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Fresh This Week Tips 03.30.2011

STORE: Before storing, remove any leaves from the rhubarb stalks and discard. Rhubarb stalks can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, unwashed and sealed in an air tight plastic bag or tightly wrapped in plastic. It is best to store fresh rhubarb in whole stalks because cut or diced pieces will dry out more quickly. Trim just before using. Rhubarb can be frozen for future use by cutting the stalks into 1-inch lengths and packaging in airtight bags or by stewing first and then freezing. Rhubarb does not need to be sweetened before it is frozen.

PREP: Trim off leaf ends and roots using a sharp knife and discard. Be sure to discard the leaves, which contain toxic levels of oxalic acid. If the more mature stalks are wider than 1 inch, slice lengthwise in half or thirds. Check stalks for blemished areas and trim off before using. When preparing field-grown rhubarb the stems may be too fibrous and will need to have the strings pulled off. At one end of the stalk, cut just under the skin.

Pull the piece down the stalk to remove the strings. Continue until all of the strings are removed. When preparing hothouse-grown rhubarb the stems are tender and should not be stringy.
Wash stalks and slice them into 3/4 inch to 1 inch pieces when preparing for stewing or making sauce. Pies and other recipes may call for the pieces to be cut to a smaller size, such as 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

USE: Rhubarb can be eaten raw with a little sugar sprinkled over it but it is generally cooked with other ingredients to produce a fruit dish of some type. Rhubarb can be used nicely to enhance the flavor of other fruits, such as pairing it with strawberries in baked sauces or beverages. It makes a delicious pie filling and is also used to make sauce in the same manner as applesauce. Rhubarb can also be used to make jellies, jams, cakes, muffins, and other desserts. It can also be used in savory dishes and is good as a sauce to serve with meats and fish.


STORE: Tomatoes are best stored and eaten at room temperature because their flavor is more pronounced. A very firm tomato can be kept at room temperature for about a week. Transfering them to the refrigerator to will slow their ripening, but can also result in loss of flavor. Softer tomatoes should be used as soon as possible, so they don’t become mushy or rot. Freezing: Tomatoes cooked into sauces, juiced or simply pureed can be frozen for up to six months.

PREP: Here are some tips on preparing your tomatoes:
– Wash tomatoes in cold water before use.
– Slice tomatoes vertically for salads and sandwiches to prevent the juice and seeds spilling out.
– For stuffed tomatoes, cut them horizontally to remove the seeds and juice.
– To peel your tomatoes, mark an X on the bottom of each one and place them in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, then plunge them into cold water. The skins should come off easily.

USE: Tomatoes are essential in a variety of cuisines, including those of Italy and Central American. Use them to make pasta sauces, salsas, soups or eaten raw to garnish salads. Cherry tomatoes can also be roasted whole and served alongside with meats. Broil tomato halves topped with bread crumbs and herbs for a healthy vegetable side dish. Roughly chop tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeños for a spicy salsa to accompany chips.

STORE: Store blood oranges at room temperature for up to 1 week, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
USE: Add the raspberry-colored flesh to green salads, fruit salads or get adventurous and make Blood Orange Sorbet, taste the freshness of spring!
Blood Orange Sorbet recipe:

Blood Orange Sorbet

1. Juice your blood oranges. The measure the juice.

2. For each 1 cup (250ml) of juice, figure 1/4 cup (50g) of granulated sugar to be added.

For example: Use 1/2 cup (100g) sugar for 2 cups juice (500ml).

3. Put the sugar in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Add just enough juice to saturate it very well. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved.

4. Stir the sugar back into the reserved blood orange juice.

5. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker.

Recipe from: