Box Contents Week of August 29, 2021

August 28, 2021

The Original: Sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, summer squash, arugula, purslane, cucumbers, bell peppers, pears, and jujube fruit

The Individual: Sweet potatoes, summer squash, arugula, bell peppers, and jujube fruit

Sweet potatoes from Fruitful Hill Farm

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fiber, they're a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C, and they contain lots of healthy minerals that our bodies need such as iron, calcium, and selenium. The sweet potatoes in your Good Apple box were grown by Fruitful Hill Farm. Read more about their small family farm at the bottom of this blog post!

Wash and store: Make sure your sweet potatoes are completely dry before storing them. Store them in a cool, dark area such as a kitchen cupboard. Good air flow is required to prevent potatoes from going bad, so try storing them in a basket, bowl, or paper bag, not in an airtight container. Check on them periodically and remove any that show signs of rot. We recommend using your potatoes within a few weeks. If they begin to sprout, simply cut off the sprout and use as normal.

Prepare: Wash and scrub your sweet potatoes using your fingers or a vegetable brush. Sweet potatoes are so versatile and can be used in just about any recipe in place of white potatoes. Try subbing them for white potatoes in a recipe for home fries, then add them to your breakfast for a healthy start to your day!

Purple potatoes from Buena Tierra Farm

Did you know there are about 5,000 different kinds of potatoes found worldwide? This variety is called Purple Majesty, and it boasts gorgeous dark purple skin and purple flesh which keeps its color even when cooked. Of course being purple, these potatoes are packed with antioxidants, helping to protect cells, prevent illness, and reduce inflammation.

Wash and store: Same as the sweet potatoes above, store your purple potatoes completely dry in a cool, dark area such as a kitchen cupboard with good air flow. Check periodically for signs of rot, and we recommend using your potatoes within a few weeks.

Prepare: These potatoes can be used any way you would use regular potatoes. Surprise your friends and family with a purple potato salad, purple french fries, or purple baked potato night!

Yellow squash from Gundermann Acres

Summer squash, including this yellow squash from Gundermann Acres, is a prolific producer in the Texas summer! It also packs a nutritional punch with vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.

Wash and store: Store summer squash unwashed (dampness will cause rot) in a perforated bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. If you do not have a perforated bag, you can take any plastic bag and poke some holes in it for airflow. This will keep your squash fresh for as long as possible! Summer squash is best consumed within 4 days.

Prepare: When you are ready to eat it, simply cut off the two ends, wash, and slice. Summer squash is incredibly versatile; it can be roasted, sautéed, grilled, quick-pickled, or even eaten raw with dip.

Arugula from Gundermann Acres

Arugula is in the same family (Brassicaceae) as other cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and radishes. You might have seen baby arugula sold as a salad green at the grocery store. Mature arugula is just a little bit larger with a more peppery, spicier flavor! It's a great source of calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamins C, K, and A.

Wash and store: Chop off the base of the stems, giving the arugula stems a fresh cut. Gently wash the leaves in a colander under low water pressure. Pat dry (or use a salad spinner to dry), then wrap the dried leaves a dry paper towel and store it in a plastic bag or other airtight container in the crisper drawer of the fridge. They will be best if used within 3 days.

Prepare: Try using mature arugula in salads (it's especially great in warm salads), sautéed, or as a substitute for basil in pesto.

Purslane from Gundermann Acres

Not only is purslane edible, it may be one of THE GREATEST superfoods we've ever met! This incredible plant packs seven times the beta-carotene of carrots, six times more vitamin E than spinach, and fourteen times more Omega 3 fatty acids than spinach! Purslane is a fast-growing succulent sometimes considered a weed, and yet it's probably the most nutritious crop growing on most vegetable farms. It's time we give this hardworking little plant a second look!

Wash and store: Purslane stores much like other fresh herbs or delicate leafy greens. Wash the leaves gently with low water pressure, then wrap them in a paper towel and put the wrapped leaves inside a sealed plastic bag or other airtight container in the fridge. Consume quickly, within a few days.

Prepare: Purslane can be eaten raw or cooked. Try adding it to sandwiches in place of sprouts or other greens. You can also add chopped purslane to your green salads for an extra nutritional boost, or use it as a topping on tacos or soups. Or, try adding it to your pesto and use it as a pizza topping! If you would prefer to use it cooked, you can steam or very lightly sauté purslane with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Overcooking it will create a slimy texture, so only use a little heat!

Cucumbers from The Farm Patch

Cucumbers may be the perfect recovery food. Whether it's after a hard workout or a night out, cucumbers contain B vitamins, electrolytes, and natural sugar to help replenish the essential nutrients your body lost. Those same B vitamins and carbohydrates can also provide a healthy alternative to energy drinks, with the added benefit of keeping you hydrated because cucumbers are 95% water!

Wash and store: Wash and thoroughly dry cucumbers, as added moisture will make them rot faster. Store them in the warmest part of your fridge (likely the highest shelf of your fridge) and consume within a week.

Prepare: Wash and slice! Add them to your salads or sandwiches, or eat cucumber slices with your favorite dip or just a squeeze of lime juice. You can peel the skin if you don't like the bitterness, or leave the skin on to get extra vitamin A.

Bell peppers from Gundermann Acres

Did you know that bell peppers change color as they ripen? The color indicates how long they have been on the plant, and the longer they're on the plant the sweeter they get (or in the case of hot peppers, the spicier they get). That's why red peppers are sweeter than green peppers; they've been on the plant longer!

