Organic Picks of the Week 02/05/13

Best if Used By 02/12/13

Organic Picks of the week for February 5th, 2013 features
Fingerling Potatoes, Bosc Pears, Red Bell Peppers, Butternut Squash and Special Variety Apples


Organic Fingerling Potatoes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Crunched for time? Fingerling Potatoes can speed up your meal preparation time, all while delighting your taste-buds. Because these high flavor, finger-shaped Potato varieties are smaller in size – roasting takes only 35 to 45 minutes at 425 degrees while boiling takes only about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the Fingerlings. Halve larger ones length-wise to even the cooking time. When a knife can easily pierce their waxy flesh, the Potatoes are properly cooked. Be sure to cook Fingerlings with their tender skin left on to trap in their rich flavors and moisture content.

Roasted Organic Fingerling Potatoes – easy way to gourmet.

Organic Fingerling Potatoes are in season from fall harvests of prime-organic-soiled growing regions in Colorado and Oregon. The most common varieties include: red French Finger, yellow Russian Banana, creamy Austrian Crescent, rosy Ruby Crescent, plus Heirloom blends that often include purple fingerlings. Most Organic Fingerling Potatoes are sold in 1.5lb packages. Try out some recipes this month!

Organic Bosc Pears

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Organically grown Bosc Pears from this past fall’s Pacific Northwest crop remain in season this week.  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 Pears with long necks, rustic looks and honey-sweet flavor – Organic Bosc Pears

Organic Red Bell Peppers

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Really sweet, not spicy. Flavorful, nicely crisp and juicy – highly snack-able!  Roast, sauté, stuff or slice ‘em up for a snack with your favorite dip or hummus – Organic Red Bell Peppers are an excellent in-season choice this month. In-season, blocky, thick-walled “Bell” style Organic Red Pepper varieties grown in certified organic shade-houses and greenhouses of Mexico are in excellent supply with reasonable prices too. Premium quality Organic Red Peppers from Israeli greenhouses hitch rides in the bellies of airplanes to JFK in NYC this time of year too.

Did you know that a Red Pepper has more immune system building, energy bolstering Vitamin C than an Orange?

More Recipe ideas:

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Herb-Stuffed Red Peppers

Red Pepper, Mushroom & Onion Sauté

Roast your peppers and make Red Pepper Hummus

Organic Butternut Squash

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

The winter crop of the most popular variety of “Organic Winter Squash” – Butternut – is in season from Mexico and California this month. Rich in Vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants, Butternut Squash needs to be baked, boiled, roasted, microwaved or steamed to enjoy their bright orange, moist flesh by itself or in recipes. Select Butternut Squash that are solid, free from stem-mold and feels heavy for its size. Because they’re so firm, they can be often be kept at room temperature on your counter for a few weeks. Or save time and buy Organic Butternut Squash that is already cut, peeled and ready to cook with.

Centennial Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots and Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash is ideal for soups and roasting. It’s flesh is very moist and has a nutty flavor that falls somewhere between cooked carrots and sweet potato. The skin is often peeled, but is actually edible. Simply remove the seeds and pulp from the bulbed end of the squash, chop it up it up and boil it to puree for a creamy soup – or toss the pieces with a little olive oil and seasoning, and roasted for 25-30 minutes at 450 degrees to bring out the best flavor.

RECIPE – Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots and Butternut Squash

  • ½ head of Cauliflower separated into bite-sized florets
  • 3 Carrots peeled and bias-cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ of a Butternut Squash, cleaned and chopped into large-bite chunks
  • Toss Vegetables in a bowl with 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Season with Coarse Salt and Cracked Black, or a Seasoned Salt mix (I love Penzy’s Centennial Rub)
  • Spread out evenly on large cookie sheet
  • Roast at 450 F for 30 min

Organic Special Variety Apples

BEST FLAVOR

Looking for a new or interesting apple to break you out of your normal routine?  During the dead of winter, grower-shippers of Organic Apples open up controlled atmosphere storage rooms and begin packing some of their premium, specialty varieties they harvested in the fall. Here’s a brief rundown of what kinds to keep your eye out for in organic produce departments:

  • Ambrosia: Very sweet, low acid, juicy, crisp yet finely textured to be almost creamy when you chew it, slow to brown when cut, light red patches over creamy yellow skin.
  • Lady Alice: Sweet and tart with old-fashioned apple flavor, fantastic for snacking, crisp and firm, streaks of red over yellow skin.
  • Pacific Rose: Sweet, crisp and juicy (reminiscent of a Fuji), attractive rosy-pink skin blush.
  • Piñata: Sweet-tart, some say the flavor has tropical undertones, crunchy and juicy, colorful red and yellow streaked skin, also sold as Pinova Apples. Watch a video taste-test here.

From left to right: Ambrosia, Lady Alice, Pacific Rose, Piñata

Buy Smart. Shop Healthy. Live Organic.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy