Eat This Now for the Week of 03/14/11

Best if Used By 03/21/11

Eat This Now for the week of March 14th, 2011 features: Green Grapes, Cabbage, Blueberries, Maradol Papaya, and Organic Chard Greens.

KEY ($) = Value Bargain (P) = Peak of the Season (F) = Flavor for Foodies

1. Green Grapes ($) (P)

This season’s crop of Green Seedless Grapes from Chile has been running a little behind schedule and supply has never completely caught up with demand. Still, this would be a good week to buy some for even the most prudent of grape consumers. Why? For the most-part quality, texture and flavor will be pleasing, and oh yeah, there will be lots of “green” themed St. Patty’s Day sales to take advantage of. So, what should you look for in buying Green Seedless Grape right now? Here are three tips: First, check to make sure the bag or container they’re sold in is dry, not sticky and the Grapes are not leaking – a sign of old age. Next, check out the color. Straight up green could be sweet and fresh or it could be tart and fresh, greenish-yellow is likely to be extra sweet, but brown is bad. Finally, give a few Grapes a squeeze to test the firmness. The firmer the berry, their crunchier the Grape. rule

2. Green Cabbage: ($)

Do it! Buy some Cabbage this week while it is so cheap. I mean, sheesh! $.59, $39, $.29 per pound or less for Cabbage to go with all that Corned Beef Brisket supermarkets are promoting this week. Make an Irish meal… or not. Fresh, healthy food can be very affordable, especially when merchants are willing to sell it at break-even or a loss to get you into their store this week. But do farmers a favor and pay them a fair price the rest of the year. rule

3. Blueberries: ($)

Last call at the Chilean Blueberry bar. My quote “peak of the season is better than first and last of the season” is still valid here, however, if you’re a savvy berryhound you can find some nice deals on healthy, delicious Organic and Conventional Blueberries from Chile the next couple of weeks. Here’s what you do. Scope out your produce department for good prices on Blueberries. Pick up the package and inspect it thoroughly, looking for shriveled berries, leaking berries, berries stuck together or mold. If the package is free from those issues – buy and enjoy! rule

4. Maradol Papaya: (F)

A tropical treat that you’ll love or hate – Maradol Papaya – but you’ll never know until you try! Maradol Papaya, also called Caribbean or Caribbean Red Papaya, is available year-round from Mexico and Central America. Maradol’s are big, football big – 3 to 5lb each. The flavor is earthy, fruity, rich and tropical. The texture is creamy and smooth. Allow green ones to ripen at room temperature until the skin turns yellow-orange and is soft to gentle pressure. Halve, scoop out the slimy seeds, peel off the skin and cut into chunks. Serve it raw with a squeeze of lime, lemon or orange… and chili powder if you’re feeling adventurous. rule

Organic Pick of the Week:

5. Chards: (F)

Healthy and so flavorful! That’s Swiss Chard for ya, alright. Organic Red, Green and Rainbow Swiss Chard from Southern California and Florida are very nice right now. Late winter cool nights in those southern regions bring out sweetness in this cooking green that can be used in sautes, blanches, boils, omelets, frittatas and veggie lasagnas. Separate the leaves from the stems so they can be added to the cooking process later. Stems need longer to cook to become soft and release acid. Garlic, olive oil and a hot pan are Chard’s best friends. Did you know that Chard Greens are off the charts in Vitamin K and A, have lots of Vitamin C and are loaded with calcium? rule

Forward this to a friend if you think they’ll like it – Here’s to fresh!

Here’s to fresh! The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy