By Summer Miller, author of New Prairie Kitchen
We are down to the final weeks of the Omaha Farmers Market, but that doesn’t mean the bounty it provides needs to end. There are many items at the Market that will last you well into winter and some you can stock up on and use until the Market reopens in the spring. This is also the final Market Meals blog for 2017. Thanks for joining me this season. I hope you’ve tried a few recipes, and taken the time to share a good meal with even better company.
Honey and Maple Syrup have a long shelf-life. Buy what you need to make it through winter and keep it in your pantry until the next market opens in the spring. Few things in life are better than waking up to see snow in the sky knowing you don’t need to leave the house because you have all the maple syrup you need to eat pancakes for days.
Eggs last longer than you think. Mother Earth News tested storage methods for eggs back in 1977. They tested 360 eggs in 10 different methods. Their tests revealed that eggs kept in a refrigerated, airtight container were still edible, and even tasted good seven months later. Seven months might be a little long for my comfort level, but keeping eggs for two months is perfectly reasonable. You can also freeze eggs as a storage method, so don’t be afraid to stock up on them.
Protein Ask farmers at the market about buying a whole or half cow, pig or lamb. We have a small deep freeze we keep in our garage to store meat, bread and stock. Every fall I buy 12-15 whole chickens. I keep them in the freezer and use them as needed throughout the next 6-9 months. We also share a half cow with a family member, so that’s in there as well. I don’t eat as much pork, so I usually buy those in individual cuts. For our family of four, I buy shoulders, a couple of pork loins and some sausages. I also supplement our meals with specialty items like bison, or lamb. I generally have all of this packed into that deep freeze along with deer because my husband is a hunter. It seems like a lot of meat for a small family, but we have large extended families and I feed them often.
Bread I really enjoy good bread. When my children were babies I used to bake it. I was trapped at home for naptimes, and baking was a way to keep me busy and ward off the boredom that new mothering can sometimes impose. Now, I don’t bake as often, and I’m incredibly grateful for the fine bakers who show up with loaves of crusty goodness every weekend at the market. I generally purchase 6-10 loaves of various breads, and a few packages of pizza crust to keep on hand for those soup emergencies, and pizza night requirements.
Winter Squash can last anywhere from one to seven months after it’s been harvested. Acorn Squash has the shortest storage span of all the winter squash, butternut squash can last for six months so feel free to stock up on what you need for holiday dinners now. There is no reason to wait. Make sure you select blemish free squash, with unbroken or bruised skin. There may be large patch on the squash that looks a little rough. That is probably where it was resting on the ground. It should still be fine to store. If you’d like to read more about it check out this article HERE.
Wilted Kale with Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash
Vinegar is wonderful way to brighten a dish. You want to find vinegar that is cloudy, which means it likely still has some of the “mother” in the bottle. It will give you a sweet acidity rather than the harsh bite of many commercial, and mass produced brands. It can make all the difference in the dish. Organic apple cider vinegar is usually your best bet.
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 lb of butternut squash, peeled
- 2 bunches lacinato kale, stems removed, roughly torn — about 2 dozen leaves
- 2 large shallots thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
- Kosher salt to taste
Combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cut the neck of the squash from the bulb. Peel both sides. Cut the neck of the squash into ½ inch cubes. Slice the bulb inhalf, remove the seeds and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Heat oil in a 10 or 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the cubed squash in a single layer, stir to coat. Leave untouched for about 4 to 5 minutes, until bottom side of squash is a deep brown color.
Add 2/3 of the sugar mixture. Stir to coat. After about 1 minute, the sugar should begin to caramelize. Reduce heat to medium and let the squash cook through, about 10 more minutes. You want the squash to be firm tender, so it doesn’t fall apart when added to the kale. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Repeat until all the squash (both sliced and cubed is cooked through.)
Add shallots. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for another minute or so. Add torn kale, and apple cider vinegar. Stir to coat the kale in vinegar, shallots and garlic, until wilted, and vinegar has evaporated. Add the cubed squash back to the pan stir to combine and warmed through. Transfer to serving dish. Warm the squash slices through, place across the top of the kale mixture. Finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt and serve.
Check out Summer’s website!