Organic Picks of the Week 01/27/14
Best if Used By 02/03/14
Organic Picks of the week for January 27th, 2014 features
Blood Oranges, Cilantro, Ginger, Broccolette, and Big Game recipes featuring Fresh!
Organic Blood Oranges
BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON
Big flavor. Bold beauty. The fine wine of citrus fruits – Organic Blood Oranges are now in at the front end of their season from organic ranches in California. Deep, rich orange flavor with tones of raspberry, plum and pomegranate define the profile of this dramatic fruit. Organic Blood Oranges have striped-red-orange to dark burgundy flesh, are virtually seedless, peel as easy as a Navel does, and… stain, so cut carefully. Plus, Blood Oranges are a health-dynamo. In fact, the pigment that makes their flesh so dark red is a free radical fighting antioxidant, anthocyanin.
Blood Oranges are ideal for snacking out of hand, adding to salads, using in desserts, cooking with meats, for glazes and for juicing. January through March is the best time of the year to enjoy Organic Blood Oranges and the flavor gets sweeter throughout the season. I actually love to mix fresh squeezed Blood Orange juice with Seltzer Water for a natural soda. Find Blood Orange recipe inspiration here. Or see what recent NY Times article said about Blood Oranges here.
But alas, there won’t be enough to go round. Late January through mid-March is usually the best time of the year to enjoy Organic Blood Oranges and the flavor gets sweeter throughout the season. That said, it will be a touch-and-go situation for citrus growers this winter as many large blocks of Blood Oranges were damaged in the December freeze in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This cold-damage has particularly impacted Organic Blood Orange growers. There won’t be many cheap prices on them even at their peak, but boy, does this fruit taste good! So if you see some Organic Blood Oranges where you shop, try them soon because it is not a big crop this year.
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
The herb green that ties the world together – in Latin, Tex-Mex, Indian, Caribbean, Chinese, East Asian, African, Southern European and even Scandinavian cuisines – is Cilantro. Cilantro leaves are packed with a strong, distinctive fresh flavor and aroma – like an intense version of Parsley. Fresh Organic Cilantro adds freshness and vibrancy to recipes for salads, stews, stir-fries, sauces, salsas and garnish. Organic Cilantro is even used in “green juice” recipes too. In-eason Organic Cilantro is available this month from California.
BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON
Ginger? Well yeah, I have some ground ginger powder in the cupboard, but what in the world would you do with a whole hand of fresh Ginger? I’m just beginning to discover world of fresh Ginger for cooking and juicing, and confess to only know a little about its medicinal and health benefit claims. But it sure has been exciting experimenting with this root spice.
Fresh Ginger, which is a root shaped like a coral reef or elk antlers, has a little juiciness left in its fibrous flesh. The flavor is spicy and pungent, yet pairs well with vegetables and fruits. You use it sparingly in recipes, similar to how you would Garlic cloves or Horseradish root in terms of volume. The aromatic and spunky taste adds zing to green juices or smoothies, and it is popular in Asian cuisines. Fresh Ginger root can be steeped in hot water with citrus peel and honey to make ginger tea. Here is an interesting collection of healthy fresh Ginger recipes to inspire you.
Fresh Organic Ginger is in season from Peru and Hawaii this time of year. The cost per pound is very high, however, even if you juice everyday you’ll likely still use less than 6oz in a week. Store Ginger at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. It can be peeled before use or simply washed and used whole. For cooking, fresh Ginger should be sliced thinly.
JUICER RECIPE: Green Pear Zinger
- Juice the following ingredients in a juice extractor.
- 2 handfuls Baby Spinach, 2-3oz
- 1 Greenhouse Cucumber, or 1.5 field Cucumbers partially peeled
- 1” piece of fresh Ginger root
- 2 large Green Pears (like Anjou) or 3 if medium
Organic Broccolette (Organic Sweet Baby Broccoli)
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED
When you can’t decide whether you’re in the mood for Broccoli or Asparagus, try a third option: Broccolette. A cross between Chinese Kale and regular Broccoli, Broccolette has slender stalks small broccoli florets. It features a delicate and sweet Broccoli flavor with hints of Asparagus. The whole vegetable is edible and is cooked any way you’d cook Broccoli, just for a shorter amount of time. Broccolette is sold by several names including: Sweet Baby Broccoli, Broccolini and Aspiration. Right now, Organic Boccolette is in peak season from southern California. Try it!
