Friday, July 13, 2012


Someone Please Tell Me What to Do With This Rutabaga

I felt great about myself when I signed up for a CSA this winter. It's environmentally, financially, and dietarily responsible! I love vegetables! My CSA, Plovgh, has a super cute website! The pickup point happens to be a cocktail bar three blocks from my apartment of which I am exceedingly fond! I imagined myself tromping cheerfully back to my apartment, hair in pigtails, recycled tote bags bursting with produce under my arms. It was too good to be true.

I neglected to recall that local produce is seasonal, and weird. When I showed up at my beloved neighborhood cocktail bar for the first time, I discovered a table piled high with all kinds of mysterious roots and leaves. I am a bacon-loving but otherwise mostly good vegetarian (WHATEVER), and I'd like to think I'm a great cook and a pretty adventurous eater. I make vegan pho. I put olive oil and black pepper in my apple muffins. I eat a lot of quinoa. Leaves should not intimidate me. Some of them had names I recognized: romaine, redleaf, butter. And yet I stood, trembling. Shungiku? Kohlrabi?

"Are you okay?" asked the CSA volunteer.

I held up a bunch of kohlrabi, which looks sort of like the Golden Snitch or Sputnik, but purple, and with leaves, and toxic. "What do I do with these?"

"Oh," she said. "Make them into chips. Or eat them raw. They're sort of like radishes that taste like broccoli."

Radishes that taste like broccoli. Okay. There was the shungiku too, which my computer keeps trying to correct to "shunpike" and which is some sort of Asian chrysanthemum green. And raddichio, which didn't look like the raddichio I knew, and which tasted bitter and unpleasant.

I carted my leaves home and laid them out on my counter in shame. What a plebe of vegetation I was! A rube, the butt of infinite future jokes about rhubarb, conquered by mere lettuce! What was to come next? Celeriac? Amaranth? Squash blossoms? Rutabaga? What is a rutabaga? I tweeted photos of myself weeping alone with my cornucopia of intimidating salad. It was all too much.

I ate the kale and the normal lettuce in a salad the next day, but by the end of the week, my fridge still looked like this:

Furiously, I threw out the wilted and mushy wasted produce, scrubbed the fridge, and returned to my pickup point with renewed vigor. I carted home even more green things this time: kale, collards, chard, turnips, and something called ho mi z.

This time, I knew I needed to tackle the scary stuff first, which was of course the ho mi z — an Asian mustard green. Raw, it had an earthy, spicy taste, like ARUGULA XTREME. I figured it would be at least decent hidden deep within some kind of stir-fry, and with the reassurance of my other homie, bourbon, I got down to julienning.

My homies Z and BB

I am one of those "well I threw it all together" cooks, which is infuriating for anyone who asks me for a recipe, but lends itself well to "I have these eight things in my house, what do I do with them" meals. Besides the greens, my fridge contained tofu, bell peppers, red onions, zucchini, and mushrooms, as well as makings for "some sort of Asian marinade," which is usually soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar or some sort of citrus juice, and tons of fresh garlic, ginger, and scallions.

So I dry-fried the tofu (THIS IS LIFE CHANGING, Google it), put it in the marinade, set the rice a-makin' and threw all the veggies in the pan with a little bit of the marinade. I chopped up Homie Z and threw him in the pan at the last minute, like you would with spinach, just enough to wilt. I served it all together in a bowl, over rice with sesame seeds and scallions on top. Voilá!

I was surprised at how flavorful the greens were — they gave the entire stir-fry an unexpected and awesome earthy tang. Ho mi Z: conquered. But there was still an entire fridge full of greens, and I had no idea which was the kale and which were the collard greens, since they looked, smelled, and tasted exactly the same, except one had slightly smaller leaves.

Whatever. I figured I'd just get 'em all out of the way at once, so I washed, de-stemmed, and chopped the whole pile of green stuff — collards, kale, chard, and all. I braised it — which sounds fancy if you don't cook a lot, but just means "threw in a big pot with water, garlic, onions, and olive oil and boiled for like 20 minutes." I drained it, and then tossed with orzo, more onions, cannellini beans, a lil' bit of EVOO, salt, pepper, and RAISINS, because I am of the Raisins In Everything Always camp of cooking and those of you who hate on raisins (I know you are out there, raisin-haters) can get out of my kitchen RIGHT NOW, we are not friends.

I added some vegan sausage on the side (because I love it, and it's the only good fake-meat product in existence) and a scoop of part-skim ricotta, which I use on everything as if it were sour cream, because it also is delicious. Which seems like a weird meal, but I was kind of amazed at how tasty and filling it was. The braised greens were almost sadly innocuous compared to the ho mi z — like spinach, basically. Guess they're not that scary after all.

There are still turnips and turnip greens in there, though, so if anyone has any idea what I should do with those, BY ALL MEANS, speak up.

Meg Clark lives in Brooklyn, tweets at @MC1RK, and blogs at Good Morning Midnight.

177 Comments / Post A Comment


You can also braise turnips! And roast them, but I am not the biggest fan of the turnip flavor, and roasting brings it out the most. However, turnips and rutabagas are THE BEST in stews; oh man just thinking about my mother's stew (the veggies: turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, parsnips) is making me hungry.

Kohlrabi is also good braised, or roasted, or shredded like cabbage to use in cole slaw (kohlrabi slaw! I laugh at this every time I say it).

I worked at a natural food store for years, so I know alllllll the produce.


