Stone Soup Farm 

Encyclopedia of Vegetables 


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Vegetable by alphabetical order             Herbs and Spices by alphabetical order

Arugula

A member of the mustard family, this spicy green has made quite a reputation for itself. It has a rich spicy taste that is easily distinguished from typical mustard greens. It is great in salads (it is usually an ingredient in our mesclun mix) and can also be cooked. Try it wilted on pizza or chopped up in a soup, or as a bed for meat or pasta.  See our recipe page for more ideas to use this unique green.



Asian Pears

Many people believe the pears we give are unripe because they are so hard and brown.  Give them a try!  We do not give out any unripe pears, they are not hard once you bite into them.  Although they are botanically pears, their taste is different from typical grocery store pears, as is their color and shape.  They tend to have a brown or yellowish russet skin, and are shaped more like an apple.  We grow several different varieties, and they are crisp and juicy, with amazing flavors.  Look for ones with hints of cinnamon, honey, butterscotch, or maple.

Asparagus

The joy of Spring, Asparagus is usually the first thing to get out of a garden. That's because it is one of the only common perennial vegetables in our culture. Each year the asparagus crown, located underground, sends up shoots that eventually become large open leaves. We harvest them at the shoot stage when they are coming out of the ground in May, then eventually stop harvesting and let them grow to gain enough energy to do it again next year. Good fresh asparagus can be eaten raw, put into an omelet, stir fry, or many other things, it is very versatile.

Beans

At Stone Soup we mostly grow beans that are edible in the pod, like pole beans and string beans. Although they can be eaten raw, they are better cooked in a casserole, stir fry, or just simply steamed or boiled with salt and butter. They are also good in a salad, either raw or cooked, or pickled into dilly beans. Some varieties are not green but can be purple, yellow, or spotted as well.

Beans are also very good for you, high in protein and many vitamins and minerals. Did you know they are also good for the farm? Beans are in the legume family, which means they have the ability create their own nitrogen fertilizer, making the soil richer.

Beets

Beets are one of those amazing vegetables that are good to eat both the below ground part as well as the above ground part. In fact, the beet is actually the same species as swiss chard; it has been bred to have a large root instead of large leaves. Beets have a huge range of use as a food, from simple shredding raw into salad or steaming, to complex marinating and pickling processes. Try them in a stir fry or soup, but beware, their deep red color is fantastically intense and tends to bleed out and color the rest of your dish dark red (and sometimes other things too!)



Bok Choi

A wonderful Chinese green in the cabbage family, Bok Choi is grown both for its mustardy greens and juicy, crisp stalks that are pure white and thicker than celery.  The whole plant is usually chopped up and cooked lightly in stir fry, but I think its pretty good raw too.  Try eating the stems and leaves as a snack.

 

 

Broccoli

The florets that we eat are the large fleshy flowerheads of a pretty large annual plant.  Broccoli really hates heat and does much better in cool weather.  For this reason we try to get a small crop in the spring before it warms up too much, skip the summer, and then do a serious broccoli planting for the fall.  As the days cool down, so does the plant growth, allowing big beautiful heads to form without the plant trying so hard to open up the buds and flower.


Cabbage

Cabbage comes in both red and green forms, the green being primarily white inside, and the red being primarily purple (go figure). Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked, raw usually in a salad or cole slaw, and cooked cabbage can be found in almost any imaginable dish, from moo shoo to hearty soup. Also importantly, cabbage is the main ingredient of sour kraut, the fermented and preserved food treasured by many cultures around the world for its life giving health benefits and ability to store for long periods of time without refrigeration.

 

Cabbage (Napa)

Called Napa Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage, this is an Asian vegetable, most known as the primary ingredient in Kim Chi.   Kim Chi is the spicy Korean version of Sour Kraut; it is a lactofermeted product full of life invigorating enzymes and probiotics.  For an easy Kim Chi recipe, see our recipe page here.  

Napa cabbage is also good in stir fry or pretty much any way you might use the more familar cabbage.

Canteloupe

Actually the proper name is Muskmelon, but somehow that doesn't sound too appealing.  These members of the melon and squash family can be difficult to grow; they need specific soil requirements and rot easily on the ground in our wet climate.  Still we give it a try, because when it works well, it really pays off.  



 

Carrots

Carrots are one of the most consumed vegetables in the US. They are great raw or cooked, or even juiced. Baby food often has carrots, as does a lot of pet food too. They can be steamed or put into soups, they are common to make broths and are essential in most stews (don't forget about carrot cake!) The closest living relative to carrots is a common plant around us called Queen Anne's Lace. The carrot is thought to have been bred from that plant around 1,000 years ago, and carrots are still very healthy for you, the crop after which beta carotine was named.

