All Posts In In Season

In Season: Honeydew

by in In Season, August 18, 2012
honeydew granita
Food Network Kitchens' Honeydew Granita

This green melon is my 5-year old’s hands-down favorite. I’ve never seen anyone so thrilled when a fruit’s in season—she devours fresh chunks at breakfast and bedtime snack. As a mom, I’m happy that she enjoys a food filled with good-for-you nutrients. Though as a food lover, I’m happy to report that there are many other ways to enjoy the heavenly taste of honeydew.

What, Where, & When?
Honeydew is part of the muskmelon family, along with cantaloupe and person melon. This family is also known as netted melon; their skin looks like its covered with a thick, rough netting. Honeydew is very aromatic, but if they’re picked too early they won’t become as sweet and flavorful.

The oval-shaped melon has a smooth, cream-colored rind and green-colored flesh that’s bursting with sweetness. You can also find gold and orange honeydew varieties, with flesh colors described by their name, though they’re not as easy to find. These melons range from 4 to 7 pounds in size.

This scrumptious melon is thought to have originated in Persia and was also prized years later by ancient Egyptians. Today honeydew is grown in Mexico, California, Arizona, and parts of the southwest and is most abundant from late summer through early fall.

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Market Watch: Sun Jewel Melon

by in Farmers' Market Finds, August 5, 2012

melon
After my weekly CSA delivery, I was prepared to write all about a gorgeous looking spaghetti squash that was in my share. But when I open the “squash,” I discovered that it wasn’t a squash at all, but a melon!

I put in a call in to my farmer (yes, proud to say I have her on speed dial); I wanted her to enlighten me – what was this bright yellow melon called? She introduced me to the Sun Jewel. This Asian variety (also called a Korean Yellow Melon) has pale yellow flesh that tastes similar to honeydew, but with more of a cucumber-pear flavor.

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Herb of the Month: Chives

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, August 4, 2012

chives
We’re kicking off August with an herb that’s been historically used to help promote male fertility. Learn why chives are so good for you, then try our mouthwatering chive recipes.

Chives Basics
Chives are related to the garlic, leeks and onions and are native to Asia, North America and Europe. It’s thought that Marco Polo tasted chives and brought them back home to Europe where they became popular.

This fragrant slender herb has a milder flavor than onions and garlic. The plant grows as lofty stems adorned by gorgeous purple flowers.

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Summer Fest: 6 Ways to Cook With Plums

by in In Season, July 18, 2012

There are more uses for the juicy plum than eating around the pit and nose-crinkling when a prune comes into view. People love plums, of course, but they haven’t reached the status of the heavy hitters: the oranges, apples and bananas. Even when it comes to antioxidants, that pesky pomegranate gets all of the attention. However, like many of our favorites, this stone fruit has some serious culinary chops, especially when they’re in season and literally overflowing with ambrosial juices. Not to mention, this purplish-red beauty is brimming with nourishment and health benefits. It’s about time we rethink the perks of the plum, people.

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Market Watch: String Beans

by in Farmers' Market Finds, July 11, 2012

string beans
Also known as snap beans or green beans, nutrient-filled string beans aren’t just for Thanksgiving casseroles.

Piles of slender green and yellow beans are spilling over tables at the farmers’ market this time of year. Whatever color you choose (they have similar flavor), they’re marvelous for salads and stir fries, but that’s not all. Here are 5 delectable uses you probably haven’t tried… it’s time to start!

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Herb of the Month: Thyme

by in In Season, July 5, 2012

thyme
‘Tis the season to pick up fresh thyme. Packed with flavor and nutritious goodness, make this delicious herb part of your next meal.

Thyme Basics
This perennial herb is a member of the mint family and is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean. It comes in dozens of varieties but the most common is Garden Thyme which has grayish leaves that emit a minty and lemony aroma. Subvarieties include French, English and Lemon thyme. French thyme has a more narrow leaf while English has a broader-sized leaf. Lemon thyme has a more pungent citrus aroma than other thyme varieties.

Nutrition Info
One tablespoon of fresh thyme has 3 calories and 8% of your daily dose of vitamin C. It also contains vitamin A, iron, and manganese. Thyme has also been used medicinally to help relieve a sore throat.

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In Season: Kale

by in In Season, June 15, 2012
kale
Are you crazy for kale?

Many of my gal pals email me photos of their homemade kale chips. Everyone is talking about and making them. Luckily, this green, leafy bunch of goodness is now in season so you can make your own kale chips or any of our healthy kale recipes.

What, Where, & When?

Kale is a member of the cabbage family which also includes cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It’s suspected that kale was brought to Europe over 2,500 years ago. In the 17th century, it was introduced to the United States by English settlers. Today kale is primarily grown in the southeastern United States. Kale has a mild flavor, similar to cabbage and comes in many colors ranging from dark green to different shades of blue or purple. There are many varieties including Curly (or Scots), Plain Leaved, Rape, Leaf and Spear, Dinosaur (or Cavolo Nero), Tuscan and Lacinato (or black cabbage), and Ornamental, which is popular for landscaping but can be eaten too.

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Herb of the Month: Lavender

by in In Season, June 6, 2012
lavender
Have you tried cooking with lavender?

Nicknamed the “herb of love,” lavender is in season now. For those new to the idea of cooking with lavender, we’ve got simple recipes to get you started.

Lavender basics
The name lavender comes from the Latin verb “to wash.”  Throughout history, it was commonly used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. Today, it is added to many hand soaps and body washes due to its aromatic fragrance.

A relative of mint, the lavender plant is adorned with violet flowers and green or pale grey leaves. Both the flowers and leaves can be eaten and have a pleasant yet slightly bitter flavor. Lavender grows throughout southern Europe, Australia and the United States.

Nutrition Info
Dried lavender has only a few calories per tablespoon and is free of fat and cholesterol. Throughout history it has been used to remedy various ailments including insomnia, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Research has shown that lavender oil may help alleviate insomnia, anxiety, and stress.

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Market Watch: Spring Broccoli

by in In Season, June 3, 2012

spring broccoli
Broccoli is usually found later in the summer, some varieties of this vitamin-packed veggie can be found the markets now.

Bright green and full of goodness, one cup dishes up 30 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and more than a day’s worth of vitamins C and K. The varieties you’ll find at the farmers’ market are sweet and more tender than anything at the grocery store. What ever you do – please EAT THE STALKS, they are packed with nutrients and way too delicious to throw away.

Recipes to Try:
Broccoli Salad
Broccoli, Mushroom and Cheese Breakfast Strata
Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
Roasted Broccoli

In Season: Vidalia Onions

by in Healthy Recipes, In Season, May 6, 2012
vidalia onions
Sweet vidalia onions are in season right now.

Vidalia onions, the official state vegetable of Georgia, are only available for a limited time. Get your hands on these sweet onions while they’re in season!

What, Where & When?
During the Great Depression, farmers were looking for a new cash-crop. They were pleasantly surprised when a strange, sweet onion, grown near Vidalia, Georgia, became an instant moneymaker. Word spread of “those sweet onions from Vidalia” and that’s how the name was born.

Over time, the Vidalia onion began to gain national fame. In 1978 Vidalia onions had their own annual festival in Vidalia, Georgia where it is still celebrated today. In 1990, the Vidalia onion became the official state vegetable of Georgia and the name “Vidalia” is trademarked and owned by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. In order to be called a Vidalia onion, it must be produced in one of 13 counties and portions of 7 others, all in Georgia.

Vidalia onions are grown in low-sulfur soils that prevent bulbs from developing a pungent taste. (It’s the sulfur that makes you cry when you slice an onion.) Since Vidalias contain fewer sulfur compounds, you’ll tear less when you slice them.

Today, Vidalia onions are available in 50 states and most of Canada. They’re available from late April through August.

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