@SarahP Also, if I remember correctly, turnip greens are also kinda spicy, like a milder mustard green, so saute or steam them for a side or toss them into almost-done soups/pilafs/pasta dishes like you would with any other green.

Judith Slutler

@SarahP Kohlrabi slaw sounds delicious. I always buy kohlrabi with the greens on top and plan to use them for something special, then end up going ?????? and just mixing them in with spinach.

Judith Slutler

Put those turnips in a glass baking pan with olive oil, salt, herbs of your choice, etc and bake them for like 40 minutes. Throw potatoes and/or carrots in there too if you want to. Serve em with herbed Greek yogurt and some kind of Protein Thing.

Currently following your dry-fry tofu link...


@Emmanuelle Cunt You beat me to it. Diced, roasted root vegetables are the best, and you can treat them all (turnips, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes) the same way. Also throw in beets for a little sweetness, if you like beets!

Judith Slutler

@SarahDances Ooh, I've actually never added beets, but that sounds delicious and colorful!


@Emmanuelle Cunt Warning: Throwing beets into a mix = red food. I add them prior to serving.

Judith Slutler

@KatieKazoo I thought that was what beets were for. Well, that and sugary goodness.


@KatieKazoo I find if you sprinkle them over the baking sheet separately instead of tossing them with the other root veggies, then they don't color everything. Either way, it is equally delicious.


@KatieKazoo I made stew with beets, purple potatoes, and purple carrots once. It was flourescent purple in the end (AND AMAZING).

Also I <3 roasted root vegetables.


@Emmanuelle Cunt Beets: They're nature's candy!


@Emmanuelle Cunt dry frying tofu is amaing, seriously -- you can drain it all you want but it often still ends up mushy. dry-frying it both rapidly gets all the water out (the pan must be REALLY HOT and REALLY NON STICK, use a little oil if it's too sticky, but then you can't make it as hot) and gives the tofu that nice crispy exterior without deep-frying it. It basically entirely dries it out and gives it a nice crunch, and leaves the inside water-free to absorb all your marinade. the first time i did it i was amazed that you could change the flavor and texture of tofu so much, but it's so different!

sceps yarx

@megclark One of my favorite Protein Things is pan fried tofu squares with Old Bay seasoning sprinkled on both sides during frying. Crunchy, chewy, salty and lightly spicy!


@KatieKazoo Oy, this is exactly why I'm scared to do a CSA box.

However: Beets and turnips and fresh dill at the same time is probably how borscht got invented, and I looooove borscht. My grandmother would julienne and blanch the beets first which gets a lot of the red out and keeps the soup from turning fuschia.


@megclark I read "Cunt dry frying", which was not a nice image.


@tootsky The Moosewood Cookbook has a wonderful cold borscht with cucumber and buttermilk and yeah, it's fuschia, but I think of that as a feature, not a bug. (: I'm looking forward to beets in my CSA box when they're in season here just for that soup.

Nicole Cliffe

I love to peel and cut up a bunch of root veggies (rutabaga, turnips, carrots, parsnips, etc.), boil the crap out of them until they're soft, then mash them with a tremendous amount of butter and salt and pepper. It's my favourite winter side dish, it's like a more colourful and flavourful take on mashed potatoes.


@Nicole Cliffe That's exactly how my mom made them, too!


@Nicole Cliffe God I love root vegetables so much. Except carrots for some reason? I don't understand why they upset me so much. But parsnips and leeks with butter are so goddamn good.


@cosmia but but but ROASTED CARROTS


@megclark I like roasting carrots and then blending them with pears and squash and ginger and vegetable broth for soup! I got the idea from a vegan restaurant I love, despite not being vegan. Sometimes I use coconut milk too.


@cosmia oooh never would've thought of the pears! i've made spiced butternut squash and apple soup before, but never with carrot and pear. sounds like it could also work chilled as a sweet appetizer or dessert soup?

AJ Sparkles

@Nicole Cliffe Yes, That's also what to do with that celeriac. Treat it like a mash potato & then trick your friends to thinking that it is healthy- cause it's a vegetable- covered with cream & butter.

@cosmia ahhh, that sounds amazing! I love carrot soup & tend to just do a simple ginger or curry with it- but pears will totally be a new addition. Thank you!

sceps yarx

@cosmia I feel ya, cooked carrots kind of give me the squick. I think maybe because they're too sweet? And I feel the same way about cooked beets. So I give both those veggies the hard-core vinegar marinade! Kind of like half way between a pickle and a salad. For carrots, I slice 'em super-thin with radishes and use rice vinegar and white sugar. For beets, I grate 'em and use apple cider vinegar.


@cosmia My roommate would always add carrots to his homemade pizza sauce, also. It's totally a way to add sugar while also pretending that's not what you're doing.


I just made Smitten Kitchen's Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe and it was suuuuuper simple and amazingly delicious. You cook the greens with the pasta water while the pasta is cooking! And I'm pretty sure it would work with almost any hearty green (maybe not spinach or chard). Oh, and double the garlic, I mean...doesn't everyone do that?


@rallisaurus Yes! I also made that recently, and it would work with anything. For spinach I recommend this potato, pepper and spinach hash with fried eggs. Way better with fresh spinach.


@rallisaurus Of COURSE you always (at least) double the garlic. I don't understand all these recipes out there that call for one or two cloves in a meal that feeds 5 or 6 people. Bunch of garlicphobes out there writing recipes...


