CSA (9/3/2015): Tomatoes are peaking
Hard to believe fall is nearly upon us with the heat these last few days. Summer squash and cukes have just about given up and our fall crops are enjoying the longer nights as they get better for their big push. We’re also on the cusp of bringing in the winter squash harvest and digging our potatoes that will carry us through the final weeks of the season.
But the real story these days is the rain-free heat that our tomatoes are just loving. The plants are showing signs of disease and fatigue, an inevitability as September begins, but this week we pulled in over several hundred pounds of tomatoes in what will likely be the most prolific week of the season. If the weather cooperates we can expect a few more good harvests before they really begin to peter out.
Our eggplants are still going strong — this has been a fantastic year for eggplants. And our peppers are finally — finally! — beginning to ripen. We jumped the gun a bit this week and picked about 80 pounds of green peppers. When the fruits begin to turn red or orange and the sugars form, the insects get as excited as we do. Waiting for full ripeness on the plant is guaranteed to cost us a bit in yield. But with a little luck next week’s haul will be rich and colorful and sweet.
What to do with all that eggplant? This is one of my favorite recipes and a great way to make use of all the summer veggies.
This variant of the popular North African appetizer can be prepared using several of the veggies in this week’s box. Chop up a whole eggplant, 2 tomatoes, an onion, one jalapeno pepper (minus ribs and seeds and one red pepper and place in a bowl with several garlic cloves (keep the garlic in their wrappers for this stage). Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper then bake in a single layer at 400 degrees until browned, about 45 minutes. Remove the garlic from their wrappers, heat some more olive oil in a large skillet and cook the roasted vegetables for about 5 minutes. Then add 3 Tbsp. of tomato paste and 3 Tbsp. of water and some cumin and cook for ten minutes more. Remove from heat and toss in 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar. Best served chilled.