Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Foodshed Alliance Webinar: Self-Described Veggie Evangelist Tells How to “Hack Your Veggie Haul”

Kate Munning fears no fruit or vegetable, relishing the challenge of preserving 100 pounds of peppers or coaxing children into loving Brussel sprouts.

At 7:00 p.m. on September 18, 2023, the Foodshed Alliance hosted a Zoom webinar by Kate Munning entitled, “Hack Your Veggie Haul.” Munning very enthusiastically proclaimed herself to be a “Veggie Evangelist.”

She said she feels it is a privilege to have such high-quality organic produce available.

Munning has a small but mighty food forest on Schooley’s Mountain, in Long Valley, where her carrots and berries roam free.

Munning cheerfully shared her tips and recipes to help make the most of farmers’ market finds and Community Supported Garden shares.

Munning’s bio states “She is a curious cook, gardener, and lifelong learner.”

Munning orchestrates the farm dinners at the Community Supported Garden at Genesis Farm. The next one is scheduled for October 7.

This fundraiser features the unique produce from the farm and is open to the public with gourmet entrees to delight the palate.

She encourages us to buy seasonal produce to ensure the freshest ingredients for the best-tasting meals.

Munning admitted it takes some effort to get used to making meals using what you get in a share. She suggests making a weekly menu so nothing is wasted.

“I plan my meals each week using what is in my frige. As we move into fall there are tomatoes, corn, squash, pumpkin, fall greens, kohlrabi, okra, cabbage and root vegetables,” she said.

“Any vegetable can be sauteed and added to a frittata,” She joked. “I was a vegetarian for eight years, now reformed.”

Munning said, “Don’t be intimidated by some of the veggies you do not recognize.”

She demonstrated a few of the more intimidating produce. She has learned to love the challenging and unfamiliar vegetables.

For example, she said kohlrabi is too often misunderstood. It is versatile and can be added to soups, roasted with herbs, shredded and made into a slaw with apple, shallots and drizzled with a honey and lemon Dijon vinaigrette.

Munning said Okra can be gelatinous, but useful as a thickening agent in stews or gumbos. Okra is also delicious fried and can be stir-fried with lots of spice so it loses its sliminess. It will dry out and you will enjoy its unique flavor.

Munning gave us a recipe for Fennel:

  1. Slice it up thinly;
  2. Sautee it with onion and peppers;
  3. Add the juice of a lemon;
  4. Add Parmesan cheese; and,
  5. Serve it over pasta.

She also said it is classically cooked with veggies and pork. It’s an amazing flavor that enhances when paired with beans and cheese.

Munning discussed the frittata formula; eggs (and almost anything else) can be used to make a frittata. She also bakes kale chips and other veggies as snacks and the kids love them.

Some storage tips:

  • Use a dehydrator to save and preserve your produce.
  • Some veggies like tomatoes can be de-cored and frozen without removing the skin.
  • Store root vegetables, like potatoes with the dirt still on them to last longer.
  • “Quick pickle” brine can be made by boiling a rind made from rice wine vinegar, salt and your favorite spices.

You can quick pickle many veggies like mustard greens, cucumbers, onions, carrots, and kohlrabi.

Add what spices you like, plus garlic and hot pepper to the jar, jam the cut-up veggies into the jar and pour the hot brine over it and refrigerate.

It was a fun and informative webinar, leaving all who participated with a hunger for more knowledge and a quest to find something delectable and nutritious to eat directly after the session.

The Foodshed Alliance also connects food pantries and local farms through their LocalShare Program so that crops left after the harvest — food that usually goes to waste — are gleaned to feed hungry families instead.

For info on the upcoming Genesis Farm Dinner on October 7, contact kate.munning@gmail.com or visit csgatgenesisfarm.com.
If you would like to see the webinar go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-jrmfcyxIE

Remember – You are what you eat!

Yelens Choban
MB Journe, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

MB has been a resident of Frelinghuysen for the past 22 years. She lives in an old farmhouse on the side of the road. She enjoys the simple life, puttering in her flower garden, practicing Qi Gong under her redbud tree, or creating art on the deck.
MB's experience as a journalist began when her son was quite young, she began writing for The Paulinskill Valley Chronicle, often bringing him to work with her. Her responsibilities were writing articles with photos, selling ads, and billing. This suited her, as a single mother not wanting to be separated from her small child.

She considers herself a lover of nature, often seen photographing its beauty. She has worked as a seasonal employee of YMCA Camp Mason for the past 17 years. She is a teacher and mentor of children, always emphasizing the YMCA’s core values - caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. She tries to listen carefully to each individual she interviews, getting their viewpoint. That is why she likes to write about the interesting people and places that make Warren County such a nice place to live.