@Kakapo I know right? Why on earth would you just use one clove of garlic? That's like using one grain of salt! Unless it's: "peel one clove of garlic. Insert in mouth." Because then one clove of garlic might be the right amount.


@rallisaurus Or, as I've learned elsewhere on the 'pin, "insert one clove of garlic into vagina, taste it on everything for weeks" which is certainly cost-effective if nothing else.


@Kakapo after my own Ukranian, vampire-fearing heart. There are several garlic festivals in my part of the world, which makes me very happy.


Yay, someone else who cooks like me! You know the actual cooking terms for everything, which is different from me, but yeah I basically grab nearly everything from my CSA box and cook it all together into some kind of stirfry or sauce (I make awesome chunky tomato sauces for lasagna in the summer, and use sliced eggplants or zucchini as the "noodles" so literally everything but the cheese comes from the CSA box). And then I eat it for a week until the next shipment!

Lily Rowan

I can't tell you how excited I am that Lettuce Season is just about done at my local CSA. I'm so bummed out these first few weeks, but I will be SO HAPPY in another couple of weeks, when it's all corn! and peaches! and tomatoes! and zucchini.


@Lily Rowan I've already been overwhelmed with zucchini from my CSA - I'm going to be making so much zucchini bread in the near future. But yes, super excited for corn and tomatoes.

Lily Rowan

@notbusy I just grate all the zucchini and freeze it and deal with it later.


@Lily Rowan good idea - zucchini bread all year!

Lily Rowan

@notbusy And you can throw it into spaghetti sauce and whatnot. I am not a zuke lover, but you can totally hide it in things.

barefoot cuntessa

@notbusy You can slice zucchini really thin with a mandolin, vegetable peeler, or make them into julienne slices with a fancy peeler and then marinate them in lemon juice. This is a good set. The lemon kind of cooks the starchiness out. You can add it to a salad, or have it as a side dish with parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Asparagus can be done similarly, but I think it has to sit longer in the lemon juice.


@notbusy i roast zucchini like it's my job and also use it as a major pasta-filler. garlic and olive oil make it delicious and it's a nice way to make your pasta super filling but to stretch it beyond just pasta. also great in quiches/fritatta!


@Lily Rowan THE ZUCCHINI. So much of it from my CSA. I have made three loaves of bread, making muffins tomorrow, and we've been having sliced zucchini and yellow squash with dinner for weeks.

This week's box had golden zucchini, which I'm excited to try!


I am in the exact same predicament - turnips! They've been in my fridge for almost 2 weeks now so I have to do something with them. Everything else so far I've cooked, made into a salad, or juiced (beets - for some reason hate eating them but love juicing them). I'm definitely stealing that tofu recipe.


@notbusy Turnip juice D:


@notbusy If you like beet juice, you might like a raw grated beet salad! (Best if you have a fruit processor or unlimited patience.) You just grate them, maybe with a carrot or two, and toss them with some kind of dressing - I like a spicy citrus vinaigrette, but whatever. Maybe toss something crunchy in there, like pumpkin seeds, maybe not. Really good and veeery different than cooked beets. (Which I love too, no joke, but I can see how they might not be everyone's thing.)

Judith Slutler

@aphrabean This is gonna sound weird, but, grated beets, apple chunks and red wine vinaigrette with garam masala and toasted cumin


@Emmanuelle Cunt Ohhhh incredible! I am eating this so soon!

The Attic Wife

@notbusy Roast them like butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper (or the seasonings of your choice) or boil them and mash them with salt pepper and obscene amounts of butter. Simple, but SO delicious.

Michelle LeBlanc@twitter

@notbusy I just last night ate the turnips from my two-weeks ago CSA pickup because they were throwing me. Here's what I did: oven on at 450, slice turnips thinly like chips. Coat in olive oil. Mix up a bag of some parmesean cheese + spices you enjoy (in my case, rosemary, scallions & salt & pepper. Shake the sliced all up in the baggie to coat (like shake & bake). Bake for 15-20 minutes. It was delicious!


@The Attic Wife Yay! Attic wife!


@aphrabean yesss i have done this with a turnip added too! and lemony horseradish dressing. so good and it doesn't make your house hot if you don't have a/c like me.

Ingrid Schorr@facebook

@notbusy, you can pickle those turnips overnight. The best felafel sandwich I ever had came with turnip pickles. I love em. Cut the turnips in half, then in slices about 1/4 inch thick. Put them in a jar or glass bowl with about a cup of vinegar (any kind), half as much water, a big pinch of dill seeds, some peppercorns, a small handful of salt (1/4 cup, I guess), some sugar, a clove of garlic, some red pepper if you like. Refrigerate at least overnight. Put in any other root vegetables, cauliflower, cukes that you fancy. They'll last up to a week in the fridge.


@notbusy Try cutting them up into very small chunks and putting them into a vegetable soup. That's what my family does with a lot of our mysterious CSA vegetables.


As I recall, turnip greens you can do like kale or collards and just boil/braise them for a while, preferably with some sort of fattening/flavoring agent like bacon or a ham hock. That's how I'm used to eating greens. It's my understanding that can reduce a lot of the nutrients by cooking too long, but guess what, nutrition: you're not my real dad.

As for turnips, I feel like most root vegetables are well-served by slicing medium and roasting them in a pan with a bunch of other root vegetables and olive oil and salt and pepper, but I dunno.


<3 kohlrabs! I planted a little kohlrabi forest in my garden once, and would lie down and gaze through the leaves (note: i did not have a job or cable)
Today I brought for lunch summer rolls with julienned kohlrabi inside, among other things.
They are also good sliced into coins with a piece of slightly funky soft cheese on top. Seriously!
Kohlrabi - German for cabbage-turnip!

Katie Heaney

Those PICTURES. I need to learn how to do something besides "cook" pasta, I guess.


@Katie Heaney As suggested above, check out Smitten's garlicky broccoli rabe pasta. Would work with kale, probably chard, broccoli rabe, mustard greens. Also random stir-fries are your friend.


@phipsi also, check out everything smitten kitchen posts, she is awesome! Can't wait for her cookbook!


@Katie Heaney you can totally turn pasta into something fancy -- you just need to play with the flavours and various vegetables you can toss it with rather than just jar sauce! super easy, i promise.


@sweetleah Yes! I love her! It feels like I have been waiting for her coobook for years.


I was in a CSA two summers ago and ended up not eating half of my haul because it was pretty much the diet of a Russian peasant--so many beets! So many rutabagas! So many weird looking turnips! Who even wants turnips in the first place? I commend you on actually getting through it all--I quit because I felt too wasteful/couldn't get through half of a half share.

My answer for "what should I do with this rutabaga?" is: throw it at a teenager. Preferably an unruly one.


@parallel-lines I'll take your root vegetables : )

sugar cubism

I have no instincts in or near a kitchen, personally, but boy does that look like a mini purple Sputnik. Dead on!


It seems like there are plenty of suggestions for the greens (turnip greens are great) and you could always make tempura with the turnips. Everything is better fried, right?


I used to hate raisins but now I LOVE RAISINS, because I like putting weird sweet stuff like yogurt chips and raisins and dried cranberries in my salad.


Turnips, turnip greens: just add bacon. Like collards: render the bacon, slice the turnips, cook that and the greens with a little water, add back the bacon, done. (if it's too bitter, add sugar.)

Cornbread, black-eyed peas, field peas, or whatever else you have make it a whole meal.


@cinnamonskin and THIS is why i'm a baconeating vegetarian. there's nothing it doesn't improve!


@megclark Bacon makes the world go 'round.


I love this article! I joined a CSA this year and have been frantically working my way through wayyyyy too many braising greens. Here in NJ we aren't getting so many exotic greens (HO Mi C?? love it!) but I've had the pleasure of trying my first kohlrabi too. I was surprised by how sweet it is! Our farm grows way more varieties of romaine than I knew existed, and my fav so far is the best broccoli rabe I have ever had in my life. I wish we got too many beets! So far only 3 have come down the pike :( I'd make a nice corned beef and cabbage and throw in the rutabega and turnips if I got some (ahem Starbrite farm).


so jealous. My CSA is like lettuce - cucumbers - zucchini over and over. No weird stuff to speak of. When I lived in Brooklyn I had like 10 different kinds of carrots and mizuno and homi z or whatever. sigh.

Vera Knoop

@bb But but but it's so good to have things you can eat raw at this time of year. Our first share was all stuff that needs to be cooked a lot, and it was over 95 degrees for most of the week. I would have killed for some cucumbers!


@Vera Knoop True. After years of pressure and wilting veggies, though, I finally went down to a half share so I can supplement what I get there with whatever else I want. Less guilt inducing.

Vera Knoop

@bb Makes sense. I'm still filled with newbie enthusiasm, as this is our first year.


@Vera Knoop I know! It's great to know that I can roast things AND turn my matchbox sized 3rd floor walkup into a sauna all at the same time, but sometimes a girl just wants a salad.

sceps yarx

@bb I have the same problem with CSAs as I do with Netflix mail delivery. Once the veggie/dvd shows up on my doorstep, it feels like an un-fun obligation, and then I ignore it until it rots/shows up on instant anyways.


@sceps yarx Tons of good zucchini recipes on simplyrecipes.com, since the blog owner has an over-producing zuke plant. I highly recommend the zuke fritters.


My old roommate used to make this soup out of diced rutabagas and turnips and potatoes, shredded cabbage, and browned hamburger meat all cooked in V8. You could obviously leave out the hamburger meat and it would still be a delicious veggie soup. I actually have some in single size servings in the freezer...lunch, perhaps.


Okay, so I am almost 23 years old and I have just started eating vegetables for real (I mean like, vegetables = more than just corn, lettuce, and onions). Since becoming an intern who gets paid $100 a week and also developing a taste for weird things, I am now all about all the vegetables, but not the ones that taste like lawn clippings, and not the ones that smell like an old locker room if you boil them (I'm looking at you, broccoli). The other night I went to a cajun restaurant and had this fish stew with delicious things my friend told me were beets? But they were white? I AM ONLY USED TO SEEING GROSS RED PICKLED BEETS THAT LOOK LIKE BLOOD.

Vera Knoop

@cosmia I haven't had white ones, but "golden" beets are totally a thing; they range in color from yellow to pinkish, but they don't have that dark, bloody color (which I fucking love, but I can see how it could be offputting).


@cosmia There are also golden beets! And chiogga beets, which are stripey and adorable.


@Vera Knoop @SarahP I think they were golden beets! They were very filling and all butter-y and olive oil-y and delicious and I want to eat them all right now!


@SarahP I just googled chiogga beets and aww, they look like the kind of veggies characters in an adorable anime would eat.

Vera Knoop

@cosmia I'm shocked that Target hasn't used them in a campaign yet!


@cosmia Boiled broccoli, noooo! You and my mom in the early 90s should get together; she'll share her recipe for boiled zucchini.

I'm all about the Cooks Illustrated method for pan-roasting broccoli whereby you brown the stem chunks (with a little oil) without stirring in the bottom of a skillet, then stir in the florets and brown without stirring, then add a few T of water with salt dissolved in it, cover the skillet and steam til it's done. <3 u Chris Kimball.


@Exene I grew up LOVING broccoli because my mother always roasted it covered in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and i thought of it as a tasty, cripsy treat. so good!

sceps yarx

@megclark I do my broccoli in a Chinese bamboo steamer. I like it still a little crunchy. Also, I tricked my manfriend into liking broccoli with this dipping sauce: melted butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce. Hold by stem and dunk! Also delicious with any other steamed veggie.


@cosmia roasted broccoli(& cauliflower!) are much less locker-roomish. Toss in olive oil, spread a single layer across a roasting pan, salt, and roast at highish(450) heat for 20 minutes or so. <3 broccoli!


@cosmia i was forced to eat pickled beets as a child, and hated them for 20years till i took a bite of roasted golden beets. Mmmmmmmmm! Now i am generally a fan. Though it can be shocking to go to the washroom after a generous helping of the red ones...


@SarahP I have chioggias in my fridge now. So good! Roasted splashed with lemon juice, in goat cheese and lettuce salad!


Girl, I feel ya! I always thought I was an adventurous vegetarian, but there are SO.MANY.VEGETABLES. that I know nothing about. I clearly need to crack open the vegetable dictionary.

Also, I have to disagree that sausage is the only good fake meat. Seitan-as-peppersteak and seitan-as-chicken, soyrizo, soy chicken nuggets, veggie ham barbeque, soy pulled pork, etc etc....SO DELICIOUS.


@olivebee I've been working on developing my own fake-meat recipes and the world is opening UP. Last night I made "lamb" sau


@olivebee I've been working on developing my own fake-meat recipes and the world is opening UP. Last night I made "lamb" sausage, (perfect with hummus, flatbread, and spicy greens) and a couple of weeks ago, I made my own version of tofurky. Also the Veganomicon's chickpea cutlets are a standby here. Sooo delicious.


@aphrabean Mmmmm! I am impressed you make your own. I take the easy way out and buy the fake meat. I love almost all of them, though, except for phony hot dogs and burgers. Those are just like flavorless Styrofoam. I know I'll never go back to eating meat because (besides the fact that I love animals too much) there are so many good vegetarian alternatives.

Koko Goldstein

@olivebee My friend, who is by no means even close to a vegetarian, swears that Soyrizo is amazing. He goes to our local tamale place and gets it all the time.


@olivebee Are there specific brands of these that you buy? I haven't seen a few of them which probably means we don't get them up here.


@dale It depends on the store you go to as far as prices go, but Trader Joe's has the cheapest of all the fake meat products (and their soyrizo is the best!). I buy Tofurkey brand for Italian sausage and turkey slices, and you can find that at TJ's, Whole Foods, and most normal supermarket chains. I get Upton's Natural seitan at Whole Foods. And I have recently been buying a lot of the Lightlife/Smartlife brand for chicken strips, ham, sausage, and pulled pork. I get that at my supermarket chain store. Morningstar has the best breakfast sausages and they carry that brand everywhere.


@olivebee Do you like the Field Roast sausages? I'm a big fan of their frankfurters, and I didn't like hot dogs back in my meat-eating days.


@olivebee Here's a Dumb Thing for you: our food import rules here (Canada) are such that if a thing purports to be like another food item, it has to have the same/similar nutritional value to whatever the 'original' is. Ergo, we can no longer get Lightlife Smart Bacon up here, because it's too different (read: healthier) from real bacon. It leaves no option but to get friends to smuggle veggie meats across the border for me.


@dale Do the Asian groceries not follow the same rules? I got tons of great fake meats at Asian groceries, and lots of cheap greens, along with more incomprehensible sauces than I have any right to own.


@cinnamonskin I don't know - if they call it something else, "smoked _____" rather than "bacon", they can probably get around it. It's the specific names that fall under this bizarre rule.


Whenever I do the CSA thing I try to feel grateful for the reminder of the way I would be eating out of necessity if I were truly Living Off the Land...but sometimes those turnips and kohlrabi and four different kinds of slightly different greens make it realllly difficult.

The best tip I ever learned for making good use of the CSA (and thereby not falling into a wilted produce-tossing shame spiral) is to wash and put away everything as soon as possible. That way you can be ready to use it whenever the mood strikes instead of having the sometimes Herculean task of soaking, spinning, or scrubbing ahead of you.


@bitzyboozer Totally a good idea, the washing right away, especially for those of us who occasionally forget to take their ADD meds and then don't eat because there are TOO MANY STEPS from produce drawer to edible dish and can't remember them in the correct order and OH MY GOD WHY IS IT SO HARD???


(Just wanted to note, don't wash your berries until you're going to use them, especially strawberries. Mold and rot invitation!)

Vera Knoop

Related: Anyone need some dill? I have LOTS.


@Vera Knoop it dries super well and keeps all year. just hang it upside down for a while and then pack it in a ziploc.

oh! valencia

@Vera Knoop I love fresh dill leaves in a salad mix! That's summer to me.


@Vera Knoop Pickles!

