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Fresh This Week Tips, 10.3.2010

d’Anjou Pears
STORE: Keep pears at room temperature until ripe. To test for ripeness, gently push on the stem. If it gives a little, your pear is ready to eat.
PREP: Wash pears in cold water and keep them whole, slice them or chop them.
USE: d’Anjou pears can be eaten out of hand, mixed into a spring salad, baked or poached. Remember the delicious Apple and Rhubarb Crisp recipe? Make another version of that crisp by substituting the apples and rhubarb with pears and dried cranberries.

Spartan Apples
STORE: Store apples in a paper bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Spartan apples typically don’t keep for very long, so it’s advisable to use your apples within 1 week.
PREP: Wash apples under cold running water. If using your apples in a recipe, typically you will peel and core the apple before cutting it into slices or cubes. To prevent apples from browning, brush with a lemon juice-water solution (1 cup water mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice).
USE: Spartan apples are the small to medium sized offspring of MacIntosh apples. They are a favorite among children for their crisp, snow white flesh and sweet flavor. Pack your Spartan apples as a lunchtime snack or use them to make a wonderful applesauce or apple butter.

Bunch Carrots
STORE: Always remove tops from carrots as they take moisture from the “root” to stay green, leaving you with a limp carrot. Store carrots in the coolest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel to reduce the amount of moisture that is lost. They should keep for about two weeks. Be sure to store your carrots away from apples, pears, potatoes as they produce a gas that will make carrots bitter.
PREP:  Wash carrot roots and gently scrub them with a vegetable brush right before preparing them to eat. Peel (if desired) and chop according to your recipe or their purpose.
USE: You can steam, pickle, puree (for carrot soup!), juice, eat them raw or add them to any number of soups, stews and stir fries.

Yellow Corn
STORE: Store corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not remove its husk since this will protect its flavor. To enjoy your corn at its best, eat as soon as possible.
Fresh corn freezes well if placed in heavy-duty freezer bags. To prepare whole ears for freezing, blanch them first for seven to eleven minutes depending upon their size. To freeze the kernels, first blanch the ears for about five minutes and then cut the kernels off the cob. Whole corn on the cob will keep for up to one year, while the kernels can be frozen for two to three months.
PREP: To prepare your corn, remove or pull down the husks (depending on if you would like to cook your corn with the husks on or off) and remove the silk from the cob. Rinse under cool water (if desired, pull the husks back around your corn). To cut the kernels off of a corn cob, put the flat stem end in a bowl and run a sharp chef’s knife down the length of the ear using a sawing motion.
USE: Corn can be grilled, baked, steamed, boiled or broiled. For a last taste of summer, try this tasty Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob recipe. To enjoy your corn in Fall dishes, add cooked corn kernels to soup or chili for a heartier, more nutritious meal.