Celeriac

A very close relative of celery, celeriac is bred not to have thick juicy stems but instead to have a rich big bulb at its root.  If you don't believe me try doing a scratch and sniff on the celeriac!  The bulb has the advantage over normal celery that it can be stored for months without going bad.  

To eat it, just peel off the skin (its edible though, you don't have to be thorough) enough to get all the dirt off, then cut up.  It is great in soups in place of celery in the winter months.

Chard

Also known as Swiss Chard, is closely related to beets. Chard has big shiny leaves and absolutely amazing colors. The stems can be almost any color of the rainbow other than blue. Chard has a slightly bitter taste raw that goes away when cooked. The stems can be eaten too, just chop them up, chard goes great in a soup or in a stir fry. You can also steam wilt the leaves and stuff them to make patties.

Collards

Collard Greens are a must for Southern soul food, probably because they are cold tolerant enough to be grown year round in the Southeast US. They are usually sauteed in a pan with butter and some water, onions and salt and pepper, and usually accompanied by a meat and by cornbread.






Cucumbers

A wonderful raw vegetable, cucumbers have a variety of uses, from salads to the delicious Indian cucumber raita, which is yogurt based. Cucumbers are thought to be amongst the oldest cultivated vegetables, so old that there is controversy over their origins. Contrary to popular belief, the cucumber is actually super nutritious and you should probably eat tons of them.

 

Daikon Radish

Daikon is a very popular vegetable for most countries in east and south Asia.  The word Diakon is Japanese for "large root", which is cleary an apt name.  Much less spicy and much sweeter than the small red radishes of the west, Daikon is actually very versatile raw and in cooking.  Try it raw grated on salads, or cooked in soup, especially miso.  It is also very common in sushi, kimchee, sambar, as well as its favorite form in Japan: pickled.  

Make sure you check out our recipe page for examples and ideas on how to use this versatile vegetable.

Edamame

Edamame (rhymes with Feta Bombay), is a Japanese delicacy, usually seen served as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants.  These are soybeans, vegetable soybeans as they call them because they are meant to be eaten fresh and green.  If left on the plant for another few weeks, they would dry up and become very starchy and hard, and could from that point be cooked like any other bean or made into tofu, soymilk, or other soy products.   The most common way to eat them is to boil or steam the pods for 5 minutes, drain, then serve them sprinkled with salt and/or lemon juice.  Eat them by holding the pod in your mouth and pull the beans out with your teeth.  They are soft and buttery and delicious!

 

Eggplant

Eggplant comes in many shapes and colors, make sure to look for them as the season goes on. They are cooked in a variety of ways, mostly notably eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, and fried eggplant cutlets. It is also the main ingredient of baba ghanoush a popular middle eastern dip. It is most commonly used in Chinese and Indian cooking, so make sure to try some recipes oriented towards the Orient.

 

Fennel

An anise or licorice tasting plant. A very unique vegetable indeed, and highly rewarding if you learn to use it well. Usually one chops and eats the white bulb at the base of the plant, although the leaves and stems are edible too. The stems are like licorice candy! Try fennel in a sautée or braise it, or you can grill it nicely too.




Kale

Kale comes in many differnt looks from purple and curley to whitish and flat. They are members of the brassica family, and are technically the same species as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea). They are tough, meaty greens that are packed full of flavor and nutrition, and grow great in our area. The leaves can be eaten raw, but are best in a sautée or stir fry. You only need to cook them a couple minutes, but if you want them tender they should be cooked at least 20 minutes. To use the stems, cut them from the leaf, chop them up finely, and cook about 5 minutes longer than the leaves.


Kholrabi

Pronounced kole rob ee, this specialty Asian vegetable is one of our favorites here at the farm.  Peel them deep, their purple or whitish skin is thick and fibrous.  Kholrabi is one of the most versatile vegetables: it can be eaten raw like an apple, with lemon juice and salt like jicama, in salad, or it can be cooked and added to stir fry, soup, baking, pasta, or anything really, it is always a good choice.  

Lettuce

Traditionally eaten raw, lettuce has become our cultures mainstay salad vegetable. Slightly bitter when eaten alone, but it makes a very nice base for almost any salad. Stone Soup grows many different varieties of lettuce, so make sure you try at least a few of them, they have subtle differences in flavor and texture, and huge differences in color and shape.

 

 

Okra

A delightful flavor, although some people are turned off by its slimy texture. Because okra has these sticky substances, it is often used to thicken soups and stews. In fact it is the secret and key ingredient in Gumbo, the famous dish of the southeastern US. The name Gumbo comes from the Central Bantu word for okra, "kigombo". Okra is also commonly used in Asian recipes and is usually used with tomatoes and curries.

