by Serena Ball in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, April 27, 2017
by Abigail Chipley in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, April 11, 2017
One of the few truly seasonal foods, rhubarb is available now through the summer. Long red and green stalks of rhubarb are often used as a fruit – think pie, jam, and sweet-tart sauces – but it is actually a vegetable.
Perennial rhubarb plants must be subjected to a hard freeze in order to grow and flourish in the spring. Hearty Midwestern and Northern gardeners are rewarded for making it through the winter when rhubarb is one of the first plants – along with asparagus – to emerge from their gardens. Read more
by Abigail Chipley in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, March 16, 2017
The arrival of asparagus at farmer’s markets makes it official: spring has finally sprung. Thick or thin, green, white, or even purple, asparagus reins supreme for a few short months — beginning in March or April, and ending sometime in early June. It’s said that this member of the lily family was the favorite vegetable of Thomas Jefferson. King Louis XIV of France was another fan, referring to it as the “king of vegetables.” Today, it retains its hoity-toity reputation, with chefs devising entire tasting menus to showcase its bright, springy flavor. For home chefs, asparagus can lend a sophisticated feel to an ordinary weeknight dinner, not to mention an Easter feast.
Closely related to garlic, onions, and leeks, asparagus is high in fiber, and a good source of iron, vitamin C and folate.
While thickness is a matter of taste, there’s no arguing about freshness. Choose stalks that are bright in color and firm, with tightly closed tips. Avoid any spears that are bent, or have open flowers. Wrap the ends of a bunch of asparagus in a wet paper towel, place in the crisper drawer and store up to three days. For best results, though, cook asparagus the same day you purchase it. In addition to tasting better, fresher asparagus will also retain more Vitamin C. Read more
by Serena Ball in Healthy Tips, In Season, March 9, 2017
Grown throughout the world, radishes come in a surprising number of shapes, sizes, and colors, from the large, white daikon to the ping-pong ball sized red globe radish. They range in flavor too, from slightly peppery to seriously pungent. What they have in common is a satisfyingly crunchy texture and an ability to add fresh flavor to all sorts of dishes. Though they are in season all year long, they are at their peak from spring to summer. Look for them at local farmer’s markets, where you are likely to find varieties like the whimsically named French breakfast radish, an elongated red-skinned radish with a white tip and a mild flavor, striking black radishes that pack a seriously spicy punch, and gorgeous pale green watermelon radishes that reveal a hot pink interior once sliced.
Radishes belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables, and like cousins broccoli and cabbage, offer up a wealth of nutrition. They are particularly high in Vitamin C and contain fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals called indoles, which have a detoxifying effect on the body. What’s more: radishes have only 20 calories in an entire cup.
Choose radishes that are firm and free of cracks or brown spots. Before refrigerating them, snip off the greens and place the red bulbs in a plastic bag. If the greens are still crisp and not beginning to wilt, rinse them and refrigerate them separately. Plan on using the leaves within a day or so, as they won’t stay fresh for long. The radish bulbs can be stored up to two weeks. Read more
by Abigail Chipley in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, February 3, 2017
Little flecks of green parsley make plates look pretty, but antioxidant-rich herbs are more than just a garnish. Using handfuls of herbs instead of pinches can pack more nutrition onto your plate. Basil contains the antioxidant beta-carotene and may decrease the immune response to allergens. Mint has phenolic compounds with strong antioxidant activity, along with vitamin A, folate and potassium.
Here are easy ways to use big bunches of basil, mint, parsley, arugula and other herbs as healthy leafy greens.
Make classic herb sauces from around the globe
Pureeing fistfuls of parsley, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil is the basic recipe for the classic Argentinian steak sauce chimichurri; try it on our Dry-Rubbed Flank Steak. An Indian chatni or chutney contains similar ingredients with the addition of fresh mint like in Curry Rubbed Swordfish Steaks with Fresh Green Herb Chutney. Italian Blanched Basil Pesto includes bunches of basil along with parsley, olive oil and cheese. Liberally drizzle any or all of these zesty green sauces over eggs, vegetables, or whole grains.
Slice and dice up spicy salsas
The addition of tomatoes, mangos or avocados to the classic herb sauce makes for a colorful salsa. Cilantro combines with garlic, avocado and tomatillos in our recipe for Avocado Salsa Verde. When making pureed-style salsas, add another couple handful of herbs for extra nutrition, and to use up bits of herbs that may otherwise become food waste. Even a chunk-style Mango Salsa is delicious when the amount of fresh herbs is doubled. Read more
by Dana Angelo White in Farmers' Market Finds, In Season, July 11, 2016
Long popular in Italy and Spain, these ruby-hued oranges are now being cultivated in Texas and California. Available from December to April, blood oranges are often both sweeter and less tart than other types of oranges, with a pleasantly bitter edge. Some people say they can even detect a hint of raspberry flavor.
Blood Orange Facts:
Harvesting blood oranges in the winter, when they are at the peak of ripeness, ensures that they are highest in anthocyanins, the compound that gives them their vivid blood-red color. Anthocyanins are thought to help stave off heart disease and cancer, as well protect eye health. Blood oranges are also an excellent source of fiber and Vitamin C.
Choose firm oranges that are heavy for their size and store for a week at room temperature, or up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Read more
by Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. in Farmers' Market Finds, May 28, 2016
Few fruits taste as amazingly sweet and scrumptious as a freshly picked cherry. Head out to your local farmers market soon, as they are only available for a short time.
One cup of cherries contains 90 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. You will also find about 10 percent of the daily requirement for potassium, 16 percent for vitamin C and 3 percent for iron. Cherries are rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, powerful plant compounds that may help reduce the risk of heart cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
What to Do with Cherries
Enjoy cherries as part of snacks, baked goods, beverages and frozen treats. Accompany them with flavors like almond or vanilla to enhance the natural essence of this magnificent fruit. Sweet preparations are most intuitive, but the tangy flavor also works well in savory applications like salsas and pan sauces.
When at the market, look for cherries that are deep red in color, firm and unblemished. Once you bring them home, store them in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag. You can also freeze pitted cherries for up to six months. Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to easily pit fresh cherries. Read more
by Emily Lee in Healthy Recipes, In Season, April 28, 2016
If you haunt your farmers market looking for signs of spring, you’re probably familiar with garlic scapes and broccoli rabe…they’re some of the first greens you’ll find. But scapes and rabe come in more varieties than garlic and broccoli. Here’s the skinny on what they are and what other varieties to look for.
What Are Scapes?
These shoots are one of the first edible greens to crop up in spring. Scapes are simply flower stalks that grow out of the bulbs of garlic, onions and leeks. At the top of each is a bulb that will flower if left unplucked. For eating, though, scapes are picked when the green stalk is sturdy and the bulb is still a bulb. Scapes taste like the alliums they grow from, and you can use them in places you would use chopped onion.
How to Use Scapes
To cook scapes, remove the bulbs and use the stalks. Chop them finely and saute to soften. Add them to omelets or quiche, blitz them into a pesto or preserve them by pickling. Read more
by Emily Lee in Easter, Healthy Recipes, March 24, 2016
Buying and preparing in-season produce is part and parcel of maintaining a healthy diet, but it’s much easier to eat nutritiously when the whole family is on board. In a world full of boxed mac and cheese and freezer-friendly chicken nuggets, we can understand why packaged or prepared foods are a reliable fallback. But we’re hopeful that the right seasonings and preparation methods can turn arugula, carrots, spinach and more into healthy homemade dishes for the whole family to enjoy. Here are six recipes that incorporate spring produce in ways that will appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
Getting kids to eat their greens can be the biggest hurdle of the day, but this Quinoa Salad with Apricots, Basil and Pistachios makes crisp, peppery arugula appetizing for younger palates. Combine the seasonal green with fluffy quinoa, sweet dried apricots and dollops of tangy goat cheese and you’ll hear zero protests when the dish hits the table.
by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, March 9, 2016
Whether you’re serving a juicy glazed ham or a stately crown roast of lamb this Easter, you can count on a filling — and most likely meaty — main dish. If you’re determined to save room for dessert, your best bet is to keep the side dishes light by showcasing fresh spring produce. Your local farmers market will likely have an ample selection of asparagus, peas, and arugula and other fresh greens at this time of year, so make the most of it while the short season lasts.
Here are a few dishes to help turn your Easter celebration into a feast of spring produce:
I know you’re asking: How is March tart cherry month? Tart cherries are different than the sweet cherries that are in season during the warm summer months. These sweet-sour cherries aren’t eaten fresh; rather they are enjoyed year-round dried, frozen, canned and as concentrated juice. Research has also shown that these delicious cherries contain numerous health benefits.