Organic Picks of the Week 02/13/12

Best if Used By 02/20/12

Organic Picks of the week for February 13th, 2012 features:
Romaine Hearts, Pineapples, Cauliflower, Lacinato Kale and Red Peppers

1. Organic Romaine Hearts

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Are you a Blender or a Purist? i.e. Do you mix Romaine Hearts with other greens to create your salads with color and texture, or do you like to use all Romaine Hearts for crunchy, sturdy salads? There’s, no right answer, just cool recipe ideas. You have a favorite salad to share? Comment here or post it to our Facebook page. Pictured here are Organic Romaine Hearts with Citrus Vinaigrette and Blood Orange sections.

Organic Romaine Hearts, Citrus Vinaigrette with Blood Oranges

Organic Romaine Hearts are crisp, juicy, clean and flavorful right now. The only thing that could make them better is if they were priced affordably… hey, you’re in luck. Organically grown Romaine Hearts are in peak harvests in Southwestern growing regions. Romaine Hearts rows are planted extra close together to help the Lettuce head grow tall and tight. The outer leaves are trimmed off, they’re immediately packaged in the field (there is no “romaine heart factory”), rushed to the cooler and shipped around the country. How fresh is that!

2. Organic Pineapples

BEST FLAVOR

Pineapples take 1-2 years to mature and it feels like that since Organic Pineapples have been in decent supply at natural food stores and organic markets… even though it’s only been a couple months of patchy supply. This week new arrivals of super sweet variety Organic Pineapples arrived from Costa Rica looking nice and fresh. Keep you eye out for this tropical goodie to help brighten up your salads and juices, or to savor as a sweet snack!

They're back!

3. Organic Cauliflower

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED | BEST FLAVOR

Now that I’ve been been roasting Cauliflower I can’t stop thinking of great new recipe ideas! Baking Cauliflower quickly in high heat mellows the bitterness and gives it some caramelization for great flavor – m-mmm! Hey, it is a fantastic time to try out some new Cauliflower recipes! There is a flush of Organic Cauliflower in Southwestern growing areas this month. Expect nice quality and lower than usual prices to move the extra harvests. Select Cauliflower that looks fresh, but don’t get worried if you see a little brown spot on a few florets – those discolored spots are easy to trim off with a knife when you are cutting up the head.

RECIPE – Roasted Cauliflower & Carrots with Baby Spinach

  • ½ head of Organic Cauliflower separated into bite-sized florets
  • 1 Yellow or Sweet Organic Onion sliced into 1” pieces
  • 2 Organic Carrots peeled and bias-cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Toss Vegetables in a bowl with 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Season with Coarse Salt and Cracked Black, or a Seasoned Salt mix
  • Spread out evenly on large cookie sheet
  • Roast at 450 F for 30 min
  • Toss Roasted Veggies with 2 cups fresh Organic Baby Spinach to wilt

Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots and Onion with Baby Spinach

4. Organic Lacinato Kale

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

You’ve may have tried Leafy Green Kale, but have you ever tried it’s Italian cousin? Lacinato Kale – aka Dino, Dinosaur, Tuscan or Black Kale – is deep green in color and has an earthy flavor that is slightly sweeter than Leafy Green Kale. It is complimented in cooking with other bold flavors like garlic. Lacinato Kale cut into 1/2″ wide strips with the stems removed can be braised in stock, steamed, boiled or sauted. It can also be sliced into thin pieces and used raw in salads. Since it’s so packed with vitamins and nutrients, Lacinato is fantastic to add to your juice blend. Right now Organic Lacinato Kale from Florida and California is looking fantastic! Big, blue-green embossed leaves in healthy bunches can be found standing tall in most organic produce sets this month.

Lacinato perfection.

5. Organic Red Peppers

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

In health food stores and organic markets, I’ve often found that Organic Red Bell Peppers sell better than Organic Green Bell Peppers, even when the Reds cost more. I suspect that is because shoppers in the know understand that Red Bell Peppers not only taste sweeter but that bright color indicates high anti-oxidant levels. Well, the next several weeks look to be an outstanding time to choose Organic Red Bell Peppers since they are in peak season and quite plentiful from Mexico and the greenhouses of Israel. Expect reasonable prices that will be closer to Organic Green Peppers than usual. Select Bell Peppers that have firm shoulders and a vibrant appearance.

Bell curve.

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!