Mlle Mlle

My veggie basket tips (first year, still learning):

wrap in dishtowels before putting in open plastic bags in the fridge, it wicks away moisture so things don't rot quite as fast and fridge stays cleaner

Douse in oil/butter and stir-fry or oven roast everything. So far it's been foolproof. Stir-fried turnip greens with turnip "fries" mmmmm

If you can't keep up with your produce and don't have time to can, you can grate and freeze a bunch of stuff in anticipation of pasta sauce (so.much.zucchini) or preserve in oil (green onion oil on hand for easy stir-frying!).

Also, veggie stir-fry for breakfast can be oddly satisfying...


@Mlle Mlle If I get right to the edge of my produce going bad, and I know I am just NOT going to use it in time, I chop it up and put it in a bag in the freezer, to make vegetable broth out of later. It's not the best way to use it, but at least I'm not throwing it away. So that's something.


@Mlle Mlle Oh, you can also put a folded up paper towel in your bag of greens or whatever. Change it out every few days when it starts to get damp from the moisture-wicking. It really works incredibly well and has made my greens last a lot longer!


@Mlle Mlle Similarly, here's my CSA flow chart:
1. Best/only good raw? -> Put it in salad.
2. Leafy green? -> Saute with lots of garlic and olive oil and maybe a fatty meat.
3. Root vegetable? -> Dice, toss with olive oil and kosher salt and roast in the oven. (If beets, roast in their peels, then peel, goto 1, and put them in the salad.)
4. Whatever's left -> Stir fry.


@Canard Also, if any are on their last legs, either blend (pesto, smoothies, etc) or sauté with the trinity: onion, pepper, celery.

Amanda Bracken@facebook

This is the best website in existence for recipes. http://punchfork.com/recipes/turnips/vegetarian


The best thing ever to do with all greens (at least greens that are less tough than collard or kale) is Namul! I think it's supposed to be made with bean sprouts, to which I am mildly allergic, but I make it with chard or spinach or beet greens or turnip greens or bok choy and it always turns out amazing. Tip: It turns out much better if you don't overcook the greens, so watch them closely! (I always overcook the greens...)

Judith Slutler

@weathering Oh that looks amazing. Why did I never think of making it myself? Yum.


I tried a CSA for a couple months, and it was just SO HARD for a single gal like me to go through my share without wasting most of it. I want to make it work but BLAH.


@aproprose Some CSAs do half-shares, might be worth looking into.

Vera Knoop

@aproprose There are pairs of friends in my neighborhood who sign up together and alternate weeks, which seems like a good way around that.


@remargaret A half share was what I had. Still too many turnips!!!


@aproprose I shared my half-share with a roomie and ended up canceling it because my refrigerator STILL looked like the one pictured above at the end of the 2 weeks. We went through it in the summer, but once winter came, with all the greens and heavy root vegetables, we just couldn't eat them all.

lavender gooms

Purple Sputnik! That is the best description ever, and makes me want to eat kohlrabi. Or just carve CCCP in the side with a knife and leave it on the table as a decoration.


@lavender gooms Round, yet quite pointy at parts!


This soup using turnips, potatoes, and a little white wine is very good and very easy: http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/pureeacutedsoups/r/turnippuree.htm


@lady_disdain Soup is wonderful, and the reason I'm alive. Anything with a base of onion/garlic/celery/pepper/carrot can make a soup. SOUP!


Can you make a rosti out of root veggies? I've made it with grated sweet potato but would root veggies just need to cook longer?


@Mere yes and no, depends on how small you cut the tougher/stubborn-er veg. Water content, blah blah blah. Basically, try a few out and see how you do one by one!


Oh! Pak choy/bok choy....what do you recommend? I am not a huge fan, but Mr. Phipsi cooked it last summer with some sort of craziness that contained fish sauce (also not a huge fan except in very limited applications) and it was kind of ...eh. Anyways, more delicious recommendations are appreciated!


@phipsi are you kidding me? i actually love bok choy! sautee it VERY LIGHTLY in sesame oil with a shit ton of garlic and have as a side dish drizzled with a little bit of hot sauce or soy sauce. be careful not to overcook it, and it's best if you have the baby ones as they're more tender, but it gets soooo garlicky and delicious. i love it as a side dish to any sort of asian-ish meal, like soy-marinated shrimp or tofu and rice, or some grilled fish or even as part of a stir fry.


@megclark Awesome! I think it was the fish sauce that sent me into a tizzy last summer. Not a good combo, IMO! I just read a recipe where it is served with shrimp - sounds awesome.


@phipsi the texture is really great -- unlike some other leafy greens the "tough" part (the white part) is very crispy rather than chewy, and the flavor is pretty light as well, more delicate and less earthy/skunky. as long as you don't overcook you get a nice crunch mixed with the tender spinach-like green bits.

have you ever had dim sum? sesame-and-garlic sauteed bokchoi is a really common thing you can order there and i could eat POUNDS of it. http://steamykitchen.com/2112-bok-choy-stir-fry-recipe.html i usually do a variation on something like this, which is actually great for all kinds of vegetables -- though i usually add a generous amount of sririacha or chili sauce too because i want everything to HURT WHEN I EAT IT


@phipsi bok choy, salmon, mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil. Done!

Johanna Kassel@facebook

Try making kohlrabi cakes. They are really great and easy. Grate up the kohlrabi and squash and a bit of onion. Add an egg, half a box of jiffy corn muffin mix and a half cup of cheese and then fry them up with a bit of Pam. Serve with plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream and then hot sauce. Amazing.


