Organic Picks of the Week 05/21/12

Best if Used By 05/28/12

Organic Picks of the week for May 21st, 2012 features
Honeydew, Sweet Corn, Portabella Mushrooms, Red Peppers and Scallions

What is Organic Produce?

Certified Organic Produce meets a set of standards for growing, handling and labeling that is governed by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. The terms “Natural” and “Local” are not the same as “Organic.” Learn more about Organic.

Organic Honeydew

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Sweet and flavorful Organic Honeydew melon is in peak season from southern California and Mexico. The melons are dense, juicy and have small seed cavities – giving you more melon for the money. The Organic Honeydew I’ve tried recently are ready to eat when you get them, but a day or two on the counter will help soften them up to perfect ripeness. Honeydew is great to mix into fresh fruit salads, but here are more recipe ideas.

Organic Honeydew – tasting great!

Organic Sweet Corn

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Delicious and juicy certified Organic Sweet Corn is available from farms in southern California this week in time for Memorial Day festivities. Here’s the thing – most Organic Produce looks fairly similar or sometimes even nicer than conventional produce, but Sweet Corn is tricky. The drawback to this Corn is that most ears have bug damage – earworm near the tips to be specific. Certified Organic Produce cannot be treated with pesticides and insecticides. And once earworm gets into a corn growing region – chemicals are the only thing to get them out. Thus, it’s almost impossible to find Organic Corn without bug damage.

Organic Corn – a delicious tradeoff.

Many Organic Markets and Natural Foods Stores trim the ends before for displaying their Organic Corn. Others put it out as-is. Bugs in corn was a more common part of local Sweet Corn many years ago. I remember working at a roadside stand that many customers would open every ear of Corn, squealing at the revelation of a worm damaged top, until they came up with the perfect dozen. So – the tradeoff – sweet and tender Corn grown without the use of synthetic chemicals vs. sprayed corn that has no bugs.

COOKING TIPS: I’ve been enjoying Sweet Corn cooked on the grill with the husk still on. This has been for the simple reason that the pesky strings of silk are sooo much easier to remove when it’s been steamed in the husk. Remove loose outer leaves, rinse the husks with water to add some moisture, grill for about 8 minutes, flipping once. The husk will look burnt, but when you let the Corn cool for a couple minutes so it is able to be handled – you’ll find husking it is a breeze. Plus, your Sweet Corn will be perfectly steamed and have a hint of smoky flavor. If you choose to boil husked Corn, all you need to 3-4 minutes of cooking time.

Organic Portabella Mushrooms

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

The steak of veggies, Organic Portabella Mushroom caps are big, have meaty flesh, grill up well and feature a rich, earthy yet accessible flavor. Grown inside, Mushrooms are always in season, but fresh Portabella (aka Portobello, Portabello) Mushrooms are especially timely around grilling season. Pick up some Organic Portabella Mushrooms this week to marinate and grill for your vegetarian guests instead of burgers or to simply enjoy yourself!

Did you know my home state (woo-hoo) of Pennsylvania grows more Mushrooms than any other?

The steak of veggies. Grill it!

Organic Red Peppers

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

Gorgeous certified Organic Red Bell Peppers are in season from greenhouses in Holland and Canada. These Peppers have thick walls, rich red color (a sign of good anti-oxidant content) and sweet flavor. I love grilling Organic Red Peppers or fire roasting them to remove the skin. Dipping fresh slices of Red Pepper in Hummus makes a great evening snack. Here are some other interesting vegetarian recipes featuring Red Bell Pepper.

Ring my Organic BELL Pepper!

Organic Scallions

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Green Onion goodness. Your chili tastes brighter, your salad tastes fresher, your potatoes taste livelier and your stir-fries are brighter… when they’re topped with Scallions. The spring crop of Organic Scallions from California is in full swing – nice flavor, reasonably priced. You may even come across some locally grown Organic Scallions on the East Coast. These recipes might get your taste buds going.

Clean, green, flavor machine – Organic Scallions.

Organic Scallions have a mild onion flavor with hints of garlic. The base of the Scallion – the white part – has the most intense flavor and is often used in cooking, while the tops – the green part – are typically chopped and used as a topping. Avoid Scallions that are slimy and wilted. Select Organic Scallion bunches that are bright and firm.

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!