Eat This Now | October 15th, 2014

Sweet PotatoesBroccoliArtisan Lettuce and Little Gem LettucePomegranatesKitchen Tip of the Week

best if used by 10/29/14

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Sweet Potatoes (Yams)

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Flavorful, sweet, moist and delicious – Sweet Potatoes can be enjoyed in so many ways, and this is the time of year I love bake and cook with them! Loaded with Beta Carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese, Sweet Potatoes are not only tasty, but quite healthy too.

Sweet Potato Fries, make roasted Veggies with Sweet Potatoes, or cook some whipped Sweet Potatoes topped with nuts and Baked Apples & Sweet Potatoes with cinnamon

It’s Sweet Tater season! Most of this summer’s crop of Sweet Potatoes, which are commonly referred to as Yams, has been harvested and stored for shipping this Fall and Winter. The best Sweet Potato growing states like North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi and California are now shipping their popular orange-flesh Covington and Beauregard variety Sweet Potatoes that are of good quality and are reasonably priced. Organic Sweet Potatoes from California are also in excellent supply with beautiful appearance and flavor.

Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Nothing like some game-day party food!  One of my go-to dishes is Baked Sweet Potato Fries made with a savory twist – Taco seasoning. So good!

  1. Pre-heat Oven to 425F
  2. Peel 2lb of Sweet Potatoes (Yams)
  3. Cut the Sweet Potatoes lengthwise into ½” thick steak-cut “fries”
  4. Toss the sliced fries with 2tbsp olive oil then season Taco Seasoning (about a third of the packet)
  5. Spread the seasoned fries evenly on a baking tray and roast bake for 20 minutes at 425F
  6. Flip the seasoned fries and bake for another 15-20 minutes

Tips

High quality orange-flesh Sweet Potatoes (Yams) are now in peak season.

 

Broccoli

Peak Season    Value Priced

Is fresh Broccoli part of your weekly meal planning this October? It should be and here’s why:

  1. East Coast harvests = Fair prices for East Coast shoppers: Broccoli on Sale? Probably. A peak season harvest flush is taking place here in mid-October with Broccoli growers in Pennsylvania, Maine and Virginia. Bunches of Broccoli, Crown-cut and Stem-Stalk-Leaf-cut Broccoli is available with nice quality.
  2. It’s versatile: Broccoli is perfect for school lunches, game day veggie trays and in all kinds of cooked or raw recipe preparations for lunch and dinner:
  3. Health. Broccoli is loaded with vitamins and nutrients, plus it has fiber that fills you up! Did you know that calorie for calorie Broccoli has almost 2x the protein of steak?

Roasted Broccoli is a great way to bring even broccoli-haters back to the table!

 

Artisan Lettuce and Little Gem Lettuce

Best Flavor

From time to time I like to feature a neat products you might not find everywhere, but if you see them you’ll know if they’re worth a try or not. Here are two fresh Lettuce packs that are excellent alternatives to “Packaged Salad” blends.

Artisan Lettuce containers contain four heads of 6” tall specialty Lettuces that are packed right in the field. The Lettuces stay fresher longer since the leaves are not chopped in a processing facility. The varieties packed for Artisan Lettuce include: soft and brightly flavored Petite Red or Green Oak, crunchy and sweet Petite Red or Green Gem, plus crisp and lightly bitter Petite Red and Green Tango Lettuce. Simply rinse the lettuce, cut the base, slice the heads in half widthwise or leave them as whole leaves for making delightful salads that hold up to your dressings and toppings. Find more ideas here.

Little Gem Lettuce is best described as miniature 4” tall Romaine Hearts that have a sturdy Romaine crispness yet a sweet-mild flavor with smooth leaf texture like Butter Lettuce (Boston/Bibb). Little Gems are great for grilled recipes, whole leaf salads or for using single leaves to hold tuna salad or other goodies. Check out recipes here.

A tasty, fresh alternative to packaged salad blends or large heads of lettuce: Artisan Lettuce and Little Gems Lettuce

Pomegranates

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Pomegranates from California are back in season! Enjoy fresh organic and conventional Pomegranates at their best now through early December. The delicious prize inside a fresh Pomegranate is the juicy, sweet, bold flavored arils (seeds encapsulated with sacs of juice). You eat the arils whole. These arils are fantastic by themselves as a flavorful snack – juicy, sweet, a little tangy then crunchy. The taste is somewhere between concord grape juice and cranberry juice on the sugar to acid scale, but deliciously unique, robust. Pomegranate arils can also be used to top a salad, in yogurt parfaits, with desserts or cocktails, and for juicing. Me? I love them as a delicious snack!

Tips

  • Select fresh Pomegranates that are firm and heavy, a sign of juice content.
  • Scarring on the skin really has no impact on the internal quality of the fruit.
  • The redness of the skin can vary from variety to variety and is not a true indicator of aril quality.
  • Store Pomegranates in the fridge for best shelf-life, but they’ll last for a week or so on the counter.
  • Here are some Pomegranate recipe ideas.
  • Super-food Pomegranates are an ancient fruit but have been in the news lately for their health benefits.

Pomegranate arils can also be used to top a salad, in yogurt parfaits, with desserts or cocktails, and for juicing.

Kitchen Tip of the Week

How to open a Pomegranate

If you decide to hack open a fresh Pomegranate on a cutting board and then pry the membranes apart, get ready to clean up your crime scene – I mean, kitchen. There will be juice splattering on your cutting surface and surrounding area, and likely on you. Fun for Halloween maybe, but there are better ways. These are the two methods I use in my kitchen:

Aqua Method

  1. You’ll need a knife, large bowl of water and a colander.
  2. Slice the crown off the top.
  3. Score the skin making 4 cuts from top to bottom.
  4. Open the Pomegranate over the bowl of water.
  5. Pull the arils from membranes under water to keep the splatter to a minimum.
  6. The arils sink and the membranes float – strain and you’re done.

Aqua Deseeding Method

Deseeder Tap Method

  1. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the “60 Second Pomegranate Deseeder” I came across this product a few years ago. This archive video shows me testing it several years ago. I still use this thing… because it works!
  2. Halve the fruit.
  3. Put it face down on the deseeder grate and tap (or slap) out the arils with a heavy utensil onto a plate. Voila.

Tap Deseeding Method

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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