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Fresh This Week Tips, Week 10.23.10

Gala  Apples
STORE: To store, keep Gala apples as cold as possible in the crisper of your refrigerator.
PREP: Wash apples prior to eating under cool water. Peel, core and chop them if you plan to make sauce or simply cut them into thin wedges for making apple pie.

USE: Gala apples make delicious applesauce, but they can also be used in pies, juice, apple butter or eaten straight out of the hand. For a tasty applesauce add 4 apples (peeled, cored and chopped), ¾ cup water, ¼ cup sugar (omit for sugar-free sauce) and ½ tsp ground cinnamon (or one cinnamon stick) to a dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the apples are nice and soft. Once apples are cooled, mash with a fork for chunkier sauce or puree in your blender.
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Dapple Dandy Pluots

STORE: Your pluots will continue to ripen once off the tree. Turn them upside down and leave them on the counter away from the sun. When ripe, store them unwrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days.
PREP: If stored in the refrigerator, remove your pluots before eating and let them return to room temperature. They taste much better this way. Rinse and leave whole, slice into wedges or cut into chunks.

USE: These sweet Dapple Dandy Pluots can be eaten out of hand, as a fresh topping for yogurt, dehydrated into dried pluots or made into jam. You can also experiment by substituting them for plums in recipes (after all, they are the delicious hybrid of the plum and apricot).
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STORE: A whole pomegranate can be stored for up to a month on the counter or up to two months in the fridge.
PREP: Cut off the crown and cut the pomegranate into sections. Place the sections in bowl of water then push out the arils (seeds) with your fingers. Discard the membrane and strain out the water.

USE: You can either snack on the juicy, tart arils of the pomegranate or use them in dishes. Arils make a beautiful garnish for salads, bruschetta or desserts. Don’t be afraid to try something a little decadent with these jewels. Try this recipe for Beef Filets with Pomegranate-Pinot sauce.
image from my recipes.

Acorn Squash
Store acorn squash in a cool, dark and well-ventilated area for up to five weeks.
PREP: Rinse off dirt from your squash and halve it from the stem end to its point with a sturdy knife. If you are making acorn squash rings, begin by cutting the squash horizontally. Clean out all of the fibers and seeds from the cavity with a spoon.

USE: This round, acorn-shaped squash is one of the best for baking. Make a classic acorn squash side with butter and brown sugar(or just butter, then top with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves – a Klesick Farm favorite). If you’re feeling more adventurous, stuff your squash or make a risotto.
image from mango tomato.


STORE: Snip off the bottom of the cilantro stems and make sure leaves are completely dry. Fill a jar half full with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water. Store in the refrigerator with a plastic bag loosely covering the top of the herbs. Change the water every few days. It should last a little over a week.
You can also freeze cilantro for later use in soups and entrees (it won’t work as a garnish, but will add that nice cilantro flavor). Begin by removing the leaves from the stem and proportionally adding them to an ice tray. Fill the tray with water on top of the leaves and freeze for 2 days. Remove cilantro cubes from tray and place in a freezer bag. Thaw when needed and use within 2 months.
PREP: Fill a bowl with water, submerge your cilantro leaves in the water and swish them from side to side to remove any dirt. Shake off the excess water and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice through the stems with your chef’s knife and finely chop the leaves (by rocking back and forth) or leave them whole.
USE: Cilantro provides great flavor for Mexican, Thai, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s a staple ingredient for salsa and is the perfect garnish for soups and curries.
image from qwickstep.


STORE: Store yams in a cool, dark and dry area for up to two weeks.
PREP: Wash them thoroughly to remove dirt. Slice with a sharp knife into rounds, cubes or whatever cut your recipe requires.
USE: Yams are a wonderful and versatile fall staple. Make candied yams, mashed yams or yam fries. You can also bake them in the oven (rubbed with a little extra virgin olive oil for crisp skin) at 400F for 45 minutes to an hour. For a delicious vegetarian dinner, try this week’s Yam & Black Bean Burritos.

*Note: Did you know that yams and sweet potatoes are entirely different vegetables? In North America we seem to use the names interchangeably, but they aren’t actually related. True yams typically have black or brown thick skin with flesh that varies from off-white to red or purple. These large tubers are from Africa and not readily available in the US.  Sweet potatoes have thinner skin and are generally shorter and stubbier than yams with flesh that ranges from a pale yellow to bright orange. For cooking purposes, sweet potatoes are sweeter, moister and less starchy than yams. In regards to this week’s box of good, here at Klesick Family Farm we call the dark skinned, bright orange sweet potatoes “North American yams.” All that being said, sweet potatoes and North American yams are usually interchangeable in recipes with minimal changes needed to compensate for the differences.
image from rhapsody in books.