Peak Season Best Flavor
Comice Pears: Often called the “Christmas Pear,” sweet-tasting Comice are famous for being included in gourmet fruit baskets, including Harry & David’s line. The fruit is wide around the middle and has a short neck. The skin can be all green or have a red blush. Comice are easily scarred or nicked up, but it rarely affects the succulent flesh inside. Inside, Comice Pears ripen to a creamy, buttery texture that is also juicy – the ultimate dessert pear. Check the neck for ripeness with gentle thumb pressure.
Seckel Pears: These little guys are super sweet! Sometimes called “Sugar Pears,” Seckel Pears are tiny pears that are have a crisp, sugary flesh that ripens to creamy with a tiny core. They’re fun to serve as garnishes, mini desserts, snacks for the lunch box or use for pickling. Dipped in Chocolate, perhaps?
Forelle Pears: One cool-looking pear, Forelle are smaller than most varieties, yet bigger than Seckels. What sets them apart is their long neck, beautiful auburn blush over green skin and red freckles. Like Bartletts, Forelle change color as they ripen. The green parts of the skin turn yellow. This Pear is sweet, a little tangy and the texture stays fairly crisp even as they ripen, and it goes excellent with wine and cheese.
Holiday Pears (Top, L to R): Creamy-sweet Comice, Crisp & flavorful Forelle, Tiny & sugar-sweet Seckel.
Peak Season Best Flavor Value Priced
Peak season shipments of Red Potatoes from the Northwest have been very nice this November and December – deep red, tender skin – and priced affordably. Store Potatoes in a dry, cool, dark place. The refrigerator, however, is too cold for storing Potatoes.
Recipe: Roasted Red Potatoes and ShallotsHere’s a cozy recipe that will have your kitchen smelling fantastic as the cold winds blow outside this winter!
- Chop 5-6 large size washed Red Potatoes into bit size pieces. Leave the skins on.
- Peel then rough chop 1-2 Shallots (1 large Yellow or Sweet Onion can be substituted for Shallots)
- Toss Shallots and Red Potatoes in 2 tsp Olive Oil in a large mixing bowl
- Season with 2 tsp Penzy’s Northwoods Seasoning, re-toss to coat (rosemary, thyme, coarse salt, black pepper could be a homemade substitute)
- Spread out in 9×13 glass pan.
- Roast at 375 F for 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes for the first ½ hour
Peak season shipments of Red Potatoes from the Northwest have been very nice this November and December.
Peak Season Best Flavor
Shallots taste somewhere between Red Onion and fresh Garlic – like a regular Yellow Onion with more flavor, a little spiciness, and yet are mild enough to use raw in vinaigrettes or anywhere else you use Onions. Unlike Onions, tear-shaped Shallots don’t grow in one bulb, but a collection of “cloves” covered with brown to purple, papery skin.
- Select Shallots that are firm and are free from strong odor or sprouting.
- Store Shallots in a cool, dark place like the pantry for a week or so, or on your kitchen counter for several days.
- Recipes! Find 3 simple recipe ideas for Shallots HERE.
Like a slightly spicy Onion that’s a little garlic-y and has tremendous flavor: Shallots!
Peak Season Best Flavor
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 on the sugar to acid scale, but deliciously unique, robust. 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!
- Select fresh Pomegranates that are firm and heavy, a sign of juice content.
- Scarring on the skin or how big or small the Pomegranate size is really has no impact on the internal quality of the fruit.
- Late season Pomegranates typically have dark red skin color and can sometimes look “beat up” – though they’ll be good inside
- Store Pomegranates in the fridge for best shelf-life, but they’ll last for a week or so on the counter too as an interesting, decorative centerpiece.
- Super-food Pomegranates are an ancient fruit but have been in the news lately for their health benefits.
- Here are some Pomegranate recipe ideas.
Kitchen Tip of the Week
How to open a Pomegranate
You’ll need a knife, large bowl of water and a colander.
- Slice the crown off the top.
- Score the skin making 4 cuts from top to bottom.
- Open the Pomegranate over the bowl of water.
- Pull the arils from membranes under water to keep the splatter to a minimum.
- The arils sink and the membranes float – strain 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 several years ago. This old archive video shows me testing it. I still use this thing… because it works!
- Halve the fruit.
- Put it face down on the deseeder grate and tap (or slap) out the arils with a heavy utensil onto a plate. Voila.
- Tap Deseeding Method