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Organic Picks of the Week 09/16/15

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Organic Picks | September 16th, 2015

Starkrimson (Red) PearsButternut SquashKiwi BerriesAsian Pears

Best if used by 09/23/15

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Starkrimson (Red) Pears

Peak Season    Best Flavor

So colorful, so sweet – Organic Red Pears are easy on the eyes and easy on the taste buds. The fresh crop season from Oregon and Washington has begun. That means now through November is the best time to behold and enjoy Organic Red Pears. They’re great for snacking and for dessert or salads. The main late summer and early fall Red Pear variety is the Starkrimson. Organic Starkrimson Pears feature vivid, red skin and creamy, sweet flesh and floral aroma.

Ripening Tips

  • Ripening: Want to ripen your Organic Starkrimson Red Pear to a smooth, juicy-sweet texture? Place it on your counter at room temperature to allow it to soften. Starkrimsons, like Bartletts, are one of the few pear varieties to change color as they ripen. The skin turns a brighter shade of red and the skin becomes more tender and thin.
  • Not ready to eat your ripened pear? Put it in the fridge; it’ll stay in its ripened state for up to a week.

Organic Starkrimson Pears have fully red skin that brightens as it ripens at room temperature. The white flesh becomes creamy and juicy-sweet and is said to have a floral aroma.

Organic Butternut Squash

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

In-season Butternut is the most popular hard squash variety and is ideal for soups and roasting. It’s flesh is very moist and has a nutty flavor that falls somewhere between cooked carrots and sweet potato – familiar and accessible. It’s healthy too! Rich in Vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants, Butternut Squash needs to be baked, boiled, roasted, micro-waved or steamed.

Butternut Squash Tips

  • Select Hard Squashes that are solid, free from stem-mold and feels heavy for their size.
  • Because they’re so firm, they can be often be kept at room temperature on your counter for a few weeks.
  • Save some for later. Chopped hard squash, like Butternut, that is uncooked will last for several days in the fridge packed in a plastic bag or container.

Recipe: Spiced Butternut, Apples and Kale

Enjoy the sweet, savory and earthy flavors of fall all in one healthy dish!

  1. Boil 1 peeled and cubed Butternut Squash (about 2 cups or 20oz) for 4-5 minutes
  2. Drain the water then add 2 large apples, peeled and cubed to the cooking pot
  3. Add 3 tbsp Olive Oil and 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Add 1 bunch Kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  5. Cover cooking pot tightly with lid and allow to simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes
  6. Remove lid and season with
    • ½ tsp Coarse Sale
    • ¼ tsp each: Cracked Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Ground Cloves
  7. Re-cover and simmer for another 3 minutes
  8. Stir gently and serve

Recipe: Spiced Butternut, Apples and Kale

 

Organic Kiwi Berries

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Kiwi Berries! You’ve gotta try these while they’re in season – now through early-October! A bite-sized, fuzz-less, sweet super-fruit that looks like a mini-kiwifruit? – that’s a Kiwi Berry. Kiwi Berries are a vine fruit the size of a Grape, have smooth skin and are a surprisingly delectable sweet ‘n tangy snack! They’re best for eating whole when soft-ripe.

There’s a short season each September and early October for Organic Kiwi Berries. Most Organic Kiwi Berries are grown in the Pacific Northwest, but this year that crop is finishing early and almost done – so enjoy them while you can. There also is an organic grower in right here Pennsylvania that specializes in Kiwi Berries who ships multiple varieties into October.

Kiwi Berry Tips

  • Kiwi Berries are picked hard and ripen off the vine. Skin color ranges from light green to dark green with patches of brown depending on the variety. Do not eat them when the fruit is firm – it’ll be sour.
  • Ripening: Allow the berries to ripen at room temperature until the berries are soft and the skin just begins to wrinkle. Then they’ll be really sweet! The softer they are – the sweeter the berry will taste!
  • Rinse Kiwi Berries with cold water to wash them once they are ripe and just before serving them.

Ripening: Allow the berries to ripen at room temperature until the berries are soft and the skin just begins to wrinkle. Then they’ll be really sweet! The softer they are – the sweeter the berry will taste!

Organic Asian Pears

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Have the best of both worlds! Asian Pears have the texture of a crisp and extra juicy apple yet have the rich, sweet taste a ripe pear – earning them the nickname “Apple Pears.” Asian Pears are collection of Pear that originated in Asia hundreds of years ago, but are now grown all over the world. Varieties include the Hosui, Kosui, Ichiban Nashi and Olympic. Their shape is round and, depending on the variety, their skin color is pale yellow, gold, green-tan or russet brown. Here’s the best part: the cream-colored flesh is crisp and crunchy like an Fuji Apple, at the same time extremely juicy like a ripe Bartlett, nicely sweet and has a familiar Pear flavor.

Asian Pears are perfect for eating out of hand as a delightful snack. They’re also ideal for enjoying with sharp cheese, slicing into salads and slaws or simply sharing for dessert since a sliced Asian Pear is naturally slow to oxidize, or brown. Organic Asian Pears are available from California right now and peak season from Oregon and Washington orchards is mid-September through November.

Asian Pear Tips

  • Handle with care! Asian Pears may thicker skin than other pear varieties, but their juicy flesh bruises easily.
  • Select Asian Pears that feel heavy for their size, have no wrinkled skin, punctures or large bruises.
  • Some prefer to peel their brown-skin Asian Pears, but that is up to preference.  Yellow-skinned varieties tend to have more tender skin than brown varieties.
  • Asian Pears do store well and fresh ones will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator.
  • Since the sliced flesh is slow to oxidize or brown, they’re excellent for cheese trays or fruit trays.

Select Asian Pears that feel heavy for their size, have no wrinkled skin, punctures or large bruises.

 

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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