Best if Used By 02/06/12
Organic Picks of the week for January 30th, 2012 features:
Navel Oranges, Gold Potatoes, Collard Greens, Grape Tomatoes and Mandarins
1. Organic Navel Oranges
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICE
With fruit, peak season is the way to go since that is when there will be the biggest supply. Biggest supply means lower prices spur demand. Peak season also is when the fruit is likely to taste the best and sweetest. It, my friends, is peak season for California Navel Oranges grown in Certified Organic groves. What is the navel? Well, it is actually a little orange within an orange – and the reason why this family of varieties (the Navel family) is generally seedless.
So, how do avoid the dreaded “dry orange”? Yuck! Well, I have two suggestions. First, peak season for Organic Navel Oranges is mid-December through mid-March in California, and dry-cell is less likely then. Second, select Oranges that feel heavy for their size since those are likely to have the most juice.
2. Organic Gold Potatoes
Ahhh, creamy, luxurious, buttery Gold Potatoes are such a subtle indulgence! Now’s a good time to have fun with some recipes using Organically grown Yukon Gold Potatoes from Colorado, Oregon and Canada. Prices are reasonable and quality has been solid. The skin of Gold Potatoes is rather tender and doesn’t necessarily need to be peeled. Check out this recipe called Yukon Gold & Sweet Potato Mash – looks great!
3. Organic Collard Greens
If you believe what you read about the potential cancer prevention and cholesterol-reducing health benefits in Collard Greens, then it might be a good idea to start working them into your diet. Organically grown Collard Greens from Florida and California have been looking stellar – big, broad, dark green leaves. Gorgeous. Prices on Organic Collards are at least twice that of Conventional Collards, but you cannot deny the care and attention in growing that shows in the quality of the Organic Collards right now. Sauteed, steamed, braised – what is your favorite healthy and flavorful preparation of Collards?
4. Organic Grape Tomatoes
VALUE PRICED | PEAK SEASON
Organic Grape Tomatoes galore! There are more Organic Grape Tomatoes coming from the shade houses and fields of Mexico than growers know what to do with right now. Florida growers have ample supplies too, but are managing to get a little more for their fruit. Overall, prices are affordable and some organic markets and natural foods stores are promoting. Do your part to help out the farmers by buying a clamshell or two of the ideal snacking Tomato this week and next for your lunchbag, weeknight salads, weekend snacking and Big Game veggie tray. I gotta admit, I’m partial to the flavor and firmness of the Florida grown Grape Tomatoes over the Mexican. Never refrigerate your Tomatoes since temperatures under the mid-50s kill the taste and make the fruit soft. Room temperature is best. Always rinse your Tomatoes before use.
5. Organic Mandarins
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
California grown Organic Mandarins are hitting peak season supply right now. Two of my favorite varieties are making their way to natural foods stores, coops and organic markets that boast broad citrus variety – W. Murcott Mandarins and Gold Nugget Mandarins. W. Murcott Mandarins are similar to Clementines – easy to peel, mostly seedless, kid-friendly – but I think they’re often sweeter than Clementines. Look for Organic W. Murcott Mandarins in loose displays, bags or 5lb gift boxes. Gold Nugget Mandarins, sometimes called Gold Nugget Tangerines, have gold-colored, pebbled skin and are a larger-sized Mandarin. They’re sticky-sweet, easy to peel and flavorful. Both of these varieties are will be available organically grown from California through April. The Clementine Mandarin season is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy fantastic, certified organic snacking citrus!
Buy Smart. Shop Healthy. Live Organic.
The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy