Organic Picks | July 28th, 2014

EggplantGrape TomatoesBlack GrapesPineapplesKent Mangos

best if used by 08/04/14

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Organic Eggplant

 Peak Season    Best Flavor

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza? Roasted Eggplant and Feta Dip? Eggplant is great for roasting, grilling, frying and steaming and more! It’s a great time to experiment with some Eggplant recipes since Certified Organic Eggplant is in peak season now through late September from local farms in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West, like Lady Moon Farms in Chambersburg, PA.

Eggplant Tips

  • Selecting: Choose Eggplant that is firm, not soft, is free from brown-sunken areas, and has some green color still in calyx around the stem.
  • Storage: Store whole Eggplant at room temperature though in a cooler spot away from direct sunlight. Do not store Eggplant in plastic bags or sealed containers since the lack of respiration will make the fruit decay quicker. You can refrigerate it, but over time cold temperatures make the Eggplant lose flavor and become flabby.
  • Stop S.E.G. To avoid “Soggy Eggplant Syndrome” in your dishes, sprinkle coarse or sea salt on sliced Eggplant and let it set for 10 to 20 minutes. Rinse the slices and pat them dry with a paper towel. This process will draw out some of the moisture to the Eggplant texture and shape holds up better during cooking.
  • Cooking how-to? Click here to learn how to cook Eggplant perfectly using multiple methods.
  • Eggplant Recipes: Check out these 15 Easy Eggplant recipes from Real Simple.

Organic Eggplant summer crop season is here!

Organic Grape Tomatoes

 Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Organic farms in Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are now beginning their peak summer harvests of Certified Organic Grape Tomatoes. Bite-sized Organic Grape Tomatoes are perfect for snacking and for topping salads. Open a pack, give them a rinse and enjoy!

Remember, tomatoes hate the fridge – room temperature is best to preserve their flavor and texture.

Some of the sweetest snacking tomatoes around – Locally grown Organic Grape Tomatoes!

Organic Black Grapes

 Peak Season    Best Flavor

I really love the deep flavor, rich sweetness and crisp texture of a good Black Seedless Grape. And the good ones?  Why, they’re just coming into season now! The varieties being harvested from organic orchards in the San Joaquin Valley of California in late July, August and September are some of the best of the year. Right now you’ll find Summer Royal and Black Emerald varieties on the shelves in organic produce departments.

Select Grapes that feel firm and are free from wet or leaky spots in the package. Keep Grapes refrigerated until you’re ready to eat them, and wash the fruit in a cold water rinse before consuming to remove any dust or dirt from the vineyard.

Can’t find Organic Black Seedless Grapes where you shop? No worries! Organic Red and Green Seedless are smart and tasty choices right now too.

Organic Black Seedless Grapes with rich flavor are entering their peak season – now through mid-fall – from California.

Organic Pineapples

 Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Organic Pineapples from Costa Rica with sweet are in are period of peak harvests right now. Quality and flavor are very good and prices are at their lowest so far this year! Take advantage: make Grilled Pineapple, cut up Pineapple for your fruit salad or as a snack, add fresh Pineapple to your smoothie or mixed drink! Pineapples are loaded with Vitamin C, B1 and B6, manganese, copper and fiber – oh, yeah they taste delicious!

Pineapple Tips

  • Select Pineapples that feel firm, appear vibrant, have a sweet aroma and have fresh looking tops since even the super sweet varieties of gold-fleshed Organic Pineapples tend to have a green-cast to the shell.
  • Pineapples won’t get much sweeter once they’re picked, just older, so don’t let it sit there on the counter as until it turns soft and brown.
  • Snacking, for juicing blends, salads, desserts – oh the ideas! Here’s a Pineapple recipe collection to get your cooking!
  • Need a refresher on how to carve a Pineapple? Watch here.

Prices on Organic Pineapples are some of the best of the year! Take advantage and enjoy some fresh, delicious pineapple grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.

Organic Kent Mangos

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

The Kent variety Organic Mango is now in season from Mexico. These are some of the best-textured, best-tasting Mangos of the season. Featuring a mostly green skin with patches of red blush, Kent Mangos have golden to orange flesh that is both sweet and rich, and is less fibrous and stringy than the Tommy Atkins variety whose season has come to an end for the summer.

Insider Tip

If you can get your hands on Organic Kent Mangos from the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, you are in for an amazing treat. Organic Kent Mangos from that region do not need to be dipped in a hot-water bath (commonplace for organic and conventional Mangos entering the US) before arriving to the United States, so growers are able to ripen the fruit longer on the tree for an even richer, sweet flavor!

Recipe: Mango-Blueberry Smoothie

Add the following ingredients to your blender

  1. 5-6 ice cubes
  2. 6oz washed Blueberries
  3. 2 Mangos, peeled, pits removed
  4. 1 cup Milk (soy, almond or dairy)
  5. Pulse, then blend until smooth

  Is It Ripe?

The amount of redness on the skin is not an indicator of sweetness or ripeness with the Kent variety Mango. These Mangos do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them. Hard means they’ll be kinda crunchy, while a little give to a squeeze in your palm indicates a juicy, ripe Mango for snacking, smoothies and salsas. Ripen Mangos at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

  How-To

Want to know more? Like the best ways to slice a mango? Recipes, cutting tips and more can be found here.

Smooth-textured with sweet flesh, Kent variety Organic Mangos from Mexico are in peak season. Don’t be fooled by the mostly green skin on Kent Mangos – the fruit tastes excellent!

 

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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