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Eat This Now for the Week of 01/21/15

tangelo

Eat This Now | January 21st, 2015

Minneola TangelosFlorida Juice OrangesGrape TomatoesChard GreensGreen Beans

Best if used by 01/28/15

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Minneola Tangelos

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Nothing brightens a cold winter day and boosts your immune system with Vitamin C quite like a refreshing Minneola Tangelo. A cross between a Tangerine and a Grapefruit, Tangelos are juicy and have a vibrant, mostly sweet orange flavor with a distinct tangerine tanginess. Dark orange-skinned Minneola Tangelos from California now in the peak of their growing season. The fruit is very juicy right now and fairly easy to peel.

Minneolas are easy to spot – they have that goofy knob at the stem end, which actually makes them easier to peel. Their flesh is super juicy, has few to no seeds and delivers a sweet and tangy citrus flavor. Minneola Tangelos are ideal for on the go snacking, slicing onto salads, making smoothies – and fantastic for fresh squeezed juice. Select Minneolas that feel heavy for their size and are free from soft spots. Skin scars, where the fruit rubbed against the leafs and stems on the tree, have no impact on eating quality.

Ever hear of a “Honey Bell”?

Honey Bells are Minneola Tangelos grown in Florida. Sometimes they’re sold as Honey Bells, other times they’re marked as Florida Minneolas. Honey Bells are often even juicer than their California-grown version, though their skin is not as pretty and the knob at the stem end is less defined.
 

Tangy-sweet Minneola Tangelos have few seeds, are fairly easy to peel and are SO JUICY!

Florida Juice Oranges

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Not every store still stocks these, but if you find them – you’re in for an old-fashioned treat. Florida grown Juice Oranges are tasting great this time of year: bright, fully sweet yet mild. The fruit doesn’t peel particularly easily, they have a 6 seeds or less and the skin is often scarred up make them less attractive than other oranges. BUT the flavor, the juice? Well, that’s what it’s all about! This is the best orange available right now for hand-squeezed, homemade orange juice. Or slice them into wedges to get that classic fresh orange juice flavor in every bite.

Florida Juice Oranges are tasting fantastic! Make some hand-squeezed OJ!

Grape Tomatoes

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Bite-sized Grape Tomatoes are perfect for snacking and for topping salads – especially if you’re looking for affordable veggies (well, actually fruit) to keep at arm’s length during the holidays. Weather in Florida has cooperated enough to allow growers to have some hefty harvests this January. Expect affordable prices as well as in-store specials and ads the next few weeks.

Grape Tomato Tips

  • The sweeter and crunchier Grape Tomatoes are coming from Florida right now, in my opinion, versus Mexico where they’re also in season. You should be able to find the country of origin on the label.
  • For best texture and flavor, I recommend that you store your tomatoes room temperature, not the fridge.

Recipe: Balsamic Grape Tomato & Kale Salad

The sweetness of Grape Tomatoes paired with the acidity of Balsamic brightens the earthy crunch of raw Kale.

  1. Slice folded Kale leaves cut from three stalks into thin ribbons
  2. Halve 1 pint of Grape Tomatoes lengthwise
  3. Combine shredded kale with cut grape tomatoes in a mixing bowl
  4. Toss with 4 tbsp Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Allow to rest for at least 2 minutes, then serve

Here are some tasty recipes to keep things fun when you have more Grape Tomatoes than your snacking habits can take care of:

Florida Grape Tomatoes are in peak season from Florida!

 

Sweet Grape Tomatoes paired with the acidity of Balsamic brightens the earthy crunch of a raw shredded Kale salad.

Chard Greens

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Isn’t is cool how some of the most beautiful vegetables are often some of the healthiest? Take Chard, aka Swiss Chard, for example. Dark green leaves loaded with Vitamins K, A and C sprawling from bright white, red or yellow stems – they’re down-right pretty… and interesting to cook with! Some of the biggest and best looking bunches of Green, Red and Rainbow (a mix of colored stems) Chards in season from South Texas. Plus, Chards are also available from Florida and California. Chards have a naturally earthy, slightly bitter flavor.  The right preparations like braising or sautéing can really mellow and compliment its strong raw flavor.

Chard Greens Tips

  • Select Chard Greens appear vibrant and have crisp stems.
  • Store Greens in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
  • A cousin to Spinach, Chard is a super healthy green – learn more about Chard health benefits here.
  • Chards, like Kale, are good for juicing. The raw product is made more palatable by juicing it with apples, cucumbers and lemon or lime.
  • Both the leaf and the stem of Chard Greens are edible.
  • Cook the base stems longer and thicker portions longer by starting them before the leaves when you steam, sauté or braise.
  • Check out this awesome collection of Healthy Chard Recipes.

Recipe: Jerk-seasoned Stir-fried Snow & Snap Peas with Swiss Chard

  1. Wash 1 bunch of Chard (Red, Green or Rainbow)
  2. Cut base of Chard stems into 1″ pieces, separate from leaves
  3. In a deep sauce pan, braising pan or wok – heat 2-4 tbsp oil
  4. Cook 2 slices cloves of Garlic in the oil until translucent over high heat
  5. Carefully add Chard Stems, 1 cup each Snow & Snap Peas
  6. Season liberally with Jerk Seasoning
  7. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes
  8. Add chopped Chard Greens and cover with lid for 2 minutes
  9. Remove lid, reduce heat to low and sauté for 4-5 minutes
  10. Serve with cooked pasta, rice or quinoa

In-season Chard Greens for healthy cooking! Rainbow with multi-colored stems, Green with white stems, and Red Swiss Chard with red stems.

Jerk-seasoned Stir-fried Snow & Snap Peas with Swiss Chard + Spanish Rice.

Green Beans

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Fresh Green Beans are shaping up to be an excellent veggie choice for cooking January dinners. 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. Winter plantings of Green Beans are in a period of steady harvests from farms in the Homestead, Florida area! Expect more affordable prices and nice quality.

Recipe: Easy Steamed Green Beans with Italian Vinaigrette

This recipe can be made even easier with a microwaveable bag of fresh green beans.

  1. Trim the ends off 12-16oz of fresh Green Beans
  2. Wash the Green Beans in cold water
  3. Steam Beans over salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes
  4. Strain the Beans and put them in a large mixing bowl
  5. Toss the Beans gently in 3 tbps of creamy Italian-style vinaigrette
  6. Serve warm

Green Bean Tips

  • From bulk displays, select Green Beans that feel firm and snappy.
  • Store them in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.
  • Fresh Green Beans in microwave-able bags that are pre-washed and already have the ends trimmed have become quite popular as a time saver. Those beans are also coming from Florida farms right now.
  • Need some Recipe Inspiration? Find green bean recipes on Pinterest here.

Top Image: Easy Steamed Green Beans with Italian Vinaigrette

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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