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Fresh This Week Tips 1.11.11

Broccoli is a nutritional bonanza—potassium, vitamin C, antioxidants. It’s also versatile, at home on a crudité platter, tossed into stir-fries and quiches, or pureed into an elegant soup.
STORE: Refrigerate broccoli unwashed (moisture speeds decay) in a bag in the vegetable compartment up to 5 days. Broccoli can be blanched (to retard enzyme action) and frozen for up to a year.
PREP: Rinse broccoli briefly, then separate the head into florets to encourage even cooking. Peel and slice the stems and cook along with the florets.
USE: Broccoli is best roasted, sautéed, or steamed.
STORE: Remove the leaves to prolong freshness. Refrigerate radishes unwashed (moisture speeds decay) in a loosely closed plastic bag. Most are best eaten within 5 days after purchase; they can be used until they become soft, though you should keep them no more than 2 weeks.
PREP: Just before using, trim the stems and the root ends and wash.
USE: Radishes are most often eaten raw, in salads, as garnish, and as crudités. (Halved radishes served with soft unsalted butter and sea salt are a classic French snack.) They can also be braised and served as a side dish with mild fish, like striped bass.
STORE: Keep tomatoes at room temperature on a plate; never store them in a plastic bag or in the refrigerator. If you want to speed the ripening process, put them in a pierced paper bag with an apple, which emits ethylene gas, a ripening agent. Once ripe, tomatoes will last up to 3 days.
PREP: Tomatoes are excellent in salads and salsas. They are popular sliced and used as a topping for sandwiches.
Cooking – Very popular in sauces. Cooking tomatoes release the micronutrient lycopene, which is thought to help prevent cancer. Tomatoes can also be stewed or crushed for use in casseroles and chili. To quickly remove the skin from tomatoes, boil for 15-30 seconds. Rinse under cold water and peel.
Baking – Tomatoes can be stuffed and baked. To prepare the tomato for stuffing, cut a small piece off the bottom to make the tomato sit sturdily. Cut off the top ¼ of the tomato. Use a spoon to scoop out the innards. Set the shell upside down for 15 minutes to give it a chance to dry.