STORE: 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature; 2 months in the refrigerator. PREP: Cut the crown end off a pomegranate, removing with it some of the white pith. Lightly score the skin in quarters, from the stem to the crown end. Firmly yet gently break the sections apart, following the score lines. Bend back the skin and gently scoop the seed clusters into a bowl; remove any pith. USE: Pomegranate juice can be used in drinks, syrups, and jellies. The liquid stains, so wear an apron and wipe up spills immediately. Sprinkle the gorgeous, sweet-tart seeds into salads, rice dishes, or even glasses of Champagne.
Image from flickr.com
STORE: Store whole onions in their mesh bag (or any container that lets air circulate) for up to 2 months in a cool, dark, dry space. Don’t store onions under the sink or near potatoes, because moisture and the gases emitted by potatoes will cause the onions to rot. Refrigerate a cut onion, skin on (it will last a bit longer) and tightly wrapped, for up to 4 days.
PREP: The best way to reduce tears when chopping an onion is to minimize the amount of time you spend working with it. Watch this video to learn how to chop the versatile onion properly, quickly, and efficiently. USE: We consider this the all-purpose onion, and personally, it’s the one we use most often. Yellow onions have a nice balance of astringency and sweet in their flavor, becoming sweeter the longer they cook. They are usually fist-sized with fairly a fairly tough outer skin and meaty layers. Spanish onions are a particular kind of yellow onion and we find them to be slightly sweeter and more delicate in flavor. Check the back of this week’s newsletter for a tangy onion jam recipe from Chef Ashley Rodriguez…the perfect handcrafted holiday gift!
Image from flickr.com
STORE: Before refrigerating, separate the beets from the leaves (which leach moisture from the roots), leaving an inch or two of stem at the top. Store the beets and the leaves, unwashed, in separate bags in the refrigerator’s vegetable compartment. The greens will last for only a few days, but the roots stay fresh for up to 3 weeks. PREP: Beet juice can stain, so protect your countertop when cutting. Keeping the skin on while cooking (it comes off easily afterward) preserves flavor and color. USE: Small, young beets are tasty grated raw in salads. All types are delicious steamed or boiled, but to best bring out the flavor, roast them at 400º F for 45 minutes, then slip off the skins, slice, and top with goat cheese, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Image from flickr.com
STORE: in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days. Ideally, they should be kept out of the refrigerator in a cool, dry, dark place not above 60˚F /15˚C, which would fit the characteristics of a root cellar. Yet since most people don’t have root cellars, we’d suggest just keeping your yams loose (not in a plastic bag, but if desired, a brown paper bag with multiple air holes punched in it will work) and storing them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated cupboard away from sources of excess heat (like the stove).
PREP: Wash the skins with a soft cloth so you don’t peel the tender skin off just before use. As the flesh of yams will darken upon contact with the air, you should cook them immediately after peeling and/or cutting them. If this is not possible, to prevent oxidation, keep them in a bowl covered completely with water until you are ready to cook them.
USE: Yams are delicious just baked and then dotted with butter. Often you can use a yam for recipes calling for Baked potatoes. Since these are certified organic you can enjoy them, tasty skins on! Steamed, they make a great side to chicken, pork or fish. Try shedding them and cooking like “hash browns” for breakfast, or add to a slaw with raisins and peanut sauce. You can also make “sweet potato chips by cutting peeled yams into 1/8” rounds, place them on a parchment-covered baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. Bake in a 350°F oven until crisp. For a homemade “fries” see http://sarahscucinabella.com/2008/04/07/parm-rose-sweet-potato-fries/
STORE: Pinova apples are crisp and juicy with dense flesh. Their mild, well-balanced sweet-tart flavor improves in storage so don’t worry about using them right away. Just store your apples in the coldest part of your refrigerator and use within two months.
PREP: Wash your apples prior to eating under cool water. Peel, core and chop them for your desired recipe.
USE: This apple is good for eating out of hand and cooking. Why not enjoy a healthy dessert by making a simple apple crisp with oatmeal, a little organic evaporated cane sugar and sliced Pinova apples? http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=11935
STORE: When refrigerated in a plastic bag, pomegranates will keep for up to 2 months.
TO SEED: Wash fruit under cool running water. Slice off the top and the tail of the pomegranate. With a sharp paring knife, score as you would to peel an orange. Submerge pomegranate in bowl of cold water (so any juice that sprays out won’t get on your clothes- pomegranate juice stains) and peel away rind. Break into sections, and pull seeds from the pith with your fingers. Drain seeds in a sieve and throw away the pith. Be sure to drain well.
USE: Pomegranate seeds can be safely stored in the refrigerator or even frozen, for later use. However, this fruit is so delicious that it is most often consumed in one setting. Have you eaten YOUR pomegranate, today? The seeds are a brilliantly colorful addition when tossed on a salad. Check out this website, dedicated to only pomegranates for more recipe ideas and preparation tips http://pomegranates.org/recipes.html
STORE: Store ripe Fuyu persimmons at room temperature for up to three weeks. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to two months. Persimmons are ripe when they turn a dark orange, they will still be fairly firm.
PREP: Prepare ripe persimmons by hulling them (cutting out their top and its attached flesh), slicing, and peeling them. Remove and discard the large black seeds as you encounter them.
USE: Add sliced persimmons to a salad, whip up a smoothie or make a festive persimmon pudding.
Image from blog.fatfreevegan.com.
Lactinato/ Green Kale
STORE: Wrap unwashed kale in paper towels and keep it in the crisper of your refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze your kale by washing, chopping and storing in it in a freezer bag.
PREP: To wash kale, submerge it in water and swish around to remove dirt. Break or cut off tough stems and chop to your preference.
USE: Kale can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, stir-fried, or sautéed. Lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale or tuscan kale) is especially delicious when added to a minestrone soup or cooked in extra virgin olive oil with garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt.
Image from chow.com.
STORE: Store green onions in a plastic bag in your crisper for five to seven days. Be sure to keep them away from fruits and veggies that absorb odors easily like mushrooms, corn and apples.
PREP: Rinse your green onions in cold water; trim off roots and the very tops of the greens. Dice into thin or slightly thicker rounds depending on your preference. Don’t be afraid to use the entire green onion!
USE: Green onions, also called scallions, make an excellent garnish to soups, salads, noodle or rice dishes. Check out the Farmgirl Fare blog for recipes that showcase the wonderful flavor of green onions: http://www.farmgirlfare.com/2008/06/wanted-your-favorite-recipes-ways-to.html. Scroll down to the comments section of her post to see what her readers have to say–scallion pancakes, pickled scallions and green onion soup, yum!
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.
image from bestfruitnow.com
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).
image from newfinmysoup.blogspot.com.
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.
STORE: 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.