Best if Used By 03/24/14
Organic Picks of the week for March 17th, 2014 features
Baby Bok Choy, Carrots, Scallions, Bartlett Pears, and Raspberries
Organic Baby Bok Choy
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
It is a great time to do some cooking with Organic Baby Bok Choy (Baby Bok Choi) since it is in season from both Florida and California farms. The “baby” versions are an entirely different group of varieties all together, but visually, Baby Bok Choy is different from regular Bok Choy in that the head is only about 2-4” wide and 6-10” long. The color is all light green on both the crisp and juicy ribs and tender leaves. The flavor has a mild peppery zip to it, like a juicy version of raw cabbage, yet is sweeter than regular, full-sized, white-ribbed Bok Choy. Typically, Baby Bok Choy is chopped raw for Asian-style salads, grilled, roasted, steamed, braised or sautéed and served as the whole head – or at least whole leaves.
Baby Bok Choy Recipe Ideas:
- Stir-fry Baby Bok Choy
- Steamed Baby Bok Choy
- Braised Baby Bok Choy
- Crispy Roasted Baby Bok Choy
- Baby Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Soy Sauce
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED
Carrots are coming back into fashion. Roasted Carrots, Carrots in salads, Carrots in smoothies or juices , and of course, Baby Peeled Carrots for snacking. Sweet, crunchy Carrots offer flavor and texture for your taste buds, plus lots of beta-carotene for antioxidant benefits and emerging research on cardio-vascular risk-reducing benefits for your body.
With Organic Carrots from California in peak season right now plus some organic carrot production in Georgia this month, expect some ads and in-store specials on whole Organic Carrots and peeled baby-cut Organic Carrots. Whole Organic Carrots sold in 1lb, 2lb, 5lb bags are typically medium to large in width – ideal for raw and cooked recipes, for slicing, chopping, sticks and juicing. Cut and peeled Organic Baby Carrots are made from slightly thinner Carrots and are fantastic for snacking and steaming.
Here’s a lovely juice extractor recipe to enjoy here in March and April – it is sweet, bright, fresh and provides you with a feeling of renewal! …must be all of the Vitamin A & C and beta carotene.
JUICER RECIPE: “Easter Brunch”
- 1 large Sweet Potato (Yam)
- 2 whole Carrots
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper (or yellow or red)
- 1 large Cara Cara Orange (or 2 small)
BEST FLAVOR | PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED
Green Onion flavor! Your chili tastes brighter, your salad tastes fresher, your Pad Thai more authentic, your potatoes taste livelier and your stir-fries are brighter… when they’re served with Scallions. The spring crop of Organic Scallions from California is in full swing – nice flavor, reasonably priced. These recipes might get your taste buds going.
FLAVOR: Scallions, sometimes referred to as Green Onions, have a mild onion flavor with hints of garlic.
USE: The base of the Scallion – the white part – has the most intense flavor and is often used in cooking, while the tops – the green part – are typically chopped and used as a topping.
SELECTION: Avoid Scallions that are slimy and wilted. Choose Organic Scallion bunches that are bright and firm.
RECIPE: Creamy-Cool Green Bean, Scallion and Tomato Salad
- Wash and trim the ends of 1lb fresh Green Beans
- Blanch Beans for 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water
- Shock the Beans in a bowl of ice water or by running them under cold water
- Add 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 2 heaping tbsp Sour Cream to a large mixing bowl
- Season above to taste with salt, pepper and Italian herb mix – stir these into a dressing
- Chop 1 bunch Scallions
- Slice 2 Salad Tomatoes (like On-the-Vine) into small wedges
- Gently stir in Green Beans, Tomato and Scallions with tongs until coated
- Refrigerate salad for 1 hour to allow flavors to combine
- Serve cold over torn Romaine leaves
Organic Bartlett Pears
Late winter here means late summer in the Patagonia region of Argentina where the harvest has begun on fresh crop Organic Bartlett Pears and Organic Red Bartlett Pears. Bartlett Pears are crunchy and lightly fresh-sweet when their skin is green. But eating a firm, crunchy Bartlett that’s still green in color is missing the point for me. Bring on the succulence! Allow Bartletts to ripen at room temperature until the skin turns yellow for a soft, sticky-sweet and juicy eating pear.
- Not ready to use them? Store green Bartletts in the fridge to slow the ripening process.
- Into juicing? Make green juices with Bartlett Pears that are still fairly firm so that you juice doesn’t become cloudy or grainy.
- Have some over-ripe Bartletts that you won’t be able to snack on before they go bad? Blend them! Bartlett Pears add intense sweetness and a pear-spiced flavor to vegetable smoothie blends.
- Ever try Red Bartlett Pears? The one flavor difference with Red Bartlett Pears is the hint of floral tones. Enjoy ‘em while they last in March and early April!
JUICE RECIPE: Pear-fict Mint Green Juice
Juice the following ingredients in a juice extractor.
- 1 bunch Mint
- ½ Greenhouse Cucumber
- 2-3oz Baby Spinach and Baby Kale mix
- ½ Greenhouse Cucumber
- 1 Lime, partially peeled
- 1” piece of fresh Ginger
- 2 Green Bartlett Pears, firm or firm-ripe
PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR
For berry lovers a gorgeous pack of fresh Organic Raspberries is almost irresistible. Go ahead, treat yourself! Organic Raspberries are in season from California and Mexico. The berries are large and firm in texture. Expect good flavor, lightly sweet flavor with some tanginess underneath. They won’t be cheap, but the eating quality has been nice.
Raspberries are good for snacking, as a topping for cereal, yogurt and salads, in smoothies and their flavor can be intensified in cooking and baking. Check out these beautiful recipes on Driscoll’s website – they’re one of the best Raspberry growers in the world. Not only are they flavorful, but the health benefits of Raspberries are formidable – antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients and emerging research linking Raspberries to obesity management.
SELECTION: When shopping for Raspberries, carefully inspect the package from all sides to be sure there’s no mold, wet spots, black spots or smashed and clumped berries.
STORAGE & HANDLING: Raspberries are a delicate and highly perishable fruit, so always keep them dry and refrigerated. Wait to wash them until just before use. Red Raspberries are not a berry to buy on a whim then forget about in the bottom shelf our your fridge – they need to be enjoyed right away. Fresh is best!
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