Organic Picks of the Week 03/12/13

Best if Used By 03/19/13

Organic Picks of the week for March 12th, 2013 features
Green Cabbage, Baby Carrots, Strawberries, Kiwi and Lemons


Organic Green Cabbage

VALUE PRICED | PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

No, Saint Patrick is not the patron saint of Green Cabbage. Turns out the shamrock was a much easier thing to explain the concept of the Trinity than a head of Cabbage. Nevertheless, this IS a fantastic week to buy fresh Green Cabbage to use for your St. Patrick’s Day cooking and much more, whether you’re Irish or not! Conditions have been favorable over the winter in Florida, allowing for significant harvests this month of firm, fresh Organic Cabbage.

Slice across the leaves to shred. Cut wedges for cooking by leaving in the core.

Raw Cabbage is crunchy and has a slightly spicy zip to the flavor, while cooked Cabbage mellows out and becomes sweeter. Cabbage will hold up in your fridge for a couple of weeks, so buy some for your Corned Beef and Cabbage recipes this week and save a head for Cole Slaw, Soup, Braised Cabbage, Salad, Cabbage Rolls, Colcannon (traditional Irish dish of Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage or Kale), or something else tasty next week.

Organic Baby Carrots

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Sweet, crunchy, snack-able Organic Baby Carrots: flavor and texture for your taste buds, plus lots of beta-carotene for antioxidant benefits and emerging research on cardio-vascular risk-reducing benefits. Right now California Organic Carrot growers are not getting many jumbo sized Carrots out of their fields. Those are the Carrots used to make 1, 2, 3 and 5lb Bags. Many of the whole Carrots currently being harvested are better suited for peeled baby-cut production, where the Carrot is trimmed into 3-4 sections and smoothed down to become a “Baby Carrot.” Organic Baby Carrots are wonderful raw and are fine for cooking too.

Hold the salty snacks. Rip open a bag of sweet and crunchy Organic Baby Peeled Carrots!

Organic Strawberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

There are finally large enough fresh crop harvests in Oxnard, California and Baja, Mexico right now to keep up with America’s demand for flavorful, red and ripe Organic Strawberries… well, at least for this week. (Things can change fast in the world of fresh Organic Berries.) With steadier supplies can come lower prices, so keep an eye out for ads and in-store specials here in March. Berry size on Organic Strawberries is running medium to large and they taste pretty darn good – yum! Snacks, salads, desserts, smoothies… what will you do with those juicy, organically grown gems?

Organic Strawberries from Oxnard, California and Baja, Mexico are now in season!

TIPS:  At the store, inspect the packages from all sides, avoiding containers with wet spots on the berries or bottoms of the containers. Look for plump, red berries with healthy looking, green caps. Keep them cold in the fridge, but they’ll have better taste and texture if you use them within a couple days. Wash Strawberries under cold water just before use.

By the way, this is another fantastic week to enjoy the tail end of Chile’s peak season Organic Blueberries!

Organic Kiwi

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

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 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?

Two sweet and tangy Kiwi Fruit have more Potassium than a Banana and more Fiber than a bowl of Bran Flakes.

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. Kiwi are also popular in smoothies and juicing blends.

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. Or trim off the ends and fillet the skin off with a knife.

Organic Lemons

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Organic Lemons are a must have on the shopping list for many home kitchens. And now is an excellent time to enjoys good quality, affordable, in season Organically grown Lemons from California.

In season Organic USA Lemons are flavorful AND versatile.

Here are some of the best uses for Lemons:

  • Flavor your water with fresh Lemon.
  • Add Lemon juice to homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes
  • Brighten up fresh salads, cooked vegetables, chicken or fish with a  squeeze of fresh Lemon as an alternative to salt
  • Zest the yellow part of the skin for use in baking for citrus flavor and clarity
  • Clean your cutting board with the end fresh Lemons with their natural acidity and essential oils
  • Make Homemade Lemonade!
  • Balance the flavor of vegetable juice blends with semi-peeled Lemons.

JUICER RECIPE: Green Kiwi Lemonade
Juice the following ingredients in a Juice Extractor:

  • 3 stalks of Kale or other hearty green
    (here I used 2 fist-fistfuls of Organic Cut N Clean Kale/Collard blend)
  • 1 Cucumber mostly peeled
  • 3 ripe Kiwi Fruit, peeling is optional
  • 1 whole semi-peeled Lemon
  • 2 whole Sweet-tart Apples (here I used 1 Braeburn and 1 Gala)

Sweet and tangy Kiwi and Lemons shine through the juiced, nutrient-dense greens.

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