CSAs week of 8/1/2022

Small share: eggplant, jalapeno, sweet pepper, corn, tomatoes, red potatoes, baby bok choy, watermelon, peaches, basil

Large share: eggplant, jalapeno, sweet pepper, corn, tomatoes, red potatoes, baby bok choy, watermelon, peaches, basil, green beans, squash, collards or kale, chives or oregano

Fruit only: watermelon, peaches, nectarines

Flower share: zinnias, rudbeckia, and/or dahlias

Eggplant

eggplants in a basket

Eggplant is a close relative of tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. They are smooth-skinned, oval to elongated, and range in color from white, to black to purple to pink! Eggplant requires the right kind of preparation; otherwise it can be unpleasantly bitter, rubbery, or watery.

To store: Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator. Or store unrefrigerated at a cool (50-60 degrees) room temperature. Use within a week and it should still be fresh and mild.

Handling: Eggplant is usually peeled. The flesh will brown when exposed to air. To prevent browning, coat in lemon juice or keep submerged in water. Rinse eggplant in cool water and cut off the stem. To remove bitter flavors and excess moisture, lightly salt slices of eggplant and allow them to sit in a colander for 10-15 minutes. Gently squeeze out any liquid. Eggplant will now soak up less oil and need less salt in preparation.

To use: Stir-fry or sauté 1-inch cubed eggplant in a very hot sauté pan with peanut oil until the eggplant has released much of its water and is very soft. Or brush 1/2-inch to 1-inch slices of eggplant with olive oil or melted butter and broil or grill until brown. You can also pierce a whole eggplant in a few places with a knife, lightly coat with olive oil, and bake at 375 degrees until the eggplant is very soft and collapsed, 30-60 minutes. It also makes an excellent baba-ghanoush dip. Casserole: chop eggplant into cubes. Layer in a Pyrex dish with tomatoes, onions, mozzarella, and basil. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and bake at 400 F for 25 minutes.

To freeze: Peel and cut into slices 1/3-inch thick. Blanch for 2 minutes in steam. Cool immediately in cold water. Package in layers with each slice separated with two pieces of wrap.