Know How, Know More Connecting You with Your Food, Farmers and Community Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 CSA Week 4: Kohlrabi's Back! Sun, 15 Jul 2018 09:00:00 +0000 CSA Insider or social media (@nutritiondmp), what are you waiting for?

Kohlrabi: What is This?

Go back to the week 2 CSA blog post for more about this veggie.


A goal of CSA Insider is to share simple recipes to make with local foods. We are starting to see repeated foods in our CSA share.  So we want to make sure there are new ideas for how to use your share too when it gets repetitive.

This week, instead of writing the recipes out, find them as a download here.  You can watch videos of these recipes on social media (@nutritiondmp) too!

Week 4 Recipes

  • Marinated Tomatoes | Adapted from: I on Diabetes, University of Illinois Extension
  • Mason Jar Caprese Salad | Recipe courtesy of Jenna Smith, University of Illinois Extension, Nutrition & Wellness Educator
  • Sautéed Kohlrabi with Bell Pepper | Recipe courtesy of Chandani Kothari, University of Illinois Extension, SNAP-Ed
  • Corn Salad | Adapted from: University of Illinois Extension, Let's Eat for Health, Illinois!, Corn Salad
CSA Week 3: Corn Sun, 08 Jul 2018 09:00:00 +0000 CSA Insider or social media (@nutritiondmp), join us! We want to hear what recipes and information you want to learn about! Plus, we give you tips and information to use local produce before it comes out on the blog. ---

Shallot: What is This?

Shallots are in the onion family.  If you avoid onions for their strong flavor and tendency to make you tear up, give shallots a try in place of onion in your favorite recipes.


A goal of CSA Insider is to give CSA recipients simple recipes to make with their foods. No reason to let your money and food to go waste! The CSA Insider e-update went out on Friday to participants who signed up, with a first look at the recipes. This week, we also share a skill set for using corn.

Corn and Bean Salsa (makes 6 cups)

Watch the video of this salsa being made.  Yum!

3 medium red tomatoes, washed and coarsely chopped
1 (15-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8-oz) can yellow corn, rinsed and drained (or 1 cup fresh corn)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, washed, chopped
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1/2 tsp black pepper (optional)

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a glass bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve later.

3 Ways to Cook Corn (on the Cob)

Now watch this video.  Maybe there is a new way you have not tried yet!

CSA Week 2: Kohlrabi Sun, 01 Jul 2018 09:00:00 +0000
For those who not been following along on the CSA Insider or social media (@nutritiondmp), join us! We want to hear what recipes and information you want to learn about! Plus, we give you tips and information to use local produce before it comes out on the blog.

Kohlrabi:  What is This?

Kohlrabi with the surprise of Week 2. I thought it was a crunchy mix between a turnip and radish.  Check out the recipe below, and read more about using kohlrabi from fellow Extension educator, Jenna Smith, and her article with braised kohlrabi.


A goal of CSA Insider is to give CSA recipients simple recipes to make with their foods. No reason to let your money and food to go waste! The CSA Insider e-update went out on Friday to participants who signed up, with a first look at the recipes. Enjoy the videos of these recipes on our YouTube channel too!

Broccoli-Kohlrabi Salad (Serves 4)

1 medium head broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small kohlrabi, peeled and diced
1 small red apple, diced


1/2 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
2 garlic scapes, minced (or 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Blanch cut broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes. Transfer to ice for 5 minutes to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, kohlrabi, and apple.
3. In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Pour over broccoli mixture and stir to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Braised Napa Cabbage with Carrots and Leek (Serves 6)

Try this as a side to roasted chicken or pork. Use other half in the Roasted Napa Cabbage recipe below.

Half a head of Napa cabbage, core removed and cut into thin strips
4 carrots, cut into coins
1 large leek, removed of green leaves and end of stem
1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

1. Cut trimmed leek into thin rings. Rinse to remove any soil trapped between leek's layers.
2. In a large skillet, add cut cabbage, carrots, leek, chicken broth, and oil. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add thyme, paprika, and pepper, and stir to combine. Continue cooking another 10 minutes until most of broth is evaporated and vegetables are tender.

Roasted Parmesan Napa Cabbage Wedges (Serves 4)

Try this as a side to a steak.

Half a head of Napa cabbage, cut lengthwise into wedges with core attached
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Lay cabbage wedges into a baking sheet lined with boil.
3. Drizzle oil over all of cabbage. Sprinkle with parmesan, garlic powder, and black pepper.
4. Bake 10 minutes. Carefully open oven and turn cabbage wedges over. Return to over and continue baking another 10 minutes.

Basil Lemon Shortbread (Makes 24 cookies)

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Thoroughly cream the butter, sugar, basil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix. Turn out on a board floured with the remaining half cup of flour. Knead until the dough doesn't stick to the board.
3. Roll dough into an ungreased cookie sheet at 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cut into desired sized pieces.

Variation: Roll dough into small balls and flatten before baking for round cookies.

Adapted from: Cooking With Herbs, Mississippi State University Extension

CSA Week 1: Garlic Scapes Sun, 24 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Our first week's CSA share arrived last Monday with purple and green heads of lettuce, white and red bulb onions, heads of garlic, mint, and garlic scapes!  For those who not been following along on the CSA Insider or social media (@nutritiondmp), join us!  We want to hear what recipes and information you want to learn about!  Plus, we give you tips and information to use local produce before it comes out on the blog.
Onions, garlic, lettuce, and fresh mint are fairly familiar foods we use.  But did you know that you can freeze onions and garlic?

Freezing Onions

Don't need all the onions your CSA gave you? Chop and freeze your onions to use in cooked dishes later! The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the Cooperative Extension out of University of Nebraska–Lincoln both have instructions on how to freeze onions.

Freezing Garlic

The National Center for Home Food Preservation states that freezing garlic may yield undesirable flavors. If you want to freeze garlic – particularly if you have a lot from your CSA – this handout from North Dakota State University Extension Service has instructions.


The garlic scapes were an unexpected addition to the CSA box this week, and really fun to learn about!

Garlic Scapes: What are They? What to Cook?

In his article, fellow UI Extension educator, Grant McCarty, shares that "garlic scapes are the immature, flowering stems of hardneck garlic." Scapes have a milder flavor than cloves of garlic, but can be used anywhere you use garlic.

The University of Kentucky recommends storing scapes in the refrigerator for up to a month. From there, scapes can be frozen, either raw or blanched before freezing.


A goal of CSA Insider is to give CSA recipients simple recipes to make with their foods. No reason to let your money and food to go waste!  The CSA Insider e-update went out on Friday to participants who signed up, with a first look at the recipes.  Enjoy the videos of these recipes on our YouTube channel too!

Wilted Lettuce Salad (Serves 4)

For extra flavor, add cooked bacon to the salad. Use the bacon grease for part of the oil.

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp honey or granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 small heads of lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces

1. Whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper in a small glass measuring cup.
2. Microwave for 30 seconds or until mixture boils.
3. Pour hot dressing over lettuce. Toss to coat.

Lettuce and Mint Salad (Serves 4)

Dress with a soft cheese, like feta, or a handful of walnuts.

1 small head lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 garlic scape, minced
1 Tbsp fresh mint, shredded

Lemon Mint Dressing
1. In a large bowl, add lettuce and top with minced garlic scape and mint.
2. Serve with Lemon Mint Dressing

Lemon Mint Dressing

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp honey
1. Whisk together mint, lemon juice, oil, and honey in a small glass measuring cup.


Garlic or Garlic Scape Hummus (Serves 6)

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drain and save liquid, rinse beans
1 clove garlic or 1 garlic scape
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp reserved bean liquid
1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender.
2. Process together until a smoother consistency.
3. Serve with whole wheat pita bread, pretzels, or veggie sticks.
Adapted from INEP, Easy Hummus Dip


Simple Mint Iced Tea (Serves 2)

1 tea bag
8-ounce hot water
1 Tbsp shredded mint

1. Add tea bag to hot water. Let steep for 5 minutes with mint.
2. Remove mint and tea bag. Pour over a glass with ice.

Fire Blight- a Nasty Disease Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:02:00 +0000 We are seeing some unfortunate incidents of fire blight in our area, very much connected to the extended rainy spring we experienced. Fire Blight (Erwinia amylovora) is a devastating, yet common bacterial disease affecting an estimated 75 species of plants in the Rosaceae family. Most susceptible are apple, crabapple, pear and ornamental pear trees, however other host plants include cotoneaster, hawthorn, flowering quince, raspberry, blackberry, mountain ash and spiraea.

The fire blight bacterium over winters in cankers on infected host plants. In spring, when temperatures get above 60 degrees and conditions are wet and humid, the cankers begin to ooze, attracting insects to it. This is the primary way the disease is spread- ooze to insect to blossoms. Other major means of infections are open wounds, perhaps caused by storm damage, rain splash and pruning equipment.

Symptoms of fire blight are wilting shoots, cankers on branches and blackened leaves, giving the trees a scorched appearance! Young twigs and branches die from the terminal end and may bend at the tip to look like a shepherds hook, while the dead leaves remain on the branches; both ugly, tell-tale signs. As the bacteria spreads, cankers appear as sunken or cracked area on branches; and the cycle is ready to repeat.

Very unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease, so prevention and early management are key. Known defenses are

  • To plant disease resistant varieties
  • Fertilize only if warranted via soil testing; excess nitrogen encourages lush new growth which is more susceptible to the disease
  • Monitor often in spring and again in mid-winter. Early detection is critical for management of disease.

If infection does occur, prune infected twigs and branches. Recommended time to prune out fire blight infections is mid- winter when bacteria is in dormant state. However, remove rapidly advancing infections on young, very susceptible cultivars of pear, Asian pear and some apple varieties as soon as possible in the spring when weather is dry.

When pruning during growing season, disinfect pruning tools after each cut with rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution (one part household bleach to nine parts water, equivalent to 1.5 cups bleach to 1 gallon of water) to avoid spreading the disease. All cuts should be at least 8-12 inches below the site of infection.

If a fire blight canker appears on a major limb and is less than 50 percent around the branch, you can try to stop the further spread of disease by scraping off the infected area of the inner and outer bark, clear down to the wood. Treat this area with a 70 percent alcohol solution.

Take a deep breathe, and then go ahead and remove trees that have cankers on the trunk, infection is covering more than one-third of the tree, or has been systematic for several years in a row. These things indicate the fire blight bacteria is systemic in the tree and will only continue to serve as an infection source to nearby host plants. Burn or bury infected plant material.

Obviously, this is a sad subject and a huge loss to homeowners, especially as this disease has such poor prognosis. Copper compounds and antibiotics are available for commercial growers, but cost, complicated spray cycles, labor extensive applications and limited effectiveness make these options unavailable and impractical for the homeowner.

If you suspect your tree has fire blight or have more questions about this disease, call the Master Gardeners at your local Extension office or send a sample to the U of I Plant Clinic. You can also learn more about disease resistant varieties, or other plant questions you may have.

CSA Insider Starts Summer 2018 Mon, 18 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000 Our office bought a CSA share!

Never head of a CSA – or community supported agriculture? Fellow extension educator, Andrew Larson, wrote a summary of this newer area of agriculture.

Each week this summer, we are sharing our experiences using our CSA items, from recipes to farmer tips, and more.

Follow along on social media and this blog to see it all. If you want more tips, sign-up for our weekly CSA Insider update.

Remember, we want you to join in the conversation. Ask us questions! Tell us recipes you want to see! Share your experiences with local foods!

Happy eating!

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.

Brown Moths are Flying Thu, 14 Jun 2018 15:54:00 +0000 Recently people have been noticing large numbers of brown moths fluttering around flowering trees and resting on the sides of homes. These are newly emerged Armyworm Moths. According to Kelly Estes at the Illinois Natural History Survey, these are the moth stage of this spring's larval generation (caterpillars). This spring, Armyworm caterpillars did cause damage in area wheat  and hay fields.
Currently these Armyworm moths that are flying around flowering plants and trees feeding on their nectar and pollen, which is the good news. The bad news is that the female moths are laying eggs in grassy areas and these eggs will be hatching in a few weeks. Young Armyworm larvae feed on all types of grasses, so this next generation of caterpillars may become more of a problem in lawns and pastures.

For more information on Armyworms in crops, you can check out information at the University of Illinois. Purdue University has information on lawn issues with this pest.