Organic Picks of the Week 11/27/12

Best if Used By 12/04/12

Organic Picks of the week for November 27th, 2012 features
Pink Lady Apples, Blackberries, White-flesh Sweet Potatoes, Sunburst Tangerines, and Rutabagas

Organic Pink Lady Apples (Cripps Pink)

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Not everyone likes a sweet apple. And even, sweet-apple-lovers need to mix things up every now and then. Typically, tart Apple fans have gravitated towards the green-skinned Granny Smith variety, but I direct them to Pink Lady Apples. They’ve got a bright cheek-rosy skin, dense, crisp flesh and honey sweetness under the bold, sharp, tart flavor.

Organic Pink Lady Apples are in season! Forwardly TART with sweetness underneath, extremely firm and dense flesh.

Organic Pink Lady Apples and their non-branded version, Organic Cripps Pink, are one of the last apple varieties to be picked from the trees, but peak season is finally here from organic orchards in Washington state. They’re definitely worth a try for snacking, juicing and these recipes!

Organic Blackberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Organic Blackberries from Mexico are in a period of big harvests which means lower better freshness and availability in organic produce departments this December. The berries are large, plump, a little tangy and noticeably sweet. Yum!

Plump, tangy-sweet Organic Blackberries are in season.

Always wash your Blackberries just before use. Store them in the fridge and try to use them within a few days of purchase to get the most out of your purchase. In addition to snacking, making smoothies and topping your cereal or yogurt. Here are some Blackberry recipe ideas.

Organic White-flesh Sweet Potatoes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Sure, you may have had your fill last week of candied yams, sweet potato pie and other classic Thanksgiving recipes made with moist, orange-flesh Sweet Potatoes like the Garnet, Jewel, Beauregard and Covington varieties commonly sold as Yams. But this week and into December, consider trying some recipes with tasty white-fleshed Organic Sweet Potatoes. There are two excellent varieties in season now from organic farms in California that I’d like to recommend: Hannah Sweets and Japanese Sweets.

Delicious, in season Organic White-flesh Sweet Potatoes! Flavorful Hannah Sweets LEFT. Drier, firmer Japanese Sweet Potatoes RIGHT.

With their golden to bronze skin and white flesh that cooks up light yellow Organic Hannah Sweets do, in fact, have a sweet flavor, though less straight-forward than and just different enough from orange-flesh varieties to notice. The flesh is slightly drier than their orange-flesh counterparts, making Hannah Sweet Potatoes ideal for baking and roasting, but you can use them in most any Sweet Potato recipe you have.

Purple-skinned Organic Japanese Sweet Potatoes are prized for their firm texture with white flesh that bakes up drier that other sweet potatoes. I’ve seen them sold as “Oriental Sweets,” “Purple-skin Sweets” and “Asian Sweet Potatoes.” The flavor is excellent – sweet and mild. Simply bake in the oven at 350 F for about an hour or until a fork smoothly pierces the flesh. You can also roast bite-sized cubes or hand-cut steak fries tossed on olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper at 450 F for 35-40 minutes. Because of their drier texture, they can be easily sliced after baking to add to salads.

Organic Sunburst Tangerines

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Tons of juice, nice sweetness, some tanginess and plenty of flavor! Oh yea, and tons of… seeds. If you’re a fan of that sunshiny, classic Tangerine flavor then now is your time start enjoying peak of the season Organic Sunburst Tangerines from Florida – the variety know for its vivid orange skin. I try to think of seeds as speed bumps in the parking lot of taste – they slow you down just enough for you to truly savor the flavor.

Bright-orange Organic Sunburst Tangerines are in season – juiciness, seeds and all!

Select Tangerines that feel heavy for their size. Avoid soft and squishy feeling Tangerines as they are likely to go bad soon. Keep them in the fridge for a week or on the counter at room temperature for a couple days.

Organic Rutabagas

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Yes, humble Rutabagas are often a forgotten or over-looked at the market. Too bad, because they pack some great flavor and texture! Check out these recipe ideas. Fall and winter are peak seasons for Organic Rutabagas so expect good quality and value pricing.

The oft forgotten about Rutabaga: a crunchy, savory-sweet raw snack; excellent mashed, roasted or in stews.

Rutabagas are a root vegetable similar to Turnips, but their yellow flesh is sweeter. They’re often waxed for shelf life, so peeling the skin is a necessary step. They can be sliced into thin sticks and eaten raw like Carrots for a savory-sweet and crisp snack. They are good added to stews, soups and are excellent when steamed or roasted. Rutabagas are also ideal for mashing, but require a little less milk than Potatoes due to the high moisture content.

RECIPE: Roasted Rutabagas, Gold & Sweet Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts

  • 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 Gold 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

Roasted Rutabagas, Gold & Sweet Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts

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