“…an historic relic and a culinary treasure.” So says William Woys Weaver in his classic book, 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From. The Zucca Marina di Chioggia (zooka ma-REE-na dee Kee-OH-ja), also known as Chioggia Sea Pumpkin, was developed by the Venetians starting in the 1600’s. Squash were originally brought from the Americas to Europe and it didn’t take long for the Italians to adopt them as their own. Several variations exist including a smooth squash and this famously warty one that we’ve grown. Chioggia, an especially fertile vegetable growing region just southwest of Venice, is also famous for the radicchio and candy striped beet that bear it’s name.
Amazing recipes for everything we grow on the farm are available to members at Cook With What You Have. If you joined our winter CSA you will find your password in the member email. Enjoy 24/7 access to recipe inspiration!
This week your share may include…
- Beets: All the usual varieties of summer/fall beets are long gone by now. The only one that is still going strong mid-winter is Lutz, also known as Winterkeeper. It’s not the most beautiful beet, but for flavor & winter hardiness, it can’t be beat : )
- Carrots: So sweet & tender & yum!
- Coral Escarole: So this is what I have come to think of as a “gateway” chicory. Just barely bitter, it helps start those who have been resisting radicchio down the path towards more the hard core greens. But perhaps I’m already preaching to the converted! Try this easy Soup with Rice & Greens from Mark Bittman at the NY Times.
- Garlic: This variety has pretty purple wrappers & nice big easy to peel cloves. Goes great with greens.
- Leeks: I love leeks! So many people think of them as just for special recipes or special occasions. I’m an everyday leek user and I’d like to convert you as well. Anytime you’d use an onion, give leeks a try. Our CSA members can try one of my new favorites… Leek Bruchetta at Cook With What You Have
- Amish Butter Popcorn: Real popcorn with real flavor! We were first introduced to this variety by Ayers Creek Farm. The seed is now available from Uprising Seed and it is surprisingly versatile – can also be ground into polenta, cornbread or made into masa. Pop it on the cob in the microwave (in a brown paper bag, max 3 min) or take the kernels off the cop and pop it any way you choose.
- Watermelon Radish: Strikingly beautiful and nutritious these are packed with antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamins. Originally from China and related to the daikon radish – I tend to use them in salad in order to appreciate their vibrant color. Traditionally they were fermented into kimchee but I also like this quick pickle recipe. If you make it be sure & slice the garlic so the vinegar permeates all the way through the cloves. I’m also excited to try these Watermelon Radish chips – if you beat me to it let me know how they are?
- Winter Squash: At harvest time in the fall the Marina di Chioggia is a grey-green color. It continues to ripen in storage and the skin turns slowly salmon orange. The fully ripe flesh is a rich dark orange and is famously grilled and sold as street food or turned into filling for ravioli & tortellini. Perhaps less traditional, but still tasty are these variations on a squash theme.
Coming soon… Beautiful Beans!