Organic Picks of the Week 10/23/12

Best if Used By 10/30/12

Organic Picks of the week for October 23rd, 2012 features
Medjool Dates, Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, Golden Delicious Apples, and Bosc Pears

Organic Medjool Dates

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

So sweet, so delectable, so amazing! If you’re not buying fresh Medjool Dates to snack on, bake with, cook with and turn into fantastic desserts – then you’re missing out, my friend. Dates store well, making them available all year long, but late October through November is a particularly fine time to partake. Why? Certified Organic date-palm groves in Southern California and Western Arizona are having tree ripe Medjools picked everyday right now.

Medjool Date halves topped with Peanut Butter and Walnuts.

Caramel-sweet, plump and gooey, Organic Medjool Dates are often mistaken for dried fruit, but in fact, Dates ripen to perfection on the palms and manage to stay delicious on your counter for a couple weeks and in your ‘fridge for a couple months. The Medjool variety is larger than other Dates and ideal for eating whole (just don’t forget about the 1/2″ pit). Delicious recipe inspiration for Medjool Dates can be found here.

Organic Brussels Sprouts

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

We’ve been craving Roasted Brussels Sprouts at our house as the weather gets cooler and days shorter. And this was the weekend to do it. Sunday dinner – fall roasted vegetable blend. When I was a kid, I never knew Brussels Sprouts could taste so good! Brussels Sprouts look like mini cabbages that grow all around the sides of long, tall stalks. They taste nutty and rich, but if you over-boil or over-steam Brussels Sprouts you’ll actually bring out a sulfur nastiness that is the number one reason people don’t like them in the first place. A quick blanch and then sauté, or roasting them in high heat until they are just tender, are great ways to bring out the best smoothness and sweetness of flavor. Raw Brussels Sprouts can be sliced thin and added to salads and slaws.

Certified Organic Brussels Sprouts fresh from California.

Good news! Organic Brussels Sprouts are back in season from California. Fall is a fantastic time for Brussels Sprouts since the cool weather brings out the best flavor. Plus, peak season harvests keep supplies steady and retailers promoting. Select Organic Brussels Sprouts that are nice and green, and have tight, firm heads. Store Brussels Sprouts in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. To prepare them, you’ll peel off the outer leaf or two when you trim the end off the bottom.

Brussels Sprouts Roasted with Rutabagas, Sweet Potatoes, Buttercream Potatoes, Garlic.

Nothing brings out the sweet and savory flavors of fall within season root and cruciferous vegetables like roasting! Here’s an easy recipe to try for dinner or for your holiday cooking.

Ingredients

  • 10-15 Brussels Sprouts (ends trimmed, loose leaves removed, halved if bigger than 1”)
  • 1 Sweet Potatoes (peeled, cubed into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 Large Rutabaga or 2 Small Rutabagas (peeled, sliced into bite sized pieces)
  • 3 Buttercream Potatoes or 2 Large Yukon Potatoes (skin-on, sliced into bite sized pieces)
  • 3 Whole Cloves Garlic (peeled, end trimmed)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Coarse Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

 

Preparation

  • Pre-heat Oven to 450 degrees F
  • Combine fresh ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  • Add Olive Oil and toss to coat
  • Season liberally with Salt and Pepper – toss again
  • Spread Vegetables out evenly on a large Cookie Baking Sheet or Roasting Tray (or two if necessary)
  • Roast for 15 minutes at 450
  • Flip/Toss Vegetables over with spatula
  • Roast for 10-15 more minutes at 450 or until browned and soft enough to easily pierce with a fork
  • Fennel, Hard Squash, Carrots, Cauliflower, Parsnips or Fingerling Potatoes are flavorful substitutes or additions in this recipe.

More Brussels Sprouts recipe ideas here.

Organic Cranberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Fresh Organic Cranberries from Wisconsin are now in season! Time to dust off your recipe cards and go to the web for some new recipe ideas to take advantage of these healthy, intensely tangy berries. What a fantastic fall flavor! You don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving day, you know. Snacks, appetizers, relishes, sauces, breads, muffins, drinks and desserts – get your Cranberry on!

Fresh Organic Cranberries are in season!

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce is way easier than you may have thought. If you want to skip the canned stuff this season –

  • Boil a cup of water and a cup of sugar
  • Add roughly 12oz of rinsed Fresh Cranberries
  • (most organic cranberries come in 7-8oz packs, so just over a pack and a half will do, depending on how sweet or tart you prefer it)
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring often
  • Pour it into a bowl to cool at room temperature and you’ve done it!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce is easier to make than you think! It tastes more like dried cranberries than Jello.

Organic Golden Delicious Apples

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

An old-fashioned and familiar flavor – Golden Delicious Apples still have an important place in the world of new apple varieties. Golden Delicious are very sweet, have medium crispness and taste mellow – ideal for snacking, baking and desserts. Sliced “Gold Dels” simply baked with cinnamon until soft is sublime.

Sweet. Mellow. Organic Golden Delicious Apples are at their best.

It is peak season for Organic Golden Delicious Apples from Washington. Select Golden Delicious Apples that are free from wrinkles and that feel firm. For best texture, keep your apples refrigerated until the day you hope to eat them. Be gentle! They bruise easily.

Organic Bosc Pears

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Organically grown Bosc Pears are in peak season from Oregon and Washington. Their honey-sweet flavor and delightful juicy-crisp texture make them perfect for snacking, salads and desserts. Unlike many other Pears, Bosc, with their golden brown russeted skin over a green base, do not need to ripen as much to taste sweet so even a little “give” near the stem will mean ripe flesh. Or you can eat Bosc as a crunchy treat as soon as you buy them.

The crunchy pear with rustic looks – peak season Organic Bosc.

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

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