@Johanna Kassel@facebook this sounds excellent!!! i got two HUGE bulbs this week, perhaps I will attempt this...

oh! valencia

@Johanna Kassel@facebook Ooh, you could probably do this with all sorts of root veggies. Like potato cakes. Hmmm I am intrigued.

RK Fire

Kohlrabi! If you don't feel like roasting your kohlrabi, you can make a delicious and refreshing Kohlrabi and Apple salad. It sounds like your pantry should be stocked with the ingredients to make it, so give it a whirl!

AJ Sparkles

@RK Fire Interesting- I'm going to try that. Kohlrabi was a staple in my grandmother's garden & it is my number one or two comfort food- "the world is against me what can I put in my face" kinda meal. The family recipe is essentially just a shitton vinegar, salt, pepper & pinch of sugar. Let it marinate a few hours. It's crunchy & sour & sweet <3


Read this, thought for 2 seconds about eating something healthy, and then switched to the post about delicious cookies.


Need to use up a bunch of kale? I am a big fan of this casserole (though I never actually use that much kale in it).


@dale i made a huge kale quiche this week, which while the unhealthiest thing ever to do with greens (LET'S COOK THEM WITH SOME CREAM, AND CHEESE, AND EGGS) was quite delicious!

Tragically Ludicrous

@dale Stamppot is my go-to kale thing, but it's not particularly summery. Still good, though.

Charismatic Megafauna

Turnips can be grated and made into latkes. Anything sufficiently starchy can be made into latkes.
Turnip greens are best sauteed, then add some lemon juice and perhaps a pinch of chili flakes.
Kohlrabi can be sliced very thin (like with a potato peeler), then eaten on a baguette with good butter and coarse salt.
If you get another head of too-bitter radicchio, cut it into quarters, toss generously in oil, and throw it under the broiler for a few minutes, then dress it with buttermilk and herbs.
And also here's an article I wrote about produce storage.


turn strange root veggies into fries! I've been getting kohlrabi in my share each week for a while, and it's great as fries: peel it, chop it into steak-fry shaped things, toss it in some rice flour seasoned how you like it, then shallow-fry it in olive oil on the stove. mmm. rutabaga makes great oven fries too.

oh oh and if you got those beautiful snowy white Hakurei turnips, they are amazing sliced thin and sauteed with their greens.

Erin Lucille

KALE!!! Ok give this a read:

I'm from the North originally, but live in NC for the past 16 years SO I have some experience with greens. My husband is born and raised in the south, so when he looks at them he wants to cook them TO DEATH and add a bunch of bacon and apple cider vinegar (not really complaining, I mean, bacon!). However, I get tired of heavy-cooked greens.

For Kale, I stem it, break it up into smaller chunks, and sautee it in a large pan with a little olive oil (NOT extra virgin, do not cook with that, just keep it on your salads...) until it's dark and JUST wilted. Don't over-cook it! Sprinkle on some kosher salt and cracked black pepper and ENJOY. Seriously once you cook it this way you will be IN LOVE with how delicious it is. Just. So good.

Collards are more bitter and tougher than kale, but you can still do the same thing, you just have to let them cook longer and maybe add a little more flavoring to help it along.

If you wanna get really delicious, get some Lacinato Kale (or Dinosaur Kale). It's softer, much darker, and sooooo good. So good. Now I'm hungry.

OH! Another thing to do with kale: make a sesame dressing (sesame seeds, s-oil, soy sauce, fresh grated ginger) and let that kale sit in it for a day before eating. You will be amazed how much you'll want to eat.

RK Fire

@Erin Lucille: Ahhh that sesame dressing sounds so good! I tried the kale + olive oil + lemon juice thing a while back but my husband was underwhelmed. He's a big fan of cooking greens until they're soggy, which is fine in the winter but not my favorite thing in the summer. I'll give the sautees and your dressing suggestion a whirl.


@Erin Lucille That's exactly how I do kale (in olive oil, with kosher salt and pepper). I also add in any beet greens and turnip greens that I may have. And for extra yum, I toss in a can of cannellini beans. Boom, dinner.


@Erin Lucille the dressing thing sounds great! i imagine the acids make the greens a little more tender and they absorb all the flavor... will have to try it!

sceps yarx

@Erin Lucille I feel the same way about kale, like, somehow I'm ridiculously obsessed with it and can't stop thinking about it?

Erin Lucille

ONE MORE: Kale chips. Make a saltwater solution, put it in a spray bottle. Cut up your kale into chip-ish-sized pieces, spray them on both sides with your salt solution, and bake them in an oven at ~275 until they are dry and crisp. You should turn them once during baking.


@Erin Lucille Kale chips! I just throw mine in the oven with some soy sauce, but a spray bottle = smart.


@cinnamonskin @Erin Lucille If fat is not an issue, a bit of sesame oil and salt before baking your kale chips is deeeelish.


Smoothies! Easiest solution for mysterious CSA greens. Throw the leaves (no tough stems) of whatever - spinach, turnip greens, chard - in an immersion blender with some milk. Add a banana in chunks and two big handfuls of frozen cherries. Drink for breakfast on a hot morning.

Kirsten Hey@facebook

Turnip - either eat it raw, or boil it with sliced carrot and then mash them together with butter and pepper.

Trudy Kockenlocker

You guys, I'm so glad we're talking about this. I love my CSA (three years woo) and I was completely dumbfounded at first.

The best advice I ever got was to buy a salad spinner and be prepared to spend a half hour to an hour cleaning, drying, and storing my veggies right after getting them.

It's not that bad! Put on some funk music, clean your leafies in the kitchen sink, spin everything as dry as you can get it, store according to the needs of your veggies (best guide: http://www.thevspotblog.com/2012/01/how-to-store-fresh-produce-from-to.html), and blanch/freeze anything you know you're not going to get to right away.

Doing this work ahead of time means that you will really cut down on the amount of sad, sad uneaten veggies wilting in your fridge.

And, when you're staring at an alien vegetable and you don't know the best way to get it into your mouth, cook that bitch in olive oil with garlic, red pepper and add vinegar at the end. This has never failed me.


I have nothing to add, but I just have to say the combination of this post and the comments with recipes is one of the most useful things ever, and I am bookmarking it and shall return to it often. I have dealt with kale and chard and beet greens and most farmers market staples, but I have been dancing on the gateway to unknown veggies for a while.

Leafy greens, it is about to get real!


@redonion yay! i got a ton more weird stuff in recent weeks too and hope to do another one, especially what with all these amazing suggestions here!


@redonion Me too! We'll see what I get when I pick up my CSA box tonight...


Pickled turnips is super yummy in salads, sandwiches, sauces. My bf just made some. Look up a lacto-ferment or salt pickled. Soo good and good for you.

Ingrid Schorr@facebook

@JuiceBox, yuppers, I just posted to someone else on this thread about pickling turnips. So good in a felafel sandwich or anything greasy.


Meg Clark, I am too excited that your mermaid hair the whole of the 1990s are happening on the hairpin. ALSO last night I was faced with the biggest, spiciest mustard greens, and they were great after I sauteed an onion until translucent, fried up some garlic and red pepper flakes, then tossed in the greens with a few spoonfuls of broth and covered until they got a little wilty but still bright green. Take those out of the pan, whisk together 1 tsp soy sauce with 2 tbsp balsamic, 2 tbsp broth, and 1/4 tsp brown sugar, and fling it in the pan with a bunch of chickpeas. Cook everything down (maybe cover them a little bit for flavor-infusing!) until the chickpeas are nice and coated, toss them onto the greens, maybe crumble a little white cheese over, amazing!



hahahaha, ja.

I know someone whose name is Kale.

That is all I have to contribute.

Michelle LeBlanc@twitter

Here's a tip for keeping your greens longer that I wish someone had given me sooner: when you get home from the pickup, wash and salad spin them (if possible) then store in a ziplock bag with a clean paper towel to absorb remaining water. Works like a charm to extend the shelf life like 3 days longer.


shungiku!!! SO GOOD in hotpot and soups. it has an almost junipery kind of flavor maybe kind of?

super easy shungiku soup:
-some kind of broth (i use chicken but i'm sure vegetable is ok)
-canned corn (or fresh if you're fancy)
-a tomato
-your shungiku bunch

1. heat broth until there's a small boil
2. throw vegetables in the order of: tomato, corn, and shungiku
3. turn heat off when shungiku is a pretty green
4. maybe a squeeze of lemon if you've got one and ENJOY!!


What I do with any and all greens I've never tried before so of course I bought some: pesto. Pesto everything! If the greens are mad bitter or very tough, blanch them in boiling salted water and drain well first. Do a 50/50 with basil, or maybe parsley, or both. Garlic, oil, salt, lemon juice, nuts if you like, Parm if you like, blend blend blend, ENJOY.


@gidgetjones i actually made a collard, spinach, kale, and beet greens pesto with the fresh basil and oregano i got this week too! delicious!


whenever i have a strange vegetable, i always google "*strange vegetable* dangerous to eat raw?"


@catparty i did this as well, not gonna lie. "beet greens toxic raw?" etc.


@megclark haha, glad i'm not the only one! so far google never done me wrong! i'm just afraid some one will eventually see my bizarre toxic food search history

Old Timey Dino

ERH MAH GOD. I've been studying for the CA Bar and have had no time to cook, but once I am done I am going to cook ALL the vegetables! The recipe suggestions in the comments sound so incredible!

Ingrid Schorr@facebook

@Old Timey Dino , for a second there I thought you said the CSA Bar, and I thought, that is brilliant, certification in community agriculture!

Old Timey Dino

@Ingrid Schorr@facebook I'd MUCH rather be getting a certification in, like, kale!


Have you tried Gardein as a protein thing? They make crispy chick'n, chick'n filets, and beef tips and it's all vegan, yummy, and the ingredients are surprisingly not sketchy. The beef is perfect for Shish kebabs.


@Annie.Bart I made "Beef" Stroganoff with it and it was awesome! And the chipotle-lime "chick'n" strips are so good my toddler scarfs them up, and I bet I could pass them off on my non-veggie friends & family!

vernon hardapple

Kale! Saute it with garlic, butter and red wine, and lots of salt and pepper. Oh yeah, all that salty winy goodness ends up in the kale wrinkles and it is delicious.


Rick Bayless has a super awesome braised greens tacos recipe. http://greenyourplate.blogspot.com/2011/06/braised-greens-tacos.html It is so good. So good.


101 cookbooks is an awesome veggie blog. My favourite recipe for mystery greens is
It's stupidly delicious, very filling and because it uses the greens in more than one way it uses up quite a lot of them. Also: the arugula shallot butter is ridiculous tossed with spaghetti and a bit of bacon or some broccoli or something.

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