Organic Picks | July 5th, 2016

BlueberriesYellow PeachesCherriesPlums

Best if used by 7/16/16

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Organic Blueberries

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Best blues of the year!

Organic Blueberries are in peak season from local harvests in New Jersey, plus from Oregon and Washington!

Expect plump, flavorful and sweet Blueberries that are large in size. The fruit coming off the bushes in early July for mid-July sales in stores is tasting outstanding based on the samples I’ve had. Also expect affordable pricing on 6oz packs and pint packs (11oz) – some of the best values of the year on Organic Blueberries.

Whether you’re a fan of Blueberries for health, snacking, baking or flavor reasons – it’s your time to enjoy! I love to much on them by the handful eat them on cereal or blend them into smoothies.

Blueberry Tips

  • Select fresh Blueberries by inspecting the top and bottom of the package to avoid shriveled, smashed-together or wet berries.
  • Look for packs free from light purple or green berries. Those are immature and will taste sour.
  • Seek out Blueberries with the silver, powdery “bloom” on them. Bloom is a naturally occurring wax that forms a protective layer on the fruit while it is growing and is a tell-tale sign of freshness!
  • Store the fruit cold in the fridge, try to use in within a few days of purchase. Wait to wash them until just before using.

How To Freeze

Want to capture the best pricing and best tasting fruit for later? Freeze peak season Blueberries right in the package you bought them in. Be sure they’re completely dry (you can rinse them before use later), place the pack(s) right into a reseal-able plastic bag and freeze. They keep well in the freezer for up to six months and are a convenient way to have healthy, peak season flavor Blueberries handy for baking or to use in smoothies and shakes later in the year.

Recipe Ideas

Want more? An expansive collection of Blueberry recipe ideas can be found here.

Organic Blueberries are in peak season from local harvests in New Jersey, plus from Oregon and Washington!

Organic Yellow Peaches

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Organic Yellow and White Peaches are now in peak season from California. The fruit coming off the trees is juicy and has nicely balanced sweet-tangy flavor. That flavor and sweetness is getting better each week of the summer. Enjoy!

Here in early July, some of the Peaches on organic produce department shelves will still be “cling-stone” varieties, meaning the flesh does not easily pull away from the pit, so you’ll have to cut slices off the sides or wedges off the pit. But by mid to late July most of the Yellow and White Peaches you’ll find will be the summer varieties that are “free-stone”, allowing you to slice the peach around the pit, give it a twist and the fruit comes right off the stone.

Organic Yellow Peaches from California are in season and tasting good. For juicer, sweeter eating experience allow Yellow Peaches to soften at room temperature until they give slightly to a gentle squeeze in your palm.

Organic White-flesh Peach varieties are low in acid so the natural sugar comes through in the flavor from the moment they are picked. Firm and crunchy White Peaches are sweet and tasty! Ripened White Peaches will stay just as sweet but become soft and juicy.

Peach Tips

CHOOSING:

  • Select Peaches that feel heavy. Avoid Peaches with wrinkled skin, large bruises or soft spots.
  • Color? The amount of redness on the skin can vary from variety to variety and is not a true indicator of ripeness, but greenish areas on the skin are a sign of immaturity.

RIPENING:

  • Yellow-flesh Peaches must ripen at room temperature to allow the acidity to mellow and the sweetness to shine through creating a balanced sweet and tangy taste. A ripe Yellow Peach will give just slightly to a gentle squeeze in the palm of your hand.
  • White-flesh Peaches are low-acid and can be eaten when hard or soft.
  • Store Peaches at room temperature to allow them to get to the softness you desire for your eating preference.
  • Impatient? Have some Peaches that are too hard? Place them in a paper bag to speed up ripening.
  • Not ready to use your ripened Peaches? They will hold at that stage for a 1 or 2 days in the refrigerator.

Find Peach Recipe ideas here.

Recipe: Grilled Peaches

  1. Pre-heat grill to high
  2. Halve Peaches and remove the pit
  3. Spray or brush on a light amount of Olive Oil on each side of the Peaches
  4. Reduce grill heat to medium-high
  5. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side, flesh side first
  6. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, garnish with mint

Organic Yellow Peaches from California are in season and tasting good. For juicer, sweeter eating experience allow Yellow Peaches to soften at room temperature until they give slightly to a gentle squeeze in your palm.

Organic Cherries

Peak Season    Best Flavor

June and July is cherry season! And [ tear ] certified Organic Dark Sweet Cherries and Organic Rainier Cherries will be done for the 2016 summer season before you know it – as in, by late July! Try some while they’re still available.

Organic Dark Sweet Cherries from the Pacific Northwest have had rich and deep, sweet Cherry flavor. Growers are now shipping some big Cherries. The Organic Rainier Cherries will wrap up by mid-July, but the last of the season fruit on this white-fleshed variety is tasting super-sweet!  – so good you’ll want more!

Cherry Tips

  • Selecting: Carefully inspect all sides of the Cherry packages to avoid wetness or splits. If the Cherries are in a bag, give a couple a gentle squeeze – you’ll want them to feel firm, not spongy or soft.
  • Storage: Keep Cherries cold in the fridge and use them within a few days of purchase for the best texture. Rinse Cherries just before use and put whatever you don’t eat back in the refrigerator.
  • Sticker-shock? Even during peak season, even on sale Organic Cherries can surprise you at the register, so buy smart. Remember, small cherry bags weigh about 1.25lb and the average random-weight bag or pouch on display weighs about 2.2lb. Bagged Cherries are sold by the pound, so do the math or check a scale to know about what you’re going to pay in total.

Beyond Snacking

  • Freezing: Peak season Cherries can be washed, then frozen with the stems still on in plastic bags with the air removed, then thawed in the refrigerator up to three months later for a convenient snack.
  • Canning: Into preserving the season’s best? Check out this great site dedicated to stone fruit canning.
  • Recipes Ideas: From desserts to salads to drinks, find in-season Cherry Recipe inspiration here.
  • Health & Nutrition: Learn how Cherries may impact Inflammation, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes and Cancer here.

Carefully inspect all sides of the Cherry packages to avoid wetness or splits. If the Cherries are in a bag, give a couple a gentle squeeze – you’ll want them to feel firm, not spongy or soft.

Organic Plums

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

A good Plum is succulent and nicely sweet, maybe lightly tangy too – perfect for snacking out of your hand.  Give Organic Black or Red Plums a try this July. The early summer Black varieties like Owen T and Raven, and Red varieties Hiromi and Fortune, are in peak season from organic orchards in California – some with white flesh, some with red flesh.  The flavor has been decent and prices are reasonable.

Organic Pluots, delicious hybrid crossings between Plums and Apricots, will soon be at their best during mid-to-late July and August.

Plum Tips

  • How do you find a good Plum? Select Organic Plums that feel firm. Plums that are very hard may need a little time to ripen or soften at room temperature. Avoid Plums with soft spots or that feel squishy – a sign of age or over-ripeness. It doesn’t hurt to ask the produce manager for a sample either.
  • Store Plums you plan to eat soon at room temperature for a day. You can eat them firm but just a little give is ideal for a juicy-sweet eating experience. Once at that stage you can get another couple days out of them in the fridge.
  • What is that powder-like film on the skin? It’s called “bloom.” Bloom is a natural, protective wax that forms on the fruit as it grows on the tree. When you rub a Plum or Pluot it gets it’s shine from the bloom.

Organic Pluots, delicious hybrid crossings between Plums and Apricots, will soon be at their best during mid-to-late July and August.

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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