Organic Picks of the Week 12/11/12

Best if Used By 12/18/12

Organic Picks of the week for December 11th, 2012 features
Kale Greens, Red Potatoes, Broccoli, Grapefruit,
and Brussels Sprouts

Organic Kale Greens

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

No vegetable is packed with more good-for-you nutrients than Kale Greens – sturdy, deep green leaves with a slightly earthy flavor. Kale has calcium, Vitamin K and magnesium for healthy bones; potassium for vascular health; and anti-oxidants like Vitamin C too. Kale is loaded with chlorophyll which helps the body’s organs to eliminate toxins. Organic Kale Greens from both Florida and California farms are in peak season. And over the next couple weeks, some California growers believe their harvests will be big enough to offer better than normal pricing.

Shredded Kale & Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries & Walnuts in a Lemon + Cider Vinaigrette

Yet Kale can be intimidating to prepare for those of us that didn’t grow up eating it. Preparations include adding kale to soups, sautéed kale, braised kale, kale chips (I add hot sauce), kale in vegetable lasagna, as well as raw kale chopped for use in salads and slaws. Here are some great recipes to look over and give it a try.

The most nutritiously intense use for Organic Kale is, of course, juicing. Here’s a blend I enjoyed several times this week:
Jumpin’ Juice Green: (For a juice extractor, makes about 12-14oz)

  • 2-3 stalks Celery
  • 1 Lemon (mostly peeled)
  • 3 stems Kale Greens (stalk, leaf and all)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple

Jumpin’ Juice Green

Organic Red Potatoes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Smashed Red Potatoes, Boiled Red Potatoes with herbs… what’s your Red Potato recipe of choice? Peak season shipments of Organic Red Potatoes have been sharp this month. Their deep red, tender skin adds vibrancy to dishes and doesn’t need to be peeled for use. Organic Red Potatoes are ideal for roasting, boiling for salads and mashing because of their high moisture content. For frying? Not so much. So, if you’re making Potato Pancakes (Latkes) this week, you may want to go for Organic Russet or Sweet Potatoes.

Savory. Cozy. Roasted Red Potatoes & Shallots

Here’s a cozy recipe that will have your kitchen smelling fantastic!
RECIPE: Roasted Red Potatoes and Shallots:

  • Chop 5-6 large size Red Potatoes into bit size pieces.
  • Peel then rough chop 1-2 Shallots
  • (1 large Yellow or Sweet Onion can be substituted for Shallots)
  • In a large bowl, toss Shallots and Red Potatoes in 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Re-toss to coat in with 2 tsp Penzy’s Northwoods Seasoning or your favorite grill seasoning.
  • Spread out in 9×13 glass pan.
  • Roast at 375 F for 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes for the first ½ hour

Organic Broccoli

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Fresh Organic Broccoli sold in bunches with long stem are a great thing to have on your produce shopping list this month.
Here are four reasons why:
They’re versatile – you can eat them raw for a crunchy snack or as part of a veggie tray. Or cook them in a variety of tasty ways in a broad array of recipes.
They’re easy to prepare – simply rinse the Broccoli Crown in cold water and cut it into florets with a knife. Done! And for the stem? Juice it, shave or julienne for adding to salads and slaws, or cook it with the crown.
They’re healthy – Broccoli is high in fiber, minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals. Plus, one cup of Broccoli has between 5-6 grams of protein!
They’re in season and affordable – Organic Broccoli from California is in a period of plentiful supply this December and prices are reasonable for fresh quality product.

Calorie for calorie – almost 2x the protein of steak.

Organic Grapefruit

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Juicy Organic Grapefruit with tart-sweet, pink to red flesh is now in season from Florida and California! The fruit is running a little smaller in size, but expect great flavor for the next couple of months. Enjoy Grapefruit in recipes for breakfast, a snack, on salads or as fresh-squeezed juice. Select Grapefruit that feel heavy for their size. Scars or a few splotchy color spots on the skin are nothing to worry about, but soft spots are. Grapefruit is a little more sensitive to the cold than Oranges, so I recommend keeping them at room temperature. The should last there without dehydrations for several days.

Organic Grapefruit from Florida and California – now in season!

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 in long 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.

Brussels Sprouts blanched, then sautéed with Shallots

Peak season is now here for fresh Organic Brussels Sprouts from California. Select 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.

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