Organic Picks of the Week 02/06/12

Best if Used By 02/13/12

Organic Picks of the week for February 6th, 2012 features:
Leaf Lettuces, Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Meyer Lemons, Chards and Pummelos

1. Organic Leaf Lettuces

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Thinking about a fresh and clean salad, a veggie sandwich… or maybe a Lettuce Wrap? Colorful Organic Red Leaf, vibrant Organic Green Leaf and crisp Organic Romaine Lettuces are in a period of plentiful harvests in the both Florida and California. Tender and smooth Organic Butter (aka Boston) Lettuces are nice right now as well. The Leaf Lettuce head size has varied from grower to grower, but if it looks fresh you can bet it will taste that way too. Leaf Lettuce lasts longer when kept cold and moist. Store Leaf Lettuce wrapped in damp paper towels in a plastic bag (ideally perforated) in the vegetable crisper of your fridge for up to a week. If it looks a little wilted, trim the stem base and soak the Lettuce in cold water, allowing the cells to draw up some water. Remove any discolored outer leaves. Wash Leaf Lettuce in cold water before using and dry the leaves in a salad spinner or pat them dry with a paper towel. Enjoy!

Organic Red Leaf Lettuce. So fine.

2. Organic Vine Ripe Tomatoes

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Face it, nothing compares to homegrown summer Tomatoes, but alas it’s February and homegrown Tomatoes are months away. There’s good news, though. Organic Vine Ripe Tomatoes are likely to be more affordable than usual this time of year. Ideal growing conditions in Florida, and especially Mexico, have created a flush of round Organic Tomatoes. Sure, these Organic Vine Ripe slicing Tomatoes may not stand up to the taste of the local summertime ones, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy them in lots of fresh recipes this month – or just slice some onto your salads and sandwiches. Remember, Tomatoes don’t like the cold so don’t refrigerate them unless you’ve already cut them.

Cheesy Roasted Tomato Slabs

Did you know…
What makes a Tomato “Vine Ripe”? There are three main types of round Tomatoes you may come across in the organic produce section.

  • Vine Ripe Tomatoes are field grown and picked with at least some color on the fruit. The Tomato ripens naturally as it travels the supply chain to the store. These Tomatoes will ripen to a bright red color and get soft to the touch.
  • Hothouse Tomatoes are grown in the controlled environment of greenhouses and are identifiable by the stem still on the fruit.
  • On-the-vine Tomatoes, also called Stem or Cluster Tomatoes, are also grown in greenhouses and picked almost fully ripe.

3. Organic Meyer Lemons

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

Chefs and foodies love Meyer Lemons. Why? These smooth, thin-skinned, golden yellow citrus fruits are sweeter and less acidic than regular Lemons. You can even eat a Meyer Lemon wedge without completely puckering up – they’re quite refreshing, in fact, with tones of tangerine left on your tongue. Meyer Lemons are a cross between a Lemon and a Mandarin. Organically grown Meyer Lemons can be found in many natural foods stores, organic markets and co-ops right now as the peak growing season in California is still rolling along. Seasoning food with Organic Meyer Lemons is a great alternative to salt. How do you use Lemons when cooking?

I'm like a Lemon, only sweeter!

4. Organic Chards

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

Isn’t is cool how some of the most beautiful vegetables are often some of the healthiest? Take Chard for example. Dark green leaves loaded with Vitamins K, A and C sprawling from bright white, red or yellow stems – they’re impressive to behold… and tasty to cook with! Organic Green, Red and Rainbow Chards are in season right now from Florida and California. A cousin to Spinach, Chard (also called Swiss Chard) is a super healthy green, one that you can cook both the leaf and the stem, though the stems may take longer. Steam, saute, braise or juice – what’s your favorite Chard preparation to mellow out or compliment it’s naturally bitter flavor? This chard and mushroom quesadilla recipe looks yummy!

Color meets flavor.

5. Organic Pummelos

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

A prize inside.

Ever see that huge green to yellow skinned Grapefruit-lookin’ thing in the organic produce section where you shop? Pummelos (also called Pomelo) are the biggest of all citrus fruits. And right now Organic Pummelos are at the peak of their season from California. Pummelo tastes like Grapefruit – only a little less juicy and without the bitterness. The pink cells are sweet, mild and flavorful, plus they are easy to break apart from the membrane without smashing to use as a salad topping or as a refreshing snack. Oh, and there’s the skin… a lot of it too – it gives off a wonderful tropical citrus aroma and it extremely thick. Yes, they take a while to peel, but if you already paid a pretty penny for one – just take your time and enjoy the entire event.

This video can get you started:

Buy Smart. Shop Healthy. Live Organic.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

Forward this to a friend if you think they’ll like it – Here’s to fresh!