Green cubes aka making the most of our CSA box

Update: we aren’t getting the CSA box this year.  We’re trying to grow all our own veggies this year so we’ll see how this goes.  Also, we’ve gotten a VitaMix since I wrote this post last year but the rest of the post is totally awesome, applicable, and worth a try!

My husband and I get a CSA box from Chinook Farms out in Snohomish; this is our second summer with them and I’m excited to see what we get during the entire share since we started in late July last year.  It’s not one of those city CSA’s where it gets delivered to your house or at a drop off point (those are great too): you actually have to go to the farm to pick up your weekly share.  Anyways, some of the early boxes we get things I either don’t enjoy because I haven’t found a good recipe for them yet, I run out of time during the week to incorporate them into meals before they go bad (see recipe problem), or I plain don’t like them.  And usually if I don’t like something, it doesn’t make it into our weekly menu plan (yes, I plan meals for a week at a time, but that’s another post for another day).

These first few weeks I have been trying to incorporate some of the new greens we have been getting, like bok choy.  I had never bought it at the store but I thought I’d give it a try so I looked up sautéed bok choy and we had it with rice and broiled fish.  Verdict: delicious; will definitely make an encore appearance on a future weekly meal plan.

But I really wanted to see if we could use everything in the box.  Like the radish and beet greens.  I wasn’t sure if these were edible so I plugged my query into Google and was pleased to see that yes, they are both fit for consumption.  I just didn’t really like the recipes I was seeing pop up during my search.  No worries, though, because my husband and I really like green smoothies in the morning as our nutrient-dense start to the morning.  We don’t have one of those fancy blenders but we do have a $50 Fred Meyer one that works well enough.

We had plenty of kale and chard on hand, though, for the week’s green smoothies.  How was I going to work these radish and beet greens in?  I had an idea.  What if I could somehow preserve them for future smoothies?  I knew they wouldn’t keep in the fridge and I was guessing they wouldn’t freeze that well either, though I had seen chopped kale in the freezer section before.

Here was my brainstorm: what if I pureed the greens with a little bit of orange juice and froze the slurry into cubes?  We usually put orange juice and greens in our smoothies so why not give it a try?

Alright, the steps I devised (so not difficult and I am sure someone else has done something similar and way better but I thought I was being totally innovative and smart by thinking of it myself so break it to me gently).

Step one: cut greens off of root vegetables.  Step 2: tear leafy part off of hard rib part.  Step three: put the leafy parts in the blender with a little bit of orange juice.

click on the picture to make it bigger; then you can click back to get back here…

Step four: blend, blend, blend.  This is important especially because that way you won’t have anything gritty or chewy in your smoothie – texture is huge for a lot of people!  However, hold yourself back from putting in more orange juice to encourage the process since that will add a bunch more sugar than you want and you don’t really need it if you are patient with the blender.  Stopping it and stirring often helps, especially if you have a lower-end blender like we do.  Step five: pour into ice cube trays.  Step six: put in freezer until they’re hard enough to stay as individual cubes when you pop them out of the tray and into a Ziploc bag.  Step seven: bag ‘em and put them in the freezer until you need them.

same thing as the last picture – click on the picture to enlarge it…

Step eight: throw a few in a smoothie with your favorite masking fruits (aka the stuff you really want to the smoothie to taste like versus the greens) and you don’t have to worry if you have the fresh stuff on hand or not!  Beet greens have a fairly strong taste so if you want something that would “hide” in your smoothie with less fruit covering up the taste of the greens, do this with kale instead.  We (hopefully) have a bunch of kale coming up in the next few weeks in our garden so we’ll have to be doing this or we won’t be able to eat it all fresh!

Enjoy it, let me know how it goes, and I’d love to hear your ideas about ways to make the most of your CSA boxes, especially the stuff you haven’t found a way to like yet!

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