Best if Used By 10/23/12
Organic Picks of the week for October 16th, 2012 features
Pomegranates, Brown Turkey Figs, Hass Avocados, Red Beets,
and Fuji Apples
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
The peak season has begun for Organic Pomegranates from California. Super-food Pomegranates have been in the news for health benefits. The anti-oxidant rich and delicious prize inside an Organic Pomegranate is the juicy, sweet, bold flavored arils (seeds encapsulated with sacs of juice). These arils are fantastic by themselves as a flavorful snack – juicy, then crunchy. The taste is somewhere between concord grape juice and cranberry juice on the sugar to acid scale, but deliciously unique, robust. Pomegranate arils can be used to top a salad, in yogurt parfaits, with desserts or cocktails, and of course for juicing. Here are some recipe ideas for any course.
Select fresh Pomegranates that are firm and heavy, a sign of juice content. Store in the fridge for best shelf-life, but they’ll last for a week or so on the counter too as an interesting, decorative centerpiece. But how do you get at those arils?
1. Butcher method: (or more grimly – Murder Method) Hack it open, pry the membranes apart, then clean up your crime scene – I mean, kitchen. There will be juice splattering on your cutting surface and surrounding area, and likely on you. Fun for Halloween maybe, but there are better ways.
2. Aqua method: Quarter the fruit, pull arils from membranes over or under water to keep the splatter to a minimum. The arils sink and the membranes float – strain and you’re done. There’s less mess, less chance of stain splash with this fairly straight-forward method.
3. Deseeder Tap method: One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the “60 Second Pomegranate Deseeder” I came across this product a couple years ago. This archive video shows me testing it. I still use this thing because it works. Halve the fruit, put it face down on the deseeder grate and tap out the arils with a heavy utensil onto a plate.
Organic Brown Turkey Figs
October marks the peak season for late crop of the Brown Turkey variety of fresh Organic Figs from California. Brown Turkey Figs have brown to purple colored blush over green skins. Their flavor is hearty and sweet. Ripe Fresh Figs have tender skin and a soft, gooey flesh, and can be eaten whole (except for the stem) or sliced into wedges. The fruit tastes sweet, rich and slightly earthy.
Fresh Organic Brown Turkey Figs are excellent for eating whole as a snack, for desserts, or in sweet and savory baking recipes. Fresh Figs are ripe when they give to a gentle squeeze. They’re highly perishable, so keep them in the fridge and use them within a few days. I love to hold them by the stem and eat the rest of the fruit whole – yum!
Organic Hass Avocados
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED
Creamy and smooth, doesn’t some fresh guacamole sound good? Perhaps some slices of ripe Hass Avocados on your salad or sandwich is what you crave. Recipe ideas are endless. Organic Hass Avocados from Mexico are in peak season right now and prices are reasonable. Flavor and eating quality has been excellent on the Mexican grown fruit I’ve eaten lately.
TIPS: Hass Avocados are ripe and ready to cut when they begin give to gentle thumb pressure. If the Hass Avocados you purchase are hard, then store them at room temperature until they ripen. Once an uncut Hass Avocado reaches its ripe stage and you’re not ready to eat it, put it in the fridge to keep it at that ripeness stage for another day or two.
RECIPE: Guac Shells
- Halve 3 fully ripe Hass Avocados
- Remove the pit and scoop out the flesh into a bowl
- Smash Avocado flesh with a fork
- Dice 1 Roma Tomato
- Season to taste with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
- Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 Lime
- Stir in Roma, seasonings and juice
- Serve in the empty Hass Avocado skin shells
Organic Red Beets
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
The fall crop of Organic Beets is in peak season in California. Bunched Organic Red and Gold Beets are sold with the tops on them. Loose Organic Beets have the tops trimmed and are sold by the pound. Both loose and bunched are good right now. Beets are typically steamed or roasted and served over salad greens, paired well with strong or creamy cheese, or matched with other roasted root vegetables. Those Organic Beet greens (tops) can be braised or sautéed just like a tender version of Chard. Recipe ideas can be found here.
Confession of a Produce Geek: The BEST FLAVOR designation on this is from hear-say. I eat and enjoy just about every fruit and vegetable that comes my way… that is except for Beets. (Must be something from my childhood. HaHa!) On paper, I should love them since I’m such a fan of other root veggies. But alas, trying them again not too long ago reminded me of aversion. I guess everyone has one thing they aren’t into. Beet lovers… enjoy one for me! –Jonathan
Organic Fuji Apples
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
Gotta sweet tooth? You’ll love Organic Fuji Apples. Nicely crisp, fine-flesh textured, impressively juicy, mildly aromatic – those are all great eating characteristics for an Apple, but it’s the sweetness that sets the Fuji variety apart. Fuji Apples are not only awesome for snacking, they add texture to salads, complement cheeses, pair well Asian flavors in cooking, and if you’re into juicing – Fuji’s can bolster sweetness in just about any greens blend.
Peak season is here for fresh crop Organic Fuji Apples from Washington state, the biggest Organic Fuji growing state. Skin color can range from almost solid red with a few green streaks to mostly light green with a few red streaks and small brown flecks, but either way has little impact on flavor. As with all Apples, select Fuji Apples that feel firm, are free from skin wrinkles or large bruises (round discolored spots) and store them in the refrigerator until a day or two prior to eating to maintain crispness.
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.
Buy Smart. Shop Healthy. Live Organic.
The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy