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Eat This Now for the Week of 09/02/14

apples

Eat This Now | September 2nd, 2014

Gala ApplesGarlicWhite PotatoesCelery

best if used by 09/09/14

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Gala Apples

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Looking for a fresh, in-season, portable and sweet fruit that’s good in the lunch box, at the office, for after school snacking, in salads, for juicing and in other culinary uses? Oh, and one grown locally, organically or at least right here in the USA?

The ever-popular Gala Apple is an accessible variety that the whole family will love. Good ones are lightly crisp yet easily chewable, have thin tender skins, and taste juicy, sweet and pleasantly mild. Sounds nice, right? Gala Apples are ideal for snacking out of hand, but you can also use them on salads and in many baking recipes.

Here’s the great news! The 2014 harvest is underway for fresh crop Gala Apples here in the US. Regional orchards are picking their Galas now in VA, PA and NY (and in the Mid-West too), plus larger commercial orchards in California, and Washington are picking their peak season Galas too! Organic Gala Apples from California, Oregon and especially Washington are also now in season. Expect excellent flavor and texture on this fresh crop fruit.

Gala Apple Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do Squeeze the apple with your whole hand – it should feel hard.
  • Don’t Select Galas with visible bruises or flat soft areas – signs of damage during handling.
  • Do Choose Galas that have a vibrant color with bright red to deep pink blush-streaks over golden yellow. Dull appearance, no matter what the color shades are is a sign of age or improper storage.
  • Don’t pick ones that have wrinkled skin, a sign of being on the shelf too long and dehydration that causes a mealy textured flesh.
  • Do Refrigerate the Apples you buy until the day you’re ready to eat them to protect their crispness. This time of year, Apples can last for a few weeks in the fridge. Be gentle, even fresh crop apples bruise easier than most people expect.

Cutting Tip

How to prevent your apple slices from turning brown.

Fresh crop Gala Apple season is here – from local orchards – and from all the major USA growing areas! Galas are mild, sweet and lightly crisp – making them salad and snacking friendly.

 
 

Garlic

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Fresh Garlic is a must-have ingredient in your kitchen this time of year. It gives fresh kick to fresh salsas and dressings; it brings savory flavor to dips and spreads; and it fills your home with rich aroma when sautéed, baked or roasted as part of your family dinners.

In our global economy and culture of instant gratification, most people expect fresh Garlic to be available at supermarkets 365 days a year as if it was canned peas. Actually, since Garlic stores so well after harvest and with supplies from the US, Mexico, South American countries and China, you can find bulbs of Garlic in the produce department all year long. BUT… there is still a peak season when the flavor is bright, the papery skins are clean and overall quality is top notch – a time when you can purchase California-grown fresh Garlic at its best. That time is late summer and early fall in the months just after the garlic harvest in Gilroy, California.

  How to Make Roasted Garlic

The flavor of fresh Garlic mellows substantially when roasted, making it perfect to spread on bread, mix into hummus, top mushrooms or meat, or blend into dressings. It’s easy to do too and an intoxicating aroma will fill your house, bring the whole family to the kitchen wondering what is for dinner! And once a bulb of Garlic is roasted the close squeeze out of their paper husks with easy.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F
  2. Pull loose wrapper husk leaves from the Garlic bulbs
  3. Slice ¼” from top of the bulb, exposing the raw tips of the cloves
  4. Place the trimmed bulbs on a small sheet of foil
  5. Drizzle the open bulb with Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper
  6. Enclose the seasoned bulb with the foil, snuggly but not smashed tight
  7. Bake the Garlic at 400F for 40 minutes
  8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before using your roasted garlic your delicious recipes!

Roasting Garlic creates a mellow, rich flavor and it’s easier than you think!

Tips

Recip: Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Blend the following ingredients in a blender for 10 seconds (or whisk briskly by hand for 30 sec)
    • Cloves from 1 roasted bulb of Garlic (see instructions above)
    • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
    • ½ cup Cider Vinegar
    • ½ tsp coarse salt
  2. Slow blender down, open the top and slowly add ½ cup olive oil (or whisk in by hand)

This easy Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Vinaigrette is perfect to dress homemade salads and is lovely served over Heirloom Tomatoes with fresh basil and parsley.

White Potatoes

Peak Season    Value Priced

Stretch your food dollars this month with good ol’ moist-flesh Eastern White Potatoes. They’re a great all-purpose potato – good for boiling, mashing, smashing, roasted and pan-fried recipes. And since fresh crop Eastern White Potatoes are in peak season here in the Mid-Atlantic region, look for value-priced advertised or in-store specials, especially on 5lb or 10lb bags of White Potatoes from NJ, DE, VA and PA. Quality is nice, but since they’re packed fresh and have lots of moisture in them, you’ll be wise to store them in your dark, dry pantry and use them within a couple of weeks.

Good, regional food for not a lot of money – fresh crop Eastern White Potatoes are in peak season this September and October.

Celery

Peak Season    Value Priced

Fresh bunches of stalk Celery and Celery Hearts are smart buy this month with for both convenience and price since the crop in peak season from multiple regions including, California, Michigan and Quebec. Celery is a crunchy, juicy, low-calorie snack. In fact, single stalk of Celery contains about 10 calories – go to town! Don’t forget about this key fresh ingredient that makes your chicken salads cool, your tuna salads tasty and your veggie trays crunchy. Celery also provides back-bone flavor for classic cooking recipes, stocks and soups.

What exactly is a Celery Heart? Celery Hearts are not much different than regular bunched Celery. Growers harvest an entire field at once. The smallest bunches are trimmed down a few inches and put in a bag. Voila, Celery Hearts! Yet sometimes that smaller bunch is exactly what you need for your recipe. Plus, the very center of the bunch does tend to pack a lot of flavor.

Celery Recipe Ideas

Still clinging to summer? Yellow PeachesChili PeppersVine Ripe Tomatoes and Watermelons are still at their seasonal best!

Abundant harvests of fresh Celery from California, Michigan and Canada are keeping prices low this September. Take advantage and add some fresh Celery or Celery Hearts to your ingredient list!

 

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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