 

 

Onions (fresh)

Sometimes you might see onions bunched with their green tops and without any papery skin. These are fresh onions, what they look like in the field before harvest (except a lot cleaner!). Normally, onions are cured for several weeks prior to shipment and their leaves cut off, which forms their papery skins and allows them to be stored for many months. Fresh onions are not cured and won't last all that long, so we recommend eating them within a week or two. The green leaves are left on because they are edible too and can be used like scallions. The fresh onions we use are a variety called Walla Walla and are exceptionally sweet and tender, great for anything you might use a raw onion in, like salad, but are also a good choice for cooking. 

 

Onions (storage)

Our storage onions will look like the ones you find in the store, and have a papery skin.  They are cured and will last for several months without spoiling if undamaged.  Best to store them in a cool, but not cold, and dry place.  Attics are best, counter tops also work.  As for the differences in color - not much; people have different opinions so we won't take sides.  The most obvious difference is which color you think is prettier.

 

Orach

Sometimes called "Mountain Spinach", which is an appropriate name, as it is like a hardier spinach.  It can really be used any way that spinach is used, cooked or raw, but it is a bit thicker, has a more velvety feel, and comes in many pretty colors.  It is also used to balance out acidic parts of a dish.  Make sure to remove the tough stems first!  Orach is actually a very old food that has fallen out of favor in modern times.  Its common name derived from the French arroche , which comes from the Latin for "golden." 

 

 

 

Peppers (Bell Peppers)

Sweet, or bell peppers, are not hot, although some are shaped like hot peppers. Peppers are another extremely versatile vegetable, eaten raw in a salad (or just like an apple out of your hand), or cooked, in just about any way you can imagine. Green peppers are unripe fruits and are not sweet, but have their own distinctive flavor. Red, Orange, and Yellow peppers are ripe fruits, and have a natural sweetness. Look for other colors too, we grow purple, white, brown and mixed colored peppers to boot.


Hot Peppers

Oooh boy, be careful with these. When hot peppers, or chilies, are this fresh, they pack some mean heat. Be sure to wash your hands super well after chopping, or wear gloves, and don't rub your eyes or anything else sensitive for a few hours. Chilies are native to Mexico and South America, where they have been used for thousands of years. Cultures all around the world now use them to add heat to their dishes, everything from tacos to kimchee. They come in many shapes and colors, and are categorized by heat level according to the Scoville scale. We grow all levels of chilies, from not hot at all, to habaneros and scotch bonnets, which are amongst the hottest in the world. 

 

Popcorn

 Not any corn can be popped, because most varieties have shriveled and weak skins when dried, and would simply cook without popping. The varieties of popcorn we used today most likely originated with the Native Americans thousands of years ago.  How they figured out you could pop the stuff we'll never know.  

To enjoy our popcorn, first hang up the bunches as a decoration and let them air dry for at least a couple weeks.  This is known as curing.  The longer you wait the better, popcorn can last for years without spoiling.  When you are ready to eat them, push off all the kernels into a pan (they can be a little tough to get off sometimes), add 1/4 cup cooking oil, and heat on high heat on a burner with the lid on until they start to pop.  Make sure the lid stays on, and shake the pan while cooking until popping frequency decreases, then take it off the heat.  Or just pop the whole cob into a paper bag and microwave until they all pop! 

Potatoes

Potatoes are the largest food crop in the world other than grains.  So versatile, is it any wonder that you can find hundreds of ways they are cooked and prepared?  Don't just stop at what you know, cultures from every part of the world use potatoes and they have all invented different and exciting ways to eat them.  Potatoes have been an important part of our own culture as a storage crop, early European settlers relied heavily upon to make it through the winter.

They are also very nutritious, they have twice the potassium of bananas, and eaten with the skin more fiber than whole grain.  It also has extremely high amounts of vitamins C and B6.  


Pumpkins

We might on occasion give out pumpkins, which will likely be the kind best for making pies.  Pie pumpkins are smaller, have very thick, sweet flesh, low seeds, and are really more like winter squash than the traditional carving pumpkins.  You can still carve these, or paint them, but they really are grown to be eaten.  Check out our recipe page to see how to make a pumpkin pie or other goodies from your pie pumpkin.


Rutabaga

Coming from either Finland or Sweden, this "swede" Turnip as it is sometimes called is a rich root vegetable that is actually a cross between a cabbage and a turnip.  It has qualities like a turnip and tastes a little similar, but is richer and starchier like a potato.  It is often used accompanying meats, in soups, in casseroles like the Finnish lanttulaatikko, or try making interesting mashed potatoes with equal parts rutabaga and potato.

