Organic Picks | May 31st, 2016

RaspberriesRed Seedless GrapesCantaloupesHoneydewGalia Melons

Best if used by 06/13/16

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Organic Raspberries

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

If you’re like me, fresh berries of some kind are nice to have around, so with that in mind – there’s great news! All organic berries will be in peak season during June – Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries and Raspberries. I’m pretty excited about the last one, here’s why:

This June, during the first couple of weeks, Organic Raspberries will be so abundant that you may come across some incredible deals on delicious tasting berries. Eat ‘em by the pack, make a big dessert, add them to your cereal (yogurt, smoothies and…), or freeze some if you get a hot buy.

The late spring and early summer crop of Organic Raspberries from California and Mexico feature a sweet flavor with some mild, familiar tanginess underneath. Mmm – sounds perfect.

Raspberry Tips

  • Always keep Raspberries refrigerated.
  • A Raspberry is a delicate fruit – wait to rinse them with tap water until just before use.
  • Inspect the package from all sides to be sure there’s no mold, wet spots, black spots or smashed and clumped berries.
  • And the best advice is: When you find a nice Raspberry pack, enjoy it quickly – fresh is best. Protect your investment by eating it soon.

More on Raspberries

  • Recipes? Check out these beautiful recipes on Driscoll’s website –the best growers of Organic Raspberries in the world.
  • Nutrition? Not only are they flavorful, but the health benefits of Raspberries are formidable – antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Learn more.

And the best advice is: When you find a nice Raspberry pack, enjoy it quickly – fresh is best. Protect your investment by eating it soon.

Organic Red Seedless Grapes

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Crunchy, fresh crop Organic Grapes for snacking?  Ah, what a treat! Organic Grapes are special since you can’t get them 365 days a year – only when they’re in season. That time is now.

Organic Seedless Grapes from vineyards in Mexico and the irrigated deserts of Coachella, CA have been in season for a couple of weeks, but now the crop has hit peak season harvests in late May and through June. That means nice quality and reasonable prices in the produce department on both Organic Green and Red Seedless Grapes between now and Independence Day.

The sweet and lightly tangy Red Flame variety has a crunchy pop and crisp texture, making it my preferred Organic Grape so far. Red Flame Seedless are small and round, but I’ll take flavor and texture over size. My kids have been devouring them! The green Perlette variety has nice texture, but are still a little tart.

Seedless Grape Tips

  • Select Grapes that feel firm to a gentle squeeze. Lift up the bag or container and look at it from all sides.
  • Look for Grapes with stems that are still green at the thickest parts and appear to still have life in them.
  • Choose packs that have most of the berries still on the vine.
  • Avoid bags that are wet and sticky – a sign that some of the Grapes are going bad – or have berries with splits or cracks.
  • Keep your Grapes refrigerated until you’re about ready to eat them, since they lose their crunch much quicker at room temperature.
  • Wash Grapes with a cold water rinse just before serving them.

Organic Seedless Grapes from vineyards in Mexico and the irrigated deserts of Coachella, CA have been in season for a couple of weeks, but now the crop has hit peak season harvests in late May and through June.

Organic Cantaloupes

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Certified Organic Cantaloupes are back in season! The late spring crop of Organic Cantaloupes from southern California and Mexico is coming in nicely.  The melons have had nice flavor and impressive sweetness. The seed cavities are small, which gives you more tasty, dark orange melon flesh for the money.

Organic Cantaloupe varieties grown this time of year are round, have thick, tight webbing with a straw color over green on the rind. Since they’re picked at maturity the fruit is ready to eat when you buy them.

Cantaloupe Tips

  • Select Cantaloupes that are free from sunken, discolored spots, or large soft areas (a sign of bruising).
  • Storing for a day or two at room temperature will soften the melon a bit, which can make it taste sweeter, juicier. But Organic Cantaloupes from California and Mexico are ready to eat immediately after purchase.
  • Cut melon must be refrigerated.

 

Storing for a day or two at room temperature will soften the melon a bit, which can make it taste sweeter, juicier. But Organic Cantaloupes from California and Mexico are ready to eat immediately after purchase.

Organic Honeydew

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Sweet and flavorful Organic Honeydew melons are now in season from Mexico and southern Californoa. The melons right now are small in size, but are dense, juicy and have small seed cavities – giving you more melon for the money. The Organic Honeydew right now have firm flesh and a mild-sweet flavor, but a day or two on the counter will help soften them up for better ripeness to let the juiciness and flavor shine through. Thanks to high volume harvests, expect lower than usual pricing during much of June!

Honeydew Tips

  • Ripe Honeydew will have a waxy feel and begin to emit a tropical aroma as they ripen and soften at room temperature. Honeydew should give slightly to firm thumb pressure when it is ready to cut.
  • To get the most out of the melon: Slice the melon in half, scoop out the seeds, peel on a cutting board, chunk the flesh and store cut melon in the fridge.
  • Ever have Spa Water? It is basically flavoring your own water with fruit – a great way to stay deliciously hydrated. Honeydew and Watermelon is great for this! Find Spa Water Recipes here.

To get the most out of the melon: Slice the melon in half, scoop out the seeds, peel on a cutting board, chunk the flesh and store cut melon in the fridge.

Organic Galia Melons

Peak Season    Best Flavor

What is a Galia Melon?

It is a cross between a European-style Cantaloupe and Honeydew developed by a plant breeder in Israel several decades ago. The skin has shades of green to straw-colored brown with fine webbing. The color tends to darken as the fruit ripens. Inside, the flesh is green to creamy-white in color, juicy and quite sweet.

When is it ripe? The best judge of ripeness is when you begin to smell a pleasing fragrance when the melon is at room temperature.

Organic Galia Melon is fantastic to eat by itself as a snack or dessert. It’s tropical-melon flavor enhances salads and can be brilliant as a gazpacho-style soup. Cut melon and fresh mint with water in a pitcher makes wonderful spa-water. Organic Galia Melons are in season from southern California during late May and early June, and then again during late summer. It is still a specialty product so you won’t find them just anywhere, but if you come across Organic Galia Melons at your health food store or food co-op – they’re certainly worth a try!

When is it ripe? The best judge of ripeness is when you begin to smell a pleasing fragrance when the melon is at room temperature.

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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