by Toby Amidor in In Season, June 6, 2012
by Dana Angelo White in In Season, June 3, 2012
- 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.
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.
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.
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Recipes, In Season, May 6, 2012
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, Mushroom and Cheese Breakfast Strata
Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, April 26, 2012
- 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.
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Recipes, In Season, April 5, 2012
- When you buy beets, don't toss the greens!
Some folks foolishly cut and throw beet greens aside, but don’t make this mistake!
Beet greens have a better bite than spinach and a touch of leafy green sweetness, plus a list of valuable nutrients that’s practically never-ending. One cup of cooked beet greets has 39 calories, 4 grams of protein, hefty doses of vitamins A, C , K, riboflavin, calcium, iron and nearly 20% of your daily fiber needs.
Enjoy finely chopped beet greens raw in a salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Saute the greens with olive oil and garlic, use as a pizza topping, or wilt into a steamy bowl of pasta or risotto.
Recipes to Try:
Roasted Beet Risotto
Beet Green Gratin
Garlic Beet Greens
by Toby Amidor in In Season, April 1, 2012
- Food Network Magazine's Lemon-Parsley Asparagus
It’s officially asparagus season; get yourself a bunch or two and we’ll tell you how to enjoy them!
Part of the Lily family, asparagus is available from late March through June. There are about 300 varieties of asparagus, 20 of which are edible.
The asparagus plant lives between 8 to 10 years. You can tell the age of the plant by the thickness—the older the plant, the thicker the spear. Asparagus plants grow in sandy areas so it’s important to wash them thoroughly before eating them.
The most common varieties of asparagus are green, white or purple in color. The earliest stalks have a gorgeous apple-green color with slightly purple tips. White asparagus is grown underground and isn’t exposed to sunlight. They have thicker and smoother spears.
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, February 21, 2012
Spring is in the air and fresh herbs are in season, readily available at grocery stores, farmer’s markets and home gardens. We’re starting the season by celebrating a quintessential green herb: parsley. Did you know it was traditionally added to plates as a way to freshen breath after meals?
This green Mediterranean herb is part of the Umbelliferae family along with carrots and celery. The parsley plant prefers to grow in rocky areas. There are more than 30 varieties of the herb with the most popular being the stronger flavored “flat” leaf (AKA Italian) and the milder “curly” leaf.
Parsley is grown worldwide. In the U.S., it’s mostly grown commercially in California and Florida. Curled parsley is available all-year while Italian parsley may sometimes be more difficult to find.
by Toby Amidor in In Season, January 19, 2012
- Winter CSA shares can provide fresh, local produce, even in the dead of winter.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on local produce. Eating locally year round is easier if you live in California or Florida but here’s how I do it in Connecticut.
Farmers Markets Finds
Farmers are extra good at holding on to their harvests. If you didn’t turn your own summer bounty into a winter-friendly form, stop by a local farm or winter market to find baked goods, pickles, honey, jams and relish.
by Dana Angelo White in In Season, November 5, 2011
Pick up a bunch of these little green beauties on your next trip to the market. Not sure how to cook them? We’ve got simple recipes to get you started, plus some fun facts for Brussels sprout connoisseurs.
What, Where & When?
Thought to have been cultivated in 16th century Belgium, Brussels sprouts are part of the cabbage family and actually look like mini heads of cabbage. Many rows of sprouts grow on a single two to three foot long stalk. The sprouts are usually ½ to 1 ½-inches in diameter. Smaller sprouts are more tender than larger ones. They have a strong nutty or earthy flavor and can be slightly bitter. Their peak season is from late August through March.
by Toby Amidor in In Season, November 4, 2011
- One easy way to cook sweet potatoes: wrap 'em in foil.
Mashed with marshmallows on top isn’t the only way to enjoy sweet potatoes. Here are 30 ways to enjoy sweet potatoes while they’re in season (and not just on Thanksgiving!):
1. These tubers are not technically potatoes – get the sweet facts.
2. No need to buy organic – sweet potatoes are #13 on the Clean Fifteen produce list.
3. Combine leftover sweet potatoes with a few simple ingredients for an entirely new meal: Sweet Potato Soup.
4. Toss cooked potatoes, crunchy veggies and vinaigrette dressing for a colorful take on potato salad.
5. Make a smoky and spicy mash with chipotle peppers.
- This herb will add loads of flavor without extra calories.
Fresh herbs are becoming tougher to find as the weather becomes colder. Luckily, rosemary is still available, so grab a bunch while you still can!
This symbol of love and fidelity is a member of the mint family. It has needle-shaped leaves that are very fragrant with hints of both pine and lemon. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, but today is grown in France, Spain, and the United States where California is the main grower of the herb. Popular varieties for cooking include “Tuscan Blue,” “Spice Island,” and “Miss Jessup.”