 It has been an important food source for many cultures in Europe.  Interestingly, Germans don't eat much because of the Steckrübenwinter (rutabaga winter) of 1916–17, when wars and grain crop failures forced the population to subsist on almost exclusively rutabaga all winter; it is still considered there a "famine food".

Scallions

Also known as green onions or spring onions because they are closely related. Scallions taste like onions but are less sweet and have a milder, less sharp flavor when raw. They are good in pasta and fish dishes, and are pretty much always found cooked in the broth of miso soup. To prepare them, clean each plant separately and then rebunch, chop in 1/4 inch segments all the way from the white bases most of the way up the green leaves. Every part of the scallion plant is edible (including the roots, although most people don't eat them) so make sure to use plenty of the green.

 

 

Shallots

Shallots are relatives of onions, and have a similar taste and look.  However, instead of having one big bulb like an onion, shallots usually have several smaller bulbs within the head, more like garlic.  Discerning palates will know the difference between shallots and onions, but for the rest of us they taste similar, except that shallots are more intense so you need less of them.  They also last forever.  Well, not forever, but a long time; they have been known to store for 6 months!


Summer Squash (and Zucchini)

Summer squash refers to squash that is meant to be picked unripe with a soft skin and undeveloped seeds. Summer squash is not cured and therefore is easily perishable, as opposed to winter squash which is cured and made to last on the shelf for up to several months without rotting. Zucchini are really a summer squash because they are also in the squash family and are meant to be eaten fresh. They are edible both raw and cooked, and are especially good in salads, lasagna, soups, casseroles, breads, and lots of other ways!

Tat-Soi

Technically a member of the mustard family, this Asian green is tender and mellow compared with other mustard greens.  We use it in our salad mix, but it is quite versatile, and can be a substitute for spinach in almost any case. It makes a flavorful and spicy salad especially when combined with arugula.  Its also great in cooking and lends a distinctive flavor that you can't miss.

We are experimenting by growing and giving them out as full heads, rather than cutting all the leaves off.  Let us know what you think!

 

 

               Tomato

Does it really need an introduction? Actually, it does. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, which has many thousands of species of poisonous plants. Only in relatively recent times have they become trusted, well known and loved the world over. Nowadays, tomatoes are an essential ingredient in the cooking of many culture's cuisine, especially our own. From pasta sauce to salsa, the tomato can do it all. But did you know that grocery store tomatoes are dumb? Thats right. Taste one of ours side by side and you'll know what we mean. Plus, we don't have cows pooping near our tomatoes, or anywhere on the farm for that matter, so you don't have to worry about salmonella or other nasty things like that.

 

Turnips

We are fortunate to be in an area where we can grow turnips so well.  They love the cool weather of the fall and don't mind the frosts that come along with it.  They are an amazing source of food, being relatively meaty and easy to grow, and will store for months if kept properly. For these reasons, turnips have long been important food crops in many cultures around the world.

We grow a few colored varieties, such as white, purple top, and scarlet.  Look to our recipes page for ideas on how to prepare them.

Watermelon

Who doesn't love this delightful summer fruit?  It is related to cucumbers and squash, but it has been bred to be a whole different animal.  Watermelons, like squash, can come in a variety of shapes and colors and can bear no resemblance to other varieties.  They can have red or yellow flesh, and the rind can be anywhere from regular green stripes to totally black.  They can be big or small, round or oblong.  We grow mostly small varieties that are potent and sweet and easy to distribute through a CSA.

Winter melon

The name of this is somwhat of a misnomer, it is not sweet like other melons.  This is an exotic asian melon that is sort of like a cumber with a watermelon rind.  The advantage is that it has a very long shelf life (up to an entire year!) and therefore is available much later in the season than cucumbers. 

Culinary it is not usually used like a cucumber or like melon.  Most commonly, it is used in winter melon soup, in stir fry, or it can be deseeded and juiced and used like cucumber juice.  See our recipe page for details.


Winter Squash

Winter squash are and have been an important part of the diets of New Englanders, due to its ability to last for months on the shelf with no refrigeration. There are a staggering variety of winter squash, all are very pretty with different colors and shapes, textures and flavors. Some last better than others, like butternuts, others not too long, like acorn squash or spaghetti squash. Easiest way to enjoy them is to cut in half, scoop out the seeds, put some butter and maple syrup in the middle, and bake until a fork can easily penetrate the flesh. But don't stop there! Look for recipes that get fancier, winter squash will not disappoint.