Organic Picks of the Week 03/17/14

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.

In-season Organic Baby Bok Choy brings a fresh and mild flavor to Asian chop salads, stir-fry, steamed dishes and more!

Baby Bok Choy Recipe Ideas:


Organic Carrots

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.

Organic Carrots! Clean dirt grows clean Carrots so you can: juice, snack, roast, make salad or soups.

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.

Easter Brunch Juice.

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)


Organic Scallions

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.

Add a fresh spring flavor! Scallions’ taste is somewhere between Chives, Onions and Garlic.

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.

Creamy-Cool Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Scallions – a taste of Spring!

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

PEAK SEASON

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.

Now in season: Organic Red Bartlett and Organic Green Bartlett Pears from the Patagonia region of Argentina where Fall is about to begin.

TIPS:

  • 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!

Pear-fict Mint Green Juice – refreshing mint, a little Ginger zip, plus healthy baby greens, all lightly sweetened with Bartlett Pears.

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


Organic Raspberries

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.

Organic Raspberries have large berry size, firm texture and a lightly sweet and pleasing flavor this month.

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.

Raspberries over cereal? Oh yeah!

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