The weekly CSA share at Stearns Farm feeds 4 – 6 people (more than twice what my husband and I can consume) so we participate in the alternate week share, which means we make one share last two weeks. When buying ingredients from the store or the farmers market, I would only buy what I needed for meals over the next few days, but with the CSA alt week share, I now had to figure out how to properly store everything so it would last until my next pickup.
I used as much produce as I could in the first week, but I’m into the second week of the first share and there are still plenty of vegetables. Leafy greens will begin to wilt after a few days in the fridge if not properly stored, so I needed a creative solution to keep all of it fresh.
Herbs are easy. You can dry them by tying the ends together and hanging them upside down, but if you want to keep them fresh, put basil, parsley, and cilantro in a glass of water and leave them out on your counter. I keep mine next to the stove so they’re handy when cooking, plus they make a pretty little bouquet to look at. Other herbs like thyme and rosemary should be loosely wrapped in a paper towel to absorb moisture and then placed in a fresher drawer in your fridge.
For greens like chard and spinach, you should absolutely buy the Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver. I had been seeing ads for them on TV and reading reviews of them online so I decided to pick up a set. A head of lettuce that I put in the fridge was edible yet very wilted by the end of the first week, but a second head of lettuce that I had put in a FreshWorks container was as perfectly perky as the day it was picked from the ground. The containers have a plastic removable layer on the bottom that keeps the produce lifted up and away from the moisture that gathers. It works just like the paper towel wrapped around herbs.
In an effort to use as much fresh produce as quickly as possible, so it doesn’t sit in my fridge and waste away, I decided to make Moo Shu Vegetables and Chicken Lettuce Wraps. The two recipes have a lot in common: both use the same store bought ingredients (ginger, soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, scallions), and the recipes use four different ingredients from my CSA share. This is a perfect meal to use up your fresh ingredients, and each meal takes less than 15 minutes to cook which leaves most of the evening to be spent outside enjoying the summer.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Moo Shu Vegetables
Makes four servings
Total time: 25 minutes
In my basket:
4 large Eggs, lightly beaten (from Chestnut Farms, Hardwick MA)
2 Chicken Breasts (from Chestnut Farms, Hardwick MA)
1 head Bibb lettuce (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
1 bunch Garlic Scapes (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
1 bunch of Bok Choy (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
1 bunch of Scallions (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
From the pantry:
2 tbsp. Ginger
8 oz Shiitake Mushrooms
½ cup Peanuts, crushed
1 cup Soy Sauce
8 tbsp. Olive oil
Sesame seeds (optional)
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high until hot, add chicken breasts. Cook 3 – 4 minutes on each side until done. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into very small pieces.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the same pan, add scallions, scapes, mushrooms and ginger. Cook approx. 5 minutes or until vegetables have cooked down slightly. Add chopped chicken and peanuts, and drizzle with soy sauce. Toss to thoroughly combine. Transfer to a serving dish.
- While the vegetables cook, wash and cut just the bottom off the head of lettuce. Place lettuce leaves on a serving dish.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the same pan, add the eggs. Cook 2 – 3 minutes or until eggs are set. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into long strips.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the same pan, add mushrooms, bok choy, scallions and ginger. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned. Add eggs and drizzle with soy sauce. Toss to thoroughly combine. Transfer to a serving dish, top with sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist based in Boston, MA. She created The Clean Food Club on May 1, 2016, and previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.