to prevent discoloration. Otherwise, scrub well and bake or microwave.

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Sweet potato Fritters

Summer Squash

Seasonality

Varieties

Golden Zucchini
Assorted summer squash
Cousa: tiny seeds in these super fat summer squash
Yellow straight neck, Zucchini, Cousa, Romanesco, Zephyr

Varieties we grow and love: thees are all tender squash vareties

  • Yellow Straight Neck- a yellow variety
  • Cousa- a pale green Middle eastern type
  • Zucchini- we grow several dark green varieties like Elite
  • Golden Zucchini- it’s zucchini, but golden yellow
  • Patty Pan- pale green scalloped type – a little like a flying saucer
  • Romanesco- a medium speckled dark green variety that is deeply ridged the length of the fruit
  • Scallopini- yellow or green, scalloped “flying saucers”

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

None of the summer squashes store particularly well, and do not try to keep squash blossoms for more than a day. Keep cold and wrapped in plastic…even so, you will most likely see brown spots develop on the skin. These are fine, but an indicator of your fruits spoiling.

I have had good luck freezing cooked summer squash dishes and baked goods, as well as dehydrating.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:
summer squashes call out to be sauteed or grilled…steaming squash is least preferable. Try slicing the ling way and using as lasagna.

Tips for preparing:

Trim stem and blossom ends if necessary. Wash gently…skins bruise easily. Salt lightly and drain is grilling or sauteing.

 

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Strawberries

Seasonality

Varieties

Strawberries
Wynona

Varieties we grow and love:

  • Cabot
  • Honeoye
  • Wynona
  • Wendy
  • Earliglow
  • Evie 2

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

We do not treat any of our fruit or veggies with sulfites, or anything else. We also pick our berries ripe, sothey will not store for too long. Keep them in the crisper drawer in a partially open plastic bag. Since they are so full of water, desiccating in the fridge is the biggest worry. Molding because we do not spray with fungicides and again, do not treat with any sort of preservative, is the second biggest worry.

Strawberries freeze beautifully. Slice or crush and freeze. Thawed, they are great on ice cream, in shortcake, or, most often in our house, smoothies.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in: I have laughed out loud when customers have told me they had berries left over from the week before or wondered what they could do with them. Unless you are allergic, I cannot figure out how one does not eat the whole box on the way home – I know most of our CSA customers’ kids do 🙂

  • absolutely best enjoyed fresh, as close to date of harvest as possible, I feel like a dope writing they are perfect n Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream or with corn flakes, but if you really need suggestions…
  • if you are swimming in berries, make jam

 

Tips for preparing:

Rinse in a colander and let drain as much as possible. Hull when you are ready to eat or, you can prep ahead by hulling and slicing, but be sure to cover the container tightly because they will start to shrivel up quickly.

 

Also check out these great recipes:

Spinach

Seasonality

Varieties

Spinach
Arrowhead or Asian spinach leaves
Red Kitten and Corvair Spinach

Varieties we grow and love:

We actually rotate between 8 varieties. Some of the varieties have smooth leaves (Space, Gazelle, Corvair), or an arrowhead/Asian leaf (Flamingo) but we prefer growing and harvesting the savoyed leaf varieties (Kookabura, Emperor…).  To be sure it is easier to wash the smooth leaf 🙂

Red Kitten- a dark green, smooth leaf with red veining and stem

Storage

As always, fresh produce is most delicious and nutritious when consumed as close to the harvest date as possible.

I have found that our spinach keeps easily for a week in it’s own bag we packed it in. Do check for extra water in the bag and drain it off before storing.

Spinach freezes beautifully if blanched for 2 minutes. Alternatively, you can sauté in a little oil for a few minutes, pack in containers and freeze.

Culinary Info

– can be enjoyed in:

  • smoothies
  • as a delicate side dish
  • salads
  • fritatta/quiche
  • soup

Tips for preparing: Spinach is a great magnet for soil so wash in plenty of water. I dump the whole bag into my salad spinner, fill with water, swish around, drain and depending how gritty the water is, I repeat the process, then spin dry. Depending on the season, salting the water is a good idea to ensure any creatures hiding out will come off the leaves. If you are not using the bag’s worth, store the unused spinach in the bag it came in (after rinsing the bag out).

 

Also check out these great recipes: