MAKE SALSA. ARTfarmStand Open 3-5:30, everyT’ing you need!!

Hope you are enjoying this bounteous time of year as we are. Beautiful little night rain showers are keeping our arid section of the island green and verdant! Come out and see us today for microgreens, sweet mix, spicy mix, baby spicy mix, broccoli greens, kale, escarole, endive, cabbage heads, beets (get them now before the caterpillars do!), cucumbers galore, green sweet bell peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, hot green cayenne peppers, purple long beans, scallions, onions, italian basil, lemon basil, holy basil, garlic chives, frilly cilantro, flat leaf cilantro and flat leaf parsley.

MAKE SALSA.

Luca’s recipe, according to taste:

A bunch of frilly cilantro
Lots of salt
One nice firm green tomato
A bunch of ripe slicer tomatoes
Garlic chives
Sweet peppers
Onion and or scallions
Vinegar or sour orange or lime
Optional green chile peppers

Chop it all up fine and enjoy it on your chips, beans&rice, in a sandwich with cilantro pesto, or just by the spoonful.

Plantains – They’re not Bananas!

You see them at the farmstand. They are what bananas might look like if they were genetically spliced with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe they frighten you. Maybe you simply don’t know how to eat them. Let us help you.

Two fat bunches of yellow plantains await sale at the ARTfarm farmstand.

Plantains are a sweet vegetable in the banana family, delicious baked or fried, green or yellow. The yellower and riper they are, the sweeter they become. Like bananas, they come in many varieties, shapes and sizes.

Plantains are amazingly tasty cousins of bananas. They are starchier than bananas, so generally are much more palatable when cooked. Plantains can be eaten when the peel is green or yellow. The riper they become, the sweeter they are.

Sweeeeeet Yellow Fried Plantains

For sweet yellow plantains like the ones in this photo, we like them fried. Peel off their thick skin, slice them lengthwise into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces and fry them in a hot buttered pan, turning occasionally until they are nicely browned on both sides. These are insanely good as a snack or dessert. They hold together better than fried bananas. We challenge you not to eat them all at once.

Potatoey Green Plantains

For green plantains, you can bake, boil or roast them like potatoes. They are a very nutritious starch with plenty of fiber. They’ll be trickier to peel, so try cutting both ends off, making a slit lengthwise along the peel, and keep your hands wet as some kinds of green plantains can stain your fingers!

Tostones

You can also use plantains to make tostones, which are essentially plantain “chips.” To make tostones, you peel and slice the plantains into rounds, about 3/4″ thick, season them a bit, fry them in oil until just golden, drain and allow them to cool. Then smash them flat, and fry them again briefly to achieve crispiness.

Search the web for more detailed recipes on making plantains part of your healthy, local, Caribbean diet. Experiment, and tell us about the results on your next visit to the farmstand! Who needs potatoes?

Eggfruit – How to Enjoy It

Four golden yellow egg fruits resting on the worn surface of a blue wooden farm cart. Eggfruit are heart shaped, ranging in size from apple to grapefruit. These are grapefruit sized.

Four whole eggfruits, golden yellow like heart-shaped school buses, ready to be made into smoothies, pies, salad garnishes and more! Eggfruit range in size from apple to grapefruit. These are grapefruit sized.

Eggfruit is a versatile Caribbean fruit that can be eaten raw or cooked, sweet or savory in many recipes. It grows on an attractive mid-sized tree in the Sapote family, with dark green foliage. Eggfruit is known by many other names, including canistel and yellow sapote, and the latin name of the tree is Pouteria campechiana (Morton, J. 1987. Canistel. p. 402–405. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.).

The thin, delicate skin of the fruit contains latex sap, so generally the peel is discarded. The flesh of the eggfruit is high in niacin, carotene (provitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium and phosphorous. Three to four large, smooth, dark seeds are enclosed in the flesh of the eggfruit.

The texture and color of the eggfruit’s flesh is oddly similar to the yolk of a hard boiled egg. It is dry, not juicy, despite the 60% water content of the eggfruit. The flavor is rich as, but much sweeter than, an egg yolk. The taste is not dissimilar to a baked sweet potato, but more delicate.

Eggfruit can be eaten out of hand, baked, puréed, crumbled over a salad, added to dressings, enjoyed sweetened, or salted with vinegar.

Eggfruit is wonderful in smoothies. It makes a yellow egg-custard flavored milkshake when blended with ice, milk, a dash of vanilla or nutmeg, and a small amount of sweetener. Mrs. Powell at the La Reine Farmer’s Market on St. Croix makes a wonderful eggfruit drink.

I use eggfruit as a substitute for canned pumpkin in pies, adding a bit of liquid if needed to approximate the texture of puréed pumpkin. The mashed eggfruit flesh thickens and enriches mixtures, so use your imagination! A squeeze of lime juice also heightens the flavor. See my recipe for eggfruit pie below.

Eggfruit is fragile once it is ripe, so it’s not a fruit you’ll readily find in places outside of the Caribbean and southern Florida. Keep it in the fridge after it ripens, and enjoy this rare treat!

Eggfruit Pie

1 1/2 cups mashed eggfruit pulp
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup local honey (or to taste – or use maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of vanilla
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 beaten eggs
2 cups evaporated milk, coconut milk, or light cream
Chopped nuts or shredded coconut for topping – optional
Pie crust of your choosing – you can use small tart crusts too!

Reserving toppings, mix all ingredients in a blender.
Pour into a pre-baked crust(s).
Sprinkle nuts, or shredded coconut, or both, on top if desired.
Any leftover filling can be poured into a buttered oven-safe casserole or dish and will make a yummy little custard.

Bake in a medium oven, for 1 hour or until the edges have set, at 250º F.

We made this with molasses once – it was a bit too heavy for most of the family’s liking, but with adjustment that might be a good alternative sweetener for this recipe too!

For more recipes, check out eggfruit.com! If all this seems overwhelming, make reservations: Chef Dave Kendrick of Kendrick’s Restaurant in Christiansted stopped by the farm today to pick up some greens and took a couple of eggfruit with him. He’s planning a special dish with eggfruit in it, so stop by and see what he’s come up with! For reservations at Kendrick’s call (340)773-9199.

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