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Eat This Now for the Week of 10/15/14

apples

Eat This Now | October 29th, 2014

Granny Smith ApplesGreen Seedless GrapesCranberriesLeeksKitchen Tip of the Week

best if used by 11/05/14

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Granny Smith Apples

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

On the apple flavor spectrum at the opposite end from all-sweet Fuji are tart Granny Smith – about as tart as apple varieties get. There are times when being at the extremes wins you fans and that is surely the case for Granny Smith Apples. Green skinned, firm and tart Granny Smith Apples are fantastic paired with rich and savory ingredients in cooking like cheddar cheese, salty meats, salads, sweet potatoes and hard squashes. For baking, they add acidic balance to desserts and hold their shape. For juicing, they add fresh, sweet-tart flavor and keep a nice green color for green juices. And of course, there are those who prefer tart Apples for snacking… they love Granny’s.

Here is a delicious collection of recipes featuring Granny Smith Apples.

Fresh crop Granny Smith Apples are in peak season in apple growing region across the country – Northeast, Mid-West and Pacific Northwest. Organically grown Granny Smith Apples are in season from Washington too where the harvest was bigger than last Fall. That should translate into reasonable pricing, sharp quality and even some ads or in-store specials now to the end of Winter.

Recipe: Granny Fennel Green Juice

Juice the following ingredients in a juice extractor for a phyto-nutrient-rich green juice that packs a tart-sweet punch with tones of licorice.

  1. 3 stalks Kale
  2. 1 bulb of Fennel (feel free to include stems and fronds)
  3. 1 Lime, mostly peeled
  4. 3 medium Granny Smith Apples

Tart! Organic and Conventional Granny Smith Apples are in peak season from Washington. Local Granny Smith are freshly picked in other apple growing areas now too!

 

Sharp Cheddar Cheese and tart Granny Smith Apples – a classic combination.

 

Granny-Fennel Green Juice packs a tart-sweet punch with a mild licorice flavor.

Green Seedless Grapes

Peak Season    Best Flavor

I usually prefer Red or Black Seedless Grapes. But not right now. Here’s why. This late October and early November the premium varieties of Green Seedless Grapes from California have been absolutely fabulous. Not cheap and on feature ads like in August, but better tasting.  Big, round Autumn King variety Green Grapes with crispness through and through plus a wonderful, sweet flavor have been my snacking grape of choice – wow! Elongated and sweet Pristine variety Green Grapes have been tasty too. Get some to snack on before the season ends!

Grape Tips

  • Select Grapes that feel firm to a gentle squeeze. Lift up the bag or container and look at it from all sides.
  • Look for Grapes with stems that are still green at the thickest parts and appear to still have life in them.
  • Choose packs that have most of the berries still on the vine.
  • Avoid bags that are wet and sticky – a sign that some of the Grapes are going bad – or have berries with splits or cracks.
  • Go ahead… ask the produce clerk for a sample grape or two. Tasting is believing!
  • Keep your Grapes refrigerated until you’re about ready to eat them, since they lose their crunch much quicker at room temperature.
  • Wash Grapes with a cold water rinse just before serving them.
  • California Table Grape site has a nice array of Grape recipes, tips and use ideas.

Fun Ideas

  • Frozen Grapes. Wash, remove from the stem, then freeze the fresh Grapes for snack your school-age kids (and you) will love to chill out with.
  • Candied Grapes. Turn your Green Grapes into a version of Sour Patch Kids!
  • Recipes with Green Grapes? Search Pinterest here for some visual inspiration.

Autumn King jumbo Green Seedless Grapes are some of the crispiest, best-tasting of the California season!

Cranberries

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

A truly seasonal fruit – fresh Organic and Conventional Cranberries are now in harvest from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Canada! Fresh Cranberries are slightly crunchy and intensely tangy in flavor – healthy too! Not many people eat raw, fresh Cranberries – so, what do you do with them outside of Thanksgiving dinner? Fresh Cranberries are best used in recipes for: appetizers, relishes, sauces, chutneys, relishes, breads, muffins, drinks and desserts. Find fresh Cranberry Recipes HERE.

5 Recipes for Fresh Cranberries

that have nothing to do with Thanksgiving day.

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce

It’s way easier than you may have thought. If you want to skip the canned stuff this Autumn (Most Cranberry packs have a recipe like this on the back.)

  1. Boil a cup of water and a cup of sugar
  2. Add a pack of rinsed Fresh Cranberries (most are 12oz, but use 10-16oz depending on our sweet or tart you like it)
  3. Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring often
  4. Pour it into a bowl to cool at room temperature and you’ve done it!

Fall is for Fresh Cranberries – and not just for Thanksgiving recipes.

 

Leeks

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Ever use Leeks in your home-cooking? If you like a somewhat chive-like and somewhat mild-onion-like in flavor, Leeks are something you’ll love!  Leeks are sweeter than shallots, garlic and scallions, yet still savory. They are used as the back-bone flavor in many recipes and can be braised, steamed, boiled or roasted to soften their texture. They can be used in soups, stews, mashed potatoes and casseroles, or can be served as a side. Flavorful Organic and Conventional Leeks from California are now in peak season. Local conventional Leeks are also in season from New Jersey.

Leeks halved, washed then roasted at 425F for 25 minutes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

More mild than an onion, but sweeter and richer than a scallion – in-season Leeks are ideal for roasting, braising and steaming for use in savory recipes.

Kitchen Tip of the Week

How to Cut and Prepare Leeks

Since Leeks tend to pick up lots of dirt and sand-grit between the leaves as they grow, here’s a helpful video on how to cut and clean Leeks in preparation for use in your recipes. Below are the essential steps and some pictures from my cutting board:

  1. Trim roots off the base of the Leeks
  2. Cut the tops off the Leeks where the leaves begin to turn dark green and fibrous
  3. Slice the Leeks length-wise
  4. Pull off any fibrous outer leaves
  5. Wash Leeks in a bowl or deep baking dish (dirt and sand will sink, leeks will float)
  6. Chop and use in recipes!

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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