CSA Week 5–Experiment With New Ingredients: July 13-19

After 15+ years of farmers market shopping, I rarely encounter an unfamiliar ingredient. And so it was with this week. I’ve had everything in my CSA box before; most items countless times. But edible flowers are something I’ve only used once or twice. Moreover, their natural beauty encourages improvisation. (Just try to find a recipe with flowers—and if you do, they’re likely “optional”.) Besides flowers, this week’s box held many summer staples:

Week 5 Family Size CSA Box Including Yogurt and Cheese Shares
Week 5 of the Family-size CSA box from Growing Washington. Top half (left to right): Red butterhead lettuce, sunflower sprouts, slicing cucumbers, raspberries, broccoli and fennel. Bottom half: White beets, Early Robin cherries, cilantro, mild & tender salad mix, edible flowers, scallions, garlic scapes, spring onions and purple carrots. Also shown: handmade yogurt from Silver Springs Creamery and Queso Seco cheese from Samish Bay Cheese. These add-ons are available as full-season shares or weekly purchases.

The middle of summer is also when the first bulk produce sales are available. While many items hit their peak in August and September, July is cherry season.

Bulk Early Robin Cherries
This is what 5 lbs of cherries look like. Bulk fruit and vegetable sales are available through many CSA subscriptions. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your favorite farmer at your local market about bulk discounts.

Inspiration From Home-Dried Fruit

While I pitted and froze most of the cherries, I also dehydrated some for the first time. My mom had bought fresh apricots in bulk for canning. I’ve been a long-time fan of dried apricots from the farmers market, but I had never dried them myself. So I dehydrated the apricots she didn’t use along with some cherries. The experimentation led to this breakfast:

Yogurt With Dried Fruit and Almonds
Yogurt topped with home-dried apricot halves, cherries, sliced almonds, poppy seeds and bee pollen.

And then this one, thanks to our neighbors who supplied the homemade bagels (yes, we are lucky!):

Bagels With Cheese, Peanut Butter and Dried Cherries
Homemade bagels, two ways. Toasted bagels topped with mustard and Gruyere cheese or peanut butter and dried cherries.

Dehydrating can make familiar ingredients seem new. But let’s be honest. A dehydrator is specialty equipment and single purpose. I don’t even own one—I borrowed my mom’s after she gave me a bag of dried apricots and I ate them all in two days. (Yes, they are that good.) So IF you can get your hands on a dehydrator, I recommend trying it. Wash, cut in half, and remove pit. Turn the halves inside out and lay on trays, peel side down. Dry at 135 deg for about 24 hours. Attempt to save some until September. Good luck.

I Promised You Edible Flowers

Everything you do with edible flowers amounts to one result—make any dish look beautiful.

Composite of Dishes With Edible Flowers
Edible flowers make pretty garnishes for any meal. Lunch tin with roast salmon, sunflower sprouts, sliced cucumbers and cilantro (top left). Yogurt with rolled oats, apricots, two types of cherries, walnuts, and fresh mint (top right). Lettuce mix with roasted salmon, sliced cucumbers, cilantro and leftover flatbread (bottom left). Assorted macarons from the world’s best bakery (bottom right). Not flowers, but almost as beautiful.

As you can see, “cooking” with edible flowers is as simple as it gets:

Two More Super Simple Meals

To end the week, two easy meals anyone can make. In this case, both made by Matt (not to say he can’t make complicated meals too). One is the classic breakfast-for-dinner approach, the other is too-convenient-to-pass-up pasta.

Roast Fennel and Scrambled Eggs
Roast fennel bulb served with scrambled eggs and crackers. Garnished with fennel fronds.
Fusilli Pasta With Roast Broccoli and CarrotsWhole wheat fusilli pasta with roasted broccoli, purple carrots and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

The End of The Week

If you’ve been following these weekly CSA posts, you’re probably expecting a photo. Well, I don’t have one. And it’s not because I used everything up. On the contrary, the list of remaining ingredients was rather long. There were various alliums (garlic scapes, scallions, and onions). I also still had head lettuce, beets, and cheese to use. But that’s how some weeks go. I had prioritized the perishables: flowers, fruit, cut lettuces, and herbs. There’s always next week for the rest.


If you’d like more information about any of these July CSA meals, leave me a comment.

Read more about my “Week in Review” posts.

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