Eat This Now for the Week of 10/21/15


Eat This Now | October 21st, 2015

PomegranatesBosc PearsGreen BeansHass AvocadosKitchen Tip of the Week

Best if used by 10/28/15

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Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Pomegranates from California are back in season! The Wonderful variety is in, making now through mid-December the best time of the year to enjoy this ancient super food.

The delicious prize inside a fresh Pomegranate is the juicy, sweet, bold flavored arils (seeds encapsulated with sacs of juice). You eat the arils whole. These arils are fantastic by themselves as a flavorful snack – juicy, sweet, a little tangy then crunchy. The taste is somewhere between concord grape juice and cranberry juice. Pomegranate arils can also be used to top a salad, in yogurt parfaits, with desserts or cocktails, and of course for juicing. Me? I love them as a delicious snack!

Pomegranate Tips

  • Select fresh Pomegranates that are firm and heavy for their size, a sign of plenty of juice content inside the fruit.
  • Scarring on the skin really has no impact on the internal quality of the fruit.
  • Red color of the skin can vary from variety to variety and is not a true indicator of aril quality.
  • Store Pomegranates in the fridge for best shelf-life, but they’ll last for a week or so on the counter.
  • Want the fresh Arils without the work of opening the fruit?  Containers of fresh Pomegranate Arils will be sold in most supermarkets now through Christmas.

  How to open a Pomegranate

Opening a Pomegranate can feel intimidating to those that haven’t done it before. And if you do decide to hack open a fresh Pomegranate on a cutting board and then pry the membranes apart, get ready to clean up your crime scene – I mean, kitchen. There will be juice splattering on your cutting surface and surrounding area, and likely on you. Good news: There are smarter ways!  Here are the two methods I use in my kitchen for speed and to avoid big messes:

Aqua Method

You’ll need a knife, large bowl of water and a colander. 1 large peak season Pomegranate nets about a cereal bowl full of Arils.

  1. Slice the crown off the top.
  2. Score the skin making 4-5 cuts from top to bottom.
  3. Open the Pomegranate over the bowl of water or in the water.
  4. Pull the arils from membranes under water to keep the splatter to a minimum.
  5. Edible arils sink. Inedible membranes float, Strain one from the other and you’re done!

Deseeder Tap Method

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the “60 Second Pomegranate Deseeder” I came across this product a number of years ago and still use a few times each season. This old archive video shows me testing it.

  1. Halve the fruit horizontally between the stem and blossom ends.
  2. Put it face down on the deseeder grate and tap (or slap) out the arils with a heavy utensil onto a plate. Voila.


Opening: Aqua Method

Opening: Deseeder Tap Method

Bosc Pears

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Like a crunchy pear? Bosc is the right variety for you. Don’t let the russeted-brown skin, long neck and rustic looks fool you, these pears are beautifully delicious! Bosc feature honey-sweet flavor and a delightful juicy-crisp texture make them perfect for snacking, salads and desserts. The 2015 crop of USA Bosc Pears is now in peak season.

Pears and apples are excellent for sweetening your green juices and other veggie juices because the fruit contains lots of liquid and is low on the glycemic index. Did you know that when using pears in juice extractor recipes it is actually ideal to use a firm to hard pear? This is why Bosc are ideal for this purpose. Fully soft-ripe pears can make your juices sludgy and grainy in texture and leave extra juice in the discarded pulp fiber.


Green Beans

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Green Beans will be an excellent fresh vegetable choice the rest of October since they’re in peak season from farms along the Eastern Seaboard, further south from areas already nipped by frost. Keep and eye out of in-store and advertised specials!

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

A simple, sweet and savory dish to get your taste buds in the mood for Fall flavors.

  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
    • 1 tsp Coarse Salt
    • ½ tsp Black Pepper
    • ½ tsp Ground Ginger powder
  6. Spread Beans and Pears out on a large baking tray
  7. Roast at 450F for 8-10 minutes, then stir and flip with a spatula
  8. Add ½ cup chopped Walnuts
  9. 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.

Roasted Green Beans and Bosc Pears

Hass Avocados

Peak Season    Best Flavor    Value Priced

Hass Avocados continue to be a popular item. Avocados are healthy, flavorful and great for way more stuff than just traditional Mexican cuisine (which I love too)! Their creamy texture and rich taste great are excellent on salads, sandwiches, in dressings and smoothies and as topping for savory dishes. Plus, Avocados have monounsaturated fat that actually helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol; they’re loaded with fiber, and have folate and potassium.

The fresh crop of Hass Avocados from Mexico is peaking on large fruit right now – both organic and conventional – so expect sale pricing and in-store specials on the bigger fruit this Fall. Great for game-day snacking or homemade meals. Eating quality has been good.

  How-To Ripen

  • If the Hass Avocados you purchase are hard, then store them at room temperature until they ripen.
  • Hass Avocados are ripe and ready to cut when they begin to give to gentle thumb pressure.
  • Once an uncut Hass Avocado reaches its ripe stage and you’re not ready to eat it, put it in the fridge to keep it at that ripeness stage for another day or two.

Easy ways to make Guacamole at Home

  1. Official Recipe: A quick video tutorial
  2. Restaurant Hack Recipe: Three large ripe pitted Hass Avocados, flesh mixed/smashed with 1 jar of salsa verde
  3. Supermarket Combo: Three large ripe pitted Hass Avocados, mix with 1 can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies (like Rotel), juice from ½ lime, season to taste with salt and pepper

More Ideas

The fresh crop of Hass Avocados from Mexico is peaking on large fruit right now – both organic and conventional – so expect sale pricing and in-store specials on the bigger fruit this Fall.

Kitchen Tip of the Week

How to Toast Hard Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

Wait! Don’t throw out those hard squash and pumpkin seeds when cooking and carving this Fall. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds are great for a home-made savory snack food and are excellent for topping salads. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Scoop seeds and pulp from any variety of Hard Squash or any kind of Pumpkin
  2. By hand separate most seeds from pulp
  3. In a strainer, run hot water over the seeds to clean them, then remove any remaining pulp that is in the strainer
  4. Toss seeds in 1 tbsp olive oil (or a blast of olive oil spray) in a mixing bowl then spread the seeds on a baking tray
  5. Season to taste with coarse salt and black pepper, or your favorite seasoning blend
  6. Roast at 250 degrees for 40-60 min. or 350 degrees for 25-35 min.

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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