Organic Picks | March 31st, 2015

Rainbow CarrotsBroccoletteSweet PotatoesMangos

Best if used by 04/07/15

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Organic Rainbow Carrots

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Looking for a colorful side dish for your Easter or Passover celebrations? Try Organic Rainbow Carrots! The vibrant color of Organic Rainbow Carrots just screams “make something fun!” How about sautéed, roasted or shaved into a salad? Now is a great time to find Organically grown Rainbow Carrots since California growers are in a stretch of great quality. Stores with a broad variety of organic vegetables may stock them in the following ways: 1) bunched with tops, 2) 2lb bags without tops, 3) 1lb baby cut and peeled packs, or 4) shredded for a salad topper.

Did you know that the first carrots were not orange? The variety of colors in old-world seed now helps modern-day carrot lovers discover their “roots.” The Purple Carrots are extra high in beta-carotene, the Yellow Carrots are mild, the White Carrots are rustic and sweet, and I believe you’re familiar with the Orange Carrots.

Recipe: Easy Roasted Rainbow Carrots

  1.  Bunch of Rainbow Carrots, washed, topped, peeled
  2. Cut the carrots into 1” sections, bias cut (cut thin parts longer)
  3. Toss cut carrots in 2 tbsp Olive Oil, ½ tsp Coarse Salt, ½ tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  4. Roast on a baking tray at 450 F for 15 minutes
  5. Flip the carrots, roast for an additional 15 minutes or until carrots can easily be pierced with a fork

Check out our Pinterest board with lots of Rainbow Carrot recipe ideas HERE.

Recipe: Easy Roasted Rainbow Carrots

 

Organic Broccolette

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

When you can’t decide whether you’re in the mood for Broccoli or Asparagus, try a third option: Broccolette. A cross between Chinese Kale and regular Broccoli, Broccolette has slender stalks small broccoli florets. It features a delicate and sweet Broccoli flavor with hints of Asparagus. The whole vegetable is edible and is cooked any way you’d cook Broccoli, just for a shorter amount of time.

Broccolette is sold by several names including: Sweet Baby Broccoli, Broccolini and Aspiration. Right now, Organic Boccolette is in peak season from southern California. Try it!

Broccolette Tips

  • Select Broccolette that is dark green and is not limp or flabby.
  • Florets of Broccolette quickly blossom into yellow flowers in the field. A few are OK and will not impact your eating experience, but when selecting a bunches of Broccolette “flowering” should not be excessive.
  • Store fresh Broccolette in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator.
  • DO NOT OVER-COOK Broccolette. Steam, sauté, boil, grill or roast it until the stalk is just tender enough to pierce with a knife.

Recipe Ideas

 

Peak season Organic Broccolette (aka Sweet Baby Broccoli) is a delightful recipe alternative to Asparagus or Broccoli. Just be sure not to over-cook it.

 

Steamed Broccolette over Baked Potato

Organic Sweet Potatoes

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Flavorful and sweet – Sweet Potatoes are so delicious that it’s easy to forget you’re eating something so good for you. They’re loaded with Fiber, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese. There is an amazing spectrum of healthy “any day” recipe ideas to enjoy along with all of the traditional Easter and Passover holiday recipes you’re probably familiar with.

The best, clean-skinned, premium Organic Sweet Potatoes (aka Organic Yams) continue to be available from California farms. The finest of the Fall crop harvest, several varieties, have been carefully stored for shipping here in early Spring. Organic farms in North Carolina are also still shipping their orange-flesh Sweet Potatoes too which are not quite as pretty, but certainly tasty and a more economical option for East Coast shoppers.

Organic Sweet Potato (Yam) Buyer Guide by Variety

  • Jewel Yams are gorgeous with a reddish-purple skin and deep orange flesh that is quite moist.
  • Garnet Yams are an ever-popular variety that features orange-red skin and vivid orange flesh.
  • Covington Sweets are grown prominently in North Carolina. They’re an all-purpose, red-tan skin variety with moist orange flesh.
  • Japanese Sweets (aka Oriental Sweets) have purple skin with white flesh and feature a very sweet flavor and firm, dry texture.
  • Hannah Sweets have a light yellow to tan skin with white flesh that has mild flavor and excellent sweetness.
  • Stokes Purple Sweets have violet skin with anti-oxidant rich, deep purple flesh that is drier and waxier than other varieties with a sweet and lightly earthy flavor.

Sweet Potato Tips

  • Orange-flesh Sweet Potatoes are ideal for boiling, whipping, roasting, casseroles, fries and baking.
  • White-flesh Sweet Potatoes have a drier texture and are excellent for baking, roasting or pan frying.
  • At home, Sweet Potatoes do not get stored in the fridge. Simply, keep them in a cool, dry place like the bottom or your pantry.
  • Do not seal uncooked Sweet Potatoes inside a plastic bag during storage.  Some ventilation is best.

Recipe Ideas

Top image, from left: Hannah Sweet, Japanese Sweet, Covington, Garnet, Jewel

Organic Mangos

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Organic Mangos have now begun their peak season from Mexico. Expect good eating quality and reasonable prices now through June. The popular “Tommy Atkins” variety is what you’ll find with dark red blush over dark green skin. When ripe, Organic Tommy Atkins Mangos have sticky-sweet flesh that is dark orange in color and is very juicy with a pleasing tropical flavor. They’re fantastic for snacking, salads and smoothies. 1 cup of cut Mangos is only 100 calories and for it you’ll get Vitamin C, Vitamin A, dietary fiber plus Folate.

Mango Tips

  • What’s the #1 mistake people make with Mangos? Lots of people think Red skin color equals “ripe fruit.” This is incorrect. Red skin on the Tommy Atkins variety means that the mango got plenty of sunshine, but the amount of redness on the skin is not an indicator of sweetness. The skin color does not change after harvest or as the fruit ripens.
  • So, how do you pick a good one? Squeeze for ripeness. Since Tommy Atkins variety Mangos do not give visual clues to when they are ripe, judge by the softness when you squeeze them in your palm. Hard means they’ll be crunchy, while a little give indicates a juicy-ripe Mango for snacking, smoothies and salsas.
  • Stringy Flesh? Tommy Atkins Mangos can feel a bit fibrous or stringy if you eat the flesh right off the pit with your teeth. I recommend cubing this variety or slicing the mango into peeled wedges.
  • Want to know more? Like the best ways to slice a mango? Recipes, cutting tips and more can be found here.

Juicy-sweet Organic Mangos from Mexico are in season! Remember, red skin does NOT = ripe. Squeeze for ripeness.

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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