Wash and store: Store peppers in the fridge before washing them! Added moisture will make them rot faster. Place them loose or in a mesh bag (not an airtight bag) in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Prepare: When you're ready to use them, simply wash and chop. If you'd like, you can even save the seeds to grow your own pepper plants!

Pears from Lightsey Farms

Most of the pears grown in Texas, including the ones in your Good Apple box, are actually Asian pears. Asian pear trees are more disease resistant and are relatively low maintenance. The fruit is more firm than European pears but it's just as delicious!

Wash and store: Asian pears will remain firm but will have a very slight give when ripe. Store ripe pears in the fridge and consume within 3-5 days. If the pears appear unripe, you can let them sit out at room temperature until they are ripe (set them next to bananas to speed up the process!).

Prepare: These pears are delicious raw, but try them chopped in a salad or baked into a cake for an extra special treat!

Jujube fruit from Lightsey Farms

FYI: If any of your fruits appear brown and wrinkly, that is ok!!! In fact, they're going to be even sweeter that way! Most of the jujube in your box are yellow-green with brown spots, but it's normal for them to get brown and wrinkly as they mature.

Jujube fruit, also known as red dates or Chinese dates (though not botanically related to dates), is native to Southern Asia. In their young, green state jujube fruit have a similar taste and texture as a crisp apple. As they mature the fruits turn yellow-green with brown spots and eventually become completely brown. You can eat jujube fruit at any level of ripeness. Jujube fruit contains high levels of vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants, and is believed to help with sleep, digestion, energy, and anxiety.

Wash and store: Wash and dry your jujube fruit completely. Store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Prepare: Jujube can be consumed raw or cooked. Try adding sliced jujube to your oatmeal or yogurt in the morning, using the fruit as a salad topping, baking it with pork chops, or substituting jujube for apples in baked desserts. Or, try a recipe for Korean ginger jujube tea! The possibilities are endless.

Purslane pesto:

1) In your food processor with the blade attachment, pulse together 2 Tbsp pine nuts (can sub with other nuts), 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, & 1/2 tsp black pepper

2) Add 2 c. loosely packed purslane (leaves & stems). If you would like a more traditional flavor, use 1 c. purslane & 1 c. basil.

3) Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice & pulse to combine

4) With the food processor still running, slowly pour in 1/2 c. olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary

5) Add 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese and pulse briefly, just long enough to combine

6) Serve any way you like: on pizza, sandwiches, or toast, or over soups, tacos, or salads

Note: If you don't have a good processor, pesto can also be made in a blender or hand-mortared.

Tomato, onion, and purslane salad:

1) Prepare the dressing: whisk together 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 4 Tbsp olive oil, & 1/2 tsp salt

2) Roughly chop the purslane, removing some of the larger stems as you go

3) Dice 1 red onion and 1 large tomato, then combine with the purslane in a large bowl

4) Enjoy as a salad with garbanzo beans or grilled meat and a side of rustic bread

Steamed purslane:

1) Fill a saucepan with 1 c. water & 1 smashed garlic clove. Turn the heat to medium-high & bring the water to a boil.

2) Add 2 c. loosely packed purslane (leaves and stems). Cover the saucepan with a lid & cook for just a few minutes until tender.

3) Remove from the heat and drain the water using a colander

4) Season the purslane with 1 Tbsp olive oil & salt + pepper to taste (not much is needed)

5) Optional: Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Light and lemony arugula salad:

1) In a small bowl, whisk together 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest, 1 tsp minced garlic, & salt and pepper to taste

2) Wash & chop 1 bunch of arugula and toss with the dressing

3) Add your favorite salad toppings. Warm salad toppings go well with arugula; try adding roasted potatoes, butternut squash, grilled meat, or caramelized onions!

Green salad with jujube fruit:

1) In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, & 1/4 tsp black pepper

2) In a skillet, toast 1/4 c. pepitas over medium heat, stirring frequently until lightly toasted, & remove from heat

3) Wash & dice 3 jujubes into small pieces (like dicing an apple), removing the stones from the center of the fruit

4) Assemble your salad: combine 5 cups of your favorite salad greens, the diced jujubes, the pepitas, 1/4 c. dried cranberries, & 2 oz (about 1/3 c.) goat cheese. Lightly drizzle with salad dressing, toss, & serve.

Meet your growers: Fruitful Hill Farm LLC

The beautiful sweet potatoes in your box this week came from Fruitful Hill Farm LLC, located in Smithville, TX. The family farm was founded in 2002 when owner Dale Ringger started raising Longhorns, then a few years later started selling eggs from their pastured chickens and eventually expanded into growing vegetables. It was actually their their farmer friend who first suggested they start growing vegetables, and who helped get them started with chemical-free sustainable practices.

Today Fruitful Hill Farm LLC is a diversified vegetable farm growing lots of different crops including garlic, shallots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, melons, winter squash, summer squash, lettuce, greens, turnips, radishes, beets, rhubarb, carrots, cucumbers and more. You can usually find at least one of their crops in your Good Apple box! They use all sustainable practices, meaning they use the same practices that are used on organic farms, such as the type of seed, insect and disease control, and soil amendments including compost and minerals. They also do a lot of tractor cultivating to control weeds and they utilize crop rotation and cover crops to naturally build up the soil and reduce insect damage. They know that healthy soil makes healthy veggies, and we believe that in turn helps build a healthier community.