It took me a long time to become part of a CSA. I tend to be
controlling choosy about what enters my our kitchen. Though the idea of supporting local farmers has always been appealing, the idea of receiving a random weekly grab bag was less so. After years of living in a locavore city (made semi-famous in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma), I finally bit the bullet.
The folks in the Blue Zones have various habits that, when combined, create health and longevity. One of these is eating mostly plants. Another is preparing their own locally grown food. It’s hard to say which is more health promoting: the veggies themselves, the quality of the produce, or the care taken to prepare them. If I had to venture a guess, it’s probably all of the above.
I thought about this concept as I stared down my first crate of CSA veggies. Though cooking is something I tend to do daily, I am a creature of habit. Since I hate wasting food and making messes, I tend to stick to family favorites and opt for ease of preparation. However, eating a wide variety of veggies is great for the gut. When it comes to matters of the belly, leaving our comfort zone can lead to a more comfortable life.
According to yogic philosophy, preparing one’s own food is immensely healing to both the body and soul. Of course, getting stressed out over said preparation can negate said benefits. The following are a few tips to enjoy some local flavor with ease:
-Google, Don’t Guess: When in doubt, check it out. It may take a minute, but figuring out exactly how to cut and/or cook an unfamiliar veggie is both safer (chef’s knifes are sharp!) and more enjoyable.
–Peel and Chop: Though some mindfulness gurus may disagree, I find listening to a podcast while doing this makes it infinitely more pleasurable. Place a large bowl for scraps right on the counter to save trips the the garbage can or compost bin.
-Cook and Cool: For those veggies that don’t work so well raw, stick to low fuss methods of preparation. Steamed or baked veggies served cold are a nice addition to a salad, and can easily be reheated when you’re in the mood for a hot meal.
-Pack and Label: Storing veggies in see-through containers that are clearly labeled makes them easy to find (unless you have a husband with severe refrigerator blindness….I’m looking at you J…).
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