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Organic Picks of the Week 1/15/16

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Organic Picks | January 15th, 2016

Red GrapefruitCrimini MushroomsMangosCara Cara Oranges

Best if used by 01/23/16

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Organic Red Grapefruit

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Fresh Organic Red Grapefruit from California, Florida and Texas and is now in peak season. The fruit is juicy, sweet-tart in flavor and refreshing. Organic Grapefruit makes for a healthy snack; is fantastic for hand-squeezed juice or added to juicer recipes; and peeled sections can be used in salads or cooked into desserts.

Wait, I don’t have a Grapefruit Spoon.

Yes, you could take your time and slice the flesh from the membranes section by section and spoon it out from the halved Grapefruit. Or, if you are impatient like me – squeeze that delicious Grapefruit juice by hand and drink down the pulpy goodness, or hack it apart by filleting the flesh from the rind to eat whole. The point is: Do not let old-fashioned customs prevent you from enjoying some juicy, tropical-like citrus, friends! Dig in!

Red Grapefruit Pro Tips

  • Being “in-season” trumps appearance when judging flavor for Organic Grapefruit.  (Winter is peak season.)
  • Exterior color is not really an indicator of internal color.
  • Skin scars and cosmetic blemishes formed while ripening on the tree do not impact the flavor either.
  • Select Grapefruit that is heavy for its size and avoid fruit that has soft spots.
  • Fresh Grapefruit can be kept for about a month in the refrigerator, but unlike Oranges – harvested Grapefruit store best in cool temperatures, not cold. So at home, a week or so on the counter at room temperature is just fine for Grapefruit.

Organics By Region this January

  • California grown Organic Grapefruit is the most abundant this winter, though El Nino rains are causing some harvest delays. Fruit from this region tends to have thicker skins than from other growing areas, but with the Star Ruby and Rio Red varieties sweetness and flavor is quite nice right now.
  • Texas grown Organic Grapefruits have fantastic deep ruby flesh that tastes great but are in very short supply this season.
  • Florida grown Organic Grapefruits are super-juicy, thin skinned and are getting sweeter each week. Like in Texas, the organic crop was not plentiful this season in Florida so snag them when you find them this winter. They’re delicious!

 

Fresh Grapefruit can be kept for about a month in the refrigerator, but unlike Oranges – harvested Grapefruit store best in cool temperatures, not cold.

 

Florida grown Organic Grapefruits are super-juicy, thin skinned and are getting sweeter each week.

Organic Crimini Mushrooms

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Small and button-shaped with white stems and brown caps, Crimini Mushrooms are basically an immature Portabella – picked before the gills open up wide and before the full-flavored spores fill the gills under the cap as it matures. Crimini’s are also called “Baby Bella Mushrooms.” Since they are grown in doors, Organic Crimini Mushrooms are always in peak season.

Ideal for adding a rich, earthy flavor to pastas, pizzas, salads and stir-fry’s – Organic Crimini Mushrooms a popular and versatile choice for your recipes. Crimini Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber and a broad complement of B-Vitamins and potassium. They can be enjoyed raw, roasted and sautéed.

“Cutting Down on the Meat, But Not the Taste” Diced Mushrooms can be blended with ground beef at a 1 to 2 or 1 to 3 ratio for a juicier, healthier burger.

More Recipe Ideas

Crimini Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber and a broad complement of B-Vitamins and potassium.

Organic Mangos

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Mid-January through mid-February is poised to be an excellent time to enjoy delicious Organic Mangos at reasonable prices. The red-skinned, yellow-flesh Tommy Atkins variety is winding down from Ecuador, but the fresh crop Kent variety from organic growers in Peru is now in peak season.

What are Kent’s like? Featuring a mostly dark green skin with small patches of red blush, Kent Mangos have deep gold to orange flesh that is both sweet and rich, and is less fibrous and stringy than the Tommy Atkins. The Organic Kent Mangos I’ve eaten this week were the best Mangos I’ve eaten in 6 months.

Recipe: Mango-Blueberry Smoothie

  1. Add the following ingredients to your blender
  2. 2 Ripe Mangos, peeled, seed removed
  3. 6oz Blueberries, rinsed
  4. 1 cup Yogurt
  5. 1 ½ cups Ice
  6. Blend until smooth

Recipes and cutting tips and more found here.

The Organic Kent Mangos I’ve eaten this week were the best Mangos I’ve eaten in 6 months.

How do I know if this Mango is ripe?

The amount of redness on the skin is not an indicator of sweetness or ripeness with the Kent variety Mango. These Mangos do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them. Ripen Mangos at room temperature.

Squeeze Gently to Test Ripeness

  • Hard = flesh will be firm and crunchy inside
  • Slight Give = ripe enough for sweet flavor and creamy flesh
  • Almost Soft = fully ripe, juicy-sweet

Kent Mangos do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them.

Organic Cara Cara Oranges

Peak Season    Best Flavor

If you like Oranges, then Cara Cara’s are worth a try for tasty snacking. I love ‘em! Why? They’re Navel Oranges…with upgrades!

On the outside Cara Cara Oranges look exactly the same as regular Navels. Inside the beautiful and exciting differences are revealed. Cara Cara Oranges have pink to light red flesh which is seedless like normal Navels, but the straight-forward sweetness is balanced by a mild Strawberry to Cranberry-like finish. Cara Cara’s tend to be quite juicy and that tasty pink flesh is not only packed with Vitamin C, but is also an excellent source of Lycopene.

Cara Cara Oranges are perfect for snacking or fun for salads, desserts and prepared with fish. This special variety is in season from organic citrus groves in California now through March. Enjoy them while they’re at their best!

Cara Cara Tips

  • Regular Organic Navel or Organic Cara Cara Navel? Check that PLU sticker. Organic Cara Cara = 93110.
  • Select Oranges that feel heavy for their size – a sign of juiciness. They don’t have to be hard, but the orange should not feel so soft that it is squishy either.
  • Skin scars and shape do not impact the internal fruit flavor, but oranges with sunken areas, black spots or extra soft areas should be avoided.
  • Keep Oranges refrigerated to extend shelf life, especially here in the later part of the season when sugars are running higher. Room temperature is fine for a day or two, but will cause dehydration thereafter or allow decay to happen.

Cara Cara’s tend to be quite juicy and that tasty pink flesh is not only packed with Vitamin C, but is also an excellent source of Lycopene.

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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