- Select Broccolette that is dark green and free from yellowing on the florets.
- Store fresh Broccolette in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator.
- DO NOT OVER-COOK Broccolette. Steam, sauté, boil, grill or roast it until the stalk is just tender enough to pierce with a knife.
RECIPE: Minneola-Ginger Broccolette
- Boil 1 bunch of Broccolette for 3-4 minutes max. in salted water, covered
- Drain Broccolette and set aside
- Thinly Slice 1/2 “ piece of fresh Ginger
- Sauté Ginger slices and ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes in 2 tbsp Olive Oil briefly until translucent over medium heat
- Add cooked Broccolette to sauté pan
- Squeeze the juice of 1 Minneola Tangelo into the pan
- Turn the Broccolette with tongs to combine and coat it, 30-60 sec.
BONUS: Big Game recipes featuring Fresh!
Organic Roma Tomatoes, Organic Yukon Gold Potatoes and Organic Hass Avocados are smart picks for your football parties this weekend. Try them in these recipes:
Produce Geek’s “Wish it was summer” Salsa:
- 5 fresh ripe Roma Tomatoes, diced
- 1 can drained Corn – note: I used some defrosted local sweet corn we froze during this past August – mmm still sweet!)
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 1 clove fresh Garlic, minced
- Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and red pepper flake to taste
- 1 can of Black Beans for protein and texture
- 1 diced Jalapeno Pepper for more heat
- 1 small handful of chopped Cilantro for freshness
RECIPE: Roasted Gold Potato Buffalo Bites
- Pre-Heat Oven to 450F
- Cut 2-3lb of Lg. or Med. Organic Gold Potatoes with skins into 1” pieces
- In a mixing bowl, toss potato chunks with 1-2tbs Olive Oil to coat
- Season with ½tsp coarse salt and black pepper
- Add 1-2tbs of your favorite Hot Sauce or Buffalo Sauce, re-toss to coat
- Spread potato pieces out evenly on baking sheets
- Roast at 450F for 10 minutes, remove to flip once
- Roast at 450F for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork
FOR GAME DAY
- Use toothpicks for serving
- Serve with a Hot Sauce dipping bowl for those that want more heat
- Serve with a Sour Cream, Ranch or Blue Cheese dipping bowl for those that need some cooling
RECIPE: Super Fresh Guac Bowl
- Halve 3 fully ripe Hass Avocados
- Remove the pit and scoop out the flesh into a bowl
- Smash Avocado flesh with a fork
- Dice 1 Roma Tomato (or Vine Ripe Tomato with the seed-gel squeezed out)
- Mince 1-2 cloves of Garlic (optional: add one diced Jalapeno for heat)
- Finely Chop 1-2 handfuls of fresh Cilantro
- Season to taste with Salt and Pepper
- Squeeze in the juice of 1 Lime
- Stir in all above until mixed
- Serve in a long bowl with tortilla trips surrounding to look like a stadium, add carrots for goal posts
- Hass Avocados are ripe and ready to cut when they begin give to gentle thumb pressure.
- Hard, green Hass Avocados typically need about 3-4 days at room temperature, 2-3 if placed in a paper bag with a banana or apple.
- Once an uncut Hass Avocado reaches its ripe stage and you’re not ready to eat it, put it in the fridge to keep it at that ripeness stage for another day or two
HELP! I’ve never made Guacamole before and I don’t want to mess it up. OK. Relax, here’s a fail-safe yet totally delicious, restaurant-like Guacamole recipe that will taste way better and have a better texture than any guac that comes pre-packaged in a bag or tub.
2 INGREDIENT RECIPE: Buy 4 medium or 3 large ripe Hass Avocados and a jar of Salsa Verde, a tomatillo-based green salsa. Slice the ripe Avocados and half, remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a mixing bowl. Pour in the jar of Salsa Verde. Mix at low speed with a counter-top mixer for 1 minute, or smash and stir the ingredients together by hand with a fork for 1-2 minutes. That’s it!
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.
Eat in-season. Choose organic. Enjoy good, healthy food.
The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy