Eat This Now | May 19th, 2015

Memorial Day PicksRhubarbGreen SquashSpinach

Best if used by 05/27/15

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Memorial Day Weekend Picks

Recommended

  • Watermelon: Seedless Watermelon from Florida and Mexico has been eating great and retailers are promoting it on sale.
  • Sweet Corn: Florida grown Sweet Corn is abundant here in May and stores are selling it at deep discounts to bring you to their store. Go ahead and enjoy this picnic favorite.
  • Vidalia Sweet Onions: These fresh onions are great for burgers and dogs when raw and sweeten up when grilled!
  • Greenhouse Beefsteak Tomatoes: Broad, red and perfect for slicing for your sandwiches and burgers, Hothouse Tomatoes are the way to go until summer vine ripes are ready.

If they look fresh and are affordable to you go ahead enjoy these this week. All are poised to enter their peak season in June (stay tuned!).

  • Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries
  • Grapes from California or Mexico
  • Cantaloupes, Honeydew
  • Cherries and Apricots from California

Great for the Grill

USA grown Peaches, Plums and Nectarines are now available in smaller sizes. The fruit has good flavor, but it is a little early in the season for their peak eating experience.

Rhubarb

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp? So good! Rhubarb is a vegetable that pairs with both sweet and savory dishes, yet has a propensity for hooking up with berries in desserts to bring out its best. Raw Rhubarb stalks are crisp like red-skinned Celery and have a bold, bitter flavor that mellows with cooking and is accentuated by sugar. Use Rhubarb in pies, cobblers, crisps, chutneys, sauces, drink and lemonade recipes and more. I found some awesome rhubarb recipes here.

Rhubarb = Spring! And even though we’re about to begin thinking summer picnic and BBQs, Rhubarb is now in peak season from local harvest here in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast through late June. It is also available from large Rhubarb farms in the Pacific Northwest.

Recipe Hack! Easy Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Buy a pack of your favorite Apple Crisp Mix, but use fresh strawberries and rhubarb instead of apples. Chop 1 bunch of Rhubarb (2 cups), then top and halve 1 lb of Strawberries (3 cups). Prepare the recipe the rest of the way according to the instructions on the pack and you’re good to go! Delicious!

Recipe: Homemade Rhubarb Sauce

What’s one of the most versatile things to do with fresh Rhubarb? Make a sauce! Sweet-tart Rhubarb Sauce is perfect for topping oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, pound cake, toast, bagels, or ice cream. Fantastic! Here’s the general recipe:

  1. chop Rhubarb into 1/2 wide pieces, enough for 4-5 cups
  2. put chopped Rhubarb into a large heavy saucepan
  3. top Rhubarb with 1/2 cup sugar (or 1 full cup if you like it sweeter)
  4. add 1 heaping tablespoon of Minute Tapioca
  5. stir the above raw ingredients then allow to sit for 15 min., then stir again
  6. simmer for 15 min. over Medium heat, do not allow to bubble over
  7. simmer for another 10 min. steadily reducing the heat from toward Low
  8. cool at room temp. then refrigerate

 

Spring indulgence! Homemade Rhubarb Sauce over pound cake or angel food cake with fresh strawberries and cream.

 

Easy Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Green Squash (Zucchini)

Peak Season    Value Priced

Green Squash, also referred to as Zucchini, is in a peak season plentiful harvest from farms in Georgia, Florida and Mexico. Keep an eye out for in-store specials where you shop. Enjoy the mild flavor of fresh Zucchini julienned raw for salads or pastas, simply steamed, sautéed with oil and garlic, baked into pies and quiches, or cooked in stews and casseroles. It’s also great on the grill!

Grilling Zucchini

  1. Preheat cleaned grill to High
  2. Wash, pad dry, then trim the ends
  3. Slice the Zucchini for grilling, ¼” to ½” thickness is ideal
  4. Rounds cut across the zucchini on the bias, or
  5. Strips sliced the length of the zucchini
  6. Toss in a mixing bowl with 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  7. Season with coarse salt and black pepper (or your favorite grill seasoning), retoss to coat
  8. Grill for a couple of minutes on each side until grill marks are well defined

Green Squash Tips

  • Select Zucchini that is firm, and is free from soft spots or open cuts.
  • Very large and thick Zucchini can have more mature seeds inside, making it less desirable in cooking yet fine for baking Zucchini Bread.
  • High heat for a short period of time – like grilling or stir-frying – can help you avoid a “mushy texture” when preparing Zucchini.
  • Here are some interesting Zucchini Recipes.

Green Squash, also referred to as Zucchini, is in a peak season plentiful harvest from farms in Georgia, Florida and Mexico

Spinach

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Curly-leaf Spinach is crisp and flavorful – ideal torn for hearty salads, piled on sandwiches and wraps, and of course for cooking – quiche, lasagna, sautéed recipes and more! Loaded with vitamins and nutrients, it’s also excellent for green juice blends.

Fresh Spinach that is full size, the kind sold on the wet veg case of the produce department in bunches with the stem, is in season right now from both large farms in California and local farms in New Jersey and other areas throughout the Mid-Atlantic! The NJ Spinach is more of a “savoy” variety with dark-green leaves that are curlier than what is typically grown in California.

Spinach Tips

  • Select Bunched Spinach that is free from slimy or yellow leaves.
  • Store it in the crisper of your fridge wrapped in a damp paper towel or in a plastic bag.
  • Be sure to thoroughly rinse bunched Spinach with cold water to remove sand and dirt.
  • Pat it or spin it dry before use in tossed salads so the dressing clings and salad stays airy. No drying is needed after washing if you’ll be using it in cooking or juicing.

Recipe: Greek Spinach & Mint Salad

Hearty-textured local Spinach, brightness from fresh Mint and rich tanginess from the Feta make this salad a delight!

  1. Wash ½ bunch of Curly Spinach
  2. Cut off the stems
  3. Stack the leaves, slice into thick ribbons, split ribbons
  4. Wash a handful of fresh Mint
  5. Remove stems from Mint leaves, chop leaves finely
  6. Toss Spinach and Mint with 3 tbsp Greek dressing
  7. Top salad with 2 tbsp crumbled Feta cheese and ½ Vidalia Sweet Onion, sliced

Pat it or spin it dry before use in tossed salads so the dressing clings and salad stays airy. No drying is needed after washing if you’ll be using it in cooking or juicing.

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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