Organic Picks of the Week 03/10/14

Best if Used By 03/17/14

Organic Picks of the week for March 10, 2014 features
Red Potatoes, Green Cabbage, Minneola Tangelos, Blood Oranges, and Chard Greens


Organic Red Potatoes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Herb-Roasted Red Potatoes, Red-skinned Potato Salad…what’s your Red Potato recipe of choice? Perhaps this is the week for the simplicity of Boiled Red Potatoes with Butter served with some braised Cabbage for Saint Patricks Day! Red Potatoes are ideal for roasting, boiling for salads and mashing because of their high moisture content. For frying? Not so much. Because their skin has vibrant color and is tender, Red Potatoes are used in recipes served with the skin still on the potato. No peeling!

Right now Organic Red Potatoes are available from Canadian and Northwest US farmers’ storage crop. Select Red Potatoes that are dry, free from odor or sprouting and feel firm. Store them in a cool, dark place like the bottom of your pantry.

Twice Baked Cheddar Red Potatoes

The moist flesh and tender skins of Red Potatoes are a nice match for creamy, sharp cheeses like Cheddar. Kerrygold Aged Cheddar Cheese (made in Ireland) was used in the Twice-Baked Cheddar Red Potatoes recipe below. The “12 month Aged Cheddar” has a distinctive dairy flavor and richness that makes for an exciting dish. Though, New York or Wisconsin sharp Cheddar could be substituted for more accessibility.

RECIPE: Twice-Baked Cheddar Red Potatoes

  • Pre-heat Oven to 400 F
  • Wash and Dry 1-1/2 to 2 lb Large or Medium Red Potatoes
  • Halve the Red Potatoes and arrange them on a Baking Tray
  • Bake for 30-40 min until just tender, flipping at 15 min.
  • Allow Potatoes to cool so you handle them
  • Scoop out flesh of the halves with a spoon and put it in a mixing bowl
  • Add to bowl:
    • 2-3 tbsp room temp. butter
    • 2 heaping tbsp sour cream
    • 3/4 cup shredded Aged Sharp Cheddar
    • 2 tbsp each finely diced Green Cabbage and shredded Carrot
  • Smash contents of bowl with a fork and season with coarse salt and cracked black pepper
  • Spoon the smashed potato mix back into the Red Potato skins
  • Bake filled skins at 400 F for 10-12 min
  • Serve and enjoy. Pint of Irish Stout? That’s optional.


Organic Green Cabbage

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. It is also in season from organic farms in California.

CUTTING TIPS: 1) Slice Cabbage across the leaves to shred for chop-salads and slaws. 2) Cut wedges for cooking, roasting and braising by leaving in the core so the cabbage doesn’t fall apart.

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 Minneola Tangelos

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Organic Minneola Tangelos remain a flavorful choice for on-the-go snacking, sectioning onto salads, making smoothies and for fresh squeezed juice. The fruit will be in season through the end of March from organic orchards in California, so enjoy some while they’re still at their best.

Organic Minneola Tangelos continue to be at their juicy, sweet and tangy best during March.

A cross between a Tangerine and a Grapefruit, Tangelos are juicy and have a bright, sweet flavor like an orange with hints on tangerine tanginess. Minneolas are easy to spot – they have that goofy knob at the stem end, which actually makes them easier to peel. Their flesh is super juicy, has few to no seeds and delivers a sweet and tangy citrus flavor. Select Minneolas that feel heavy for their size and are free from soft spots. Skin scars, where the fruit rubbed against the leafs and stems on the tree, have no impact on eating quality. Larger Minneolas are typically sold loose, while the smaller snack-sized fruit is sold in gift boxes and bags.


Organic Blood Oranges

BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON

Attention Blood Orange fanatics: the Organic Blood Orange season from organic ranches in California is drawing to a close. Harvests will only last a few more weeks for this sweet and richly flavored citrus fruit that tastes of raspberry, plum and pomegranate. 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.

Organic Blood Oranges are sweet with deep tones of Pomegranate and Plum under a rich citrus finish.

Blood Oranges are ideal for snacking out of hand, adding to salads, using in desserts, cooking with meats, for glazes and for juicing. I actually love to mix fresh squeezed Blood Orange juice with Seltzer Water for a natural soda. Find Blood Orange recipe inspiration here. The fruit is tasting fantastic here at the end the season – rich and deeply sweet. Organic Blood Oranges aren’t exactly cheap in price, but if you care about flavor try some before they’re gone and out of season until January 2015!


Organic Chard Greens

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Certified Organic Chards – Green (with white stem), Red Swiss and Rainbow (bunches of Chard with white, yellow, red and orange stems) are in season right now from Florida, Texas and California. The best quality Organic Chard Greens are coming from Florida growers like Lady Moon Farms.

Highly nutritious, in season Organic Swiss Chard Greens – ideal for sautéing, braising and steaming. It can also be juiced.

A cousin to Spinach, Chard Greens, also called Swiss Chards, are a super healthy green. You can cook both the leaf and the stem. Though Chard stems require a few minutes of extra cooking time from the greens, they do add color and texture. Steam, sauté, braise or juice – what’s your favorite Chard preparation to mellow out or compliment it’s naturally earthy, slightly bitter flavor? The sweet, tangy and herb-fresh juicer recipe below has been my favorite use for Chard.

Isn’t is cool how some of the most beautiful vegetables are often some of the healthiest? Chard Greens, for example, have green leaves loaded with Vitamins K, A and C sprawling from bright white, red or yellow stems – they’re impressive to behold… and tasty to cook with!

RECIPE: Swiss Miss Green Juice
(Juice these ingredients in a juice extractor)

  • 3 stalks Swiss Chard Greens or 3-5oz cut chard
  • 1 Seedless Cucumber or 1 mostly peeled salad Cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1 Lime, partially peeled
  • 1 tart Apple like Granny Smith
  • 2 sweet Apples like Fuji

Swiss Miss Green Juice

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