Organic Picks of the Week 12/04/12

Best if Used By 12/11/12

Organic Picks of the week for December 4th, 2012 features
Kiwi Fruit, Navel Oranges, Bok Choy, Escarole, and Cameo Apples

Organic Kiwi Fruit


Fun for your taste buds. Serious nutrition for your body. Kiwi Fruit has it all! And now is a great time to have some serious fun with Kiwi since Organic Kiwi are in peak season supply from both California and Italy. They’re not very expensive either, especially when you think about the benefits! Two Kiwi have more potassium than a banana, more than twice the daily RDA of Vitamin C and more fiber than a bowl of bran flakes – all that for about 100 calories. Whoa! Oh, and they’ve got antioxidant Vitamin E, Lutein, Folate, Magnesium and more! Did I mention that they taste delicious?

Sweet and tangy, nutritional-powerhouse – Kiwi.

Kiwi are juicy, sweet and tangy… in fact, my mouth is watering from the back of my jaw as I write this and recall that last flavorful bite. They take any fresh fruit salad to a new level, are interesting in yogurt and just perfect as a snack. A nice way to sweeten up green blends if you’re into juicing.

Here’s the big question: How do you know when a Kiwi is ripe? A Kiwi is ready to eat when it gives to thumb pressure. Store hard Kiwi at room temperature until they’re ripe, or place them in a paper bag to speed up the process by trapping the natural ethylene emitted by the fruit. Ripe Kiwi can be held at that stage for about week in the fridge if you’re not ready to eat them. To eat a Kiwi simply slice it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, or peel and slice it – that’s it.

How do you know when a kiwi is ripe? VIDEO

Organic Navel Oranges


There’s nothing quite like a sweet and juicy Navel Orange. It is an easy to love flavor during the cold months that whisks your taste buds away to the sunny citrus groves of the San Joaquin Valley in California. What a satisfying, classic snack! No seeds. Not too difficult to peel, section and share.

In season: Mild-tasting Florida Organic Navels LEFT. Sweet with acidic balance California Organic Navels RIGHT.

Peak of the season Organic California Navels are better. The first of the season fruit tends to have less sweetness and flavor. California Organic Navel growers are now into their peak harvests. Lighter orange colored and mild tasting Florida Organic Navels also in peak season, yet the unmistakable dark-orange skin and juicy-sweet flesh that’s packed with rich flavor that is characteristic of peak season California grown Navels is hard to beat! Now through March, expect excellent flavor and fair prices that will both get even better over the coming weeks. Find the juiciest ones by selecting Navels that are heavy for their size.

Organic Bok Choy


Bok Choy is a popular Asian vegetable from the Cabbage family that has smooth crunchy, white ribs and green leaves. now, fresh, high quality Baby Bok Choy and regular Bok Choy is coming from organic farms in Florida. It is also in season from California. Bok Choy is steamed, stir-fried, used in soups or for Kim Chee. Select Organic Bok Choy that feels firm and heavy, and has healthy leaves. Rinse the leaves and ribs thoroughly to make sure to get all of the dirt and sand out that may have been trapped there as it grew.

RECIPE: Chili-Garlic Bok Choy

  • Rinse one head Organic Bok Choy
  • Cut out root bulb at base
  • Chop Organic Bok Choy ribs into large, bite-size chunks, and leaves into 1×2″ strips
  • Heat 2-3 tbsp oil on HIGH in a large frying pan adding three cloves diced garlic and 1 tsp Chili Pepper Flakes
  • Add in Bok Choy ribs, stir for 1-2 min. until translucent, cover for 1 min.
  • Add Bok Choy leaves, stir for 2 min.
  • Season with coarse salt before removing from pan

Chili-Garlic Bok Choy

Organic Baby Bok Choy is also in peak season from Florida. The “baby” version is different from regular Bok Choy in that the head is only about 2” wide and 6-8” long. The color is all light green on both the ribs and leaves. Typically, Baby Bok Choy is grilled, roasted, steamed, braised or sautéed and served as the whole head – or at least whole leaves.

In season Organic Baby Bok Choy from Lady Moon Farms in Punta Gorda, FL.

Organic Escarole


Italian Wedding Soup, Sautéed Escarole & Garlic, White Bean and Escarole Soup, Escarole and Apple Salad with nuts… the recipe ideas for fresh Escarole get you thinking about cool weather meals and Italian preparations. Escarole is like a slightly bitter, more flavorful version of Green Leaf Lettuce. It has dark green leaves and a bleached green and crisp heart. It’s tender enough to be eaten raw in salads and sturdy enough for cooking. Be sure to thoroughly wash Escarole since dirt and sand from the fields it grows in has a tendency to get caught between the leaves. Keep an eye out for Organic Escarole southern California the next few weeks at Natural Foods Stores and Organic Markets.

Escarole: Crisp, slightly bitter lettuce for salads. Savory side when sautéed. Classic green for Italian soups.

Organic Cameo Apples


If you love the familiar sweetness of Red Delicious Apples, but hate the tough skin and the flesh than can sometimes feel mushy – you’ll love Cameo Apples. They can be recognized by their dark red skin with yellow streaks. The Cameo Apple variety is firm and crunchy with tender skin over sweet, flavorful fruit. Washington State growers are now shipping their high quality Organic Cameo Apples from this fall’s harvest to sell over the winter. If you find some between now and February – give ‘em a try!

Organic Cameo Apples – the best of Red Delicious… without the tough skin and tendency for mushiness.

Other recently recommended premium varieties:
Organic Ambrosia very sweet, finely textured flesh.
Organic Jazz firm-crisp, sweet-tart, juicy, tasty.
Organic Pink Lady hard, quite tart with some sweetness.

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