Organic Picks of the Week 06/04/13

Best if Used By 06/11/13

Organic Picks of the week for June 4th, 2013 features
Red Seedless Grapes, Rainier Cherries, Baby Arugula, Blackberries and Pineapples


Organic Red Seedless Grapes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

In-season Grapes! Kids, at least mine, have a very hard time keeping their fingers off good Grapes… in fact, I can’t help but compulsively munch on them too. What a great pick-me-up and healthy snack! You can freeze Red Grapes for a frosty treat or try them in a recipe too.

Organic Grapes are back in season! Try the Red Flame seedless variety this month – sweet, a little tangy with a crunchy pop.

Fresh crop Organic Red Seedless Grapes are now beginning their peak season from vineyards in Mexico and the Coachella area of southern California. Natural food stores, organic markets and food co-ops will promote Grapes will now have this fresh crop fruit. Here in June expect dime-sized, round Organic Red Seedless Grapes, mostly the Flame variety, to have a nice pop when you bite them. They’ll taste sweet and a little tangy. Yum!

TIPS:

  • Select Grapes that feel firm to a gentle squeeze. Lift up the bag or container and look at it from all sides.
  • Avoid bags that are wet and sticky – a sign that some of the Grapes are going bad – or have berries with splits or cracks.
  • Look for Grapes with stems that are still green at the thickest parts and appear to still have life in them.  Choose packs that have most of the berries still on the vine.
  • Go ahead… ask the produce clerk for a sample grape or two. Tasting is believing!
  • Keep your Grapes refrigerated until you’re about ready to eat them, since they lose their crunch much quicker at room temperature.
  • Wash Grapes with cold water just before serving them.

Organic Rainier Cherries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

I consider Rainier Cherries to be one of the gourmet candy of fruits. And Organically grown Rainier Cherries? Well, they’re like a luxury item (and sometimes are priced that way too). So, what’s the big deal? Rainier Cherries are plump, sweet, juicy and bursting with flavor. This variety of sweet cherry is characterized by yellow flesh, high sugar content and gold skin blushed with patches of bright red.

Sweet, gold-fleshed with rosy cheeks – Organic Rainier Cherries from California are a luxurious, seasonal treat in early June.

The season for the Organic Rainier Cherries crop from California is in full swing here in early June. Then another peak season arrives in early July for the Washington crop. Yes, they are pricier than Organic Dark Sweet Cherries, but a seasonal treat to splurge on from time to time.

Organic Baby Arugula

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Baby Arugula is small, slightly milder version of mature, peppery Arugula Greens. Baby Arugula has tender, buttery leaves and lightly crunchy stems. The flavor is distinctly nutty for a lettuce green and has a bit of a spicy radish-like finish to the flavor. It can be used raw for salads or to top sandwiches and burgers can be quickly sautéed or wilted by topping it with roasted vegetables.

Tender Organic Baby Arugula greens have a nutty flavor that packs a slightly peppery zing.

Organic Baby Arugula is in a time of steady harvests and good quality here in June. Look for Organic Baby Arugula sold in the salad case in bags or clamshell containers. In fact, you might even find it on sale from time to time.

RECIPE: Grilled Green Squash & Arugula Salad

  • Pre-heat grill or grill-pan
  • Slice 3-4 Green Squashes into long slabs about 1/4″ thick using a knife or mandolin
  • Toss Squash slabs in Olive Oil, season with coarse salt and black pepper
  • Grill Squash slabs over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side to get grill marks
  • Allow grilled Squash to cool
  • Combine Squash with Arugula and 1/2 Red Onion thin-sliced
  • Toss with 1/4 cup Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing (any garlic or balsamic-type vinaigrette)
  • Top with crumbled Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese (or Feta could be used)

Grilled Green Squash & Arugula Salad.

Organic Blackberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Organic Blackberries from Mexico continue in season this month. The berries are medium to large in size, plump, and have a sweet flavor with mild tanginess underneath. Yum! Blackberries are a delicious source of free-radical-fighting anthocyanin. Learn more about Blackberry nutritional benefits here.

Totally snackable Organic Blackberries.

Blackberries are awesome for snacking out of hand, or for making smoothies, baking, and for topping your cereal or yogurt. 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.

Want more berries? Organic Raspberries are also in season.

Organic Pineapples

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Organic Pineapples from the tropical climate of Costa Rica are in great supply right now! Expect some of the lowest prices of the season on Organic Pineapples big to small. Pineapples are loaded with Vitamin C, B1 and B6, manganese, copper and fiber – oh, yeah they taste delicious! Each Organic Pineapple takes about 18-24 months to grow, but they’re worth the wait.

Gold-fleshed Certified Organic Pineapples are a sweet deal this June.

TIPS:

  • Select Pineapples that feel firm, appear vibrant, have a sweet aroma and have fresh looking tops since even the super sweet varieties of gold-fleshed Organic Pineapples tend to have a green-cast to the shell.
  • Pineapples won’t get much sweeter once they’re picked, just older, so don’t let it sit there on the counter as until it turns soft and brown.
  • Snacking, for juicing blends, salads, desserts – oh the ideas! Here’s a Pineapple recipe collection from EatingWell.com
  • Need a refresher on how to carve a Pineapple? Watch here.

Sweetness from the Pineapple, freshness from the Pepper – a surprisingly refreshing Green Juice.

JUICING RECIPE: Pineapple-Pepper Green Juice

Juice the following in a juice extractor

  • 2 fistfuls of Baby Spinach
  • 1 Orange, peeled
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, seed cavity removed
  • ½ Pineapple, peeled but not cored
  • 1 tart Apple like Granny Smith or Pink Lady

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