Organic Picks of the Week 07/08/13

Best if Used By 07/15/13

Organic Picks of the week for July 8th, 2013 features
Strawberries, Cantaloupe, White Nectarines, Kiwi
and Romaine Hearts


Organic Strawberries

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Hurray for Strawberries! …especially, high-flavor, organically grown ones!  Expect sweet and rich-tasting Organic Strawberries from the Watsonville, California area here in mid-July. The berry size coming off the plants is a little smaller at this point in the season, but there is enough high quality fruit available to keep prices reasonable.

Peak Season Organic Strawberries

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.
  • Check out this strawberry recipe resource for use and recipe ideas.

TOP 10 Uses for Organic Strawberries at our house in early summer:

  1. Kids “anytime” Snack – sometimes a pack a day!
  2. Canning Homemade Strawberry Preserves – used about 6 lb
  3. Topping Cereal
  4. Fresh Fruit Salad
  5. Greek Yogurt Smoothies
  6. Over Pound Cake or Angel Food Cake with Whipped Cream – splurge!
  7. With Oatmeal
  8. Old-fashioned Milkshakes
  9. Sliced over salad greens with vinaigrette.
  10. Leftover berries used up in juicing blends

How do you like to enjoy Strawberries?

Speaking of organic berries… Organic Blueberries and Organic Blackberries are fantastic in-season choices this week too!


Organic Cantaloupe

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED | BEST FLAVOR

Delicious melon taste and firm, yet juicy texture continues to be what to expect for in-season Organic Cantaloupes from California. Yum! The crop is peaking with a range of sizes being harvested at this point in the season. Translation? Organic retailers will promote small, medium or large Organic Cantaloupes based on their price point and what is readily available from the growers they’re working with. But big or small, expect great flavor.

Juicy, sweet and in season – Organic Cantaloupes.

Western-style Organic Cantaloupes are round, have thick, tight webbing on their exterior and are ready to eat when you buy them. Select melons that are free from sunken, discolored spots. Storing for a day or two at room temperature will soften the fruit a bit. Cut melon can be kept in the fridge for several days, but when it’s tasty – you’re likely to eat it right away or use it in a recipe, right?


Organic White Nectarines

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

You want a sweet and healthy snack… but you also want it to be crunchy… oh, and not messy because you’re in the car or at your desk. OK. I got the perfect fruit for you: White-fleshed Nectarines! Since they’re low in acid, White Nectarines can be eaten immediately in their firm, crunchy state and the sweetness will still shine through. Or, when you have easy access to a sink, let them soften at room temperature for a creamy-textured, sticky, all-sweet, juicy treat!

I dig the sweet ones with freckles because they’re sweeter.

Organic White-fleshed Nectarines in season now through mid-September from stone fruit growers in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Select Organic White Nectarines that are free from wrinkled skin (a sign of age) and patches of green color (a sign of under-ripe). Eat them right away or store them at room temperature for up to two days if you like your Nectarine softer. Don’t shy away from the ones with “freckles.” The small white dots near the top are called “sugar spots” and are a visual indication that the fruit is bursting with sweetness.

Prefer a more tangy-sweet flavor? Organic Yellow Nectarines are definitely an excellent, in-season selection this month.


Organic Kiwi (Kiwifruit)

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Fun for you taste buds. Serious nutrition for your body. Kiwi Fruit has it all! 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! And now is a great time to have some serious fun with Kiwi since Organic Kiwi are in peak season supply from the country that gave this ancient Chinese fruit it’s common name – New Zealand.

Get the scoop.

Did I mention that they taste delicious? Kiwi are juicy, sweet and tangy… in fact, my mouth waters from the back of my jaw as I 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.

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 ethelyne 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.

How do you eat a Kiwi? 1) To eat a ripe Kiwi simply slice it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. 2) Or trim the ends, lay the Kiwi on it’s side and peel the skin away with a sharp knife – rolling it along the cutting board over the knife. Then slice it into discs. 3) The last way to eat a Kiwi is for the adventurous: rinse the fruit and eat it whole – skin and all! The skin is a little fuzzy, but edible.

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.


Organic Romaine Hearts

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Organic Romaine Hearts are crisp, juicy and clean right now. They are excellent for making crunchy salads or blending in with more tender bitter baby greens to add texture. What kind of salads do you make with Organic Romaine Hearts?

Crisp and clean.

Romaine Hearts rows are planted extra close together to help the Lettuce head grow tall and tight. The outer leaves are trimmed off, they’re immediately packaged in the field (there is no “romaine heart factory”), rushed to the cooler and shipped around the country. How fresh is that!

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