CSA Member survival kit

People have been sharing kitchen secrets and techniques since, well, probably since there have been kitchens. Plus, as a CSA member, you are cooking and preparing a lot more whole foods, that take time. If you are new to this style of cooking, a few new tools can really help out in saving time, keeping your food fresh, and making sure you are able to get the most out of your CSA. As the unofficial farm food tester, I might do more than the average in the kitchen, so over the years, I have collected quite a stash of cooking gadgets and tools. These are some of my favorite time savers.

My Chopper. This is definitely my number one kitchen tool. I love that it doesn’t use electricity. Duringvidalia chop wizard the veggie season I am chopping a lot and this thing makes quick work of it. I am always using it to help me prepare salads and soups or things like fried rice. I absolutely despise cutting up onions, but my chopper makes it quick and easy. Rarely does it actually get put away in the summer, it just lives in my dish rack to be used for the next meal. It’s the best $20 I have spent in a while. Link to purchase

Food Processor.
Not one with just a chopping blade, but one that will food processor grate and slice too. As a matter of fact, I think I use those blades more than the chopper blade. When I want to make cole slaw out of cabbage or napa. There is nothing like my slicer blade. You can use a mandoline slicer, if you prefer manual to electric, but this is one place I go for the electric. Same with grating, if it’s for anything more than 3 carrots, I usually go for the food processor. The really cool thing, is that mine still has the $5.99 sticker on it from the thrift store I bought it from 10 years ago.

Salad Spinner. With all the greens that come in a CSA box, a salad spinner will allow you to salad-spinnersubmerge you greens to get them good and clean, and then do a quick spin dry, so that it will store well.

 

Good Sharp Chef’s knife and a paring knife. Nothing is more important than a good sharp knife. You could live without all the rest, but you will, at the very least, want to be able to cut up your veggies. I like a chef’s knife for most of my cutting, but when I do pealing or something delicate, I use my paring knife. I also have an easy to use knife sharpener to keep a good edge on my knife at all times.

Produce Storage Bags: I love these storage bags. Especiallygreen bags for the folks getting CSA boxes from LotFotL that come every other week, it is important to store your veggies well, so that they will keep for you. These bags are really worth the money. There are lots of different brands now and I feel like any of them are fine. Unlike ordinary plastic bags, PEAKfresh Produce Bags ‘breathe’ so that damaging ethylene gas produced by the fresh produce is removed.

Tupperware Fridge Smart fridgesmartboxes: I am not big on brands, but this is the only place I know of where to get a storage container like this and it really does work well. I am a pretty frugal person, as a matter of fact, I will admit that I got mine used, but now that I have seen what they do, I would happily buy them new.

 

Recipe for Fried rice, Basic veggie soup, Cole slaw: These can be found all over theFarm-Fresh-and-Fast-Cookbook internet and in your favorite cookbooks. One of my favorites is the “Farm Fresh & Fast Cookbook”, put out by FairShare CSA Coalition. It even has an original LotFotL Recipe in it. They also do a great job of providing base directions for things like soup and salad and then give ideas of how to embellish them or make them your own. You can also find lots of recipes on the LotFotL website Blog and our Facebook page. When it comes to finding ways to use all of your greens, these 3 styles of cooking will help you burn (don’t actually burn them though) through them in no time flat.

Hungry Friend: When worst comes to worst, sometimes you just need a little help getting through the bounty. When things start to pile up, I find myself thinking about having some people over for dinner. I especially like to call on my friends that like to cook. Often times, they come over ready to chop and stir as well as eat. One good batch of “CSA” soup can really get you caught up in a hurry. Who knows, you may even have time to buy a box of blueberries from LotFotL’s online farm store for dessert.