Eat This Now for the Week of 09/09/14


Eat This Now | September 9th, 2014

Bartlett PearsGreen BeansGinger Gold ApplesButternut SquashKitchen Tip of the Week

best if used by 09/15/14

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Bartlett Pears

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Fresh crop Bartlett Pears are back in season! – the ones with the classic light bulb shape. Bartlett Pears are the variety that shows you how ripe it is by the color of its skin. Bartlett Pears have lots of familiar Pear flavor and taste sweeter as they ripen at room temperature. They’re fantastic for fresh snacking, to eat with cheese, in salads and of course, in desserts. Bartlett Pears are preferred by many for home canning too.

Three Shades of Bartlett: Ripen Pears at Room Temperature

  1. Green: Hard and crunchy texture with a tart-sweet taste. This is the ripeness for stage for someone who is without a napkin, is hungry enough or impatient enough to eat a Pear that will taste much better in a day or two.
  2. Yellow-Green: Nicely sweet, classic pear flavor and succulent flesh. This is for typical lunch room eating.
  3. Full Yellow: The chin-dripper! Outrageously juicy, richly-ripe and sticky sweet. This is the lean over the desk waist basket with wet-wipes handy or lean over the kitchen sink and slurp up the sweetness. Yes, Bartletts do not stay at the full yellow stage for long before going bad AND the tender skin will likely show scars and bruises from handling. Be gentle.

The 2014 USA harvest of delicious Bartlett Pears is here! Local orchards are selling their Bartlett’s here in September.  Picking is mostly completed at orchards in California, and the prime pear growing regions of northern Oregon and central Washington’s are now hard at work picking and packing some of the best Organic and Conventional Bartlett’s in the world. Fresh crop Bartlett Pears are at their seasonal peak for flavor, quality and affordability during late August, September and early October. Storage Bartlett Pears are put in controlled atmosphere rooms immediately after harvest to be kept fresh for shipping in November through January.


Can’t convince your kids to eat Pears out-of-hand? Make it fun! Get your young-ins involved with their after-school snack using one of these Kid-friendly Pear Recipes.

Bartlett Pears change from green to yellow as the fruit ripens, softens and becomes juicer and sweeter tasting.

Recipe: Rustic Pear Tart

My wife made this simple, seasonal dessert from pears off a tree in our backyard and here “sorta secret crust recipe.” It is a fantastic way to feature fresh pears in a way even those who don’t normally like pears will love.  What’s rustic? Rustic here means quicker and easier, yet keeping the excellent flavor. You could spend extra time rolling out a full tart/pie crust and organizing the pears in a beautiful pattern, but that would take extra time. Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc or Starkrimson Pears could be used. You can make your own pie crust or buy a pre-made one.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Press a flaky pie crust (similar to this recipe here or use store-bought) in the bottom of a 10” Pie Pan, not rolled out
  3. Peel, core and slice 3 large Bartlett Pears (4-5 if smaller)
  4. Toss Pear Slices with 1 tbsp Lemon Juice, 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1/3 cup Sugar
  5. Spread the sugared Pear Slices across the crust then bake at 350F for about 40 minutes or until the pears are fork-tender and the crust edges begin to brown.
  6. While the tart is baking make a glaze by combining 1/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan with a couple extra slices of pear.  Bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Spread the glaze over the Pear Tart as it cools.  Serve warm, and yes, it’s awesome with ice cream.


Green Beans

Peak Season    Value Priced

Green Beans will be an excellent fresh vegetable choice this month since they’re in peak season from local farms in the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-West and California. Keep and eye out of in-store and advertised specials this September! Organic Green Beans are also in season.

Steam, boil or stir-fry Green Beans until they are just tender. Did you know you can roast Green Beans too? The short cooking time at high temps locks in the flavor, yet adds caramelization for an even more pleasing taste.

Recipe: Roasted Green Beans and Bosc Pears

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F
  2. Wash and trim ends of 1lb fresh Green Beans
  3. Core 2 Bosc Pears, then Slice Pears length-wise with skin on about ½” thick or less
  4. Toss Beans and Pears with 3 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  5. Season with these ingredients then re-toss to coat evenly
  6. 1 tsp Coarse Salt
  7. ½ tsp Black Pepper
  8. ½ tsp Ground Ginger powder
  9. Spread Beans and Pears out on a large baking tray
  10. Roast at 450F for 8-10 minutes, then stir and flip with a spatula
  11. Add ½ cup chopped Walnuts
  12. Roast an additional 8 minutes until beans are tender

Green Bean Tips

  • Select Green Beans that feel firm and snappy.
  • Avoid Beans that are limp, wilted, discolored or have sunken areas.
  • Store Green Beans in a plastic container or bag in the crisper of your refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and wash them just before use.
  • Prepare Green Beans for cooking by simply cutting the stem and calyx off the top and the slender point from the bottom.
  • Bags of Microwaveable Green Beans that are already washed and trimmed are a time saver, though you pay extra for the convenience.

A simple, sweet and savory dish to get your taste buds in the mood for Fall flavors – Roasted Green Beans and Bosc Pears.


Ginger Gold Apples

Peak Season    Value Priced

Ginger Gold Apples are one of the first new crop Apples available. Under their greenish-yellow skin that is occasionally blushed with a spot of rouge is a crisp, fine-textured flesh that doesn’t brown easily after slicing. The old-fashioned flavor is nicely tart and pleasingly sweet with a hint of fall spice – ideal for baking and sauces. No, Ginger Golds definitely not the ultimate snacking Apple, still their versatility, timeliness and affordability make them an excellent way to kick off “Apple Season.”

Virginia and Pennsylvania are already into peak harvests and other Northeast, Midwest and California and Pacific Northwest orchards are shipping Ginger Golds too. For a nice value, look for 4lb totes or 3lb bags of medium sized Ginger Golds, ideal for recipes.

Ginger Gold Tips

  • Refrigerate! Ginger Gold Apples are crisp when freshly picked, but too long at room temperature will quickly make them mealy inside. Keep them cold until you’re ready to use them – up to a week.
  • Select Apples that feel firm, plus are free from wrinkled skin, punctures and large bruises (flat discolored spots).

Recipe Ideas

An early variety, Ginger Gold Apples feature a tart-sweet flavor and are good for baking and applesauce. VA, PA and NY Ginger Gold’s are in season during September and October.


Butternut Squash

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

In-season Butternut is the most popular hard squash variety and is ideal for soups and roasting. It’s flesh is very moist and has a nutty flavor that falls somewhere between cooked carrots and sweet potato – familiar and accessible. Rich in Vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants, it’s healthy too! Butternut Squash needs to be baked, boiled, roasted, micro-waved or steamed. Organic and conventional Butternut Squash is now in peak season harvest from farms in the Mid-Atlantic region so keep an eye out for affordable pricing on locally or regionally grown product this September and October!

Squash Tips

  • Select Hard Squashes that are solid, free from stem-mold and feels heavy for their size.
  • Because they’re so firm, they can be often be kept at room temperature on your counter for a few weeks.
  • Save some for later. Chopped hard squash, like Butternut, that is uncooked will last for several days in the fridge packed in a plastic bag or container.

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots and Butternut Squash

  1. Toss these Vegetables in a bowl with 2 tsp Olive Oil
  2. ½ head of Cauliflower separated into bite-sized florets
  3. 3 Carrots peeled and bias-cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. ½ of a Butternut Squash, cleaned and chopped into large-bite chunks
  5. Season with Coarse Salt and Cracked Black, or a Seasoned Salt mix (I love Penzy’s Centennial Rub)
  6. Spread out evenly on large cookie sheet
  7. Roast at 450 F for 30 min

More Recipe Ideas

Butternut Squash Soup
Balsamic-roasted Butternut and Apples
Paleo Butternut Squash Lasagna
Penne with Braised Squash and Greens

Ideal for soups and roasting, Organic and Conventional Butternut Squash is now in peak season from local farms in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Roasting Butternut Squash brings out the best in its flavor. It pairs well with root vegetables and cruciferous veggies.

Kitchen Tip of the Week

How to cut and peel Butternut Squash

Cutting and Peeling

  1. Cut the bulb end from the neck.
  2. Stand the neck end up on its flatly cut base and peel it with a knife or sturdy vegetable peeler.
  3. Peel the bulbed end, then halve it.
  4. Scrape out the seeds and pulp with a spoon.
  5. Chop the flesh into bite sized pieces.
  6. Now it is ready to boil or steam or roast. Butternut Squash is cooked when the flesh can easily be pierced with a fork.

Smart Tips

  • Clean just makes sense. Pre-rinse the squash in running water and wipe the skin with a clean rag or paper towel. This keeps your cutting surface clean and your knife (which goes into the flesh) clean.
  • Keep your fingers, cut the squash. Use a sharp, sturdy knife for peeling, cutting and chopping hard squash. Dull knives will cause you to press to hard and risk slipping off the vegetable and onto your fingers or hand. And be sure your cutting board does not move by placing a silicon mat or towel underneath it.
  • Warm it up to peel it up. By nuking your whole Hard Squash in the microwave for 2-3 minutes the skin will soften a little and become easier to peel with a knife. Try it!


Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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